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as before, based on Germanic or Teutonic traits, — truthfulness, courage, and perseverance, which for practical achievement are of far more value than artistic capacity.

Walter Map, or Mapes, was, as his name indicates, of Welsh extraction. He was an ecclesiastic attached to

the court of Henry II., and in 1197 was apWalter Map, 1140 ?) pointed archdeacon of Oxford. A man of 1220?).

literary culture and brilliant wit, he was author of a lively set of satirical sketches entitled “De Nugis Curialium,” or Courtiers' Triflings, and is the reputed author of the satirical poems in rhyming Latin purporting to be by “Golias Episcopus,” or Bishop Golias. He worked over the Arthurian legends in Latin, and it is thought that he wrote the “Quest of the Grail," and put into literary form the character of Sir Galahad, the knight of ideal purity. The Launcelot legend in its French form is also attributed to him. But there are insoluble questions as to the authorship of different parts of the Arthurian legends. We know, however, that Walter Map was a notable and eminent man of letters in his day in England, and we see in him a literary tone entirely different from that of the literal-minded, simplehearted Saxons. Liveliness, brilliancy, and humor are important elements of literature, and we may take Map as a representative among many others of what the Normans did for English letters. If he really did elevate and spiritualize the Arthurian legends, our debt to him is very great and of a higher nature.

Wace (1120?–1180?), sometimes called Robert Wace, although the subject of an English king, can hardly be called an Englishman at all. He was born in the isle of


Jersey, and received from Henry II. a prebend at Bayeux in France. He wrote a “ Roman de Brut,” founded on

Geoffrey of Monmouth's “ Historia Britonum,”

and also a “ Roman de Rou," a chronicle of the Norman dukes from Rollo or Rolf the Northman, both in rhyme. Though strictly a French trouvère, he is mentioned to show how closely France and England were connected at the time, and because English Layamon refers to his poems as one of the sources of his “ Brut."

Geoffrey of Monmouth, another Welshman, wrote a long Latin book, called “Chronicon sive Historia Brito

num.” He was archdeacon of the church in Geoffrey of Monmouth,

Monmouth, and in 1152 was made bishop of 1100-1154,

Saint Asaph. His work traces the colonization of Britain to Brutus or Brut (hence the name Britain), a grandson of Æneas, in accordance with a general custom of the Middle Ages of referring the founding of every nation to some Trojan hero, as Virgil had done for Rome. Brutus is thus made an eponymous hero like Romulus. The book has, of course, no resemblance to history in our sense of the word. The author claims to have gathered his materials from a Breton or Armorican book, but even in his own day his tales were regarded as fabulous. However, he is a great romancer, and many of the stories, which were very acceptable to the people of his day, have retained a place in literature. They have been copied and expanded by many subsequent writers : by Wace in French, by Layamon in middle English in his day, and by Fabyan and Holinshed in Elizabethan times. Here is the original (written) story of King Lear and of Arthur. Spenser, Drayton, Shakespeare, and Milton are

indebted to him indirectly, and whether he was inventor or compiler, his Latin book has been one of the fountainheads of English fiction.


During the period of Norman supremacy the great body of the people continued to speak dialects of Anglo-Saxon,

which gradually changed into middle English, English. and most of them knew no other tongue. There was no central standard, and, in consequence, changes in the language, already set in, continued. In the end, as we know, it took up a large number of Norman words, dropped most of its inflections, and in the fourteenth century again became a national and literary language. During the Norman centuries, here and there, a monk whose sympathies were with his own people wrote something for them to read or to listen to in their own language. Among these may be mentioned Layamon, who wrote the “ Brut” (or Brutiad) of Layamon ; Orm, who wrote the “Ormulum"; and Robert of Gloucester, who wrote a rhymed chronicle, rhyme having been introduced by the French poets. Toward the end of the period many French metrical romances were translated or adapted into the tongue now known as “ Middle English.”


The “Ormulum,” which is supposed to have been written in the thirteenth century, is a work destitute of much

merit from the literary point of view. It is "Ormulum." interesting as the effort of a good priest to furnish his people with devotional reading in their native language. It is also interesting from the fact that the writer made an effort to establish a system of spelling, his plan apparently being to double the consonant following a vowel when the vowel had an obscure sound. This

makes it valuable to those who study the history of pronunciation. It consists of paraphrases of the Gospel of the day followed by homilies. As he reached only the thirty-second day and wrote twenty thousand lines, we must at least respect the industry of the old monk.

Of “ Lawmon” (or Layamon) little is known except what may be gathered from incidental references in his Layamon, poem.

It is written in middle English. The 1200(?).

date is supposed to be early in the thirteenth century, and the form is the Saxon short, rhymeless line, with an occasional lapse into rhyme. Modernizing the speech, the poem in Professor Earle's version or translation opens thus :

“ There was a priest in the land

Who was named Layamon,
He was the son of Lovenath;
May the Lord be gracious to him,
He dwelt at Ernly
At a noble church
Upon Severn's bank,
Good it seemed to him,
Aton Radstone
When he read book.
It came to him in mind
And in his chief thought
That he would of England
Tell the noble deeds,
What the men were named
And whence they came
Who English land first had
After the flood
That came from the Lord,
That destroyed all here
That were found alive
Except Noah and Shem,

Japhet and Cam,
And their four wives
That were with them in the ark.
Layamon began the journey
Wide over the land
And got the noble books
Which he took for pattern,
And he took the English book
That Saint Bede made.
Another he took in Latin
That Saint Albin made
And the frere Austin
Who brought baptism hither in;
The third book he took,
Laid there in the midst,
That a French clerk made
Who was named Wace,
Who could write well,

it to the noble Eleanor
That was Henry's queen.
Layamon laid down these books
And turned the leaves,
He beheld them lovingly;
May the Lord be merciful to him.
Pen he took with fingers
And wrote a book-skin
And the true word set together
And the three books
Compressed into one.”

The poem extends to fifty-six hundred lines without much plan. The stories of Lear and Cymbeline are rehearsed; the death or “ passing” of Arthur is finely told. There is the old simplicity and earnestness, and some softening of the old, rough strength. As Mr. Morley says, “ There is something very touching in the picture of this simple English priest in his quiet home in a remote parish of Worcester, putting the books on his rough oaken

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