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venerable chronicler possessed much deep and earnest feeling. And then his hearty English spirit breaks out so naively
Englonde is a wel gode lande, I wene of eche lande beste'is his patriotic commencement; and he lingers right lovingly over his description of her many excellencies, her abundance of fruit, and gode corn,' and gode wol,' and 'fayre ryveres, and woods and parks, “that joye yt ys to sene;' while as to her inhabitants• So clene a lond is Engelond, and so pure withouten are, * That the fayrest men of the world, therein beth ybore, So clene, and fayr, and pure whyte, among other men heo be,
That me knoweth hem in eche lond, by syghte where me hem see.' We may remark here, that Robert's patriotic opinion of his countrymen is corroborated by continental contemporary testimony; and that the pure whyte of the English complexion, and the brilliant colour, is remarked both by French and Italian writers. The earlier portion of this metrical chronicle is evidently derived from Wace; and that portion which relates to the Saxon period, from Malmsbury ;-for that relating to our Norman kings, Malmsbury and Huntingdon seem to have been followed, while, for the events of the century in which he wrote, he seems in a measure to have relied upon oral testimony. From the circumstance of his adding to his minute description of the singular, and as was believed, supernatural darkness, which overspread the land, on the very day of the battle of Evesham, the remark
• This saw I, Robert, and was full sore afeard'it has been thought that the chronicle was written soon after; but from the circumstance of his calling Louis IX., St. Louis, we have a proof that it could not have been written until near the close of the thirteenth century.
Early in the fourteenth, another metrical history of England appeared-a translation of Peter Langtoft's chronicle, by Robert Brunne; but although the verse is much more flowing, and many passages are rendered with much spirit, the venerable chronicle of Robert of Gloucester is, to our minds, the best. Robert Brunne also translated the greater portion of Waddington's Manuel des Peches,' a curious collection of legends and moral stories, very characteristic of the times, and illustrative, too, of manners. The reader may see several
* Denial. NO. XII.
specimens in Turner's essay on our Early Poetry; but as they are close translations, though very spirited ones, from Waddington, we shall pass them over, as they belong rather to that AngloNorman trouvére who first told them. There were many writers of shorter pieces of English poetry during the first half of the following century; but they cannot compete with their earlier brethren; some of their political songs, however, exhibit much spirit, and prove that the people at large were no careless spectators of public affairs, but that they freely canvassed the doings both of the king and his parliament. The interest which the commons felt in the strife of the burgher classes in the Netherlands, at this period, is curious, and proves how widely the leaven of free principles had spread.
• Lysteneth lordynges both yonge and olde,
Of the Frenche men that were so proude, and bolde,
Upon a Wednesdaye'sings the rude versifier who composed a song on the victory of the Flemings, in 1307, when the stout bill and pole-axe of the burgher troops carried dismay into the well-marshalled ranks of the French chivalry. The early feeling of detestation of France and Frenchmen was fostered, we think, by the fact that French agency was generally appealed to, during the thirteenth century, both here and in Flanders, to put down the rising spirit of the people; and naturally unwilling were the English commons to forget, that in their great struggle with the feeble third Henry, France stood ready to provide counsel, money, and military aid, to rivet that yoke which their unassisted energy had indignantly thrown off.
We have now gone over the works of the principal writers in our native language, of the era preceding those who are generally considered as our earliest poets. Although we cannot claim for them the high station which these latter deservedly occupy, still—independently of their importance as illustrating the earliest stages of the English tongue-much praise, we think, must be awarded them. Often trammelled by a half-formed language--a language which their efforts contributed so signally to improve-they display much feeling, much spirit, and occasionally some touches of actual poetry. In one respect, the stamp of true English poetry is upon all their works—it is in that keen sense of the beauties of natural scenery, that joyous abandonment in the presence of the mighty mother,' that, with Chaucer, deems its highest enjoyment to lie on the sunshiny grass, but for to loke upon the daisye,' and whose very heart, like a profounder poet than even he, danceth with the daffodils.' What a fresh and spring-tide cluster of images is presented to us in that, perhaps, oldest of our English songs
Sumer is y comen in,' —the springing grass, the blossoming hedge-row, the budding woods, the young cattle gambolling in the sunshine, the buck betaking himself to his leafy covertwhat a vivid picture in 'word painting is this, of the sweet May morning scene that gladdened the English poet's heart more than six hundred years ago; and how pleasantly does the author of 'Cuer de Lion' celebrate gladsome June, when
· The day is mirrie and draweth long,
The throstle, too, and the nightingale.' And how does the author of · Ywaine and Gawin' linger delightedly over his description of the fayre foreste. How, indeed, do all these writers revel in the very recollection of forest scenery-even Robert of Gloucester remarking the wodes and the parkes, that joye ys to see.' The spirit of poetry, indeed, dwelt in the forest glades and sweet woodland scenery of England, and with a heartier, a healthier spirit have our poets ever hymned the scenes familiar to their eye from childhood, than did the palace-nursed Troubadours celebrate their more luxuriant, but not more beautiful land. And this home-felt enthusiasm, this loving admiration of the scenes around them, is the emphatic characteristic of our poets. English poetry was not the narsling of courts, or of artificial society ; it was fostered by no fanciful institutions, rewarded by no goiden violets. Such boons may encourage ingenious versifiers, but never the true poet. It was of his own free will that the English poet first sang,
and he sang to the people what he felt himself, and what their own hearts responded to. Springing up among the people, our poetry at its best periods has always reflected their character: it is true to their tastes, their feelings, their modes of thoughtwe may add, too, that it is true to their moral feeling. In this respect the poetry we have been contemplating forms an honourable contrast to the contemporary literature of France and Provence. With two or three exceptions, these works are blameless, while many deserve high praise for the lessons of fidelity, of truth, and of kindness, which must have powerfully impressed and influenced an imaginative age.
Art. IV. (1.) Report of the Committee appointed by the Right
Honourable the Governor of Bengal, for the establishment of a
folio. Bishop's College Press, Calcutta, 1839. (2.) Statistics of the Educational Institutions of the East India Com
pany in India. By Lieut.-Colonel W.H. SYKES, F.R.S. Journal
of the Statistical Society of London, vol. 8, 1845. (3.) Statistics of the Government Charitable Dispensaries of India,
chiefly in the Bengal and North-western Provinces. By Lieut.
Colonel Sykes. Journal of the Statistical Society, vol. 10, 1847. (4.) Commentary on the Hindu System of Medicine. By T. A. WISE,
M.D., &c., Bengal Medical Service. Calcutta, 1845.
It might have been expected that amongst the secondary class of benefits conferred by missionary enterprise upon the heathen, the boon of European medical science would occupy the chief place. But such has not been the case. Of late, indeed, medical missionaries have settled in several places on the coast of China, and their attempt has been crowned with most gratifying success, especially as sufficing to prove how eagerly a prejudiced and unsocial people like the Chinese will avail themselves of the benefits offered. The success which has attended the efforts of these benevolent men supplies a powerful plea for the general extension of the scheme to other countries, more particularly to Hindustan, where not only is this description of Christian enterprise urgently demanded by circumstances, but where, as we hope to show, a new, far less expensive, and, therefore, more effective kind of medical agency, might easily be obtained. As we do not remember to have seen the subject of medical missions adequately discussed, we deem it well to invite the attention of our readers to the arguments in favour of this invaluable adjunct of the mission station, for we are persuaded that the diffusion, in the best way, of the benefits of European medical science in connexion with missions, ought to rank (far behind, indeed, but still) next in importance to the diffusion of the Gospel itself, the success of which it is adapted most powerfully to promote.
Modern missions for the conversion of the heathen differ widely in several respects from the mission of the Apostles and primitive teachers. The latter, if we keep to the New Testament period, had only one description of field for their labours --the most civilized portion of the Roman Empire. Judæa, whence they issued to preach the Gospel, was itself a Roman province, and it was not to foreigners, but to their own fellowsubjects that they addressed themselves. We have no particular account in Scripture of the propagation of Christianity among the barbarians and savages beyond the bounds of the empire. On the contrary, the Apostles, in all the places they visited, were in a sense at home, since they everywhere found their Jewish fellow-countrymen living under the protection of special edicts and decrees, and, being themselves regarded by the governors as a Jewish sect, they received the protection and exercised the privileges of Jews. True, they were often in afflictions and dangers, but these, with one or two exceptions, arose from the turbulence and bigotry of their countrymen.
As for the government, we are compelled to admire in general its treatment of the missionaries. T'he fullest liberty was allowed them to proselytize, not Jews alone, but their heathen fellowsubjects of every condition of life, from the dignified pro-consul down to the meanest bond slave; insomuch that it may be questioned whether, except within the bounds of English rule, the same, or anything like the same liberty would by any government in the world be even now conceded to so zealous à sect as were the first Christians. In this respect-freedom to proselytize-we at once recognise a contrast in the circumstances of a considerable portion of their successors in the work of modern missions.
But not only did the Apostles find, in the provinces, liberty of action, public order and well administered laws—they found a civilization (at least in most of the places mentioned in the Acts) much beyond that which they had left in Judæa-more, incomparably, of science, a higher state of the useful and elegant arts, and far more of literary taste. The cities visited by the Apostle Paul were the most polite and learned of the time, which, excepting the Gospel (how much is enunciated in this one word!) had nothing, in the way of direct improvement, to receive from the Christian missionaries. On the
On the contrary, had these men possessed the requisite leisure or the curiosity, which it would be almost irreverent to attribute to them, they might have seen and learned much that to them was new on a variety of important subjects. To this fact we crave special attention, as indicative of a marked difference between primitive and modern missions. For the primitive missionary there was one field, and one alone, the wealthy, wisely governed, anciently civilized provinces of the Roman empire; for his modern successor-not one, but various fields; the heathen world at