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took place we must realize that everywhere the Norman was above, the Englishman underneath. The chief positions in the State were held by Normans; the great nobles were now Norman nobles; and nearly all of the great landed estates were taken away from the English and given to the Normans. Besides all this, the English clergy were turned out of the most important offices in the Church, and their places given to Normans or to other foreigners. Thus, shortly after the Conquest, LANFRANC, a famous Italian writer and scholar from a monastic school in Normandy, was made Archbishop of Canterbury instead of the English Archbishop Stigand. In the same way the English bishops were replaced by Normans, and the great abbeys and monasteries passed under foreign control. This last change had a very direct and important effect on learning and literature, for the clergy in those days were the scholars and teachers of the nation. As Normans were at the head of the monastic schools, the task of educating the people passed almost entirely into their hands, and as the leading clergy were generally Normans or foreigners, the leading writers were mostly Norman, or else men trained by Norman teachers who wrote under the influence of foreign ideas. And as the Norman clergy brought in the learning of the Continent and taught it in the schools, the Norman nobles brought with them their poetry, long romances, different in subject and in style from the poems to which the English had been accustomed. The Norman lords and ladies delighted in these long poems of chivalric deeds or knightly love, and in many a castle the former rulers of England listened to this foreign poetry in a language foreign to English soil. So on every hand, in Church and State, in camp, and castle, and in the King's Court, and in the school,
this world of the Norman lay like a weight on the English, sinking into England as a mass of melting snow saturates the earth beneath.
2. The Norman Conquest, by joining England to the Continent, kept the English in close contact with a continental civilization.
If the Normans had abandoned their own land when they conquered England, it is likely that they would have held less strongly to their own ways.
But we must remember that William did not cease to be the Duke of Normandy when he became King of England, and that for about one hundred and fifty years after the Conquest the English continued to be governed by sovereigns who also ruled over lands on the Continent. England thus became a part of Normandy, the province of a foreign power. Many of the Norman nobles held lands in both countries, and the people of the upper class went frequently from one country to the other with their followers. Thus by the close relation between England and the Continent, foreign ways were constantly being brought in from abroad, and the learning and poetry of the Continent found a free passage into England.
3. The immediate effect of this foreign influence was to establish the Norman-French language and literature in England as the language and literature of the upper classes, thus forcing the English language into an inferior position, and for a time almost destroying English poetry
At first, under the iron rule of William the Conqueror, it must have seemed as though everything English were destined to be crushed out and swept away. The
English seemed likely to lose their language, for all the people in high places spoke Norman-French, and Norman-French was the language of the schools and of the Law Courts. The old literature of the English seemed about to come to an end. For a time, indeed, some monks continued the old practice of writing the national history in English, but in 1154 the record ceased, and after a life of many centuries the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle came abruptly to an end. After a time monks educated under Norman influences wrote the nation's history in Latin, in a more finished and connected style than that of the brief records of the vanished AngloSaxon age. Many learned books on religious or even scientific subjects were also written in Latin, and after the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was given up - English prose seemed dead. It seemed at first as though English poetry, as well as English prose, had been destroyed by the Conquest. Here and there, in some humble home, some out-of-the-way farmhouse peasant's hut, the native English may have sung the old songs and ballads of their fathers in their native tongue, but although the old poetry may have thus lingered in an obscure way among the people, the native literature, like the native language, was unnoticed or despised by the Normans. For some time after the Conquest, many of the Normans knew little or nothing of the English language, and some of them disdained to learn the speech of those whom they looked down upon as their inferiors. The King and his nobles could not have understood the English poems · even if they had cared to do so, and so the poets of the rich and powerful were naturally Normans who wrote according to the Norman fashion. To win the favor of the great, therefore, the poets had to make verses in the foreign
manner and in the foreign, or Norman-French, tongue. We can thus see how it happened that, for about a century and a half after the Norman Conquest, the literature of the native English almost disappeared, covered up and buried, as it was, under a mass of foreign literature in Latin and in French, which was produced by and for the members of the upper and ruling classes.
4. The final effect of this foreign influence was to furnish new subjects and ideas to English literature, to alter the form of English verse, to modify but not destroy the English language, and to widen but not essentially to change the English genius and character.
From what has been said, it is clear that the immediate effect of the Norman invasion was to plunge both language and literature in England into a state of confusion. There was no one language understood and used by the whole nation. Many Normans could not speak English, a great mass of the English could not speak French, still others, both among the English and the Normans, became familiar with both of the rival languages, speaking in French or in English as the occasion required. Literature shared in this general confusion of tongues and styles. Many wrote in French or Latin, a few still held to English. Nearly all the poets employed the foreign verse or manner, and wrote on foreign subjects; but among the English the old traditions of English poetry were still obscurely cherished. The struggle between English and Norman on the battle-field of Hastings did not end, in one sense, with Duke William's victory. Time was needed to show which was really the stronger race.
Would the Norman be able to force his language, his literature, his national character on the English, or would the
English preserve the language and traditions of the past, and force the Normans to conform to the English ways? During the three centuries between the coming of the Normans and the life and work of the great poet CHAUCER, this question was answered for all time. Whatever else we forget about this confused period, we must remember that it is the time of struggle between rival civilizations when the whole future of the English literature and language is at stake.
What then, was the result of this long struggle? On the whole the stubborn loyalty of the English to old ways proved in the end stronger than the foreign influence, and while England learned much from the Normans, and was greatly helped by the foreign ways, the country came out of this long period of foreign rule modified and improved, but fundamentally unchanged.
Literature After the Norman Conquest. — The books produced during this confused period, while they had an important influence upon the later history of the literature, are not in themselves very interesting to the general reader of to-day. A few words on the general course of literary history will serve to make what has already been said more clear and definite.
From the Conquest to the opening of the thirteenth century, literature in England was almost entirely Norman or composed under Norman influence. Many of the histories of England in Latin, or Latin Chronicles, were written during this time. One of the earliest of these Latin Chronicles was compiled by a monk in the priory at Worcester, known as FLORENCE OF WORCESTER (d. 1118), and one of the best and latest was that of MATTHEW PARIS (d. 1259), a monk in the Abbey of St. Albans, which lies a little north of London.
Celtic Influence on English Literature. - During the