Lectures on the English Language Volume 2

Lectures on the English Language Volume 2

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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1867 edition. Excerpt: ...and the innovation of Layamon found no imitators. During the era of transition from the Anglo-Saxon to the English nationality and speech, the native bards were imitators of Norman-French poetry, and the Saxon versification fell into almost total disuse, while nearly every variety of Eomance verse was freely employed. But when the English people had undergone the last of theii metamorphoses, and appeared as a new estate upon the stage of human affairs, there was naturally a hesitation, a vacillation, with regard to the forms in which the nascent literature should clothe itself, and there were still conflicting tendencies and partialities to be reconciled. While, therefore, the first great English poets were as thoroughly and unmistakeably national, in matter and in spirit, as the most marked of their successors, we find in Chaucer only Eomanceforms of composition; but in Langlande, the author of Piers Ploughman, and his followers, purely English thoughts, and a well assimilated composite diction, with the rhythmic and alliterative structure which characterizes Anglo-Saxon verse. It is remarkable, as I have elsewhere observed, that in this attempt to revive those obsolete measures, Langlande adhered more closely to the normal forms, and allowed himself fewer licenses, than did the Anglo-Saxons themselves; and his poems accordingly exhibit more truly the essential characteristics of alliterative and rhythmical verse than any of the works of the masters he copied. Hence, though highly original, thoroughly genial, and fully imbued with the spirit of the age and of the commonwealth of which he was the first-born intellectual son, yet, in his versification, he was little better than a servile imitator. This is by no means a singular instance of...show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 200 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 11mm | 367g
  • Rarebooksclub.com
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236853849
  • 9781236853844