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and spontaneously took their part in laying the deep and strong foundations of modern English renown. On all these grounds, the English language is here considered as commencing with what is usually called Anglo-Saxon. A sufficient sample has been given of this earliest form of the language to allow those who study it in connection with the concise Anglo-Saxon Grammar, given in the Introduction, to form a fair estimate of its proper
relation to modern English. Dr. Craik’s authority has been followed in considering the two great transformations which the language underwent between A.D. 1150 and 1350 as revolutions. This word aptly designates the important movements which converted a language, synthetical in its construction, and homogeneous in its vocabulary, into one that was analytical in the one respect, and composite in the other, and which nevertheless left its personal identity unaffected. The first revolution, which stripped away most of its inflections, and destroyed its system of artificial gender, contributed greatly to its freedom and power; while the second, which with Norman words introduced also Norman intelligence and taste, immensely extended its range of expression, constituting what Dr. Trench so aptly calls “the happy marriage in our tongue of the languages of the north and south,” -the blending of Romance elegance and refinement with Gothic simplicity and strength.
Besides furnishing a chronological view of the history of the English langilage, it has been the editor's aim to illustrate by means of the extracts themselves the various powers of our mother-tongue. These have been carefully chosen, not less for the sake of the material than of the workmanship, not less for the worthiness of the thoughts than for the style in which they are presented ; and they furnish, it is believed, a matchless exhibition of strength, beauty, grace, energy, and freedom of language.
It is scarcely necessary to say that these specimens are intended to be studied, not merely read over. They are not designed to gratify a passing curiosity, but to train the youthful mind to a perception of the value and importance of lan
guage generally, and of our own noble language especially; to show how it has been wielded on occasion by those eminent masters who appreciated the instrument they used, and wished others to appreciate it too. It can hardly be said that such appreciation is common. Our language itself, its remarkable history, its unique characteristics, have only lately begun to receive the attention they deserve. Little encouragement is given to such studies at our chief universities, and it has been left to foreigners, in time past, to enlighten the world as to the beauties both of our language and literature. There are, however, at last, hopeful symptoms of a healthy reaction.
The editor's obligations to the works of Trench, Craik, Latham, Marsh, Spalding, Angus, Adams, Max Müller, Wedgewood, Morley, Miss Whately, Taylor, Crabbe, to the Philological Society's Proceedings, as well as to the remarkable English grammars in German by Koch, and Fiedler and Sachs, will be obvious to all who are acquainted with the history of the English language and literature.
Lastly, he has to express his thanks to Messrs. Longman and Co., Mr. Murray, Messrs. A. and C. Black, and Messrs. Chapman and Hall, as also to Messrs. Dickens, Ruskin, Carlyle, Helps, and Kinglake, for their kind permission to make extracts from the copyright texts of which they are the proprietors.
4, KILDARE GARDENS, BAYSWATER.
October 23, 1867.
Beginning of Henry III.'s Proclamation, dated 1258, gene
rally considered the earliest specimen of true English.
Chemo fug godof Poikume Bmp on Tuotemeloanele Thoquerdon Prloan. Ambon Tipoon om domethm and eoil on elusoll prend izvetnge to alle treff haldé Paside and dealede on Bunten on Ichen
BRc Phuten ged alle fire thallen and Bruno Batu BiH Prepadernen alle obey Bermodne ddog heom Boket beobitholen Buro us and Burg Bat Coander Polize on Bre Bunencher abbeb when and boulle don'm Be Boufneffe of gods me on fire treolofe for beheme of Beloomde purs Be Bofister of Ban to forenfeinde pode Aumen. Bes Redefort and defende i alle Binge a buten Bande And We haaten alle bye treoße í Be treolo Be fitt heo @fogen.batheo pleedefæpliche Berlden and Ambeyen to healden and to herene Be Wetneffeffa Beom imabede and Beon to máhnen furg fan to foronbeide vadelmen
The same in Modern Characters. Henri burg Godes fultume King on Engleneloande Lhoaverd on Yrloand 'Duk on Norm' on Aquitain' and Eorl on Aniow, send igretinge to alle hise halde ilærde and ileawede on Huntendon' Schir.
Đat witen ge wel alle þæt we willen and unnen þæt þæt ure rædesmen alle oper be moare dæl of heom þat beo8 ichosen purg us and burg bæt' loandes folk on ure kuneriche habbed idon and schullen don in be worpnesse of Gode and on ure treow he for pe freme of be loande burg pe besigte of ban toforeniseide rædesmen beo stedefast and ilestinde inn alle thinge abuten ænde. And we haaten alle ure treowe inn pe treow be bat heo us ogen þæt heo stedefæstliche heilden and sweren to healden and to werien be isetnesses that beon innakede and beon to makien þurg þan toforeniseide rædesmen.-See the Translation at p. 22.