« EelmineJätka »
he marched against the Norwegians! But Providence had ordained, that a new dynasty should give new manners, new connections, and new fortunes, to the English nation. Events were therefore so made to follow, that all the talents of Harold, and the force of England, should not avail against the vicissitudes intended. While Harold's fleet watched the ocean, the adverse wind kept William in port. This fleet was dispersed by its stores failing; and at the same time the invasion of the king of Norway compelled Harold to leave his coast unguarded, and to hurry his soldiers to the north of the island. In this critical interval, while Harold was so occupied by land, and before his fleet had go revictualled, the winds became auspicious to William, and he landed in safety. Immediately after this, the Saxon fleet was enabled to sail.
Harold had in the mean time conquered the Norwegians; but this very event, which seemed to insure the fate of William, became his safety. It inflated Harold's mind so as to disgust his own soldiery, and to rush to a decisive conflict in contempt of his adversary, before he was prepared to meet him. When the battle had begun, the abilities of Harold, and the bravery of his countrymen, seemed again likely to ruin the hopes of his great competitor. The death of Harold then terminated the contest, while William, who had been in as much danger as Harold, was not penetrated by a single weapon (1).
But it was ordained by the Supreme Director of events, that England should no longer remain insulated from the rest of Europe; but should, for its own benefit and the improvement of mankind, become connected with the affairs of the Continent. The Anglo-Saxon dynasty was therefore terminated; and a sovereign, with great continental possessions, was led to the English throne. By the consequences of this revolution, England acquired that in
(1) At the foot of his anonymous MS. Taylor found this catalogue of the ships which were supplied for William's invasion :
By Willelmo dapifero filio Osberni sexaginta naves.
Hugone postea comite de Cestria totidem.
Hugone de Mumfort quinquaginta naves et sexaginta milites.
Romo Elemosinario Fescanni postea episcopo Lincoliensi unam navem cum viginti militibus.
Nicholao Abbate de Sancto Audoeno, quindecim naves cum centum militibus. Roberto Comite Augi sexaginta naves.
Fulcone Dauno quadraginta naves.
Geroldo Dapifero totidem.
Willelmo Comite Deurons octoginta naves.
Extra has naves quæ computata simul M efficiunt habuit Dux a quibusdam suis hominibus secundum possibilitatem uniuscujusque multas alias naves, p. 209.
terest and established that influence in the transactions and fortunes of its neighbours, which have continued to the present day, with equal advantages to its inhabitants and to Europe.
NOTE ON HAROLD'S ALLEGED SURVIVAL.
The Harleian MS., No. 3776., contains a curious legend on Harold, which a gentleman who has reviewed Dr. Lappenberg's German History of England, in the second number of Cochran's Foreign Quarterly Review, has brought out to public notice. The author, from his expressions in his ninth chapter, seems to have lived about 140 years after the battle of Hastings. The story he narrates is, that although Harold was grievously wounded in this battle, and to all appearance dead, yet that when those lying in the field were examined by some women searching for their friends, it was discovered that life was still lingering in his body.
By the care of two men of middling station, whom the MS. calls 'Francalanos sive Agricolas,' that is, rural Franklins, he was secretly removed to Winchester, and was there nursed for two years concealed in a cellario by a woman of the Saracen nation who was skilled in the art of surgery. Her care restored him to health; but when he had thus recovered he found that England had every where submitted to William, and that he was too strongly seated on his throne, and had such a military command of the country, that without foreign aid it would be impossible to dispossess him. Harold sought to interest Saxony to assist him, but finding his application refused, he proceeded to Denmark; but William had secured the neutrality or friendship of that nation. These disappointments changed the feelings of Harold from ambition or patriotism into those of piety, humiliation, and repentance. He became an altered man, both internally and externally. In the hand which had wielded his spear he placed a pilgrim's staff; he exchanged the shield on his neck for a wallet, and his helmet for a humble hat, and with feet half naked journeyed to Palestine. He passed many years in his penitential travels and austerities, till age and infirmities induced him to return to England and die in his native land. He landed at Dover; ascended the cliffs once so well known by him, and contemplated the land he had ruled. But he suppressed his natural and worldly feelings; and concealing his worn features by a cowl, he assumed the name of Christian, and from Kent journeyed on to Shropshire, and settled himself in a secluded spot which the MS. calls Ceswrthin.
He constructed himself here a cell, where he lived unknown by any for ten years; but annoyed by the Welsh, who frequently beat him and stole his clothes, he quitted this abode, though not, says the MS., because he would not endure this affliction, but because he wished to give the rest of his life to meditation and prayer. He wandered thence to Chester, and was supernaturally warned that he would find a residence ready for him at the church of St. John there.
This occurred to him in the chapel of St. James, which the MS. mentions to have been situated on the Dee, beyond the walls of the city, in the cemetery of St. John.
On reaching the spot he found that a former hermit had just died there,
and he took possession of his retirement as his successor. Here he remained for seven years, leading a religious eremitical life until his death.
While he was here, some suspicions arose that he had been a distinguished Saxon chief, and he was questioned about it. To such inquiries he returned evasive answers, but never gave a direct answer to those who asked him if he had not been the King of England. He admitted that he had fought at the battle of Hastings, and that no one had been dearer to Harold than himself. But as death came upon him he revealed the secret, and acknowledged in his last confession his real dignity.
Such is the outline of this ancient narrative. The writer accounts for his own knowledge of these circumstances by stating that he derived them from a venerable anchorite, named Sebrecht, who had for many years ministered to Harold, and knew his regal character.
On the King's death Sebrecht quitted Chester, went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and returning fixed himself in the village of Stanton in Oxfordshire, where the writer became acquainted with him and learned these facts concerning Harold from him, and obtained similar information also from others who were worthy of credit.
He declares that Gurth, the brother of Harold, also survived the fatal conflict, and lived to be presented to Henry II. at Woodstock. This Gurth assured Michael, a canon of Waltham, that the monks of his abbey had been deceived as to the body which they had buried as Harold's. Michael related this fact to the author, and was alive when he wrote his narrative.
His supplementary chapter contains the statement of the recluse who succeeded Harold in his cell, confirming facts which this individual declares he had received from Moyses, the confidential servant of Harold, and from Andrew, the priest of the church of St. John, to whom Harold had made his confession.
There is great plausibility and circumstantiality in these particulars, but we cannot admit the legend to be true history. It is possible that there was such a hermit, and not improbable that either from some hallucination of mind, or from a self-exalting imposture, he may have pretended to have been the King of England.
This supposition would allow all the attestations to be true, without our believing that the pretender was the real person whose title and character he assumed.
ON THE LANGUAGE OF THE ANGLO-SAXONS.
On the Structure or Mechanism of the Anglo-Saxon Language.
To explain the history of any language is a task peculiarly difficult at this period of the world, in which we are so very remote from the era of its 'original construction.
We have, as yet, witnessed no people in the act of forming their language; and cannot, therefore, from experience, demonstrate the simple elements from which a language begins, nor the additional organization which it gradually receives. The languages of highly civilized people, which are those that we are most conversant with, are in a state very unlike their ancient tongues. Many words have been added to them from other languages; many have deviated into meanings very different from their primitive significations; many have been so altered by the changes of pronunciation and orthography, as scarcely to bear any resemblance to their ancient form. The abbreviations of language, which have been usually called its articles, pronouns, conjunctions, prepositions, adverbs, and interjections; the inflections of its verbs, the declensions of its nouns, and the very form of its syntax, have also undergone so many alterations from the caprice of human usage, that it is impossible to discern any thing of the mechanism of a language, but by ascending from its present state to its more ancient form.
The Anglo-Saxon is one of those ancient languages to which we may successfully refer, in our inquiries how language has been constructed.
As we have not had the experience of any people forming a language, we cannot attain to a knowledge of its mechanism in any other way than by analysing it; by arranging its words into their different classes, and by tracing these to their elementary sources. We shall perhaps be unable to discover the original words with which the language began, but we may hope to trace the progress of its formation, and some of the principles on which that progress has been made. In this inquiry I shall follow the steps of the author of the Diversions of Purley, and build upon his foundations; because I think that his book has presented to us the key to that mechanism which we have so long admired, so fruitlessly examined, and so little understood.
Words have been divided into nine classes: the article; the substantive, or noun; the pronoun; the adjective; the verb; the adverb; the preposition; the conjunction; and the interjection.
Under these classes all the Saxon words may be arranged, although not with that scientific precision with which the classifications of natural history have been made. Mr. Tooke has asserted, that in all languages there are
only two sorts of words necessary for the communication of our thoughts, and therefore only two parts of speech, the noun and the verb, and that the others are the abbreviations of these.
But if the noun and the verb be only used, they will serve, not so much to impart our meaning, as to indicate it. These will suffice to express simple substances or facts, and simple motions of nature or man; but will do by themselves little else. All the connections, references, distinctions, limitations, applications, contrasts, relations, and refinements of thought and feeling—and therefore most of what a cultivated people wish to express by language, cannot be conveyed without the other essential abbreviations — and therefore all nations have been compelled, as occasions occurred, as wants increased, and as thought evolved, to invent or adopt them, till allthat were necessary became naturalized in the language.
That nouns and verbs are the most essential and primitive words of language, and that all others have been formed from them, are universal facts, which a ter reading the Diversions of Purley and tracing in other languages the application of the principles there maintained, no enlightened philologist will now deny. But though this is true as to the origin of these parts of speech, it may be questioned whether the names established by conventional use may not be still properly retained, because the words now classed as conjunctions, prepositions, etc., though originally verbs, are not verbs at present, but have been long separated from their verbal parents, and have become distinct parts of our grammatical syntax.
That the conjunctions, the prepositions, the adverbs, and the interjections of our language, have been made from our verbs and nouns, Mr. Tooke has satisfactorily shown: and with equal truth he has affirmed, that articles and pronouns have proceeded from the same source. I have pursued his inquiries through the Saxon and other languages, and am satisfied that the same may be affirmed of adjectives. Nouns and verbs are the parents of all the rest of language; and it can be proved in the Anglo-Saxon, as in other tongues, that of these the nouns are the ancient and primitive stock rom which all other words have branched and vegetated.
The Anglo-Saxon adjectives may be first noticed.
The adjectives, which are or have been participles, have obviously originated from verbs, and they are by no means an inconsiderable number. Adjectives which have been ormed from participles, as aberendlic, bebeodenlic, etc., are referable to the same source.
But the large proportion of adjectives are either nouns used as adjectives (1), or are nouns with an additional syllable. These additional syllables are or have been meaning words.
Lic is an Anglo-Saxon word, which implies similitude, and is a termination which includes a large class of adjectives (2).
Another large class may be ranged under the ending leas, which implies loss or diminution (5).
(1) As lath, evil, also pernicious; leng, length, also long; hige, diligence, also dili. gent, etc.
(2) As ceorlic, vulgar, ceorl-lic; cildlic, childlike, cild-lic; circlic, ecclesiastical, circlic; cræftlic, workmanlike, cræft-lic; freolic, free, freo- (a lord) lic; freondlic, friendly, freond-lic; godlic, divine, god-lic; gramulic, furious, grama-(anger) lic; fænlic, muddy, fen-lic; etc.
(3) As carleas, void of care, car-leas; cræftleas, ignorant, cræft-leas; facenleas, no deceitful, facen-leas; feoh-leas, moneyless; dream-leas, joyless, etc.