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The poetry of Spencer, when divested of its antique orthography, evidences still further improvement in the language. The transcendant genius of Shakspeare finally relieved our language and literature from disparaging contrast with those which had attained an earlier maturity. Ben Jonson, Massinger, Beaumont, Fletcher, Hooker, Bacon, Raleigh, Selden, Usher, Jeremy Taylor, and a host of others : each in the department to which his genius prompted him, signalized the period between Elizabeth and the Commonwealth, added to the copiousness and grace of our language, and secured a European reputation for our literature. The succeeding century is illustrated by a perfect galaxy of brilliant names, to each of whom our language and literature is, in some way, indebted. Waller added to the smoothness and refinement of English poetic diction ; Milton immortalized our literature, and took rank with the greatest poets of all time; Dryden shone in varied but equally happy styles of composition ; the quaint Fuller added to our prose a vast fund of pithy good sense and sagacity ; Izaac Walton followed in a similar track of quaint fancies and wise thoughts; Barrow took first rank among profound yet popular theological writers; Tillotson, Stillingfleet, Sherlock, South, Wilkins, Pearson, Burnet, Bunyan, and many more were equally successful in similar literary labours. Sir William Temple has the reputation of being one of the chief polishers of the English language; Johnson said of him that he was the first writer who gave cadence to English prose. positions are of a miscellaneous kind, chiefly essays. Prior, Addison, Swift, Pope, Gay, Congreve, Steel, Defoe, Thomson, Young, Johnson, Grey, Goldsmith, and a host of almost equally illustrious names, introduce us to refined and classic English, such as no contemporary can aspire to excel.
2. “Give some account of the life and writings of any of these writers, viz., Chaucer, Shakspeare, Bacon, Milton, Hooker, Addison, Samuel Johnson, Cowper, Walter Scott."
A fair reply to this query would occupy many pages, and the matter can be obtained through many accessible channels. It is therefore left unanswered.
1. What monuments and works have been left in this
country by the Britons and Saxons ? 2. Enumerate the kingdoms established by the Anglo
Saxons, describing, in general terms, their relative
positions. 3. What existing institutions are derived from the Anglo-Saxons ? Describe them briefly.
SECTION II. 1. Arrange the following battles in the order of time
Hastings, Bosworth, and Worcester; and state the
immediate results of each. 2. What circumstances led to the signing of Magna
Charta ? State its chief provisions. 3. State some of the principal circumstances attending
the establishment, or introduction, of the present chief manufactures of England.
SECTION III. 1. State the circumstances which led to the introduc
tion of the Potatoe, Tobacco, Cotton, and Tea. 2. Give some account of the authority exercised by
the Pope in England before the Reformation ; and of the troubles which, at different times, arose
in consequence. 3. State the difference between the habitations, fuel,
food, and clothing of the poorer classes of people in the reigns of Alfred, of Elizabeth, and of
Victoria. 4. State the circumstances under which the following
places were annexed to the British Dominions ; Jamaica, Gibraltar, Canada.
1. Illustrate the growth of the naval power of this
country by reference to its most remarkable en
gagements at sea, and to their consequences. 2. Under what circumstances was Scotland united to
England; and what were the most important terms
of the union. 3. State the difference in what were considered the
necessary accomplishments of a person of fortune in the times of Alfred, of Edward III., of Eliza
beth, and of Victoria. 4. Give a brief account of the leading political events,
and enumerate the most distinguished statesmen of the reign of George III.
1. What monuments and works have been left in this country by the Britons and Saxons ?”
Our existing memorials of the British period are numerous tumuli or barrows, of which Salisbury Hill, in Wiltshire, is thought to be one, though its colossal dimensions almost preclude the hypothesis ; some specimens of fortification and castrametation, the British Camp on the Malvern Hills, better known as the Hereford Beacon ; remains of Druidical temples, of which Stonehenge and Abury are the most conspicuous;
canoes of rude workmanship, formed of hollowed trunks of trees, of which a good specimen is preserved at the British Museum; spear-heads, and other fragments of arms and armour; coins and ring money.
The Saxon period, being subsequent to the British and of growing civilization, affords more numerous mementoes. Of these, its architectural monuments, few of which however are well authenticated, may be first mentioned. Among the undoubted specimens are Edward the Confessor's Chapel, Westminster Abbey ; Lindisfarne Abbey ; Holy Island ; Earl's Barton Church, Northamptonshire; Bamborough Castle, Northumberland; the parish church of Darent, in Kent, &c., &c.
The eighth, and several succeeding centuries, were prolific in Anglo-Saxon works of caligraphy and illumination, an art that was fostered and developed in the Cloister. These quaint and remarkable illustrations give the chief value to the ponderous volumes of manuscript that form the pride and glory of our museums, and that would be cheaply purchased for their weight in gold. Among such illustrations are remarkable initials, composed by the interlacing of foliage with birds, serpents, &c.; elaborate representations of historical and domestic events; representations of national spirits, costume, industrial occupations, the minutiæ of feasts and religious festivals and ceremonials ; and many of them in such consecutive and serial arrangements as almost to imply a disposition to cater for the tastes of after and inquiring ages.
Saxon coins are generally of a rude workmanship, a circumstance which has been thought to indicate that our ancestors were not indebted for their knowledge of coining to the imitation of Roman models. (For extensive information on these and similar points, see 1 night's Pictorial History.)