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in Aldhelm's time were half barbarians, and little attentive to religious discourses ; wherefore the holy man, placing himself upon a bridge, used often to stop them, and sing ballads of his own composition. He thereby gained the favour and attention of the populace; and insensibly mixing grave and religious things with those of a jocular kind, he by this means succeeded better than he could have done by severity. As a composer of Anglo-Saxon verse, King Alfred places Aldhelm in the first rank; and we learn from William of Malmesbury that, so late as the twelfth century, some pieces which were attributed to him continued to be popular. He was also eminent as a musician. As a poet his best work is considered to be the Ænigmata, written in imitation of Symposius. Aldhem lived in great esteem till his death, which happened at Ditton, near Westbury, May 25th, 709. He was buried at Malmesbury.
(Died 734.) Tatwine was a monk of Bredon, in Worcestershire, who, by his religion, his prudence, his solid knowledge of the Scriptures, and his talents, attained the dignity of Archbishop of Canterbury, on the 10th June, 731. He is presumed to have been at that time an old man ; at all events, he did not enjoy his honours long, for he died on the 30th July, 734. He had, however, the satisfaction, during his brief prelacy, of successfully pleading, before Pope Gregory III., the supremacy of Canterbury over York ; and he himself received, as metropolitan, the pallium from the Pope's hands. Besides a volume of Ænigmata, in Latin hexameters, the versification of which has considerable merit, Bale informs us that Tatwine wrote other poems, which, however, are not now extant.
(Circa 765.) Ethelwolf, the third Anglo-Latin poet of whom we have any memorial, was born about the year 765, in Northumberland ; and became, about 780, an inmate of a monastery dependent upon the great monastery of Lindisfarne. The work by which he entitled himself to a place among the poets of Britain, is a history, in Latin hexameters, of the abbots and other eminent persons of the monastery to which he belonged. The poem, which is dedicated to Egbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne (802-818), has little metrical merit ; but it is to a certain extent valuable as an historical document, and interesting as the only specimen we have of the Anglo-Latin poetry of that period. Ethelwolf was the author also of another Latin poem, in honour of some contemporary ecclesiastics, among whom he sings the praises of his monastic instructor, Father Iglac.
CORMAC, KING OF MUNSTER.
(Circa 780.) Cormac united the pontifical and regal dignities; he was, at the same time, Archbishop of Cashel and King of Munster. He was likewise a poet; and to his capacity in this respect we owe the completion of the Psalter of Cashel, of which he disposes in his poetical will, “My Psalter,” which is given at full length in Keating's History of Ireland.
(Circa 990.) Wulfstan, one of the singing-men of the church of Winchester, is the author of a narrative of the miracles of St. Swithun, in Latin hexameters, with a prologue in elegiacs, addressed to Alfheh Bishop of Winchester. The work, Mr. Wright says, is a remarkable monument of the Anglo-Latin poetry of the tenth century. Although undeserying of the extravagant praise bestowed upon it by Leland, it contains many tolerable passages. In the introduction the poet gives an account of the rebuilding of the church of Winchester. Wulfstan was also the author of a treatise On the Harmony of Tones, which William of Malmesbury eulogises as of very great ability; and of a life of his master, Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, in very wretched Latin prose.
GODFREY OF WINCHESTER.
(Circa 1100.) Godfrey, Prior of Winchester, was an epigrammatist in the reign of Henry I., very much admired by Camden, who, in his Remains, quotes several of his epigrams, and takes occasion to commend Winchester as a nursery of men excelling in the poetical faculty, adding that the very genius loci doth seem poetical.
(Circa 1140.) Turold, an English minstrel in the reign and perhaps at the court of Stephen (1135-1154), is known to us as the author of the earliest existing romance in the Anglo-Norman language, the Chanson de Roland. The theme is the disastrous battle of Roncevaux, which had already been made popular in the Latin story incorrectly ascribed to Bishop Turpin, and which has been so repeatedly sung by the poets of later ages. “The composition,” says Mr. Wright, “is one in which, though devoid of the artificial ornaments of more refined poetry, the story marches on with a kind of lofty grandeur, which was well calculated to move the hearts of the hearers for whom it was intended, and which, even to a modern reader, is not without its charms. The primitive form of the language has also a certain degree of dignity, which was lost in its subsequent transformations. The form of the verse has some peculiarities : it is one of the oldest poems in which, instead of rhyming couplets, we have a continuous series of lines, varying in number, bound together by one final rhyme ; and this rhyme, or rather assonance, rests upon the last two or three vowels, entirely independent of the consonants. As in most of the early romances, the largest portion of the poem of Turold consists of battle-scenes, descriptions most suitable to the taste of a warlike age, which are told with somewhat of Homeric vigour ; while, in relating the disasters of the war, the poet introduces pathetic traits which sometimes possess considerable beauty."
HOWELL AB OWAIN.
(Circa 1140.) Howell was the son of Owain Gwynedd, by a lady named Pyvog, daughter of an Irish warrior. He seems to have been brought up from his earliest youth in the profession of arms. In 1144 he went into North Wales with his brother; and, after defeating the Flemings, laid siege to Carmarthen Castle, which they took from the Normans. Howell seems to have been often called upon to assist his neighbours, who had great faith in his military talents. About this time occurred the battle of Tal y Moelire, at which he was probably present, as there is an ode of his on the battle, which he could scarcely have written without having been an eye-witness. Howell's father died in 1169, after a reign of fifty-two years; and Howell being the eldest son, though he was illegitimate, seized the reins of government. Going to Ireland, however, his brother David, during his absence from his dominions, aspired to deprive Howell of the sovereign power. Howell hearing of this, returned in all haste; but in the battle which ensued he was defeated and mortally wounded.
Of his poems, in which there is a great deal of feeling and taste, the principal is Gutadgarwch Hywell, or “Howell's Patriotism,” in praise of the good things to be found in Wales.
(Circa 1150.) By Gwalchmai, the son of Meilyr, we have fourteen pieces, of which the best is the Goiwffedd, which has passages that remind one of the Allegro of Milton, and of some of the smaller poems of Wordsworth. He is, however, better known by his ode on the battle of Tal y Moelire, the defeat of the fleet sent by Henry II. under the orders of Madoc ap Meredydd, in 1157, and which tried to effect its landing at Abermenai. This poem is not only full of poetical beauty, but is true to nature ; it is a reflection of the time, place, and circumstance. Gray's Triumphs of Owen is a translation of this poem.
LAURENCE OF DURHAM.
(Died 1154.) Laurence, a monk and precentor of Durham, who afterwards enjoyed the favour of King Stephen, in the capacity of his chaplain, and was made by him, in 1149, prior of Durham, is the author of a Scriptural History in nine books, written in Latin elegiacs, under the title of Hypognosticon ; of a Latin Rhyme on Christ and his Disciples; and of a poem, also in Latin, On the City and Bishopric of Dur
ham, by way of dialogue between Laurence and Peter. The versification, more especially of the Hypognosticon, is characterised by considerable elegance and facility. Laurence-who is described by an old historian of Durham, quoted by Mr. Wright, as “a man of great discretion and honest conversation, skilled in the law, endowed with eloquence, well grounded in the divine institutes, and not needing to beg counsel of others in adversity,”—wrote in mixed prose and