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been taken to ensure correctness in matters of fact, p ticularly in dates, which are so rarely given accurately similar compilations. It may be mentioned that fo few of the critical opinions, besides those quoted, author has been indebted to other writers, whose nam however, from a reluctance to multiply notes, he induced to omit.
EDINBURGH, June 1835.
Writers in Divinity,
SEVENTH PERIOD.-From 1780 till the Present Time,
Novelists and Romancers,
Writers in Divinity,
Travellers and Voyagers,
ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE.
FROM THE EARLIEST TIME TILL THE YEAR 1400.
The first language known to have been spoken in the British Islands, was one which is now totally unknown in England, but still exists, in various slightly altered shapes, in Wales, in the Highlands of Scotland, and in many parts of Ireland. This language is usually called, in reference to England, the British tongue; in reference to Scotland, the Gaelic; and in reference to Ireland, the Irish. It was originally the language of a large body of people called the Celts, who, several centuries before the Christian era, occupied all the western parts of Europe, but are now to be traced only in the Welsh, the Scottish Highlanders, the Irish, and a few tribes scattered along the western shores of France and Spain. A great number of names of places, both in England and in the Lowlands of Scotland, and many of the designations of natural dbjects, such as hills and rivers, are borrowed from this language, but we do not derive from it many of the words in our common specch.
In the fifth century, a people called Saxons, from Lower Germany, landed in the country now named England, and soon drove the original inhabitants into the western and northern parts of the island, where their descendants and language have ever since been found In the course of time, nearly the whole island south of the Firths of Forth and Solway was overspread by Saxons. whose posterity to this day forms the bulk of the people of that part of our country. From a leading branch of the Saxons, called Angles, the country took the name of England, while the new language was denominated, from them, the Anglo-Saxon.
This language was a branch of the Teutonic,—that is, the language of the Teutones, a nation which occupied a large portion of central Europe at the same time that the Celts overspread the west. The Danes, the Dutch, the Germans, and the English, are all considered as nations chiefly of Teutonic origin ; and their various languages bear, accordingly, a strong general resemblance.
From the sixth till the eleventh century, the AngloSaxon continued with little change to be the language of England. It only received accessions, during that time, from the Latin, which was brought in by Christian missionaries, and from the Danish, a kindred dialect of the Teutonic, which was introduced by the large hosts from Denmark, who endeavoured to effect settlements in England. At this period, literature was not neglected by the AngloSaxons. Their first known writer was Gildas, a historian, who flourished about the year 560. Another called Bede, a priest, who lived in the eighth century, was celebrated over all Europe for his learning and his literary productions. But the majority of the writers of that age thought it necessary to compose their works in Latin, as it was only by that means they could make themselves intelligible to the learned of other countries, who were almost their only readers. The earliest existing specimen of composition in the Saxon tongue is a fragment by Cædmon, a monk of Whitby, who wrote religious poetry in a very sublime strain, in the eighth century, and who, for want of learning, was obliged to employ his own language. King Alfred, in the
ninth century, employed himself in translating various works into Saxon, for the use of the people;