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to do this deed alone and unaided, shepherd of his people, who of all men is foremost in glorious deeds of daring. Now is the day come that our dear lord needs the strength of good spearmen. Up! let us go to him now, help our hero while the heat sore tires him. As for me, God knows, I had rather that the ruthless flame should wrap my body together with his: 'tis not meet, methinks, for us to bring home our shields, before we have felled the foe, saved the life of the Lord of the Weder-people.”

We may call these Early English pirates, but we must remember that they looked upon these raids as honorable warfare, as glorious adventures in which a man might win not merely pleasure but honor. This desire for glory was a passion with them, as it was with the knights of the Middle Ages, and honor was dearer to them than life. “Far better death,” writes one of their poets, live a life of blame.” In the battle of Maldon, — fought between the English and the Danes, man after man rushed willingly forward to lie beside his dead leader, just as afterward, at the battle of Hastings, the English nobles fought on until there was a heap of slain about the body of the dead King Harold. Lawless as they may seem to us, they early showed that English instinct for law, that English love of freedom, which enabled them in later times to build up one of the most truly democratic governments in the world. They had, also, a true, if crude, chivalry in their feeling towards women, and while the polished Roman civilization had become vicious through wealth and self-indulgence, the life of the hardy English was sound and comparatively pure. They were hospitable, for among the Germans it was thought impious to refuse food and shelter to any one. But more than all, there was at the very heart of the English character a wonderful depth and earnestness. They were not altogether taken up with fighting or with feasting; life meant something more to them than

the dangers or the pleasures of the passing day. Halfsavage as they seem at first, they had deep and solemn thoughts about the hidden meaning of life and death. They felt awe and wonder in the midst of things mysterious and unknown; they, too, knew those

“Blank misgivings of a Creature,
Moving about in worlds not realised,”

which show an essentially religious nature. They tried to put their vague feelings, their scattered impressions of life as they knew it, into words. They made rude songs, or chants, about their battles or the dangers of the sea; about death, which no man can escape; about fate, or destiny, the unseen power that to them seemed the ruler of all created things. A few passages from their poetry will help us to understand this better. Here, for instance, is a picture of their perils and privations on the sea:

“Little he knows whose lot is happy,
Who lives at ease in the lap of the earth,
How sick at heart o'er the icy seas
Wretched I ranged the winter through,
Bare of joys and banished from friends;
Hung with icicles, stung by hail-stones.
Nought I heard but the hollow boom
Of wintry waves, or the wild-swan's whoop,
For singing I had the solan's scream,
For peals of laughter the yelp of the seal,

The sea-mew's cry for the mirth of the mead-hall.” The following is only one among many passages which show us how these English sturdily faced the great fact of death:

“This one shall hunger slay, that one the storm sweep away.
One shall the spear o'ertake, another the battle break.
This one in darkness shall drag out his days,

Groping with feeble hand to feel where his foot may stand.
Another shall mourn his fate, moan o'er his helpless state

Stricken with palsy in sinews and limbs.” These English, as so many of the greatest poets have done, felt how quickly everything earthly changes or passes away. A poem called The Wanderer is full of this feeling. This poem is the lament of an exile. His lord and kinsman is dead: the great feast-hall, where the warriors met in the old days, with song or laughter, is in ruins: his comrades are scattered or slain. The poet, a friendless wanderer, mourns for the things that are past. “Who wisely hath mused on this wall-stead, and ponders this dark

life well, In his heart hath often bethought him of slayings many and fell, And these be the words he taketh, the thoughts of his heart to tell: Where is the horse and the rider? where is the giver of gold? Where be the seats at the banquet ? where be the hall-joys of old ? Alas for the burnished cup, for the byrnied chief to-day! Alas for the strength of the prince! for the time that hath passed

away Is hid in the shadow of night, as it never had been at all.”

As the speaker, journeying in distant lands, looks back on these lost joys, the world seems full of hardship, ruled by Wyrd, the goddess of Fate, against whose cruel decrees nothing can stand. At the doom of Fate all passes, until at last even the earth itself shall be ruined and empty.

Yet this sense of the shortness of life and its pleasures did not make the English yield to a dull melancholy, nor did it lead them to give themselves up to the careless enjoyment of the hour. It strengthened them in their desire to live bravely, winning the praise due to heroes. “ He who has the chance," says Beowulf, “should work mighty deeds before he die: that is for a mighty man the best memorial.”

In these passages, as in many others, we can see the force and nobility of the English nature; the earnestness and spirituality that have done so much to make their literature great and lasting. These great qualities were in them from the beginning; and in the centuries to come, when the fierce English nature was sweetened by Christianity and broadened by civilization and a wider outlook, these same thoughts and feelings were expressed by many of the greatest English writers in words that the world cannot easily forget.

English Settle in Britain. For many years the English wasted the coasts of the neighboring island of Britain, landing to burn, and kill, and plunder, and then sailing away. But at last, about the middle of the fifth century, a band of Jutes landed in the southeastern corner of Britain, on an island off the coast of Kent, and settled there. Reinforced by other bands, they fought and overcame the native Britons, and, before long, conquered Kent. The Jutes were followed by the Saxons; the Saxons by the Angles. The Britons defended themselves strenuously, but, as the invading tribes were joined by fresh bands, swarming from their old home on the mainland, after more than a century of hard fighting, the English were masters of the eastern half of the island. For a time the English lived much as they had done in their old home. Their new home, Engla-land, or England, — the land of the Angles, — as it came to be called, was still a wild, thinly-settled country, overgrown with thick woods, with many dismal, solitary tracts of marsh and fen. There, the life of the English continued to be filled with danger and hardship, for besides their struggles with the Britons the English were often at war among themselves. The English had brought with them their laws and

customs, their superstitions, their legends, and their literature. They still worshiped Thor, Odin, and other heathen gods, after the manner of their fathers. No doubt they sang or chanted the old poems made by their forefathers in the old home across the sea, and, very likely, they made new poems celebrating their victories in the new land. But they were still shut

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away from the learning and civilization of Europe, no new influences had as yet entered their lives strong enough to make them look at life differently or to turn their thoughts in a new direction.

Introduction of Christianity. — But at the close of the sixth century, nearly a hundred and fifty years after the settlement of the Jutes in Britain, a great change took place in the life and belief of the English, which gave a fresh inspiration and a new direction to their

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