Предлагаемые вниманию учителя и учащегося «Тетради по истории английской литературы» имеют своей целью знакомство с английской литературой учеников старших классов школ с достаточным преподаванием английского языка. Составляя данное учебное пособие, мы руководствовались мыслью о необходимости для культурного молодого человека иметь представление о христианской культурной традиции, которая проявляется, кроме иных форм творческой деятельности человека, и в литературе народа, говорящего на изучаемом языке.
История английской литературы представлена здесь в хронологическом порядке в лице основных авторов, на примере основных произведений и оригинальных отрывков из них. Более подробное рассмотрение литературных примеров и их исторических контекстов нам представляется неуместным в рамках осуществления поставленной задачи.
Исходя из соображения о том, что английский язык данного пособия должен быть примером безошибочного литературного языка, мы пользовались многочисленными сочинениями литературной критики, которые отвечают этому представлению. Таким образом, текст «Тетрадей», составленных для учебных целей, является полностью компилятивным, а самостоятельность составителя проявляется в композиции и расположении частей пособия, внесении необходимых с точки зрения составителя литературных параллелей и лингвистических пояснений.
Литературные параллели представляются полезными для демонстрации единства культурного пространства как внутри анголоязычного мира, так и в перспективе англо-русских связей.
Учитывая высокий уровень отечественного перевода в 20 в., в пособии даются примеры литературных переводов некоторых произведений на русский язык, которые можно было бы использовать для сравнительного анализа языковых единиц и стилистических приемов. Например, LX сонет Шекспира представлен, кроме оригинала, одиннадцатью переводами на русский, неравнозначными в своем соответствии оригиналу и в художественном достоинстве, что может позволить преподавателю применить самые разные методики сравнения для воспитания языкового чутья и вкуса учащихся.
Некоторые пояснения предложены на русском языке, чтобы избежать излишнего усложнения материала.
В общем, мы надеемся, что предлагаемое пособие даст полный простор творческой деятельности преподавателя, позволяя осваивать информацию, читать и слушать, петь и инсценировать, интерпретировать и версифицировать и даже рисовать или писать маслом те образы и символы эпох, которые предстанут взору учащегося.
Мы не можем не выразить нашей благодарности авторам и исследователям литературы, чьи тексты легли в основание предлагаемого пособия. Это прежде всего Генри Пэнкоуст (Henry S. Pancoast), чей основательный труд, дающий глубокий и ясный анализ и снабженный литературными картами и индексом упоминаемых христианских общин, с удивительной скромностью называется Введением в английскую литературу – An Introduction to English Literature.
Мы благодарны всем авторам великолепной антологии английской литературы под общей редакцией М. Абрамс – The Norton Anthology of English Literature, а также многочисленным источникам «сети», в особенности тем, чья работа вызвала у нас неподдельное уважение. Это:
В первую часть Тетрадей включены следующие авторы и безымянные произведения:
Видение Крестного Древа
Beowulf is the oldest surviving epic of any Teutonic people, older than the sagas of the Scandinavians, older than the German epic the Song of the Nibelungs, it is far older than the great epics and the romances of the Middle Ages – the Song of Roland or the poem of the Cid. Therefore, Beowulf stands in a unique relation to the literature of the Middle Ages.
We know almost nothing definite about this venerable poem. We do not know who was its author, nor are we certain just when or where it was composed.
different elements. Part of it appears to be largely mythical, part of it seems to have grown out of actual history. It is essentially heathen; yet it contains passages that show an acquaintance with the Bible. The monster Grendel, for instance, a demon of the waters and fen, although plainly a creature of the old heathendom, is yet said to be descended from Cain, the first murderer.
The story of the poem.
The scene of the poem is laid on the Continent somewhere near the old home of the English, and Beowulf is not an Englishman but the Prince of a Teutonic tribe called the Geats.
Beowulf is a poem of battle; the battle of a man against three monstrous and mysterious incarnations of the powers of evil. The poem naturally divides itself into three parts.
Hrothgar, a Danish king, builds for himself a splendid mead-hall, Heorot, wherein he sits feasting with his thanes. A fiendish monster, Grendel, is tortured by the sounds of minstrelsy that reach him from the hall. In jealous hate he enters Heorot by night and slays thirty sleeping companions of the king. Again and again he comes to destroy. After twelve years Beowulf, a prince of the Geats, or Goths, endowed with the strength of thirty men, comes in a ship to rid Hrothgar of his scourge. When Grendel strides into the hall, he attacks Beowulf, and they close in deadly grapple. The hero is using no weapon, but trusting solely in his mighty strength. The hall trembles with the fierceness of the contest; the massive benches are splintered. Then Grendel, howling, strives to escape, but Beowulf crushes him with his terrible handgrip. The demon, with the loss of an arm, flies to the fens to die. All crowd round Beowulf, rejoicing.
But the next night Grendel’s mother comes to avenge her son. Beowulf resolves to conquer this new foe. With his thanes he tracks the woman-fiend over murky moors to a stagnant pool, frothing with blood and over-hung by gloomy trees. It is a place of terror. Beowulf fights the water-fiend in her cave under the flood. He falls, and his fiend is above him, her knife drawn. Then the hero snatches from the pile of arms a mighty sword, and slays his adversary. Again there is mirth and praise at Heorot.
In the last part of the poem Beowulf has become King of the Goths and has ruled over them for fifty winters. At this time the land is worried by a dragon, who sets men’s homes aflame with his fiery breath. Beowulf seeks him and gives battle, trusting “in the strength of his single manhood.” The old king is again victorious, but is mortally hurt. He bids a follower bring out the dragon’s treasure hoard, and as the glistening gold and jewels are spread on the grass, he gives thanks that he has won them for his people. So Beowulf dies, and a lofty mound is raised in his honour on the high cliff, which sailors, in voyaging upon the deep, could behold from afar.
Beowulf, the one central figure, moves in his courtesy, his vast strength, his quiet courage, his self-reliance, his submission to fate, he may stand as the pattern of the early English ideal of manhood, as Achilles of the early Greek. Beowulf is essentially heathen. But at the time preceding the introduction of Christianity, English heathenism seems to have largely consisted in the absence of any definite religious belief. Old superstitions are indeed present: water-spirits, giants, dragons, but little or nothing of gods or life hereafter. The real ruler of man’s life is not Odin, or Thor, but Fate. These men could feel something of the burden and the mystery of a world that they could not understand, and they faced life and death with reverence but without fear. The truth seems to be that the English had outgrown the crude mythology of an earlier time and when Christianity was first preached in Nothumbria, the chief priest himself advised the king to listen to the new teaching.
Beowulf. Chapter XVIII. The original text in Old English
Him ða gegiredan Geata leode
ad on eorðan unwaclicne,
helmum behongen, hildebordum,
hynðo ond hæftnyd. Heofon rece swealg.
Geworhton ða Wedra leode
hleo on hoe, se wæs heah ond brad,
wægliðendum wide gesyne,
ond betimbredon on tyn dagum
beadurofes becn, bronda lafe
wealle beworhton, swa hyt weorðlicost
foresnotre men findan mihton.
Hi on beorg dydon beg ond siglu,
eall swylce hyrsta, swylce on horde ær
niðhedige men genumen hæfdon,
forleton eorla gestreon eorðan healdan,
gold on greote, þær hit nu gen lifað
eldum swa unnyt swa hit æror wæs.
þa ymbe hlæw riodan hildediore,
æþelinga bearn, ealra twelfe,
woldon ceare cwiðan ond kyning mænan,
wordgyd wrecan ond ymb wer sprecan;
eahtodan eorlscipe ond his ellenweorc
duguðum demdon, swa hit gedefe bið
þæt mon his winedryhten wordum herge,
ferhðum freoge, þonne he forð scile
of lichaman læded weorðan.
Swa begnornodon Geata leode
hlafordes hryre, heorðgeneatas,
cwædon þæt he wære wyruldcyninga
manna mildust ond monðwærust,
leodum liðost ond lofgeornost.
Chapter XVIII. Translation
THEN fashioned for him the folk of Geats
firm on the earth a funeral-pile,
and hung it with helmets and harness of war
and breastplates bright, as the boon he asked;
and they laid amid it the mighty chieftain,
heroes mourning their master dear.
Then on the hill that hugest of balefires
the warriors wakened. Wood-smoke rose
black over blaze, and blent was the roar
of flame with weeping (the wind was still),
till the fire had broken the frame of bones,
hot at the heart. In heavy mood
their misery moaned they, their master's death. Wailing her woe, the widow old,
her hair upbound, for Beowulf's death
sung in her sorrow, and said full oft
she dreaded the doleful days to come,
deaths enow, and doom of battle,
and shame. – The smoke by the sky was devoured.
The folk of the Weders fashioned there
on the headland a barrow broad and high,
by ocean-farers far descried:
in ten days' time their toil had raised it,
the battle-brave's beacon. Round brands of the pyre
a wall they built, the worthiest ever
that wit could prompt in their wisest men.
They placed in the barrow that precious booty,
the rounds and the rings they had reft erewhile,
hardy heroes, from hoard in cave, –
trusting the ground with treasure of earls,
gold in the earth, where ever it lies
useless to men as of yore it was.
Then about that barrow the battle-keen rode,
atheling-born, a band of twelve,
lament to make, to mourn their king,
chant their dirge, and their chieftain honor.
They praised his earlship, his acts of prowess
worthily witnessed: and well it is
that men their master-friend mightily laud,
heartily love, when hence he goes
from life in the body forlorn away.
Thus made their mourning the men of Geatland,
for their hero's passing his hearth-companions:
quoth that of all the kings of earth,
of men he was mildest and most beloved,
to his kin the kindest, keenest for praise.
SUMMARY: Then, on Beowulf's funeral pyre, they laid on the helmets and armour of war. On that hill, the largest of fires was lit sending black smoke into the air and the flames roared until the burned to the bones and heart. Wailing, the widow sang a sorry song dreading the days to come and the imminent doom that battle would bring. The smoke was swallowed by the heavens.
The Geats built a mound to be seen by passing seafarers. Ten days later they completed the monument with a wall surrounding the remains of the fire. Their gold was buried in the barrow for the earth to keep safe; useless to the men now as it was before. Twelve of the best warriors rode around the barrow to mourn their dead king and to honour him.
So it is proper that they honour their lord after his passing. The men of Geatland the mildest, the most loved, the most kind to his own, and most worthy of praise.
General linguistic commentary
The manuscript and its editions always present us with a linguistic obstacle: Old English has a different kind of grammar from Modern. Old English is like Latin or Russian, or many other languages whose grammar is expressed by inflection: that is, affixes on a root word can stand in for function words like pronouns, so that a noun like "stow" will indicate its grammatical place in a sentence or clause by a series of endings: "... nis Þaet heoru stow!" (That is not a pleasant place!); or "He het þa þa stoweDominus videt" (He named that place Dominus videt; or "on manegum stowum" (in many places). In an Old English sentence, especially in the poetry, the order of words is much more fluid than in Modern. Spelling will seem inconsistent; the alphabet contains some unfamiliar letters derived from runes.
The Runic alphabets are a set of related alphabets using letters known as runes, formerly used to write Germanic languages, mainly in Scandinavia, and the British Isles. In all their varieties, they may be considered an ancient writing system of Northern Europe. The Scandinavian version is also known as Futhark (derived from its first six letters: 'F', 'U' 'Th', 'A', 'R', and 'K'), and the Anglo-Saxon version as Futhorc (also so named after its first letters). The earliest runic inscriptions date from ca. 150, and the alphabet was generally replaced by the Latin alphabet with Christianization, by ca. 700 in central Europe, and by ca. 1200 in Scandinavia. However, the use of runes persisted for specialized purposes, mainly in Scandinavia, in rural Sweden until the early 20th century (used mainly for decoration as Dalecarlian runes, and on Runic calendars.
The most likely candidates for the origins of runic scripts are the 5th to 1st century BC Northern Italic alphabets, Lepontic, Rhaetic, and Venetic, all closely related to each other and themselves descended from the Old Italic alphabet. These scripts bear a remarkable resemblance to the Futhark in many regards.
In prosody, alliterative verse is a form of verse that uses alliteration as the principal structuring device to unify lines of poetry, as opposed to other devices such as rhyme. Alliterative verse, in various forms, is found widely in the literary traditions of the early Germanic languages.
The core metrical features of traditional Germanic alliterative verse are as follows:
* A long line is divided into two half-lines. Half-lines are also known as verses or hemistichs; the first is called the a-verse (or on-verse), the second the b-verse (or off-verse).
* A heavy pause, or caezura, separates the verses.
* Each verse usually has two strongly stressed syllables, or “lifts”.
* The first lift in the b-verse must alliterate with either or both lifts in the a-verse.
* The second lift in the b-verse does not alliterate with the first lifts.
One modern author who studied alliterative verse and used it extensively in his fictional writings and poetry, was J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973). He wrote alliterative verse in modern English, in the style of Old English alliterative verse (he was one of the major Beowulf scholars of his time). Examples include the verse written by him for the Rohirrim, a culture in The Lord of the Rings that borrow many aspects from Anglo-Saxon culture.
Caedmon(7 c. AD)
The story of Caedmon
The 17 manuscripts of Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum (finished in 731), dated from the 8th to the 15th centuries, contain the Anglo-Saxon version of the first poem by the first known English poet, Cædmon. The two earliest of these manuscripts render the poem in a Northumbrian dialect.
It was while Saint Hildaruled the monastery of Whitby as mother-Abbess, that there was employed, on the estate, a simple cowherd, named Caedmon. He was almost certainly of British origin, as his name is an Anglicisation of the Welsh, Cadfan. Though advanced in years, this man had learned not. Wherefore, says Bede, being sometimes at feasts, when all agreed for glee's sake to sing in turn, he no sooner saw the harp come towards him than he rose up from the board and went homewards.
Once, when he had done this and gone from the feast to the stable, where he had that night charge of the cattle, he laid himself down to rest at the proper time and there appeared to him in his sleep one who said, greeting him by name, "Caedmon, sing some song to me."
"I cannot sing," he answered, "and for that reason I left the feast and came hither, because I could not sing."
He who talked with him answered, "However that may be, you shall sing to me."'
"What shall I sing?" rejoined Caedmon.
"Sing the beginning of created things," said the other. Having received this answer, the abbey's cowherd began to sing, to the praise of God the Creator, verses which he had never heard before, and afterwards awaking from his sleep, he remembered all that he had sung in his dream and added more to the same effect in verse worthy of the Deity.
In the morning, Caedmon came to the steward, his superior, and, having acquainted him with the gift which he had received, was conducted to the Abbess. Lady Hilda ordered him, in the presence of many learned men, to tell his dream and repeat the verses, that they might all give their judgment what it was and whence his verse proceeded. They all concluded that heavenly grace had been conferred upon him by Our Lord. They explained to him a passage in Holy Writ, ordering him, if he could, to put the same into verse. Having undertaken it, he went away and, returning the next morning, gave it to them, composed in the most excellent verse. Whereupon the Abbess, understanding the Divine grace in the man, instructed him to quit the secular habit and take upon him the monastic life.
He sang the Creation of the World, the Origin of Man and all the history of Genesis; the departure of the Children of Israel out of Egypt and their entering into the Land of Promise, with many other histories from Holy Writ; the Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord and his Ascension into Heaven; the coming of the Holy Ghost and the preaching of the Apostles; also the terror of a future judgment, the horror of the pains of hell and the delights of heaven; besides many more about the Divine benefits and judgments. By all of these, he endeavoured to turn away men from the love of vice and to excite in them the love of good actions. Thus, Caedmon passed his days, dedicating his gift to the glory of God. "He never," says Bede, "could compose any trivial or idle song, but, as he recognized that it was God who had opened his lips, therefore, till his dying day, did his mouth show forth his praise."
How long Caedmon lived after he had received his gift is not recorded; but as he was already advanced in years, it was probably not long. His last illness lasted only for a fortnight and was not deemed serious by those about him. So slight it seemed that he was able to walk and talk all the time. But, on the evening of 11th February AD 680, he begged to be carried into the infirmary of the monastery, to rest there that night. His request was granted and, far into the night, he sat talking with those around him. Suddenly, he asked for the Eucharist. "What need of the Eucharist?" said those around him, "you are not like to die, since you talk so joyfully with us, as if you were in perfect health."
"However," said he, "bring me the Eucharist." Having received the same into his hand, he asked whether they were all in charity with him, and without any ill-will or rancour? They answered that they were all in perfect charity and free from all anger and, in their turn, asked him whether he was in the same mind towards them. He immediately answered, "I am in charity, my children, with all God's servants." Then, strengthening himself with the heavenly food, he prepared for the entrance into another life and asked how near the hour was when the brethren were to be wakened to sing the nocturnal praises of our Lord. They answered,
"It is not far off." Then he said,
"It is well. Let us wait that hour," and signing himself with the sign of the Cross, he laid his head on the pillow and, falling into a gentle slumber, ended his life in silence. And so it was, that as he had served God with a simple and pure mind, and tranquil devotion, so he departed to His presence, leaving the world by a tranquil death. The tongue, which had composed so many holy words in praise of the Creator, in like manner uttered its last words whilst he was in the act of signing himself with the Cross and recommending his spirit into the hands of God.
Unfortunately, none of Caedmon's poems have survived for certain, save the nine lines in Latin recorded by Bede. He was buried at Whitby Abbey and, in the years after its restoration his shrine became an important centre of pilgrimage in the North.
Caedmon was commemorated on February 11 at Whitby.
None of Caedmon’s poems has survived, save the nine lines recorded by the Venerable Bede in Latin and in several Old English versions among the Latin manuscripts of the Ecclesiastical History. The text below is from one of those manuscripts, with Michael Alexander’s translation following (from The Earliest English Poems, Third Edition, Penguin Books, 1991).
TEXT in Old English
Nu sculon herigean heofonrices Weard,
Meotodes meahte ond hismodgeþanc,
weorc Wuldorfæder; swa he wundra gehwæs
ece Drihten, or onstealde.
He ærest sceop eorðan bearnum
heofon tohrofe, halig Scyppend:
þamiddangeard moncynnes Weard,
ece Drihten, æfter teode
firum foldan, Frea ælmihtig.
Translation in Modern English
Praise now to the keeper of the kingdom of heaven,
the power of the Creator, the profound mind
of the glorious Father, who fashioned the beginning
of every wonder, the eternal Lord.
For the children of men he made first
heaven as a roof, the holy Creator.
Then the Lord of mankind, the everlasting Shepherd,
ordained in the midst as a dwelling place,
Almighty Lord, the earth for men.
Bede's Latin paraphrase of Cædmon's Hymn:
Nunc laudare debemus auctorem regni caelestis
potentiam Creatoris, et consilium illius
facta Patris gloriae: quomodo ille,
cum sit aetemus Deus omnium auctor extitit;
qui primo filiis hominum
caelum pro culmine tecti
dehinc terram custos humani generis
General linguistic commentary
The text of Caedmon's hymn of the Creation perfectly satisfies the needs of an utterance that, once generated, must be memorizable so that it can later be recalled by rote. Each Old English line has two balanced phrases with four stressed syllables, three of which alliterate. Each half-line, if uttered musically, in time to the plucking of a harp, would fit nicely into our short-term memory, which can accept two seconds of speech only before recycling. The poet phonologically encodes each first half-line to make recall of the closing half-line easy. For example, "herigean" (`praise') alliteratively – that is, musically – calls up "heofonrices" (`Heaven's kingdom'), as "meotodes meahte" (`the creator's might') does "modgedanc" (`thought'). Half-lines often are formulas, common fixed phrases that repeat themselves, such as "ece Drihten" (`the Eternal Lord'). The same word often begins different half-lines, such as "heofonrices" (1) and "heofon to hrofe" (6), or ends such lines, like "Weard" (1, 7) and "meahte" (2, 9). For such reasons, literary historians term Old English poetry as "oral formulaic": meant for publishing only as speech, and so not available in written form.
One Modern Allusion to the Old English literary imagery
Caedmon sang of the Creation in the 7th c. A.D. In the 20th c., Clive Staples Lewis, a historian of literature of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, saw the great literature of the past as a repository of cultural memory and wisdom that could help us rightly order our response to the world. He created a great deal of superb literature himself. In fiction, Lewis was the author of the splendid Chronicles of Narnia abound in Biblical and cultural associations. In one of Narnian stories, The Magician’s Nephew, there seems to be a wonderful allusion to Caedmon’s hymn: Aslan is making Narnia by singing the song of the Creation. That’s how things went, chapters 8 and 9, extracts:
“Hush!” said the Cabby. They all listened. In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the ost beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it… Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; more voices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but far higher up the scale: cold, tingling, silvery voices. The second wonder was that the blackness overhead , all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn’t come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out – single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world. There were no clouds. The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time. If you had seen and heard it, as Digory did, you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves which were singing, and that it was the First Vice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing.
“Glory be!” said the Cabby. “I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were thins like this.”
The Voice on the earth was now louder and more triumphant; but the voices in the sky, after singing loudly with it for a time, began to get fainter. And now something else was happening.
Far away, and down near the horizon the sky began to turn grey. A light wind, very fresh, began to stir. The sky, in that one place, grew slowly and steadily paler. You could see shapes of hills standing up dark against it. All the time the Voice went on singing…
The eastern sky changed from white to pink and from pink to gold. The Voice rose and rose, till all the air was shaking with it. And just as it swelled to the mightiest and most glorious sound it had produced, the sun arose.
Digory had never seen such a sun… You could imagine that it laughed for joy as it came up. And as its beams shot across the land the travelers could see… …it was a valley of mere earth, rock and water, there was not a tree, not a bush, not a blade of grass to be seen. The earth was of many colours; they were fresh, hot and vivid. They made you feel exited; until you saw the Singer himself, and then you forgot everything else.
It was a Lion. Huge, shaggy, and bright, it stood facing the risen sun. Its mouth was wide open in song and it was about three hundred yards away…
The Lion was pacing to and fro about that empty land and singing his new song. It was softer and more lifting than the song by which he had called up the stars and the sun; a gentle rippling music. And as he walked and sang the valley grew green with grass. It spread out from the Lion like a pool. It ran up the sides of the little hills like a wave. In a few minutes it was creeping up the lower slopes of the distant mountains, making that young world every moment softer. The light wind could now be heard ruffling the grass. Soon there were other things besides grass. The higher slopes grew dark with heather. Patches of rougher and more bristling green appeared in the valley… There was certainly plenty to watch and to listen to. The tree which Dligory had noticed was now a full grown beech whose branches swayed gently above his head. They stood on cool, green grass, sprinkled with daisies and buttercups. A little way off, along the river bank, willows were growing. On the other side tangles of flowering currant, lilac, wild rose, and rhododendron closed them in…
In a few minutes Digory came to the edge of the wood and there he stopped. The Lion was singing still. But now the song had once more changed. It was more like what we should call a tune, but it was far wilder. It made you want to run and jump and climb. It made you want to shout. It made you want to rush at other people and either hug them or fight them. It made Digory hot and red in the face…
Can you imagine a stretch of grassy land bubbling like water in a pot? For that is really the best description of what was happening. In all directions it was swelling into humps. They were of different sizes, some no bigger than mole-hills, some as big as wheel-barrows, two the size of cottages. And the humps moved and swelled till they burst, and the crumbled earth poured out of them, and from each hump there came an animal. The moles came out just as you might see a mole come out in England. The dogs came out, barking the moment their heads were free, and struggling as you’ve seen them do when they are getting through a narrow hole in a hedge. The stags were the queerest to watch, for of course the antlers came up a long time before the rest of them, so at first Digory thought they were trees. The frogs, who all came up near the river, went straight into it with a plop-plop and a loud croaking. The panthers, leopards and things of that sort, sat down at once to wash the loose earth off their hind quarters and then stood up against the trees to sharpen their front claws. Showers of birds came out of the trees. Butterflies fluttered. Bees got to work on the flowers as if they hadn’t a second to lose. But the greatest moment of all was when the biggest hump broke like a small earthquake and out came the sloping back, the large, wise head, and the four baggy-trousered legs of an elephant. And now you could hardly hear the song of the Lion; there was so much cawing, cooing, crowing, braying, neighing, baying, barking, lowing, bleating, and trumpeting.
…The Lion, whose eyes never blinked, stared at the animals as had as if he was going to burn them up with his mere stare. And gradually a change came over them… The Lion opened his mouth, but no sound came from it; he was breathing out, a long, warm breath; it seemed to sway all the beasts as the wind sways a line of trees. Far overhead from beyond the veil of blue sky which hid them the stars sang again; a pure, cold, difficult music. Then there came a swift flash like fire (but it burnt nobody) either from the sky or from the Lion itself, and every drop of blood tingled in the children’s bodies, and the deepest, wildest voice they had ever heard was saying:
“Narnia, Narnia, Narnia, awake. Love. Think. Speak. Be walking trees. Be talking beasts. Be divine waters.”
"The Dream of the Rood"
The story of the poem
"The Dream of the Rood" (the oldest dream vision poem in English) powerfully describes Christ's Passion through the language of the Germanic heroic code, with the added dimension of the Rood itself as the central speaker of the poem. The poem is, in the manuscript, 156 lines long.
After a brief (lines 1-3) opening by the man, announcing the general topic of the poem (a dream of the Rood), the vision itself begins. In lines 4-27, the man describes the Rood. It is a paradox, in a way, for he notes that it alternates between being covered with gold and gems and attended by angels (as the Tree of Victory should be) and being covered with blood (as it was an instrument of torture and death). The man more readily identifies with this latter image of the Rood, for he too feels covered in shame and sin. But the blood not only flows over the cross but also out of it, for the Rood itself feels wounded.
Then the Rood speaks from 28-121. In lines 28-77 the Rood tells the story of Christ's Passion from its perspective. It first describes being cut out of the forest by "foes" and "warriors" and being raised up as a gallows.
As Christ approaches in line 33, the Rood realizes its purpose and the most difficult situation it could face. The Rood considers itself, in the mode of the Germanic heroic code, the retainer of Christ, as all living things should serve God. Yet the Rood is about to assist in the death of his liege-lord, Christ; no Germanic warrior would ever willingly help in such an act. But the Rood recognizes that it is its duty to stand firm, to be the gallows of Christ, because only by doing so will it be obeying the wishes of its Lord. Christ, himself very much described as a Germanic hero, wants to enter that battle, and He eagerly climbs upon the Rood. The Rood trembles but accepts its role in the Crucifixion, doing what is demanded of it despite its inner agony. It speaks of the pain it felt from the nails driven into it, and of the mocking both it and Christ received. Then Christ dies, though the Rood recognizes that He only "rested there"; the Rood knows Christ will conquer death.
The Rood is torn down in line 73 and buried, only to be found soon by the followers of Christ who adorned it with gold and silver, beginning the tradition of the adoration of the Cross. It is to an explanation of that adoration that the Rood now turns in lines 78-121. The Rood identifies the situation that must have bothered any recent converts to Christianity: it explains that it should be seen as a victory-sign not because Christ was crucified on it but rather because of what Christ accomplished through His crucifixion. In doing so the Rood emphasizes that for Christ death did not mean defeat, a concept probably very difficult for the Anglo-Saxons, steeped in their warrior traditions, to accept. Christ was described as a Germanic warrior so that the audience would identify with him; and now the Rood tries to explain that Christ's victory over death can likewise be theirs if they will heed the words of the Rood and of Christ.
At line 122 the man, who had been passive, the audience for the speaking Rood, now speaks as his vision fades. He tells how, his voice nearly becoming that of the preacher exhorting the masses, he prayed to the Rood. He recognizes now that though he may have few friends on earth--a "small company"--he has the hope of something eternal. He now wants to be in the comitatus of Christ.
TEXT in Modern English with a few corresponding lines(50-56) in Old English:
"That was years gone by--I still remember--
that I was hewn down at the forest's edge,
30 cut out of my tree trunk. Strong foes took me there,
shaped me there for themselves in the form of a spectacle, commanded me to raise their criminals.
Warriors carried me there on shoulders, until that they set me on a hill;
many foes fastened me there. I then saw mankind's Lord
hasten with great zeal; he wished to climb on me.
35 There I then darest not bow nor burst
contrary to the Lord's word when I saw earth's surface
trembling. I would have been able
to kill all foes but I stood firm.
The young hero stripped himself--that was God almighty--
40 strong and unflinching; he stepped up on the high cross,
brave in the sight of many, where he wished to redeem mankind.
I trembled when the Warrior embraced me; nor did I dare, however, to bow down to the earth,
to fall to the surfaces of the earth. But I had to stand firm.
As a rood I was erected; I raised the powerful King,
45 the Lord of heavens; I dared not bow myself down.
They drove through me with iron-colored and sinister nails: on me the wounds are visible,
the open malicious wounds; neither dared I to injure any of them.
They mocked us two both together. I was completely stained with blood,
covered from the man's side after he had released his spirit.
50 I had endured on that hill
much of cruel fates. I saw the God of hosts
severely stretched out. Shades of night had
covered with clouds the Lord's corpse,
the bright radiance; shades went forth
55 dark under the sky. All creation mourned,
bewailed the king's fall; Christ was on the cross.
50 Feala ic on þam beorge gebiden hæbbe
wraðra wyrda. Geseah ic weruda god
þearle þenian. Þystro hæfdon
bewrigen mid wolcnum wealdendes hræw,
scirne sciman, sceadu forðeode,
55 wann under wolcnum. Weop eal gesceaft,
cwiðdon cyninges fyll. Crist wæs on rode.
A portion of this Anglo-Saxon poem still stands engraved in runic letters upon the celebrated Ruthwell Cross in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. The Cross was carved by scilled Northumbrian sculptors in the early 8th century. Some lines can still be read upon the stone.
One Modern Allusion to the Old English literary imagery
This is in the form of an unauthorized tale. This tale is very well-known in retelling by Angela Elwell Hunt. We here cite another version of this folktale as told to Nicholas Oldziey by his mother.
The Tale of Three Trees
Long ago in the far away land of Palestine, three trees stood on a hillside overlooking a seaport town.
Each three had great hopes and dreams of what it would be when fully grown. The first tree boasted that it's lumber would be used to make a great and beautiful treasure chest. The chest would be decorated with bright golden hinges and polished to a fine and shiny finish. Inside it would hold great riches, jewels which were the colors of the rainbow and gold and silver coins.
The second tree claimed that it would be fashioned into a fine sailing ship. The ship would sail the high seas and travel to far and exotic places. The passengers would be kings and soldiers and statesmen who would marvel at the beauty of such a wonderful ship and the smooth and safe voyages it gave them.
The third tree declared that it would not be cut down and used by man for any of his needs. This tree would be left standing because of its beauty and strength. People would look at the reach of this tree's branches and would think of God and all His glory as they gazed upward to the sky.
Then one day three men with axes came to the hill where the trees stood tall and full. As each tree stood in anticipation of their fate, the first man approached the first tree. He examined it and decided it was a good tree for his uses and so he cut it down. The second man looked at the second tree and assessing its sturdiness and good quality proceeded to chop it down. The third man stood looking at the third tree who reached its branches ever upward, hoping he would leave the tree alone to live its days on that hill. However, the third man judged the tree to be perfect for his needs, and cut it down.
Now the first tree that had dreamed of being a beautiful treasure chest was instead made into a manger. It was sold to a farmer who used it in his cave where he kept and fed his animals. From this manger the animals of the farm ate the hay that lay in it. Until one night a young woman and her husband came to the cave looking for shelter for themselves and their newborn baby. In that manger, they laid their infant son. It was at that moment that the tree knew that it held the greatest treasure in the world, God's gift to mankind. And as the child lay sleeping in the manger, the angels sang and the stars shown brightly in the sky.
Sometime later, the second tree was made into a small fishing boat. Its dreams of becoming a great sailing ship were gone. Now it carried fishermen and the quantities of fish that they caught each day from a small sea. Suddenly a great storm arose and waves rocked the boat back and forth as it tried to steady itself to keep from being wrecked. The man who led the others had no fear. He admonished His friends for being frightened and having so little faith. Then He stood in the boat and raised his hand saying, "Peace." As suddenly as the storm had come up, it went away and all was calm around them. At that moment the second tree knew that it carried a man greater than any worldly king, soldier or statesman and that it sailed a greater adventure than it could ever have dreamed of.
The third tree spent many years in a lumber yard until one Friday morning it was yanked out of the pile of lumber it had lain in. It was made into a crucifix and put on the shoulders of a tired man who had been badly beaten. The man was forced to carry the crucifix to a mountain top and there it was planted into the ground. The man was then put upon the cross and his hands and feet were nailed to it. The tree shuddered with fear and sorrow as it felt the man's pain. The tree was filled with shame at what it had become a part of. Then as the man died upon the cross a great storm descended from heaven and the earth shook. At that moment the tree felt the power of God radiating through it.
Two days later, on Sunday morning the sun rose and joy and warmth filled the air as God's love changed all that had gone before.
God's love made the first tree beautiful.
It made the second tree strong.
And each time people looked upon the third tree they thought of God.
wunian: dwell, abide, remain; (with verbs) be used to, be in the habit of wynnf: joy, delight
wyrcan: make, construct
wyrdf: fate, chance, fortune, destiny, event
ymbclypte: embraced, clasped about (ymbclyppan)
Bede the Venerable (673-735 AD)
Almost all that is known of Bede's life is contained in a notice added by himself when he was 59 to his Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, which states that he was placed in the monastery at Wearmouth at the age of seven, that he became deacon in his nineteenth year, and priest in his thirtieth, remaining a priest for the rest of his life. He implies that he finished the Historia at the age of 59, and since the work was finished around 731, he must have been born in 672/3. It is not clear whether he was of nobility. He was trained by the abbot Benedict Biscop and Ceolfrid, and probably accompanied the latter to Wearmouth's sister monastery of Jarrow in 682. There he spent his life, prominent activities evidently being teaching and writing. He says of himself: “I have devoted my energies to a study of the Scriptures, observing monastic discipline, and singing the daily services in church; study, teaching, and writing have always been my delight.” He translated the Gospel of John into Old English, completing the work on the very day of his death, on May 25.
His works show that he had at his command all the learning of his time. It was thought that the library at Wearmouth-Jarrow was between 300-500 books, making it one of the largest and most extensive in England. It is clear that Biscop made strenuous efforts to collect books during his extensive travels.
Bede's writings are classed as scientific, historical and theological, reflecting the range of his writings from music and meter to Scripture commentaries. He was proficient in Church father literature, and quotes Pliny the Elder, Virgil, Lucretius, Ovid, Horace and other classical antiquity writers, but with some disapproval. He knew some Greek language but no Hebrew_language. His Latin_language is generally clear and without affectation, and he was a skillful story-teller.
Bede practised the allegory method of interpretation; his good sense is conspicuous, his love of truth and fairness, his unfeigned piety and his devotion to the service of others combine to make him an exceedingly attractive character.
The most important and best known of his works is the Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, giving in five books and 400 pages the history of England, ecclesiastical and political, from the time of Julius Caesar to the date of its completion. His History of the English Church and People is a classic which has frequently been translated. It gives a history of Britain up to 729, speaking of the Celtic peoples who were converted to Christianity during the first three centuries of the Christian era, and the invasion of the Anglo-Saxon pagans in the fifth and sixth centuries, and their subsequent conversion by Celtic missionaries from the north and west, and Roman missionaries from the south and east. His work is our chief source for the history of the British Isles during this period. Fortunately, Bede was careful to sort fact from hearsay, and to tell us the sources of his information.
The first twenty-one chapters, treating of the period before the mission of Augustine of Canterbury, are compiled from earlier writers such as Orosius, Gildas, Prosper_of_Aquitaine, the letters of Pope Gregory I and others.
After 596, documentary sources, which Bede took pains to obtain throughout England and from Rome, are used, as well as oral testimony, which he employed with critical consideration of its value. He cited his references and was very concerned about the sources of all of his sources, which created an important historical chain.
Bede's use of something similar to the anno Domini era, created by the monk Dionysius Exigius in 525, throughout Historia Ecclesiastica was very influential in causing that era to be adopted thereafter in Western Europe. Specifically, he used anno ab incarnatione Domini (in the year from the incarnation of the Lord) or anno incarnationis dominicae (in the year of the incarnation of the lord). He never abbreviated the term like the modern AD. Unlike the modern assumption that anno Domini was from the birth of Christ, Bede explicitly refers to his incarnation or Conception, traditionally on March 25(April 7). Within this work, he was also the first writer to use a term similar to the English before Christ. In book I chapter 2 he used ante incarnationis dominicae tempus (before the time of the incarnation of the lord).
Other historical and theological works
Bede lists his works in an autobiographical note at the end of his Ecclesiastical History. He clearly considered his commentaries on many books of the Old and New Testaments as important; they come first on this list and dominate it in sheer number. These commentaries reflect the biblical focus of monastic life. "I spent all my life," he wrote, "in this monastery, applying myself entirely to the study of Scriptures." (Bede, Hist. eccl., 5. 24).
As Chapter 66 of his On the Reckoning of Time, in 725 Bede wrote the Greater Chronicle (chronica maiora), which sometimes circulated as a separate work. For recent events the Chronicle, like his Ecclesiastical History, relied upon Gildas, upon a version of the Liber pontificalis current at least to the papacy of Pope Sergius (687-701), and other sources. For earlier events he drew on Eusebius's Chronikoi Kanones. The dating of events in the Chronicle is inconsistent with his other works, using the era of creation, the Anno mundi.
His other historical works included lives of the abbots of Wearmouth and Jarrow, as well as lives in verse and prose of Cuthbert of Lindisfarne. In his Letter on the Death of Bede, Cuthbert of Jarrow describes Bede as still writing on his deathbed, working on a translation into Old English of the Gospel of John and on Isidore of Seville On the Nature of Things.
Bede must be considered as an important scientific figure. He wrote several major works: a work On the Nature of Things, modeled in part after the work of the same title by Isidore of Seville; a work On Time, providing an introduction to the principles of Easter; and a longer work on the same subject On the Reckoning of Time. He also wrote several shorter letters and essays discussing specific aspects of computus and a treatise on Grammar and on Figure of speech for his pupils.
According to his disciple Cuthbert, Bede was also doctus in nostris carminibus ("learned in our song"). Cuthbert's letter on Bede's death, the Epistola Cuthberti de obitu Bedae, moreover, commonly is understood to indicate that Bede also composed a five line vernacular poem known to modern scholars as Bede’s Death Song.
“And he used to repeat that sentence from Paul of Tarsus: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” and many other verses of Scripture, urging us thereby to awake from the slumber of the soul by thinking in good time of our last hour. And in our own language,—for he was familiar with English poetry,—speaking of the soul’s dread departure from the body.
Facing that enforced journey, no man can be
More prudent than he has good call to be,
If he consider, before his going hence,
What for his spirit of good hap or of evil
After his day of death shall be determined.
Fore ðæm nedfere nænig wiorðe
ðonc snottora ðon him ðearf siæ
to ymbhycgenne ær his hinionge
hwæt his gastæ godes oððe yfles
æfter deað dæge doemed wiorðe.”
His hymns include one for the Ascension, which follows.
A hymn of glory let us sing;
New songs throughout the world shall ring:
Christ, by a road before untrod,
Now rises to the throne of God.
The holy apostolic band
Upon the Mount of Olives stand;
And with his followers they see
Their Lord's ascending majesty.
To them the angels drawing nigh,
"Why stand and gaze upon the sky?
This is the Savior," thus they say;
"This is his glorious triumph day.
"Again shall ye behold him so
As ye today have seen him go,
In glorious pomp ascending high,
Up to the portals of the sky."
O risen Christ, ascended Lord,
All praise to thee let earth accord,
Who art, while endless ages run,
With Father and with Spirit one.
Pilgrims were claiming miracles at Bede's grave only fifty years after his death. His body was translated to Durham Cathedral in the mid-11th century and to itspresentlocation in the Galilee Chapel. It is likely that his remains are authentic. Other Relics were claimed by York Minster, Glastonbury Abbey and Fulda.
Alfred the Great (849-899 AD)
Alfred the Great was the greatest king produced by England. Alfred ruled Wessex from 871 to 899 AD. Though the area of his rule was small in contrast to that of latter English kings, it was Alfred who set the foundation of the British Empire. His family line would set in place the beginnings of the modern English monarchy and nation, beginning with his son Edward, through to Edward the Confessor.
Alfred was born around 849 AD in what is now Wantage (where there is now a statue of the great king). He had three older brothers, all of whom would be king before him. Alfred's father was Ethelwulf, his grandfather was Egbert, both important kings of Wessex. His mother was Osburh, who apparently died while Alfred was young, for his father married Judith, the daughter of Charles the Bald (of France), a son of Charlemagne.
Egbert became king after Beothric, following a period of exile to the court of the great Charlemagne. Egbert ruled Wessex for some forty years. Ethelwulf followed his father as king.
Ethelwulf sent Alfred to Rome when he was only four, where Pope Leo IV invested Alfred with the consulship. He also made another two-year trip to Rome with his father, who had left his two sons (Ethelbald and Ethelbert) to reign in his absence.
After returning from Rome, Ethelbald continued to rule the western section of Wessex, while Egbert took up his reign in the east. Upon Egbert's death, shortly after his return, Ethelbald reigned supreme and married his father's wife, Judith. About three years later Ethelbert became king, for Ethelbald had died. During his reign (862-866 AD) northern invaders (the Vikings - from the area of Denmark) increased their attacks on the English territories. With the death of Ethelbert, Ethelred became king, reigning for five years.
Finally in 871 AD, Alfred himself became king of heptarchy and immediately became engaged with the growing Viking menace as they now hit out at Wessex. It was Alfred who furthered his grandfather's and father's attempt to build a navy to meet the Viking threat.
By 877 AD heptarchy was at the crossroads. A crisis faced the kingdom, with the Danish invaders now appearing almost invincible in their quest to crush Wessex. Alfred was reduced to a small stockade in the Somerset region of Athelney. Yet he quickly raised an army and defeated the Danes at Ethandune and then at the Danish base of operations situated at Chippenham. The Danish king (Guthrum) was forced to Catholic baptism by Alfred and forced back to heptarchy. In 886 AD, Alfred captured London. A truce was eventually established between the Saxons and the Danes, with the south and west being recognised as Saxon and the north and east (East Anglia) as Danish, under Guthrum.
In the 890's, following the death of Guthrum, a new Danish threat emerged under the leadership of Haesten. He arrived with some 200-300 ships in the vicinity of heptarchy. After a period of war, the Danish interest in Wessex ended and by the late 890's, the Viking crisis was over for Alfred.
Alfred was not just a king of war and dominion, for he also sought to restore England to greatness in many other ways, including education. In his time there was a lack of learning. The Church of Rome wielded immense power and its influence extended to almost every aspect of Saxon life. It also had a near monopoly on the acquisition of knowledge as its official language, Latin, could be read and spoken only by church officials and understood by a mere handful of Wessex clergy. This awareness of the acute lack of Saxon books probably led king Alfred to have written a series of histories – each compiled in a different monastery, each added to year-on-year – that have come to be known as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Much of it is beautifully illustrated and it is often regarded as Alfred's greatest achievement.
One of Alfred's greatest gifts to posterity was the translation of a collection of great Latin works into his native Saxon(Old English). Scholars were brought to court from all over the country. He began translating with St Gregory's 'Pastoral Care.' This was followed by other various works, including Gregory's 'Dialogues,' Orosius's 'History of the World' and Bede's 'Ecclesiastical History of the English People.'
The "Consolation of Philosophy” by Boethius he not only translated but adapted, adding much of his own.
"Desire for and possession of earthly power never pleased me overmuch, and I did not unduly desire this earthly rule, but that nevertheless I wished for tools and resources for the task that I was commanded to accomplish, which was that I should virtuously and worthily guide and direct the authority which was entrusted to me. You know of course that no one can make known any skill, nor direct and guide any authority, without tools and resources; a man cannot work on any enterprise without resources. In the case of the king, the resources and tools with which to rule are that he have his land fully manned: he must have praying men, fighting men and working men. You also know that without these tools no king may make his ability known. Another aspect of his resources is that he must have the means of support for his tools, the three classes of men. These, then are their means of support: land to live on, gifts, weapons, food, ale, clothing, and whatever else is necessary for each of the three classes of men. Without these things he cannot maintain the tools, nor without the tools can he accomplish any of the things he was commanded to do. Accordingly, I sought the resources with which to exercise the authority, in order that my skills and power would not be forgotten and concealed: because every skill and every authority is soon obsolete and passed over, if it is without wisdom; because no man may bring to bear any skill without wisdom. For whatever is done unthinkingly, cannot be reckoned a skill. To speak briefly: I desired to live worthily as long as I lived, and to leave after my life, to the men who should come after me, the memory of me in good works." – from Alfred's translation of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, chapter XVII. This is an interpolation by Alfred, not in Boethius. As Alfred says in his preface, he has sometimes translated word for word, and sometimes sense for sense.
Many readers acknowledge the man behind the words.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
A.D. 798. This year a severe battle was fought in the
Northumbrian territory, during Lent, on the fourth day before the
nones of April, at Whalley; wherein Alric, the son of Herbert,
was slain, and many others with him.
A.D. 799. This year Archbishop Ethelbert, and Cynbert, Bishop of
Wessex, went to Rome. In the meantime Bishop Alfun died at
Sudbury, and was buried at Dunwich. After him Tidfrith was
elected to the see; and Siric, king of the East Saxons, went to
Rome. In this year the body of Witburga was found entire, and
free from decay, at Dercham, after a lapse of five and fifty
years from the period of her decease.
A.D. 800. This year was the moon eclipsed, at eight in the
evening, on the seventeenth day before the calends of February;
and soon after died King Bertric and Alderman Worr. Egbert
succeeded to the West-Saxon kingdom; and the same day Ethelmund,
alderman of the Wiccians, rode over the Thames at Kempsford;
where he was met by Alderman Woxtan, with the men of Wiltshire,
and a terrible conflict ensued, in which both the commanders were
slain, but the men of Wiltshire obtained the victory. <…>
A.D. 854. This year the heathen men (34) for the first time
remained over winter in the Isle of Shepey. The same year King
Ethelwulf registered a tenth of his land over all his kingdom for
the honour of God and for his own everlasting salvation. The
same year also he went to Rome with great pomp, and was resident
there a twelvemonth. Then he returned homeward; and Charles,
king of the Franks, gave him his daughter, whose name was Judith,
to be his queen. After this he came to his people, and they were
fain to receive him; but about two years after his residence
among the Franks he died; and his body lies at Winchester. He
reigned eighteen years and a half. And Ethelwulf was the son of
Egbert, Egbert of Ealhmund, Ealhmund of Eafa, Eafa of Eoppa,
Eoppa of Ingild; Ingild was the brother of Ina, king of the
West-Saxons, who held that kingdom thirty-seven winters, and
afterwards went to St. Peter, where he died. And they were the
sons of Cenred, Cenred of Ceolwald, Ceolwald of Cutha, Cutha of
Cuthwin, Cuthwin of Ceawlin, Ceawlin of Cynric, Cynric of Creoda,
Creoda of Cerdic, Cerdic of Elesa, Elesa of Esla, Esla of Gewis,
Gewis of Wig, Wig of Freawine, Freawine of Frithugar, Frithugar
of Brond, Brond of Balday, Balday of Woden, Woden of Frithuwald,
Frithuwald of Freawine, Freawine of Frithuwualf, Frithuwulf of
Finn, Finn of Godwulf, Godwulf of Great, Great of Taetwa, Taetwa
of Beaw, Beaw of Sceldwa, Sceldwa of Heremod, Heremod of Itermon,
Itermon of Hathra, Hathra of Hwala, Hwala of Bedwig, Bedwig of
Sceaf; that is, the son of Noah, who was born in Noah's ark: