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- English Literature For Boys And Girls - 1/121 -


H.E. Marshall

English Literature

Chapter I IN THE LISTENING TIME Chapter II THE STORY OF THE CATTLE RAID OF COOLEY Chapter III ONE OF THE SORROWS OF STORY-TELLING Chapter IV THE STORY OF A LITERARY LIE Chapter V THE STORY OF FINGAL Chapter VI ABOUT SOME OLD WELSH STORIES AND STORY-TELLERS Chapter VII HOW THE STORY OF ARTHUR WAS WRITTEN IN ENGLISH Chapter VIII THE BEGINNING OF THE READING TIME Chapter IX "THE PASSING OF ARTHUR" Chapter X THE ADVENTURES OF AN OLD ENGLISH BOOK Chapter XI THE STORY OF BEOWULF Chapter XII THE FATHER OF ENGLISH SONG Chapter XIII HOW CAEDMON SANG, AND HOW HE FELL ONCE MORE ON SILENCE Chapter XIV THE FATHER OF ENGLISH HISTORY Chapter XV HOW ALFRED THE GREAT FOUGHT WITH HIS PEN Chapter XVI WHEN ENGLISH SLEPT Chapter XVII THE STORY OF HAVELOK THE DANE Chapter XVIII ABOUT SOME SONG STORIES Chapter XIX "PIERS THE PLOUGHMAN" Chapter XX "PIERS THE PLOUGHMAN" -- continued Chapter XXI HOW THE BIBLE CAME TO THE PEOPLE Chapter XXII CHAUCER--BREAD AND MILK FOR CHILDREN Chapter XXIII CHAUCER--"THE CANTERBURY TALES" Chapter XXIV CHAUCER--AT THE TABARD INN Chapter XXV THE FIRST ENGLISH GUIDE-BOOK Chapter XXVI BARBOUR--"THE BRUCE," THE BEGINNINGS OF A STRUGGLE Chapter XXVII BARBOUR--"THE BRUCE," THE END OF THE STRUGGLE Chapter XXVIII A POET KING Chapter XXIX THE DEATH OF THE POET KING Chapter XXX DUNBAR--THE WEDDING OF THE THISTLE AND THE ROSE Chapter XXXI AT THE SIGN OF THE RED PALE Chapter XXXII ABOUT THE BEGINNING OF THE THEATER Chapter XXXIII HOW THE SHEPHERDS WATCHED THEIR FLOCKS Chapter XXXIV THE STORY OF EVERYMAN Chapter XXXV HOW A POET COMFORTED A GIRL Chapter XXXVI THE RENAISSANCE Chapter XXXVII THE LAND OF NOWHERE Chapter XXXVIII THE DEATH OF SIR THOMAS MORE Chapter XXXIX HOW THE SONNET CAME TO ENGLAND Chapter XL THE BEGINNING OF BLANK VERSE Chapter XLI SPENSER--THE "SHEPHERD'S CALENDAR" Chapter XLII SPENSER--THE "FAERY QUEEN" Chapter XLIII SPENSER--HIS LAST DAYS Chapter XLIV ABOUT THE FIRST THEATERS Chapter XLV SHAKESPEARE--THE BOY Chapter XLVI SHAKESPEARE--THE MAN Chapter LXVII SHAKESPEARE--"THE MERCHANT OF VENICE" Chapter XLVIII JONSON--"EVERY MAN IN HIS HUMOUR" Chapter XLIX JONSON--"THE SAD SHEPHERD" Chapter L RALEIGH--"THE REVENGE" Chapter LI RALEIGH--"THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD" Chapter LII BACON--NEW WAYS OF WISDOM Chapter LIII BACON--THE HAPPY ISLAND Chapter LIV ABOUT SOME LYRIC POETS Chapter LV HERBERT--THE PARSON POET Chapter LVI HERRICK AND MARVELL--OF BLOSSOMS AND BOWERS Chapter LVII MILTON--SIGHT AND GROWTH Chapter LVIII MILTON--DARKNESS AND DEATH Chapter LIX BUNYAN--"THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS" Chapter LX DRYDEN--THE NEW POETRY Chapter LXI DEFOE--THE FIRST NEWSPAPERS Chapter LXII DEFOE--"ROBINSON CRUSOE" Chapter LXIII SWIFT--THE "JOURNAL TO STELLA" Chapter LXIV SWIFT--"GULLIVER'S TRAVELS" Chapter LXV ADDISON--THE "SPECTATOR" Chapter LXVI STEELE--THE SOLDIER AUTHOR Chapter LXVII POPE--THE "RAPE OF THE LOCK" Chapter LXVIII JOHNSON--DAYS OF STRUGGLE Chapter LXIX JOHNSON--THE END OF THE JOURNEY Chapter LXX GOLDSMITH--THE VAGABOND Chapter LXXI GOLDSMITH--"THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD" Chapter LXXII BURNS--THE PLOWMAN POET Chapter LXXIII COWPER--"THE TASK" Chapter LXXIV WORDSWORTH--THE POET OF NATURE Chapter LXXV WORDSWORTH AND COLERIDGE--THE LAKE POETS Chapter LXXVI COLERIDGE AND SOUTHEY--SUNSHINE AND SHADOW Chapter LXXVII SCOTT--THE AWAKENING OF ROMANCE Chapter LXXVIII SCOTT--"THE WIZARD OF THE NORTH" Chapter LXXIX BYRON--"CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE" Chapter LXXX SHELLEY--THE POET OF LOVE Chapter LXXXI KEATS--THE POET OF BEAUTY Chapter LXXXII CARLYLE--THE SAGE OF CHELSEA Chapter LXXXIII THACKERAY--THE CYNIC? Chapter LXXXIV DICKENS--SMILES AND TEARS Chapter LXXXV TENNYSON--THE POET OF FRIENDSHIP

YEAR 7

Chapter I IN THE LISTENING TIME

HAS there ever been a time when no stories were told? Has there ever been a people who did not care to listen? I think not.

When we were little, before we could read for ourselves, did we not gather eagerly round father or mother, friend or nurse, at the promise of a story? When we grew older, what happy hours did we not spend with our books. How the printed words made us forget the world in which we live, and carried us away to a wonderland,

"Where waters gushed and fruit trees grew And flowers put forth a fairer hue, And everything was strange and new; The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here, And their dogs outran our fallow deer, And honey bees had lost their stings, And horses were born with eagles' wings."*

*Robert Browning.

And as it is with us, so it is with a nation, with a people.

In the dim, far-off times when our forefathers were wild, naked savages, they had no books. Like ourselves, when we were tiny, they could neither read nor write. But do you think that they had no stories? Oh, yes! We may be sure that when the day's work was done, when the fight or the chase was over, they gathered round the wood fire and listened to the tales of the story-teller.

These stories were all of war. They told of terrible combats with men or with fierce strange beasts, they told of passion, of revenge. In them there was no beauty, no tenderness, no love. For the life of man in those far-off days was wild and rough; it was one long struggle against foes, a struggle which left little room for what was beautiful or tender.

But as time went on, as life became more easy, in one way or another the savage learned to become less savage. Then as he changed, the tales he listened to changed too. They were no longer all of war, of revenge; they told of love also. And later, when the story of Christ had come to soften men's hearts and brighten men's lives, the stories told of faith and purity and gentleness.

At last a time came when minstrels wandered from town to town, from castle to castle, singing their lays. And the minstrel who had a good tale to tell was ever sure of a welcome, and for his pains he was rewarded with money, jewels, and even land. That was the true listening time of the world.

It was no easy thing to be a minstrel, and a man often spent ten or twelve years in learning to be one. There were certain tales which all minstrels had to know, and the best among them could tell three hundred and fifty. Of these stories the minstrels used to learn only the outline, and each told the story in his own way, filling it in according to his own fancy. So as time went on these well-known tales came to be told in many different ways, changing as the times changed.

At length, after many years had passed, men began to write down these tales, so that they might not be forgotten. These first books we call Manuscripts, from the Latin words manus, a hand, and scribere, to write, for they were all written by hand. Even after they were written down there were many changes made in the tales, for those who wrote or copied them would sometimes miss lines or alter others. Yet they were less changed than they had been when told only by word of mouth.

These stories then form the beginnings of what is called our Literature. Literature really means letters, for it comes from a Latin word littera, meaning a letter of the alphabet. Words are made by letters of the alphabet being set together, and our literature again by words being set together; hence the name.

As on and on time went, every year more stories were told and sung and written down. The first stories which our forefathers told in the days long, long ago, and which were never written down, are lost forever. Even many of those stories which were written are lost too, but a few still remain, and from them we can learn much of the life and the history of the people who lived in our land ten and twelve hundred years ago, or more.

For a long time books were all written by hand. They were very scarce and dear, and only the wealthy could afford to have them, and few could read them. Even great knights and nobles could not read, for they spent all their time in fighting and hunting, and had little time in which to learn. So it came about that the monks who lived a quiet and peaceful life became the learned men.


English Literature For Boys And Girls - 1/121

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