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of conquest ; and the self-renouncement of Wedmore struck the keynote of his reign.
But still more is it this height and singleness of purpose, this absolute consecration of the noblest faculties to the noblest aim, that lifts Ælfred out of the narrow bounds of Wessex. If the sphere of his action seems too small to justify the comparison of him with the few whom the world owns as its greatest men, he rises to their level in the moral grandeur of his life. And it is this which has hallowed his memory among his own English people. “I desire," said the king, in some of his latest words, “ I desire to leave to the men that come after me a remembrance of me in good works." His aim has been more than fulfilled. His memory has come down to us with a living distinctness through the mist of exaggeration and legend which time gathered around it. The instinct of the people has clung to him with a singular affection. The love which he won a thousand years ago has lingered around his name from that day to this. While every other name of those earlier times has all but faded from the recollection of Englishmen, that of Ælfred remains familiar to every English child. -History of the English People, $$ 68, 69.
THE NORMAN VICTORY AT SENLAC, OR HASTINGS.
On the 14th of October, 1066, William led his men at dawn along the higher ground that leads from Hastings to the battle-field which Harold had chosen. From the mound of Telham the Normans saw the host of the English gathered thickly behind a rough trench and a stockade on the height of Senlac. Marshy ground covered their right; on the left-the most exposed part of their position—the huscarles, or body-guard, of Harold---men in full armor and wielding huge axes—were grouped round the golden dragon of Wessex and the standard of the King. The rest of the ground was covered by thick masses of half-armed rustics who had flocked at Harold's summons to fight with the stranger. It was against the centre of this formidable position that William arrayed his Norman knighthood, while the mercenary forces he
had gathered in France and Brittany were ordered to attack its flanks.
A general charge of the Norman foot opened the battle. In front rode the minstrel Taillefer, tossing his sword in the air and catching it again while he chanted the song of Roland. He was the first of the host who struck a blow, and he was the first to fall. The charge broke vainly on the stout stockade behind which the English warriers plied axe and javelin, with the fierce cries of “Out ! out!” and the repulse of the Norman footmen was followed by a repulse of the Norman horse. Again and again the Duke rallied and led them to the fatal stockade. All the fury of fight that glowed in his Norseman's blood, all the headlong valor that spurred him over the slopes of Val-es-dunes, mingled that day with the coolness of head, the dogged perseverance, the inexhaustible fertility of resource which shone at Mortemer and Varaville. His Breton troops, entangled in the marshy ground on his left, broke in disorder ; and as panic spread through the army a cry arose that the Duke was slain. William tore off his helmet : “I live," he shouted, “and by God's help I will conquer yet.” Maddened by a fresh repulse, the Duke spurred right at the standard ; unhörsed, his terrible mare struck down Gyrth, the King's brother ; again dismounted, a blow from his hand hurled to the ground an unmannerly rider who would not lend him his steed. Amid the roar and tumult of the battle he turned the flight he had arrested into the means of victory. Broken as the stockade was by his desperate onset, the shield-wall of the warriors behind it still held the Normans at bay, till William by feint of flight drew a part of the English force from their post of vantage. Turning on his disorderly pursuers, the Duke cut them to pieces, broke through the abandoned line, and made himself master of the central ground. Meanwhile the French and Bretons made good their ascent on either flank. At three the hill seemed won, and at six the fight still raged around the standard where Harold's hus-carles stood stubbornly at bay on a spot marked afterward by the high altar of Battle Abbey. An order from the Duke at last brought his archers to the front,
Their arrow-flight told heavily on the dense masses around the King, and as the sun went down, a shaft pierced Harold's right eye. He fell between the royal ensigns, and the battle closed with a desperate mélée over his corpse.—History of the English People, $ 98.
OXFORD IN THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY,
At the opening of the thirteenth century Oxford stood without a rival in its own country, while in European celebrity it took rank with the greatest schools in the western world. But to realize this Oxford of the past we must dismiss from our minds all recollections of the Oxford of the present. In the outer look of the new University there was nothing of the pomp that overawes the freshman as he first paces the “ High" or looks down from the gallery of St. Mary's. In the stead of long fronts of venerable colleges, of stately walks beneath immemorial elms, history plunges us into the mean and filthy lanes of the mediæval town. Thousands of boys, huddled in bare lodging-houses, clustering round teachers as poor as themselves, in churchporch and house-porch, drinking, quarrelling, dicing, begging at the corners of the streets, take the place of the brightly colored train of Doctors and Heads. Mayor and Chancellor struggled in vain to enforce order or peace in this seething mass of turbulent life. The retainers who followed their young lords to the University fought out the feuds of their houses in the streets. Scholars from Kent and scholars from Scot. land waged the bitter struggle of north and south. At nightfall roysterer and reveller roamed with torches through the narrow lanes, defying bailiffs, and cutting down burghers at their doors. Now a mob of clerks plunged into the Jewry and wiped off the memory of bills and bonds by sacking a Hebrew house or two. Now a tavern-squabble between scholar and townsman widened into a general broil, and the academical bell of St. Mary's vied with the town bell of St. Martin's in clanging to arms. Every phase of ecclesiastical controversy or political strife was precluded by some fierce outbreak in this fierce and turbulent mob. When Eng
land growled at the exactions of the papacy in the years that were to follow, the students besieged a legate in the abbot's house at Osney. A murderous townand-gown row preceded the opening of the Baron's War. “When Oxford draws knife," ran an old rhyme, “ England's soon at strife.”
But the turbulence and stir was a stir and turbulence of life. A keen thirst for knowledge, a passionate poetry of devotion, gathered thousands round the poorest scholar, and welcomed the barefoot friar. Edmund Rich-Archbishop of Canterbury and Saint in later days-came, about the time we have reached, to Oxford, a boy of twelve years old, from a little lane at Abingdon that still bears his name. He founded his school in an Inn that belonged to the Abbey of Eynsham, where his father had taken refuge from the world. His mother was a pious woman of the day, too poor to give her boy much outfit besides the hair-shirt that he promised to wear every Wednesday ; but Edward was no poorer than his neighbors. He plunged at once into the nobler life of the place : its ardor for knowledge, its mystical piety. Secretly-perhaps at eventide, when the shadows were gathering in the Church of St. Mary, and the crowds of teachers and students had left its aisles—the boy stood before an image of the Virgin, and, placing a ring of gold upon its finger, took Mary for his bride. Years of study, broken by a fever that raged among the crowded noisome streets, brought the time for completing his education at Paris, and Edmund, hand in hand with a brother Robert of his, begged his way, as poor scholars were wont, to the great school of Western Christendom. Here a damsel, heedless of his tonsure, wooed him so pertinaciously that Edmund consented to an assignation ; but when he appeared it was in company of grave academical officials who—as the maiden declared in the hour of penitence which followed _"straightway whipped the offending Eve out of her."
Still true to his Virgin bridal, Edmund, on his return from Paris, became the most popular of Oxford teachers. It is to him that Oxford owes her first introduction to the logic of Aristotle. We see him in the little room which he hired, with the Virgin's chapel hard by, his gray gown reaching to his feet, ascetic in his devotion, falling asleep in lecture-time after a sleepless night of prayer, but gifted with a grace and cheerfulness of manner which told of his French training, and a chivalrous love of knowledge that let his pupils pay what they would. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” the young tutor would say—a touch of scholarly pride perhaps mingling with his contempt of worldly things-as he threw down the fee on the dusty window-ledge, whence a thievish student would sometimes run off with it.
But even knowledge brought its troubles : the Old Testament, which, with a copy of the Decretals, long formed his sole library, frowned down upon a love of secular learning from which Edmund found it hard to wean himself. At last, in some hour of dream, the form of his dead mother floated into the room where the teacher stood among his mathematical diagrams. “What are these ? " she seemed to say ; and seizing Edmund's right hand, she drew on the palm three circles interlaced, each of which bore the name of a person of the Christian Trinity. “Be these,” she cried as the figure faded away, "thy diagrams henceforth, my son." -History of the English People, $$ 163, 164.
THE REPUBLICANISM OF THE UNIVERSITIES. The story of Oxford admirably illustrates the real character of the new training, and the latent opposition between the spirit of the Universities and the spirit of the Church. The feudal and ecclesiastical order of the old mediæval world were both alike threatened by this power that had so strangely sprung up in the midst of them. Feudalism rested on local isolation, on the severance of kingdom from kingdom and barony from barony ; on the distinction of blood and race ; on the supremacy of material or brute force ; on an allegiance determined by accidents of place and social position. The University, on the other hand, was a protest against this isolation of man from man. The smallest school was European and not local. Not merely every prov. ince of France, but every people of Christendom, had its place among the “nations” of Paris or Padua. A cominon language-the Latin tongue-superseded, with