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Popular History of England, a book which may be held to have fairly attained its author's object, as tracing out and exhibiting all the movements that have gone to form the characters of the people.
With many of Charles Knight's enterprises (the Penny Cyclopædia especially) was connected a writer to whom our obligations during the course of this work have been considerable. Frequent reference has been made in the notes to the valuable History of the English Language and Literature of George L. Craik (1799–1866), Professor of English Literature at Queen's College, Belfast. One of his earliest works was the Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties, 1831; begun at the suggestion of Lord Brougham. Mr. Craik was also the author of The English of Shakespeare; the Romance of the Peerage, 1849-52; and other books characterised by sound reasoning and conscientious accuracy.
141. The Dramatic Writers.—The closing words of the last chapter might fitly serve as a prelude to this too brief section of our modern literature. Jerrold and Bulwer are the only names of importance in the list of deceased dramatic authors for the last thirty years. The former, Douglas Jerrold (1803–57), was one of the most prompt and pungent of modern English wits. Originally a midshipman in the Royal Navy, he made his début as a dramatist in 1829, with the nautical and domestic drama' of Black-Eyed Susan; or, All in the Downs, produced at the Surrey Theatre, with T. P. Cooke, the actor, in the principal part of William. The piece grew in popularity, and ran for three hundred nights. 'All London went over the water, and Cooke became a personage in society, as Garrick had been in the days of Goodman's Fields. Covent Garden borrowed the play, and engaged the actor for an after-piece. . . . Actors and managers throughout the country reaped a golden harvest.'* So did not, however, the author, whose profits by what enriched so many, were but small. His first successful effort was followed by the Rent Day, produced in 1832, and based upon Wilkie's picture; Bubbles of the Day, 1842, which Charles Kemble said had wit enough for three comedies; Time Works Wonders, 1845; and numerous other plays. Jerrold was also one of the pillars of Punch, and author of several novels and humorous pieces, such as St. Giles and St. James, 1851; A Man Made of Money, 1849; Chronicles of Clovernook, 1846; the inimitable Caudle Lectures, 1846 ; and the pathetic Story of a Feather, 1844.
* Life and Remains of Douglas Jerrold, by Blanchard Jerrold, 1859, 85.
The chief dramatic works of Lord Lytton are the Lady of Lyons, 1838; Richelieu, 1839; and the comedy of Money, 1840; all still popular on the stage (see p. 199, s. 135). Lord Lytton also published, in 1869, a rhymed comedy entitled Walpole; or, Every Man has his Price; and, in aid of the funds for the establishment of the Guild of Literature and Art, he wrote Not so Bad as we Seem, 1852, of which Punch wittily remarked that it was 'Not so Good as we Expected.' It did not obtain a permanent place upon the stage.
Hath to it circumstantial branches.'
Illustrative of the Progress of the Language previous to 1600.
IN reproducing at p. 8, s. 3, Professor Craik's arrangement of the Periods of the English Language, reference was made to the difference of opinion which prevails with regard to these arbitrary divisions. Some further particulars will illustrate this more fully. In his Lectures on the English Language (Murray's Student's Manual, 1862), Mr. Marsh proposes to bring the ‘Middle English Period' down as far as 1575, or twenty-five years later than Professor Craik. Professor Morley, in his English Authors, i., part 2, 611, inclines to Sir Frederic Madden's arrangement:-'Semi-Saxon' [or Broken English], 1100-1230; Early English,' 1230-1330; 'Middle English,' 1330-1500; 'Later English,' 1500-1600; and from thence Modern English.' In Dr. Morris's Historical Outlines of English Accidence, 1872, the periods are given as follow:
1. English of the First Period
Cymbeline, Act v. sc. 5.
Dr. Morris's English of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Periods corresponds very nearly to Professor Craik's 'Original,' 'Broken,' and 'Early English,'-the difference between them lying in his arrangement of the latter's 'Middle' and 'Modern English' Periods. In the Athenæum of February 15, 1873, the Rev. Walter W. Skeat proposed a modification
of Dr. Morris's scheme, based upon the kings' reigns; to this Mr. F. J. Furnivall replied by a suggestion, which may be formulated as follows:
3. Early English
4. Middle English
5. Modern English
The foregoing will establish that want of unanimity among the authorities which makes the selection of any one scheme an optional matter. No attempt has, therefore, been made to distribute the following extracts under 'Periods.' They are simply arranged in the order of their production or publication.* The Anglo-Saxon letters employed are both in thin, and 8th in then. p is the capital in the one case, Ɖ in the other; 3=g or y. The character
signifies that.' For any further information that may be necessary, the reader is referred to the Essentials of Anglo-Saxon Grammar, prefixed to Payne's Studies in English Prose.
1. Original English 2. Broken English 3. Early English
4. Middle English
5. Modern English
1100-1250 Period of Disintegration. 1250-1526 New Testament printed. 1526-1674 Death of Milton.
A.D. 600 (?)
OPENING LINES OF BEOWULF.'
[The alliteration is shown by italics. See p. 12.]
'Lo! we of-the-Gar-Denes
In the days-of-yore,
'Hwæt we Gár-Dena,
Of the people-kings,
* The following tabular statement of the above will perhaps aid the reader :
Periods as on page 8, Sect. 3.
'Later English,' v. supra
oft Scyld Scefing
he þæs frófre ge-bá(d)
Of Scyld Scefing
Of enemies to-the-hosts,
[Quoted in Latham's Hand-book of the English Language, 1864, pp. 209-10.]
Efter bam be Romeburh getimbred bæs Dcccc. wintra and xliii. feng Severus to Romana anwealde. and hine hæfde xvii. gear. He besæt Percennius on anum fæstenne. o he him on hand eode. and he hine sidon het ofslean. forbon he wolde ricsian on Sirie and on Egypte.. Efter bam he ofsloh Albinus bone man on Gallium. forbon be he eac wolde on hine winnan. Sidon he for on Brytannie. and þær oft gefeaht wid Peohtas and wid Sceottas. ær he Bryttan mihte wið hi bewerian. and het ænne weall bwyres ofer eall þat land asettan fram sæ o sæ. and rade pæs he gefor on Eoferwic ceastre..'
A.D. 900 (?)
THE ACTS OF SEVERUS, by KING ALFRED. [See p. 13.]
'After Rome had been built nine hundred and forty-three years, Severus succeeded to the dominion of the Romans, and had it seventeen years. He besieged Pescennius in a fortress, until he surrendered to him, and he afterwards commanded him to be slain, because he would reign in Syria and in Egypt. After that, he slew the man Albinus in Gaul, because he also would war against him. He afterwards went to Britain and there often fought against the Picts and Scots, before he could protect the Britons against them; and commanded a wall to be constructed across over all that land from sea to sea; and shortly after, he died in the city of York.'
To many nations,
The mead-settles off-drove
The earl terrified-
He for this prosperous bided,
With worth-memorials throve,
Of the around-sitters,
[Thorpe's Translation of King Alfred's Version of Orosius (Bohn's Antiquarian Library), 1853, 486-7.]
THE BATTLE OF BRUNANBURH.
[Gained in 937 by King Athelstane and his brother, Edmund Atheling, over the Irish Danes under Anlaf, and the Scots under