Satire In David Noises A Modest Proposal

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Satire In David Noises A Modest Proposal



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Satire: A Modest proposal

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English Pages Year Edmund Husserl is widely regarded as one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. The founder of p. A lively, straight-forward approach to the basics of American PoliticsWritten to engage students, and kept short to prov. Philosophy made accessible for introductory students. Here is a free and condensed translation of Bede's story:. There was, in the monastery of the Abbess Hilda, a brother distinguished by the grace of God, for that he could make poems treating of goodness and religion. Whatever was translated to him for he could not read of Sacred Scripture he shortly reproduced in poetic form of great sweetness and beauty.

None of all the English poets could equal him, for he learned not the art of song from men, nor sang by the arts of men. Rather did he receive all his poetry as a free gift from God, and for this reason he did never compose poetry of a vain or worldly kind. Until of mature age he lived as a layman and had never learned any poetry. Indeed, so ignorant of singing was he that sometimes, at a feast, where it was the custom that for the pleasure of all each guest should sing in turn, he would rise from the table when he saw the harp coming to him and go home ashamed.

Now it happened once that he did this thing at a certain festivity, and went out to the stall to care for the horses, this duty being assigned to him for that night. In the morning he went to the steward of the monastery lands and showed him the gift he had received in sleep. To test him they expounded to him a bit of Scripture from the Latin and bade him, if he could, to turn it into poetry.

He went away humbly and returned in the morning with an excellent poem. Thereupon Hilda received him and his family into the monastery, made him one of the brethren, and commanded that the whole course of Bible history be expounded to him. He in turn, reflecting upon what he had heard, transformed it into most delightful poetry, and by echoing it back to the monks in more melodious sounds made his teachers his listeners.

In all this his aim was to turn men from wickedness and to help them to the love and practice of well doing. It is the story of Genesis, Exodus, and a part of Daniel, told in glowing, poetic language, with a power of insight and imagination which often raises it from paraphrase into the realm of true poetry. Aside from the doubtful question of authorship, even a casual reading of the poem brings us into the presence of a poet rude indeed, but with a genius strongly suggestive at times of the matchless Milton. The book opens with a hymn of praise, and then tells of the fall of Satan and his rebel angels from heaven, which is familiar to us in Milton's Paradise Lost. Then follows the creation of the world, and the Paraphrase begins to thrill with the old Anglo-Saxon love of nature.

Quickly the High King's bidding was obeyed, Over the waste there shone light's holy ray. Then parted He, Lord of triumphant might, Shadow from shining, darkness from the light. Light, by the Word of God, was first named day. After recounting the story of Paradise, the Fall, and the Deluge, the Paraphrase is continued in the Exodus, of which the poet makes a noble epic, rushing on with the sweep of a Saxon army to battle.

A single selection is given here to show how the poet adapted the story to his hearers:. Then they saw, Forth and forward faring, Pharaoh's war array Gliding on, a grove of spears;--glittering the hosts! Fluttered there the banners, there the folk the march trod. Onwards surged the war, strode the spears along, Blickered the broad shields; blew aloud the trumpets Wheeling round in gyres, yelled the fowls of war, Of the battle greedy; hoarsely barked the raven, Dew upon his feathers, o'er the fallen corpses-- Swart that chooser of the slain!

Sang aloud the wolves At eve their horrid song, hoping for the carrion. The longest of these is Judith , in which the story of an apocryphal book of the Old Testament is done into vigorous poetry. Holofernes is represented as a savage and cruel Viking, reveling in his mead hall; and when the heroic Judith cuts off his head with his own sword and throws it down before the warriors of her people, rousing them to battle and victory, we reach perhaps the most dramatic and brilliant point of Anglo-Saxon literature. Of Cynewulf, greatest of the Anglo-Saxon poets, excepting only the unknown author of Beowulf , we know very little.

Indeed, it was not till , more than a thousand years after his death, that even his name became known. Though he is the only one of our early poets who signed his works, the name was never plainly written, but woven into the verses in the form of secret runes, [32] suggesting a modern charade, but more difficult of interpretation until one has found the key to the poet's signature.

Works of Cynewulf. Unsigned poems attributed to him or his school are Andreas , the Phoenix , the Dream of the Rood , the Descent into Hell , Guthlac , the Wanderer , and some of the Riddles. The last are simply literary conundrums in which some well-known object, like the bow or drinking horn, is described in poetic language, and the hearer must guess the name. The Christ Of all these works the most characteristic is undoubtedly The Christ , a didactic poem in three parts: the first celebrating the Nativity; the second, the Ascension; and the third, "Doomsday," telling the torments of the wicked and the unending joy of the redeemed.

Cynewulf takes his subject-matter partly from the Church liturgy, but more largely from the homilies of Gregory the Great. The whole is well woven together, and contains some hymns of great beauty and many passages of intense dramatic force. Throughout the poem a deep love for Christ and a reverence for the Virgin Mary are manifest. More than any other poem in any language, The Christ reflects the spirit of early Latin Christianity. Here is a fragment comparing life to a sea voyage,--a comparison which occurs sooner or later to every thoughtful person, and which finds perfect expression in Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar.

Now 'tis most like as if we fare in ships On the ocean flood, over the water cold, Driving our vessels through the spacious seas With horses of the deep. A perilous way is this Of boundless waves, and there are stormy seas On which we toss here in this reeling world O'er the deep paths. Ours was a sorry plight Until at last we sailed unto the land, Over the troubled main. Help came to us That brought us to the haven of salvation, God's Spirit-Son, and granted grace to us That we might know e'en from the vessel's deck Where we must bind with anchorage secure Our ocean steeds, old stallions of the waves.

Andreas and Elene In the two epic poems of Andreas and Elene Cynewulf if he be the author reaches the very summit of his poetical art. Andreas , an unsigned poem, records the story of St. Andrew, who crosses the sea to rescue his comrade St. Matthew from the cannibals. A young ship-master who sails the boat turns out to be Christ in disguise, Matthew is set free, and the savages are converted by a miracle. Elene has for its subject-matter the finding of the true cross. It tells of Constantine's vision of the Rood, on the eve of battle. After his victory under the new emblem he sends his mother Helena Elene to Jerusalem in search of the original cross and the nails.

The poem, which is of very uneven quality, might properly be put at the end of Cynewulf's works. He adds to the poem a personal note, signing his name in runes; and, if we accept the wonderful "Vision of the Rood" as Cynewulf's work, we learn how he found the cross at last in his own heart. There is a suggestion here of the future Sir Launfal and the search for the Holy Grail. The same northern energy which had built up learning and literature so rapidly in Northumbria was instrumental in pulling it down again. Toward the end of the century in which Cynewulf lived, the Danes swept down on the English coasts and overwhelmed Northumbria.

Monasteries and schools were destroyed; scholars and teachers alike were put to the sword, and libraries that had been gathered leaf by leaf with the toil of centuries were scattered to the four winds. So all true Northumbrian literature perished, with the exception of a few fragments, and that which we now possess [35] is largely a translation in the dialect of the West Saxons. This translation was made by Alfred's scholars, after he had driven back the Danes in an effort to preserve the ideals and the civilization that had been so hardly won. With the conquest of Northumbria ends the poetic period of Anglo-Saxon literature. With Alfred the Great of Wessex our prose literature makes a beginning.

This is now to be said, that whilst I live I wish to live nobly, and after life to leave to the men who come after me a memory of good works. So wrote the great Alfred, looking back over his heroic life. That he lived nobly none can doubt who reads the history of the greatest of Anglo-Saxon kings; and his good works include, among others, the education of half a country, the salvage of a noble native literature, and the creation of the first English prose. Life and Times of Alfred. For the history of Alfred's times, and details of the terrific struggle with the Northmen, the reader must be referred to the histories. The struggle ended with the Treaty of Wedmore, in , with the establishment of Alfred not only as king of Wessex, but as overlord of the whole northern country.

Then the hero laid down his sword, and set himself as a little child to learn to read and write Latin, so that he might lead his people in peace as he had led them in war. It is then that Alfred began to be the heroic figure in literature that he had formerly been in the wars against the Northmen. With the same patience and heroism that had marked the long struggle for freedom, Alfred set himself to the task of educating his people. First he gave them laws, beginning with the Ten Commandments and ending with the Golden Rule, and then established courts where laws could be faithfully administered. Safe from the Danes by land, he created a navy, almost the first of the English fleets, to drive them from the coast.

Then, with peace and justice established within his borders, he sent to Europe for scholars and teachers, and set them over schools that he established. Hitherto all education had been in Latin; now he set himself the task, first, of teaching every free-born Englishman to read and write his own language, and second, of translating into English the best books for their instruction. Every poor scholar was honored at his court and was speedily set to work at teaching or translating; every wanderer bringing a book or a leaf of manuscript from the pillaged monasteries of Northumbria was sure of his reward. In this way the few fragments of native Northumbrian literature, which we have been studying, were saved to the world. Alfred and his scholars treasured the rare fragments and copied them in the West-Saxon dialect.

Works of Alfred. Aside from his educational work, Alfred is known chiefly as a translator. After fighting his country's battles, and at a time when most men were content with military honor, he began to learn Latin, that he might translate the works that would be most helpful to his people. His important translations are four in number: Orosius's Universal History and Geography , the leading work in general history for several centuries; Bede's History , [37] the first great historical work written on English soil; Pope Gregory's Shepherds' Book , intended especially for the clergy; and Boethius's Consolations of Philosophy , the favorite philosophical work of the Middle Ages.

The Saxon Chronicle. More important than any translation is the English or Saxon Chronicle. This was probably at first a dry record, especially of important births and deaths in the West-Saxon kingdom. When it touches his own reign the dry chronicle becomes an interesting and connected story, the oldest history belonging to any modern nation in its own language. The record of Alfred's reign, probably by himself, is a splendid bit of writing and shows clearly his claim to a place in literature as well as in history. The Chronicle was continued after Alfred's death, and is the best monument of early English prose that is left to us.

Here and there stirring songs are included in the narrative, like "The Battle of Brunanburh" and "The Battle of Maldon. The Chronicle was continued for a century after the Norman Conquest, and is extremely valuable not only as a record of events but as a literary monument showing the development of our language. Close of the Anglo-Saxon Period. After Alfred's death there is little to record, except the loss of the two supreme objects of his heroic struggle, namely, a national life and a national literature.

It was at once the strength and the weakness of the Saxon that he lived apart as a free man and never joined efforts willingly with any large body of his fellows. The tribe was his largest idea of nationality, and, with all our admiration, we must confess as we first meet him that he has not enough sense of unity to make a great nation, nor enough culture to produce a great literature.

A few noble political ideals repeated in a score of petty kingdoms, and a few literary ideals copied but never increased,--that is the summary of his literary history. For a full century after Alfred literature was practically at a standstill, having produced the best of which it was capable, and England waited for the national impulse and for the culture necessary for a new and greater art. Both of these came speedily, by way of the sea, in the Norman Conquest.

Summary of Anglo-Saxon Period. Our literature begins with songs and stories of a time when our Teutonic ancestors were living on the borders of the North Sea. Three tribes of these ancestors, the Jutes, Angles, and Saxons, conquered Britain in the latter half of the fifth century, and laid the foundation of the English nation. The first landing was probably by a tribe of Jutes, under chiefs called by the chronicle Hengist and Horsa. The date is doubtful; but the year is accepted by most historians. These old ancestors were hardy warriors and sea rovers, yet were capable of profound and noble emotions.

Their poetry reflects this double nature. Its subjects were chiefly the sea and the plunging boats, battles, adventure, brave deeds, the glory of warriors, and the love of home. Accent, alliteration, and an abrupt break in the middle of each line gave their poetry a kind of martial rhythm. In general the poetry is earnest and somber, and pervaded by fatalism and religious feeling. A careful reading of the few remaining fragments of Anglo-Saxon literature reveals five striking characteristics: the love of freedom; responsiveness to nature, especially in her sterner moods; strong religious convictions, and a belief in Wyrd, or Fate; reverence for womanhood; and a devotion to glory as the ruling motive in every warrior's life.

In our study we have noted: 1 the great epic or heroic poem Beowulf , and a few fragments of our first poetry, such as "Widsith," "Deor's Lament," and "The Seafarer. Bede, our first historian, belongs to this school; but all his extant works are in Latin. Northumbrian literature flourished between and In the year Northumbria was conquered by the Danes, who destroyed the monasteries and the libraries containing our earliest literature.

Our most important prose work of this age is the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which was revised and enlarged by Alfred, and which was continued for more than two centuries. It is the oldest historical record known to any European nation in its own tongue. Selections for Reading. Miscellaneous Poetry. Hall, Lumsden, etc. For the facts of the Anglo-Saxon conquest of England consult first a good text-book: Montgomery, pp. For fuller treatment see Green, ch. Stevenson; C. Anglo-Saxon Texts. Special Works. The Christ of Cynewulf, prose translation by Whitman; the same poem, text and translation, by Gollancz; text by Cook. Suggestive Questions. What is the relation of history and literature? Why should both subjects be studied together?

Explain the qualities that characterize all great literature. Has any text-book in history ever appealed to you as a work of literature? What literary qualities have you noticed in standard historical works, such as those of Macaulay, Prescott, Gibbon, Green, Motley, Parkman, and John Fiske? Why did the Anglo-Saxons come to England? What induced them to remain? Did any change occur in their ideals, or in their manner of life? Do you know any social or political institutions which they brought, and which, we still cherish? From the literature you have read, what do you know about our Anglo-Saxon ancestors? What virtues did they admire in men? How was woman regarded? Can you compare the Anglo-Saxon ideal of woman with that of other nations, the Romans for instance?

Tell in your own words the general qualities of Anglo-Saxon poetry. How did it differ in its metrical form from modern poetry? What passages seem to you worth learning and remembering? Can you explain why poetry is more abundant and more interesting than prose in the earliest literature of all nations? Tell the story of Beowulf. What appeals to you most in the poem? Why is it a work for all time, or, as the Anglo-Saxons would say, why is it worthy to be remembered? Note the permanent quality of literature, and the ideals and emotions which are emphasized in Beowulf. Describe the burials of Scyld and of Beowulf.

Does the poem teach any moral lesson? Explain the Christian elements in this pagan epic. Name some other of our earliest poems, and describe the one you like best. How does the sea figure in our first poetry? How is nature regarded? What poem reveals the life of the scop or poet? How do you account for the serious character of Anglo-Saxon poetry? Compare the Saxon and the Celt with regard to the gladsomeness of life as shown in their literature. What useful purpose did poetry serve among our ancestors? What purpose did the harp serve in reciting their poems? Would the harp add anything to our modern poetry?

What is meant by Northumbrian literature? Who are the great Northumbrian writers? What besides the Danish conquest caused the decline of Northumbrian literature? For what is Bede worthy to be remembered? What effect did Christianity have upon Anglo-Saxon literature? What are the Cynewulf poems? Describe any that you have read. How do they compare in spirit and in expression with Beowulf? Compare the views of nature in Beowulf and in the Cynewulf poems. Describe the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. What is its value in our language, literature, and history? Give an account of Alfred's life and of his work for literature. How does Anglo-Saxon prose compare in interest with the poetry? The name Norman, which is a softened form of Northman, tells its own story.

The men who bore the name came originally from Scandinavia,--bands of big, blond, fearless men cruising after plunder and adventure in their Viking ships, and bringing terror wherever they appeared. It was these same "Children of Woden" who, under the Danes' raven flag, had blotted out Northumbrian civilization in the ninth century. Later the same race of men came plundering along the French coast and conquered the whole northern country; but here the results were altogether different. Instead of blotting out a superior civilization, as the Danes had done, they promptly abandoned their own. Their name of Normandy still clings to the new home; but all else that was Norse disappeared as the conquerors intermarried with the native Franks and accepted French ideals and spoke the French language.

So rapidly did they adopt and improve the Roman civilization of the natives that, from a rude tribe of heathen Vikings, they had developed within a single century into the most polished and intellectual people in all Europe. The union of Norse and French i. Roman-Gallic blood had here produced a race having the best qualities of both,--the will power and energy of the one, the eager curiosity and vivid imagination of the other. When these Norman-French people appeared in Anglo-Saxon England they brought with them three noteworthy things: a lively Celtic disposition, a vigorous and progressive Latin civilization, and a Romance language. At the battle of Hastings the power of Harold, last of the Saxon kings, was broken, and William, duke of Normandy, became master of England.

Of the completion of that stupendous Conquest which began at Hastings, and which changed the civilization of a whole nation, this is not the place to speak. We simply point out three great results of the Conquest which have a direct bearing on our literature. Second, they forced upon England the national idea, that is, a strong, centralized government to replace the loose authority of a Saxon chief over his tribesmen. And the world's history shows that without a great nationality a great literature is impossible.

Third, they brought to England the wealth of a new language and literature, and our English gradually absorbed both. For three centuries after Hastings French was the language of the upper classes, of courts and schools and literature; yet so tenaciously did the common people cling to their own strong speech that in the end English absorbed almost the whole body of French words and became the language of the land. It was the welding of Saxon and French into one speech that produced the wealth of our modern English. Naturally such momentous changes in a nation were not brought about suddenly. At first Normans and Saxons lived apart in the relation of masters and servants, with more or less contempt on one side and hatred on the other; but in an astonishingly short time these two races were drawn powerfully together, like two men of different dispositions who are often led into a steadfast friendship by the attraction of opposite qualities, each supplying what the other lacks.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle , which was continued for a century after Hastings, finds much to praise in the conquerors; on the other hand the Normans, even before the Conquest, had no great love for the French nation. After conquering England they began to regard it as home and speedily developed a new sense of nationality. Geoffrey's popular History , [43] written less than a century after the Conquest, made conquerors and conquered alike proud of their country by its stories of heroes who, curiously enough, were neither Norman nor Saxon, but creations of the native Celts.

Thus does literature, whether in a battle song or a history, often play the chief role in the development of nationality. The change in the life of the conquerors from Norsemen to Normans, from Vikings to Frenchmen, is shown most clearly in the literature which they brought with them to England. The old Norse strength and grandeur, the magnificent sagas telling of the tragic struggles of men and gods, which still stir us profoundly,--these have all disappeared. In their place is a bright, varied, talkative literature, which runs to endless verses, and which makes a wonderful romance out of every subject it touches.

The theme may be religion or love or chivalry or history, the deeds of Alexander or the misdeeds of a monk; but the author's purpose never varies. He must tell a romantic story and amuse his audience; and the more wonders and impossibilities he relates, the more surely is he believed. We are reminded, in reading, of the native Gauls, who would stop every traveler and compel him to tell a story ere he passed on. There was more of the Gaul than of the Norseman in the conquerors, and far more of fancy than of thought or feeling in their literature. If you would see this in concrete form, read the Chanson de Roland , the French national epic which the Normans first put into literary form , in contrast with Beowulf , which voices the Saxon's thought and feeling before the profound mystery of human life.

It is not our purpose to discuss the evident merits or the serious defects of Norman-French literature, but only to point out two facts which impress the student, namely, that Anglo-Saxon literature was at one time enormously superior to the French, and that the latter, with its evident inferiority, absolutely replaced the former. To understand this curious phenomenon it is necessary only to remember the relative conditions of the two races who lived side by side in England.

On the one hand the Anglo-Saxons were a conquered people, and without liberty a great literature is impossible. The inroads of the Danes and their own tribal wars had already destroyed much of their writings, and in their new condition of servitude they could hardly preserve what remained. The conquering Normans, on the other hand, represented the civilization of France, which country, during the early Middle Ages, was the literary and educational center of all Europe. They came to England at a time when the idea of nationality was dead, when culture had almost vanished, when Englishmen lived apart in narrow isolation; and they brought with them law, culture, the prestige of success, and above all the strong impulse to share in the great world's work and to join in the moving currents of the world's history.

Small wonder, then, that the young Anglo-Saxons felt the quickening of this new life and turned naturally to the cultured and progressive Normans as their literary models. In the Advocates' Library at Edinburgh there is a beautifully illuminated manuscript, written about , which gives us an excellent picture of the literature of the Norman period. In examining it we are to remember that literature was in the hands of the clergy and nobles; that the common people could not read, and had only a few songs and ballads for their literary portion. We are to remember also that parchments were scarce and very expensive, and that a single manuscript often contained all the reading matter of a castle or a village. Hence this old manuscript is as suggestive as a modern library.

It contains over forty distinct works, the great bulk of them being romances. There are a few other works, similarly incongruous, crowded together in this typical manuscript, which now gives mute testimony to the literary taste of the times. Obviously it is impossible to classify such a variety. All the scholarly works of the period, like William of Malmesbury's History , and Anselm's [46] Cur Deus Homo , and Roger Bacon's Opus Majus , the beginning of modern experimental science, were written in Latin; while nearly all other works were written in French, or else were English copies or translations of French originals.

Except for the advanced student, therefore, they hardly belong to the story of English literature. We shall note here only one or two marked literary types, like the Riming Chronicle or verse history and the Metrical Romance, and a few writers whose work has especial significance. Geoffrey's Historia Regum Britanniae is noteworthy, not as literature, but rather as a source book from which many later writers drew their literary materials. Among the native Celtic tribes an immense number of legends, many of them of exquisite beauty, had been preserved through four successive conquests of Britain. Geoffrey, a Welsh monk, collected some of these legends and, aided chiefly by his imagination, wrote a complete history of the Britons. The "History" is a curious medley of pagan and Christian legends, of chronicle, comment, and pure invention,--all recorded in minute detail and with a gravity which makes it clear that Geoffrey had no conscience, or else was a great joker.

As history the whole thing is rubbish; but it was extraordinarily successful at the time and made all who heard it, whether Normans or Saxons, proud of their own country. It is interesting to us because it gave a new direction to the literature of England by showing the wealth of poetry and romance that lay in its own traditions of Arthur and his knights. Shakespeare's King Lear , Malory's Morte d'Arthur , and Tennyson's Idylls of the King were founded on the work of this monk, who had the genius to put unwritten Celtic tradition in the enduring form of Latin prose. The French literature of the Norman period is interesting chiefly because of the avidity with which foreign writers seized upon the native legends and made them popular in England.

Until Geoffrey's preposterous chronicle appeared, these legends had not been used to any extent as literary material. Indeed, they were scarcely known in England, though familiar to French and Italian minstrels. Legends of Arthur and his court were probably first taken to Brittany by Welsh emigrants in the fifth and sixth centuries. They became immensely popular wherever they were told, and they were slowly carried by minstrels and story-tellers all over Europe.

Geoffrey met this demand by creating an historical manuscript of Welsh history. That was enough for the age. With Geoffrey and his alleged manuscript to rest upon, the Norman-French writers were free to use the fascinating stories which had been-for centuries in the possession of their wandering minstrels. Geoffrey's Latin history was put into French verse by Gaimar c. From about onward Arthur and Guinevere and the matchless band of Celtic heroes that we meet later in Malory's Morte d' Arthur became the permanent possession of our literature. Layamon's Brut c. This is the most important of the English riming chronicles, that is, history related in the form of doggerel verse, probably because poetry is more easily memorized than prose.

We give here a free rendering of selected lines at the beginning of the poem, which tell us all we know of Layamon, the first who ever wrote as an Englishman for Englishmen, including in the term all who loved England and called it home, no matter where their ancestors were born. Now there was a priest in the land named Layamon. He was son of Leovenath--may God be gracious unto him.

He dwelt at Ernley, at a noble church on Severn's bank. He read many books, and it came to his mind to tell the noble deeds of the English. Then he began to journey far and wide over the land to procure noble books for authority. Pen he took, and wrote on book-skin, and made the three books into one. Then follows the founding of the Briton kingdom, and the last third of the poem, which is over thirty thousand lines in length, is taken up with the history of Arthur and his knights. If the Brut had no merits of its own, it would still interest us, for it marks the first appearance of the Arthurian legends in our own tongue.

A single selection is given here from Arthur's dying speech, familiar to us in Tennyson's Morte d'Arthur. The reader will notice here two things: first, that though the poem is almost pure Anglo-Saxon, [50] our first speech has already dropped many inflections and is more easily read than Beowulf ; second, that French influence is already at work in Layamon's rimes and assonances, that is, the harmony resulting from using the same vowel sound in several successive lines:. An elf very beautiful. And heo seal mine wunden And she shall my wounds Makien alle isunde, Make all sound; Al hal me makien All whole me make Mid haleweiye drenchen.

With healing drinks. With mickle joy. Aefne than worden Even with these words Ther com of se wenden There came from the sea That wes an sceort bat lithen, A short little boat gliding, Sceoven mid uthen, Shoved by the waves; And twa wimmen ther inne, And two women therein, Wunderliche idihte. Wondrously attired. And heo nomen Arthur anan And they took Arthur anon And an eovste hine vereden And bore him hurriedly, And softe hine adun leiden, And softly laid him down, And forth gunnen lithen. And forth gan glide. Metrical Romances. Love, chivalry, and religion, all pervaded by the spirit of romance,--these are the three great literary ideals which find expression in the metrical romances.

Read these romances now, with their knights and fair ladies, their perilous adventures and tender love-making, their minstrelsy and tournaments and gorgeous cavalcades,--as if humanity were on parade, and life itself were one tumultuous holiday in the open air,--and you have an epitome of the whole childish, credulous soul of the Middle Ages. The Normans first brought this type of romance into England, and so popular did it become, so thoroughly did it express the romantic spirit of the time, that it speedily overshadowed all other forms of literary expression.

Form Though the metrical romances varied much in form and subject-matter, the general type remains the same,--a long rambling poem or series of poems treating of love or knightly adventure or both. Its hero is a knight; its characters are fair ladies in distress, warriors in armor, giants, dragons, enchanters, and various enemies of Church and State; and its emphasis is almost invariably on love, religion, and duty as defined by chivalry.

In the French originals of these romances the lines were a definite length, the meter exact, and rimes and assonances were both used to give melody. In England this metrical system came in contact with the uneven lines, the strong accent and alliteration of the native songs; and it is due to the gradual union of the two systems, French and Saxon, that our English became capable of the melody and amazing variety of verse forms which first find expression in Chaucer's poetry.

Cycles of romances In the enormous number of these verse romances we note three main divisions, according to subject, into the romances or the so-called matter of France, Rome, and Britain. Originally these romances were called Chansons de Geste ; and the name is significant as indicating that the poems were originally short songs [52] celebrating the deeds gesta of well-known heroes. Later the various songs concerning one hero were gathered together and the Geste became an epic, like the Chanson de Roland , or a kind of continued ballad story, hardly deserving the name of epic, like the Geste of Robin Hood. The matter of Rome consisted largely of tales from Greek and Roman sources; and the two great cycles of these romances deal with the deeds of Alexander, a favorite hero, and the siege of Troy, with which the Britons thought they had some historic connection.

To these were added a large number of tales from Oriental sources; and in the exuberant imagination of the latter we see the influence which the Saracens--those nimble wits who gave us our first modern sciences and who still reveled in the Arabian Nights --had begun to exercise on the literature of Europe. The Matter of Britain To the English reader, at least, the most interesting of the romances are those which deal with the exploits of Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table,--the richest storehouse of romance which our literature has ever found. In preceding sections we have seen how these fascinating romances were used by Geoffrey and the French writers, and how, through the French, they found their way into English, appearing first in our speech in Layamon's Brut.

The point to remember is that, while the legends are Celtic in origin, their literary form is due to French poets, who originated the metrical romance. All our early English romances are either copies or translations of the French; and this is true not only of the matter of France and Rome, but of Celtic heroes like Arthur, and English heroes like Guy of Warwick and Robin Hood. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight The most interesting of all Arthurian romances are those of the Gawain cycle, [54] and of these the story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is best worth reading, for many reasons.

First, though the material is taken from French sources, [55] the English workmanship is the finest of our early romances. Second, the unknown author of this romance probably wrote also "The Pearl," and is the greatest English poet of the Norman period. Third, the poem itself with its dramatic interest, its vivid descriptions, and its moral purity, is one of the most delightful old romances in any language.

In form Sir Gawain is an interesting combination of French and Saxon elements. It is written in an elaborate stanza combining meter and alliteration. At the end of each stanza is a rimed refrain, called by the French a "tail rime. On New Year's day, while Arthur and his knights are keeping the Yuletide feast at Camelot, a gigantic knight in green enters the banquet hall on horseback and challenges the bravest knight present to an exchange of blows; that is, he will expose his neck to a blow of his own big battle-ax, if any knight will agree to abide a blow in return. My descriptions echo the dispassionate attitude that the Georgian era populace had until the turn of the 19th century, when attitudes changed.

In too numerous instances to count, their lives were severely shortened from hard work and harsh treatment. Horses were primarily owned by the elite because their upkeep was expensive. When Austen mentioned a carriage drawn by four horses luxurious , or a curricle pulled by two costly , her reading audience knew to the penny how much their maintenance cost per year. You shall share its use with me. Imagine to yourself, my dear Elinor, the delight of a gallop on some of these downs. As to an additional servant, the expense would be a trifle; Mamma she was sure would never object to it; and any horse would do for HIM; he might always get one at the park; as to a stable, the merest shed would be sufficient.

Elinor then ventured to doubt the propriety of her receiving such a present from a man so little, or at least so lately known to her. This was too much. Because of this expensive gift, Elinor assumed that the pair had entered into a secret engagement. He had first obtained it for his cousin for her health, which blossomed with a daily ride. He swiftly returned the pony for her daily rides. Not many people could afford to purchase or maintain horses. Drays and heavy wagons drawn by teams of mules and oxen pulled heavy loads over rutted roads or provided transportation for groups of people with fewer means. Donkey and pony carts could carry two adults, and goat carts could carry one woman or two children.

Dogs pulled carts for small children or pulled specialized vehicles alongside their working masters. We know that the Austen women used a donkey cart to get around. Today it can still be seen in Chawton Cottage, now a museum. This last category is short, for in the early 19th century animals were largely used for work. The paintings depict dogs, horses, cats, and birds, etc. Many of the horses and dogs were signs of wealth and consequence.

Rabbit, pugs, cats, dogs, bird cage, and a man with his thoroughbred. A majority of the paintings and illustrations depict adults and children from the upper classes. The pug in Mansfield Park is the only pet fully described in a Jane Austen novel. It too was used to show character, as well as sloth and indolence. Detail of a Brock image of Lady Bertram, pug, and Fanny as an infant. She had not time for such cares. She was a woman who spent her days in sitting, nicely dressed, on a sofa, doing some long piece of needlework, of little use and no beauty, thinking more of her pug than her children, but very indulgent to the latter when it did not put herself to inconvenience, guided in everything important by Sir Thomas, and in smaller concerns by her sister.

Pugs, first bred in China and brought to The Netherlands by the Dutch East India Company, became a favorite animal of William of Orange and his wife Mary, who introduced the small dog to England in the 17th century, where its popularity took off. I could do very well without you, if you were married to a man of such good estate as Mr. This was almost the only rule of conduct, the only piece of advice, which Fanny had ever received from her aunt in the course of eight years and a half.

It silenced her. Lady Bertram was convinced that Henry Crawford fell in love with her at the ball, where she looked remarkably well even Sir Thomas said so. And you know you had Chapman to help you to dress. I am very glad I sent Chapman to you. I shall tell Sir Thomas that I am sure it was done that evening. This speech must have exhausted Lady Bertram, for it was the first time she showed such deep emotion and enthusiasm on any topic, or affection towards another person. When reading her novels, they could use this knowledge to fill in the blanks that Austen, an author not known for detailed descriptions, assumed they knew.

For example, take this statement from Sue Wilkes, which describes the different ways in which rich and poor treated each other regarding property and food:. In season, they also enjoyed game from their estates. The Knight family sent game to the Austens from Godmersham. Although the countryside was plentifully stocked with fish and game, a poor man who helped himself to a hare or salmon to feed his family faced jail or transportation. Details like these enrich our knowledge of the era and our understanding of novels written at that time.

Grey, J. Abigail Bok U. Macmillan Publishing Company. Jones, S. Knowles, R. Sanborn, V. Shearer, E. Sullivan, M. Wilkes, S. June 30, by Vic. Inquiring readers: WordPress has changed its editor, and I am still wrestling with the changes, especially on different computers — Mac and Android. You can see it in the changes in spacing and font. I am also experiencing internet connectivity problems. For these reasons, this post is published 4 days later than I intended. Jane Austen was born on December 16th in on a bitter cold day in Steventon, a village in Hampshire. Reverend George Austen baptized his new daughter on December 17th in his home, as he had done with his other children.

While Mrs Austen rested during her lying in, he wrote notes announcing the birth to friends and acquaintances. As far as we know, this was the last time that he called his newborn Jenny. On April 5th, baby Jane was formally christened in St. Nicholas church. She was named after her godmother; her two aunts — Mrs Cooper and Mrs Leigh Perrot — and her maternal grandmother. This custom was commonly practiced at that time.

Cassandra Austen visited her babies daily in the nearby village, until they returned to the family fold at around 18 months of age. The reasons for this custom can be found in the following article on Breast Feeding in the Early 19th Century on this blog. George and his wife were equally hard working parents who provided a stable and often joyful childhood for their children, except perhaps for the physically disabled George, who might have suffered from epilepsy. Once the infants were returned to Steventon Parsonage, the parents took over raising their children.

By all accounts, the Austen family was close-knit. Mrs Hurst Dancing book cover from Amazon books. The image shows a family of 8 dancing inside a drawing room, with the carpets rolled up. From an early age, George Austen led a hard-scrabble life. He lifted himself up through extraordinary intelligence and industry. Young Jane and her sister learned about history, literature, and the classics from their father and brothers. Shades of Mr Bennet! The library contained both classical books and novels, the latter of which were first frowned upon by academics and traditionalists, but were read with enjoyment by the Austen family. In , Jane, Cassandra, and their cousin Jane Cooper caught an infectious disease spread by troops returning to Southampton.

The three became quite ill. Jane Cooper sent a letter about the situation to her parents, who informed the Austens. Alarmed, Mrs Austen and Mrs Cooper immediately traveled to the school to retrieve their daughters. Mrs Austen nursed Jane back to health, but sadly Mrs Cooper caught the disease and died from it. In the following three years, Jane and Cassandra continued their education at home. Goddard was the mistress of a school — not a seminary, or an establishment, or anything which professed, in long sentences of refined nonsense, to combine liberal acquirements with elegant morality, upon new principles and new systems — and where young ladies for enormous pay might be screwed out of health and into vanity — but a real, honest, old-fashioned boarding school, where a reasonable quantity of accomplishments were sold at a reasonable price, and where girls might be sent to be out of the way, and scramble themselves into a little education, without any danger of coming back prodigies.

In fact, they were exposed to a wider variety of topics, subjects, and intellectual skills than they would have encountered in boarding schools. In addition:. She frequently read these short, hilarious pieces of fiction to her siblings, parents, and friends. An early draft of Pride and Prejudice First Impressions was a particular favorite of her audience and remained so for years. Importantly, Rev. Austen encouraged her writing. John Halperin characterizes him as a gentle, scholarly man, a good teacher and an excellent classical scholar. It was he who gave his daughter her literary education, and he who took sufficient interest in her work to offer her first novel to a publisher.

I have reserved Mr Bennet PP , for last. When I was fourteen his character delighted me — his witticisms, his criticisms of his silly wife and three younger equally silly daughters, and his close relationship with Jane and Elizabeth, who I adored, all had my approval. But then I grew up and saw him in a different light. In my mature years I saw a man whose wit and sarcasm hid an underlying cruelty. He was a husband who made fun of his wife; who favored two daughters above three others; a man who bought extremely expensive books, but who failed to set a portion of that expense aside for future investments for his wife and daughters. I now see a man who retreated from daily reality and, for all his intellectual curiosity, was generally lazy. Even after Mr Wickham compromised his daughter, Lydia, and after Mr Darcy did everything in his power to rectify the situation, including providing the shameless couple with a yearly income, Mr Bennet quipped to Elizabeth:.

That statement put the nail in the coffin to my youthful admiration of this father. George Austen was proud of all his children. In a letter to publisher Thomas Cadell, Jr. The move to Chawton Cottage created a perfect storm of creativity and success for Jane. Thanks to Edward, she returned to the rural countryside she loved, and once again her talent and creativity flourished. First on her to-do list was to rewrite Sense and Sensibility. A publisher had not rejected this manuscript and she sensed its commercial value. After its modest success, she turned to her other novel, First Impressions, the family favorite which had languished unpublished.

We have no way of knowing how often Jane revised this beloved story, which, like Sense and Sensibility , started out as an epistolary novel. What we do know is that the finished product, renamed Pride and Prejudice published in , was well received. The book retains its literacy rock star status to this day. His gift was his consistent confidence and encouragement in nourishing her spectacular talent. Well done, George! Gibbs, C. Sutherland, K. Lane, M. Edmundsbury Press, Ltd. Hannon, P. Fall River Press. Ivins, H. Crimson Publishing. Victor Gollancz Ltd.

Quirk Books. June 14, by Rachel Dodge. You can read my book review here. We started to chat and instantly hit it off. Martha just seemed to pop out of her bedroom one day and say hello to me. I was so compelled to find out more when I discovered that Martha had lived with Jane for such a long long time. I had to know more about this person — I knew she must have been pretty special for Jane to keep her so close and for so long. I was so surprised to learn that there was nothing much written about Martha and the more I researched the more amazed and intrigued I became. I was delighted to learn that this lovely lady had been there for Jane and it honestly made me so happy to find out about the different elements of their friendship, I just had to find out more.

Why did Jane and Martha have such a strong bond? Answer: Jane met Martha at an important time in her life, she was fresh back from boarding school and turning 13, when Martha moved into the neighbourhood. I think that Martha and Jane were kindred spirits who brought out the best in one another. The fact that they had so much in common helped, but that they both wanted to explore their talents and creative ideas also drew them closer together. They were the type of best friends that shared that special and unique blend of being able to encourage each other and also, at the same time, to not let each other off the hook.

Their strongest bond was their shared Christian faith which meant so much to them both in terms of identity but their sense of humour was the glue that held them together. Question: Describe your research process for this book. What were some of your personal highlights? I loved the humorous side eye that Jane gave Martha in them — I felt as if I was listening in on one of their private conversations.

I truly love being in an archive, as it is thrilling to open up original documents that are hundreds of years old. It was so incredible to go back to different locations and see what is left too. Sometimes there was a whole building or church, albeit extended and amended, sometimes there was one simple entrance tower, as in the case of the church where Martha married Francis Austen, and sometimes there was a housing estate built right on top — How I would have loved to have seen the real Portsdown Lodge.

I also did lots and lots of reading and spent many hours curled up on the floor in my local library or typing away in a coffee shop. Reading and researching and then heading back out on their trail and discovering different elements that still existed was a huge thrill. Question: How have your friendships shaped your life and why do you think close friendships are so important? We have grown up together, having got married quite young at 19 and 21 respectively.

There is something so lovely about having so many memories and in jokes and that sort of short hand that best friends have. I also have a friend with whom I can keep everything real, we know we can tell each other how we are truly feeling and that we will be understood, without any judgement. I think everyone needs at least one friend that they know they can call in the middle of the night or the middle of an emergency — knowing that they are in your corner helps keep us sane. Locally we are so proud of Jane.

For the bicentenary of her death the town commissioned a statue of her, to be placed in the market square, just outside the Town Hall and opposite where she is believed to have danced at local balls. Knowing that she lived and moved and had her being in the same places as I do has always felt magical. In fact, the reason I started researching Martha Lloyd in the first place was after taking part in an Art Trail of Book Benches scattered across the local Hampshire area; at sites Jane visited, stayed at and lived in.

Each bench was designed and painted by a local artist. See photo below of me sitting on the one outside St. This experience plunged me into a reading frenzy. I read every biography of Jane that I could get my hands on. I imagined what that must have felt like, and so I started following her — I had to know more. I felt that Martha might be able to teach me something about Jane that other biographers could not. Thrillingly, I was right. With just a short, minute drive I can be walking where Jane walked, taking in the views which are fundamentally unchanged from when she gazed upon the same verdure.

I just love it. Answer: I started reading Austen at the age of about 9. I remember being intrigued by a set of books with such long and unusual titles. I wish I still had those copies. Researching the book and venturing out into the local environs, I tangibly felt their strong bond weaved within their shared environment and surroundings. They both adored walking, getting out and about, exploring and enjoying the natural world. To a large extent time stands still when you are out in the countryside and it is a privilege that as a Hampshire girl one can feel closer to them there, out in the fields, than anywhere else.

People can get to know her better at www. Through an examination of the defining moments of their shared lives together, the book gives readers an insight into the inner circle of the famously enigmatic and private authoress and the life changing force of their friendship. All fans for Jane Austen everywhere believe themselves to be best friends with the beloved author and this book shines a light on what it meant to be exactly that.

Each chapter details fascinating facts and friendship forming qualities that tied Jane and Martha together. Older Posts ». Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Email Address:. Sign me up! Read the review of the book, edited by series editor Ben Wiebracht here. Died off Prome, the 7th October , while in command of the Naval Expedition on the river Irrawady against the Burmese Forces, aged 73 years. Read the full article in The Sunday Times. June 27, In some instances, links will be removed from comments as well.

Vic Sanborn , founder of this blog, is supported by a team of talented and knowledgeable writers about Jane Austen and the Regency era. In addition, we thank the many experts and authors who frequently contribute their posts and opinions, and who continue to do so freely or at our request. Click here to enter the page. Topics include Regency fashion, historic foods, Jane Austen societies, British sites, related topics. Click on image. Our team makes no profit off this blog. We may receive books physical or digitized and CDs for review. I have adored Jane Austen almost all of my life. This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me and my team. We do not accept any form of cash advertising, sponsorship, or paid topic insertions.

However, we do accept and keep books and CDs to review. If you would like to share a new site, or point out an error, please email us. Yes, we are fallible. We'll own up to our mistakes and will make the corrections with a polite smile on our faces. Write us at. Feeds: Posts Comments. Like this: Like Loading Wikimedia commons image of a copy of a self portrait of Benjamin West in his early years in London. Self portrait of Benjamin West the year before his death. Public Domain image. Book Review by Brenda S. Jane Austen: A Companion , by Laura Dabundo, is an encyclopedic resource on Austen, her novels, and her world, full of fascinating insights.

Series Editor: Ben Wiebracht. Review by Vic September 22, by Vic. Jennings and Mrs. Palmer, Sense and Sensibility. Ladies Bourdaloue , a personal chamber pot. Regency families were often large to account for high child mortality rates. These are their 6 eldest. By Brenda S. For most weddings, the parish clergyman announced the banns for three Sundays prior to the wedding. If no one objected, the wedding could take place. Mr and Mrs Elton, in the film version of Emma.

A clergyman like Mr. Elton could marry a couple by banns, common license, or special license. Did they get married by special license, as Mrs. Bennet hoped? Did Emma and Mr. Knightley marry with banns? Scene from the film version of Emma , Monetary Sums, Large and Small Jane Austen and almost all of her characters are aware of the value of money, which would be true of most mathematicians and certainly all actuaries. Life expectancy over time. Halsted Pocket Watch. Sir Francis Austen. Author, Victoria Grossack. Evening dresses. A portable bath shower from the mid 19th c.

Toothpick Case, National Maritime Museum, Underdrawers belonging to the Duchess of Kent, Combs used as hair accessories. Photo by Ronald Dunning. What Killed Jane Austen? Her Symptoms From letters we learn that Austen had: Fluctuating symptoms, better, worse, better, worse Pain in her face Sept. Jane Austen on Reading: The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

Tilney, Northanger Abbey I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! Strawberry Shortcake Trifles from CookingClassy. Emma , Jane described the syringa in the garden. Image Tony Grant. George Austen as a Father June 30, by Vic. George Austen. Chawton Cottage by Ellen Hill. Zoe Wheddon, Author. Email Subscription Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6, other followers. Search for:. Austen, Esq. The grave after restoration. Click on image to read the story. Click on their names to enter their own blogs. Bath A Virtual Conference: Watch streaming videos for 2 weeks. You can watch Persuasion online. Men's hair styles at the turn of the 19th century. Regency Hygiene: The Bourdaloue. Jane Austen: Art Critic. Downstairs in Downton Abbey: The Servants. Blog at WordPress. Jane Austen's World. Loading Comments

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