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Anglo-Saxon grammar written in English. Miss Elstob, a niece of Dr. Hickes', is also to be remembered as the translator of the Anglo-Saxon homily on the birthday of St. Gregory. This lady's Grammar of the “ English-Saxon Tongue” is merely a compilation from the previous works of Dr. Hickes and Mr. Thwaites, and cannot lay claim to any great amount of originality with respect to the substance of the book; nor does it lay claim to any erudition beyond that possessed by the originals. And yet, in one respect, we deem it worthy of far higher honour than its predecessors. At a time when the majority of scholars slighted their mother tongue in favour of a corrupt Latin, Elizabeth Elstob, though herself a Latin scholar, put them to shame by her practical proof that pure English is better than scholastic Latin ; and on this account, alone, we think hers the crowning production of the age.
We have now arrived at the era of the Georges; an era of comparative quiet. Already, we have watched the gradual decay of pure Anglo-Saxon after the Norman conquest ; we have noted the ignorant indifference on this subject of the Norman clergy; we have traced the revival of Anglo-Saxon studies under Archbishop Parker and his successors, and have followed the advancement in Anglo-Saxon learning down to its most brilliant period, namely,
the commencement of the eighteenth century. But now a relapse takes place. The eighteenth century is as barren, as the previous century was prolific, in Saxonists. During this long period we find but few zealous students writing works “useful toward the understanding our Ancient Poets and other Writers." The study of Anglo-Saxon seems gradually to have sunk into comparative oblivion, until at length it was very generally regarded as unworthy to occupy the serious attention of the literate. It is true that the history of the country explains this neglect, but we cannot stay to examine this point. There are, however, a few notable exceptions to the above statement. In 1721 Wilkins published his edition of the Anglo-Saxon Laws. King Alfred's translation of the Historia Ecclesiastica, together with the original, appeared in 1722, edited by John Smith, Canon of Durham. The Latin text of this edition is based upon that of the Jesuit Chifflet, but it is superior in every respect to any that had hitherto appeared. This by the way. The Anglo-Saxon translation of the Venerable Beda's work, as the reader will have remarked, had already been brought out by Wheloc in 1644. But the name of greatest note in connection with the eighteenth century is that of Edward Lye. The valuable grammar prefixed to his edition of the Etymologicum Anglicanum of Junius, and still
more, the great Anglo-Saxon Dictionary of Lye and Manning, published in 1752, evince the former's acquaintance with, and critical knowledge of, the Anglo-Saxon language.
In 1773 appeared, for the first time, King Alfred's translation of Orosius, edited by Daines Barrington, the least creditably executed work that had, up to this period, been given to the public.
One event connected with this subject, perhaps the most important of this age, was the foundation of the Anglo-Saxon professorship at Oxford in 1750. The statute creating this professorship did not come into effect till the year 1795, but when once in force the establishment of this chair may be regarded as one of the chief causes which led to the revival of Anglo-Saxon studies in the present century.
But there were other and more immediate causes which we have now to notice. In Wanley's Catalogue of Saxon Manuscripts, which formed part of the Thesaurus of Dr. Hickes, we find the earliest notice we possess of that grand old Anglo-Saxon epic, the Beowulf. Notwithstanding this notice, in which he calls it " Tractatus nobilissimus poetice scriptus,” its very existence seems to have been ignored by Anglo-Saxon scholars until Mr. Sharon Turner, at the beginning of the present century, gave some extracts from it in his History of the Anglo
Saxons. Even after the publication of his work, this poem excited little or no interest, and it was not until the year 1815, more than a hundred years after the publication of Wanley's Catalogue, that an edi. tion of the entire poem was given to the world by Dr. Thorkelin, a foreigner. At the latter end of the eighteenth century, this celebrated Danish antiquary visited England, and, while there, made a transcript of the Beowulf from the only known, existing manuscript in the British Museum. Upon his return to Denmark, he wrote a Latin translation and commentary, and the whole work was finished and ready for publication in 1807 ; but during the bombardment of Copenhagen the antiquary's house was destroyed, and with it the manuscript results of thirty years' incessant labour. Assisted and encouraged by the Count of Sanderumgaard, Thorkelin, then a septuagenarian, returned to England, and made a second transcript of the poem, which, together with a fresh Latin translation, was published in 1815 under the following title: De Danorum Rebus gestis Secul. iii. et iv. Poema Danicum Dialecto Anglo-Saxonica. Ex Bibl. Cotton. Musæi. Britan. edidit, Versione Lat. et Indicibus auxit Grim. Johnson Thorkelin, Dr., etc.
In the year 1817 Erasmus Rask published, at Stockholm, his Angelsaksisk Sproglære, or AngloSaxon Grammar, which, for advanced philological
treatment of the subject, correctness of detail, and accuracy of the opinions expressed, cannot be too highly praised. In 1830 Mr. Thorpe translated this work into English, and thus conferred a boon upon the Anglo-Saxon student that can never be adequately acknowledged.
Thorkelin's edition of the Beowulf, together with Rask's Saxon Grammar, may be regarded as the immediate causes of the revival of the interest in Anglo-Saxon studies which characterises the present century. We acknowledge, though not without shame, that this second revival of Anglo-Saxon learning is due to the genius of foreigners; still, we can turn proudly to the names of Parker and Cotton, Thorpe and Kemble, Conybeare and Ingram, Bosworth and Wright, to show that the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons have awakened to the fact that the language and literature of their ancestors is worthy of the attention of scholars, and that they will not allow other nations, although kindred, to carry off the palm in this particular.
Simply to enumerate the works upon every branch of the subject which have appeared during the past fifty years would tax the reader's patience to too great an extent, even if our space permitted. One fact is clear. A revival of Anglo-Saxon learning has taken place, and this in so thorough a manner that