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grammars in general use, nay more, may know them perfectly, and yet be unable to answer many of the questions, and possibly at an examination receive bad marks for his grammar. Not that the questions are unreasonably difficult, as some persons have imagined, but rather because the existing text-books on this subject do not contain suitable information to enable the student to answer them.
With regard to the title, it may perhaps be well to observe, that as the work exhibits the various systems enunciated by different grammarians, and contains a chronological list of upwards of two hundred and fifty works on English Grammar, with quotations from nearly every English grammar of repute, a more appropriate title could not be given than that which has been selected a Grammar of English Grammars.'
LONDON : March 1863,
GRAMMAR OF ENGLISH GRAMMARS.
I. THE VARIOUS STAGES AND PRINCIPAL WRITERS
OF ENGLISH LITERATURE.
Man can make known his thoughts to his fellow-man by means of certain articulate sounds called speech, or by means of written characters called letters; hence language is either spoken or written.
The English language is chiefly of Saxon origin, but it differs in many important points from the language spoken in the island a thousand years ago under the Saxon dynasty.
The great changes in the language were not made suddenly at any one particular time and place — they are the work of centuries; and in arriving at its present state of perfection, the language passed through various stages, each marked by a particular name and period, and adorned by eminent writers.
The successive stages through which the language has passed since the time of the Anglo-Saxons, the periods of each stage, and the principal writers of each period, are exhibited at one view in the following tabular form:
PERIODS OF EACH STAGR
Anglo-Saxon From Heptarchy to Conquest Eadfride, Caedmon, Bede, Al.
fred, Aelfric. Semi-Saxon. From Conquest to Edward I. Layamon, Robert of Glo'ster,
Robert Manning; Early English , . From Edw. I. to Richard II. Sir J. Mandeville, Trevisa,
Wickliffe, Langland, Chau.
cer, Gower. Middle English. From Rich. II. to Elizabeth Caxton, Sir T. More, Tindall,
Coverdale, Cranmer, Earl of
Surrey, Sackville. Modern English From Elizabeth to Victoria Sidney, Spenser, Shakspeare,
Raleigh, Bacon, Jonson, Mil. ton, Dryden, &c.
A Synopsis of the principal Writers of English Literature, with the
chief Works of each, arranged under the respective Reigns and Periods to which they belong.
PRINCIPAL WORKS, REMARKS, ETC.
Eadfride HEPTARCHY Eadfride, bishop of Holy Isle,
was one of the earliest writers in Flourished towards end
Saxon literature. His principal of 7th century
work was a Gloss or comment on the Evangelists, said to be the oldest Saxon writing extant of
any considerable merit. Caedmon
An ancient Saxon monk, to
whom is attributed a' Metrical Flourished about A.D. 680
Paraphrase' of certain parts of Scripture, besides many hymns and devotional poems. Of this author Bede says, “Never did
Caedmon compose an idle verse.' Bede
A learned monk, born at
Wearmouth, author of a TransBorn 672 ; Died 735
lation of the Gospels and Psalms into Saxon. He also wrote an Ecclesiastical History of Britain in Latin, commencing at the invasion of Julius Cæsar, and end.
ing A.D. 723. Alfred
ALFRED An illustrious king, and such a
lover of learning that no unBorn 848; Died 901
learned person bore office in his reign. Author of a Code of Laws,' and a Commentary of his own Actions.' He also translated the Psalms and Bede's History into Saxon, with various
other works. Aelfric ETHELRED II. Archbishop of
and one of the most learned men Died A.D. 1005
of his day. He translated a great number of Homilies from the Latin into the Saxon language. He has also left a kind of episcopal charge in 37 canons, com
monly called ' Aelfric's Canons.' Lapamon
HENRY II. A priest of Ernley upon SeFlour, about A.D. 1180
vern; his principal work is a translation of Wace's French • Brut.' In this author's writings there is all the appearance of a language thrown into confusion, and struggling to adapt itself to the new state of things, It is
truly neither Saxon nor English. Fobert of Glo'ster HENRY III. The oldest of our English Flour, about A.D. 1260
poets, author of a Metrical Chronicle,' a narrative of British and English affairs in rhyme. His language is a kind of inter. mediate diction, neither Saxon nor English, further obscured by the Western dialect in which
he was educated. Robert Manning EDWARD I. Sometimes called Robert de Flour. about A.D. 1300
Brunne. A learned monk, au. thor of some • Rhyming Translations from the French.' His writings exhibit the language in a considerably more advanced state than that of the monk of Glo'ster.