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buried under a big barrow on a promontory overlooking the searevered, it is said, by his people as the kindest and mildest of men. Interesting as this poem is to the lover of ancient literatare, it becomes doubly so when we remember that it was with this song our poet Codmon grew familiar in his youth, and from which he borrowed the alliterative measure for his great paraphrase, together with much of that joyous, heroic strain, which made him so popular a teacher of Christianity to his countrymen.
But we must not anticipate events, for at the time of which we speak the only knowledge of the new faith possessed by any one came through romours of some great change come over King Edwin and the Court, which had led them to submit to a mysterious rite called " baptism” in a "church” at York. But these tales made no great impression, and when the successors of Edwin lapsed into paganism little more would be heard, and the whole thing soon forgotten.
However, the year 657 (or 658) was an epoch-making one for the Streoneshalh neighbourhood, inasmuch as it was marked by the arrival of the noble lady whose name has been shown to be so intimately connected with the history of the Abbey. The astonishment created amongst our forefathers by Hilda and her little band -not of armed warriors, bat of unprotected men, women, and even children-may be more readily imagined than described. The garb of these pilgrims was simple. They carried, too, no sign of office other than a cross, which they planted on the south side of the
for they had no connection with the Romish emissaries who were making converts in other parts of England.
They were the disciples of that noble missionary Aidan, sent by St. Colamba of Iona, as the apostle of primitive Christianity, into England. In Hilda, Aidan found one of his most devout adherents'; for, although she had been baptised when a girl of thirteen by the Romish teacher Paulinus, she had remained for no length of time under his influence. Indeed, as we have seen, all Christian teaching ceased in Northumbria with Edwin's untimely death, and it was not again attempted till Oswald succeeded to the throne. This king had been educated by Columba, and, trae to his teacher, he sought in every way to advance the Culdee movement, and welcomed Aidan with open arms.
Hilda and her spiritual children did not take long to settle in their new home, for their modest wooden building was soon reared and thatched with rushes from the river-side. They made one dwelling for the monks, another for the nuns, and a chapel where all assembled for common prayer and instruction, and to take counsel as to the best means of ministering both to the temporal and spiritual wants of the neighbourhood.
What most characterised them was an earnest missionary spirit -their heritage, so to speak—which led them to preach Christ in every hamlet and homestead. It mast not be supposed that they were absolutely free from superstition. However, it is well worth remarking that they kept only Christmas and a few other festivals ; did not dedicate their churches to saints; and, although they esteemed celibacy in their clergy, did not enjoin it in any of their canons. They had very little ceremonial observance ; their prayers were chiefly extempore, and they laid great weight on the reading and expounding of Scripture, both amongst themselves and others.
When we remember that with these qualities of simplicity and earnestness they combined much love and self-denial, it is not to be wondered that they found a willing listener in Codmon. It seems that he farmed some of the land which Lady Hilda had purchased for the Abbey, and as a tenant he would come in somewhat closer contact with the religious community than he would otherwise have done. Indeed, we find that he became one of their first converts. However, a good many years passed before he gave utterance to his new belief in song, and in the meantime he went on with his usual work in the fields. But at length the day of his deliverance came.
It happened that a great feast was given in one of the homesteads, to which whole families from far and near came—some on foot and others drawn in rough plank waggons by horses or oxen. Travelling was not easy work in those times, for Nature was the chief road-maker, and, once arrived, the guests were in no haste to depart. There were many joyful recognitions, congratulations, and pledging of healths over the mead-cap, and before long the merry-making was heightened by someone of the party, with harp in hand, striking ap the old favourite song. But when the tarn came to Cædmon, he sluok out into the night and crossed over to the sheds where the draught cattle were housed to take his turn as watcher.
Whether he could sing or not, he felt—with the keen enthasiasm of a convert-an utter repugnance to the pagan revelry, which made him glad to be alone. In the quietnde of the stable, his intense longing to render intelligible to his friends the things which he now loved and revered seems to have taken entire possession of bim. How could he make an unseen God known to these pagan people ? how could be present Christ as a living reality ? Amid these reflections, and in the dim light and loneliness of the stable, he either fell asleep or fancied he had a vision, for it seemed to him that a heavenly visitant appeared, and, addressing him by name, said, “Cædmon, sing me something.”
He answered, “I cannot sing, for therefore bave I come hither from the feast becanse I could not sing."
The angel replied, “But thou must sing to me."
Upon this, adds Bede, from whom this conversation is quoted, he began to sing some verses which he had never heard to the praise of God, the Creator. The hymn is preserved to us in Alfred's English version of the historian, and is the oldest specimen of English poetry extant. This is what Cadmon sang :
“Now we must praise
The Creator's inight,
How He of glory
He first framed
Almighty Ruler!' In these lines are embodied the reverent adoration and joyful gratitude of a devout man, whose whole soal was to overflowing glad. Whatever may be the peculiarity of its stractare, the. poem breathed forth a spirit which will find sympathy in al ages.
Next morning Cadmon made known his verse-making power to the steward of the monastery, and,“ being afterwards brought into the presence of the Abbess and of many learned men, he was desired to tell his dream and repeat his verses." We are told that “they of the Abbey were persuaded that his gift was due to Divine inspiration, and they accordingly related to him a piece of sacred history, and desired him to turn it into verse. Having undertaken the task with perfect success, he was advised by Lady Hilda to forsake his secular duties and concentrate bis mind on sacred things. He consented, and was admitted-together with his wife, family, and worldly possessions-into the little community. He could, of course, neither read nor write when he entered the monastery, and we know not whether he made much progress in those arts; but he was carefully instructed in sacred history, and committed much to memory.
It was his custom to listen attentively to the reading and exposition of the Scriptures, to ponder over it with much prayer, and then tnrn what he knew into verse.
In this manner he paraphrased a large portion of Holy Writ, for he sang of the creation of all things, of the fall of man, the faith of Abraham, the miracalons exodus of the children of Israel, and their entrance into Canaan. Then he proceeded to describe the life of Daniel and the wonderful escape of the three young Jews from the Babylonian furnace; and from the Old Testament he tarned to the incarnation, life, and death of Our Lord.
He likewise dwelt pretty freely on the horrors of hell and the delights of the heavenly kingdom, and, as it has been pointed out by one of the greatest students of our literature "à thousand years before Milton, Cædmon sang of Satan Fallen.”
“ Satan discoursed, he who henceforth ruled hell
Most unlike this narrow ce
That he will set in it the race of man.” For at least ten years Cedmon continued translating Bible truth into the alliterative measure of the pagan “ Beowulf legend.” He thus became, as it were, a "singing preacher” to the neighbourhood, and through him Christianity found a ready entrance into many homesteads where heathen darkness had hitherto prevailed.
The day of his death, like that of his birth, is anknown; but it is supposed his life's work ended about the same time as Lady Hilda's, in 679 or 680.
We learn that his end was peace. His last illness, we are told, continued nearly a fortnight, but appeared so slight that he alone knew he was dying. The evening before he died he was in the house usually devoted to the sick, and he requested that he might sleep there for the night. His attendant was sarprised, but yielded to his wish.
He conversed with his usual kindness to those who were aronnd him until after midnight, when he desired to celebrate the Communion. While partaking of it, he asked if all his friends were perfectly at peace with him, and, when with kind ass urances they returned the question, he replied, “My children, I am in charity with all the servants of God.” Shortly after he leaned his head on the pillow, and soon breathed his last in a gentle slamber.
We are not drawn by any crumbling monument of stone or faded epitaph to the place where Cadmon was buried twelve cen
turies go. But will his memory ever be forgotten? Never while English-speaking people live to glory in their national literatare. That literature is Cadmon's monument, for he laid its keystone anaided and alone.
BY BEATRICE BRISTOWE,
CHAPTER XXII.-A TONGUE DEVISING MISCHIEF. The fifth of November, and a fine night, in which bonfires, great or small, would burn vigorously, and rockets sail up into the clear sky, the coloured lights showering down andimmed, and sqaibs fizz their fall half-minute, and crackers zigzag merrily along the pavement.
The cracking and fizzing, the eager voices, laughing and screaming, the scurrying of feet as a policeman came in sight, a loud report now and then from some point, nearer or more distant, at which the celebration was proceeding on a grander scale, invaded the quiet of Mrs. Weatherill's dining-room, where her husband, herself, and Mrs. Lamley were seated, all occupied silently. Mr. Weatherill sat beside the fire, not reading, although a newspaper lay on his knee; Mrs. Lumley was engaged with a book, and Clarissa was writing a letter to Alice, who had been for some few days absent from home.
During the autumn months she had been ailing. The doctor advised a short cessation from school-work. “She applied herself," he said, “ with too great intentness to her studies; she should learn less, and play more; a little change, and, if possible, where there were other children, was what she needed."
So she was now visiting the same friends, living a few miles distant from Kingsport, with whom she had been staying at the time of little Bertie's death ; a large and kindly family, none of them addicted to overmuch mental exertion, but living a free, healthful life in their airy house, wide garden, orchard, and home field.
Clarissa was feeling sad to-night. She sorely missed her little dan ghter, and the boyish voices and laughter without made her