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BEERS, H. A. From Chaucer to Tennyson.
COURTHOPE, W. J. History of English Poetry.
MITCHELL, D. G. English Lands, Letters, and Kings.
RYLAND, F. Chronological Outlines of English Literature.
TAINE, H. A. History of English Literature.
WARD, T. H. (Ed.) Selections from the English Poets : Chaucer to

Dobell. Av. (Especially valuable for its introductions.)
WARNER, C. D. (Ed.) Library of the World's Best Literature. 30 v.
Wartox, T. History of English Poetry. Ed. by W. C. Hazlitt. 4 v.
SHAIRP, J. C. Aspects of Poetry.
PALGRAVE, F. T. Landscape in Poetry: From Homer to Tennyson.

ABBREVIATIONS. - In the reference lists which follow, D. N. B.

Dictionary of National Biography (ed. by Stephen and Lee); E. M. L. = English Men of Letters; E. W. = English Worthies; and G. W.S. = Great Writers Series.





Historical References

GREEN, J. R. Short History of the English People, c. 1.
GREEN, J. R. The Making of England.
KEMBLE, J. M. The Saxons in England.
Pauli, R. Life of Alfred the Great.
FREEMAN, E. A. Old English History, .
HOSMER, J. K. Short History of Anglo-Saxon Freedom. 1890.
BARNES, W. Early England and the Saxon-English. 1869.
Powell, F. Y. Early England to the Norman Conquest.


In the sixth century of the Christian era the island of Britain was a province of the Roman Empire. The inhabitants, “ Brythons” and Gaels (or Goils), branches of the

Celtic stock with some admixture of the blood

of still earlier prehistoric races, had not become Romanized as the Gauls of the continent had. Christianity had been introduced, but neither in language nor in institutions can much trace of the Roman occupation be found among the Celtic people of Britain. The necessity of defending the heart of the Empire compelled the withdrawal of the legions, A.D. 411. The great Roman roads, Roman villas, and the names of some Roman mili

tary camps, like Winchester or Lancaster (Lanchester), were about all that remained to mark the fact that the island had once been a Roman province.

Before the withdrawal of the Roman soldiers Britain had been subject to incursions by piratical bands of the LowGermanic people who inhabited the shores of the North Sea in the neighborhood of the Danish peninsula. It had been the duty of a special officer, comes limitis Saxonici, — count of the Saxon shore, — to guard against the raids of the Saxon sea-rovers. Afterwards the people of Britain were subjected to attacks from Saxon pirates, from the wild tribes of the north (Picts), and from marauders from Ireland (Scots). The Celts were not united, and in despair called on the Jutes, one of the Germanic tribes, for aid. These last made a permanent settlement, and soon a great body of the German tribes, Angles and Saxons, invaded the south and east coasts. The Celts were gradually forced westward. The conquest of the island was gradual, and several centuries elapsed before the various bodies of Angles and Saxons, after much fighting among themselves and with Danish invaders, coalesced to form the germ of a nation. The language of the Germanic conquerors was called “ Englisc,” and they, known in history as Anglo-Saxons, gave to the southern and main part of the island the name of England. This language, consisting of a number of dialects more or less markedly different, gave rise, chiefly through literary influence, to the standard language called English, the medium of English literature. A northern dialect of it, separated by the political division of Scotland from England so that it developed independently, became the medium of early Scottish literature and of later writers in the Scottish vernacular.


Although the Celtic inhabitants of Britain were driven from their homes, it must not be supposed that they were exterminated. They maintained for centuries a waning independence in Wales, where they called themselves Cymri. Their blood was mixed with that of the conquerors in other parts of the country. They have given very little to the English language or to the slowly developing institutions of the English nation. But they have contributed valuable qualities to the national character, especially when regarded from the literary side.

It is impossible to determine the proportion of each of the original elements in the mass of the people. In cerElements of

tain districts, such as Cornwall and Wales, the the English population is still of nearly pure Celtic blood of

the Cymric branch ; in parts of the Highlands of Scotland it is still of nearly pure Celtic blood of the Gaelic branch. In parts of Yorkshire and southeastern Scotland it is of nearly pure Anglian and Norse descent. Throughout the greater part of the island the original races have blended in varying and uncertain proportions. The blend has produced a people of great energy, physical and mental, and of great range of mental power, from sturdy common sense to pure idealisin. All great nations are made up in this way, of races of widely different character, but in England the mixture has been especially fortunate. It has produced a distinct national type, and yet individuals of widely different mental and physical characteristics appear in about the proportions demanded for the healthy development of a varied civilization.

The other element of the English nation — the NormanFrench — will be discussed when we speak of the next period. It must be understood that England has received contributions from other races, — notably the Flemish


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and French Huguenots, - but not of sufficient importance to modify perceptibly the national character. The Danish invaders of the ninth century were from another Germanic race not radically different in type (mental or physical) from the Anglo-Saxons. The English people may therefore properly be regarded as descended from Germanic and Celtic ancestors. There can be no doubt that the civic institutions and the stubborn individualism Celt and of the English are derived from their Germanic

roots. Exactly what literary qualities are due to the Celtic root is a question that cannot be answered with precision because literary genius is so subtle. The answer to the question will depend largely on the admiration for the qualities of one race or the other felt by the writer. It is at least safe to say that the Celtic race is distinguished for mental alertness, capacity for emotional enthusiasm, creative imagination, and for love of color, music, and artistic ornament. The Low-Germanic race is slower and more logical in its mental operations, but steady and persevering. In practical matters, it is bolder and more enterprising. It has a high ideal of truth and duty and a substratum of moral earnestness. In literature it cares more for strength and force than for ornamentation. Its great book is the English Bible.

When we find anything delicately graceful, gay, or fanciful in English literature, we may discern some trace of the original Celtic race impulse ; when we find something strong, rugged, and vigorous, we may say, here is the Germanic or Norse genius cropping out in the spirit of modern times. Thus Shakespeare's “Midsummer Night's Dream” could not have appeared in a nation of pure Germanic blood, nor Carlyle's “Sartor Resartus” in a nation of pure Celtic blood. But both are great monu

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