ePub 版

had greatly degenerated from their fore- most part, taking little or nothing from fathers. Relatives sold one another the English, while they bestowed a into thraldom; lewdness and ungodli- good deal upon them. But the Northness were become habitual; and cow- men who became Normans underwent ardice had increased to such a degree changes that rendered it impossible that, according to the old chroniclers, that the Northmen in England should one Dane would often put ten Anglo- coalesce with them after Duke WilSaxons to flight. Before such a people liam's victory in 1066. The English could be conducted to true freedom and Northmen were strongly attached to greatness it was necessary that an en- individual freedom, as all Northmen tirely new vigor should be infused into were originally; but the Normans had the decayed stock. This vigor was learned to be feudalists in France, and derived from the Scandinavian North, this necessarily made foes of men who where neither Romans nor any other by blood ought to have been friends. conquerors had domineered over the Many of those who offered the stoutpeople, and where heathenism, with est resistance to the Conqueror were all its roughness and all its love of Danes; and it was not until many years freedom and bravery, still held abso- after Hastings that the English Northlute sway.”

men submitted to the French Normans. The work which the Danes began The English Northmen, nevertheless, was completed by the Normans; and were of real use to the Normans, by it may well be doubted if the Normans what they had effected long before the ever could have effected much in Eng- expedition of William was thought of, land had they not been preceded by the and when the Normans had not become Danes. The Danes were Northmen, as the chief champions of feudalism. The are the Swedes and Norwegians. By immediate effect of Danish action on Normans are meant the governing race

William's fortunes, too, was very great. in Neustria, the duchy of Normandy. The Saxon Harold was compelled to The Northmen who settled in Neustria, fight a battle with the Scandinavian and who became the foremost people of invaders of England but twenty days those times, — they and their descend- before Hastings; and these invaders ants, — did in a portion of France what sought to place a Danish or Norwetheir kinsmen the Danes were doing gian dynasty on the English throne. in England. Circumstances gave to Harold was victorious in his conflict the Normans

consequence in history with the Northmen; but the weakness that is denied to the Danes; but the and exhaustion consequent on the exinfluence of the latter was very great ertions necessary to repel them were on English life, and on the course of among the leading.causes of his failure English events; and Norman influence before the Normans. on that life, and over those events, was The people who gave their name to materially aided by the earlier action of what is called the Norman Conquest of the Danish invaders of England. The England * were the most extraordinary difference between the Northmen in race of the Middle Ages. This can be France and the Northmen in England

* " What we call purchase, perquisitio," says was this: the former, to a very great Blackstone, “the feudists called conquest, congiisiextent, became Frenchmen, while the tio; both denoting any means of acquiring an estate latter did not become Englishmen.

out of the common course of inheritance.

is still the proper phrase in the law of Scotland, as it The former, from Northmen, became was among the Norman jurists, who styled the first Normans, and took much from the peo- purchaser (that is, him who brought the estate into

the family which at present owns it the conqueror, ple among whom they settled.


or conqucreur, which seems to be all that was meant latter remained Northmen, for the by the appellation which was given to William the

Norman.” Had Harold been victorious at Hastings, An A.co.. of the Danes a:d Norwegians in he would, according to the feudists, have been the England, Szo:!.0d, and Ireland, Ly J. J. Worsaae, Conqueror; that is, the man who brought England Sec. I. p. 6.

into his family.


And this


said of them, too, without subscribing were in the habit of looking back to to the extravagant eulogies of their the home of their youth, or of their ardent admirers, who are too much in fathers, with that sort of fondness and the habit of speaking of them in terms regret which were felt by those Engthat would be misplaced were they ap- lishmen who founded the American naplied to Athenians of the age of Peri- tion. This is all wrong. The Northcles. The simple truth concerning men had left the North for the same them shows that they were superior in reason that other men leave their counevery respect to all their contempo- tries, the only reason that ever causes raries, unless an exception be made on them to do so, because the North behalf of the Mussulmans of Spain. did not afford them means of supThe Northmen who came first upon port. Had they remained at home, they Southern Europe were mere barbari- would have starved ; and therefore they ans, but there were among them men turned their backs on that home, and of great natural powers, as there were became plunderers. Some returned among those barbarians who overran home, bearing with them much spoil ; the Roman empire; and they were able but others settled abroad, and thought to take advantage of the wretched con- no more of the North. They cut the dition of Europe, as earlier barbarians connection entirely. Like an earlier had profited from the wretched condi- “ brood of winter,” they found ample tion of Rome. Of these men, Rollo compensation for all they had left bewas one of the most eminent; and be- hind in “the brighter day and skies of yond all others of the Northmen his azure hue" of Southern lands. They action has had the largest influence on thought they had made a good exhuman affairs, - an influence, too, that change of " Northern pines for Southpromises to last ; for it is working vig

ern roses." orously at this moment, though he has Of these last, the Normans proper been more than nine centuries in his were the most noted, and they have grave, and though to most persons he the first place of all their race in the is as much a mythical character as world's annals. They changed in evHercules, and more so than Romu- erything, from soul to skin. They lus. We know that he was the founder became Christians, and they took new of Normandy in the early part of the names. Their original language was tenth century; and but for his action soon displaced by the French, and bein obtaining a southern home for him- came so utterly lost that hardly more is self and his heathen followers, the con- known of it than we know of the Etrusquest of England never could have can tongue. “The Danish language,” been attempted in a regular manner; says Sir Francis Palgrave, “ was never and the stream of English history must prevalent or strong in Normandy. The have run altogether differently, in a Northmen had long been talking thempolitical sense, even had Northmen, as selves into Frenchmen; and in the distinguished from Normans, succeeded second generation, the half-caste Northin establishing themselves in that coun- men, the sons of French wives and try. It was the French character of French concubines, spoke the Romanethe Normans which rendered their sub- French as their mothers' tongue.” The jugation of England so important an same great authority says: “In the event, giving to it its peculiar signifi- cities, Bayeux only excepted, hardly cance, and causing it to bear so strongly any language but French was spoken. on European, Asiatic, and American Forty years after Rollo's establishment, history. The Northmen became Chris- the Danish language struggled for extians and Normans. It is not uncom- istence. It was in Normandy that the mon to speak of them as if they re- Langue d'oil acquired its greatest poltained their Norwegian characteristics ish and regularity. The earliest speciin “ the pleasant land of France,” and mens of the French language, in the


[ocr errors]

proper sense of the term, are now Another unfounded notion respecting surrendered by the French philologists the Normans relates to purity of lineto the Normans. The phenomenon age.

To read some historians, you of the organs of speech yielding to might come to the conclusion that the social or moral influences, and losing Normans were an unmixed race, and the power of repeating certain sounds, that they prided themselves on the was prominently observable amongst blueness of their blood, and were the the Normans. No modern French most exclusive of peoples. Nothing of gazette-writer could disfigure English the kind. Like most peoples who have

more whimsically than the done much, the Normans were a mixed Domesday Commissioners. To the race. They took to themselves all who last, the Normans never could learn to would come to them, who were worth say · Lincoln,' — they never could get the taking. The old Roman lay of the nearer than “Nincol,' or Nicole.?" asylum on the Palatine Hill might The “chivalry” of Virginia and the almost serve as matter for a Norman Carolinas – our Southern Northmen sirvente, for the policy which it attrib— might cite this last fact in evidence utes to Romulus, and which was folof their tongues having a Norman lowed by his successors, was the poltwang. They never have been able to icy adopted by Rollo, and which his say “Lincoln,” though they make a successors maintained. Says Sir F. nearer approach to proper pronuncia- Palgrave, “When treating of the · Nortion of the word than was vouchsafed mans,' we must always consider the to the genuine Normans when they appellation as descriptive rather than say “ Abe Linkin.” That the Normans ethnographical, indicative of political cherished the thought of their Northern relations rather than of race, Like origin is a modern error. Sir F. Pal- William the Conqueror's army, the grave, with literal accuracy, assures us hosts of Rollo were augmented by adthat they “ dismissed all practical recol- venturers from all countries. Rollo exlection in their families of their original hibited a remarkable flexibility of charScandinavian ancestry.

Not one of acter; he encouraged settlers from all their nobles ever thought of deducing parts of France and the Gauls and his lineage from the Hersers or Jarls England, and his successors systemator Vikings who occupy so conspicu- ically obeyed the precedent.” Most ous a place in Norwegian history, not such adventurers in any age of the even through the medium of any tradi- world must be of the most ancient of tional fable. Roger de Montgomery families, the families, to wit, of “ robdesignated himself as “Northmannus bers and reivers,” the enlisted rascalNorthmannorum’; but, for all practical ity of the earth, but none the worse purposes, Roger was a Frenchman of workmen because their patron is St. the Frenchmen, though he might not Cain. There is a great deal of work like to own it. This ancestorial remi- to be done that can be done only by niscence must have resulted from some such fellows. It is sagely said that peculiar fancy ; no Montgomery pos- the world would be but ill peopled if sessed or transmitted any memorial of none but the wise were to marry. It is his Norman progenitors The very certain that the world would get forward name of Rollo's father, “Senex quidam very slowly if none but the mild and in partibus Daciæ,' was unknown to the moral were active in its business. Rollo's grandchildren, and if not known, There is an immense amount of busiworse than unknown, neglected." * ness to be accomplished that the mild * The History of Normandy and of England,

cannot do, and which the moral will Vol. I. pp. 703, 704.

One of the greatest historical works of a country and an age singularly rich in his. humously published in 1864, Sir Francis died in torical literature, but incomplete, like the works of 1861, -- are well edited by the author's son, Mr. Macaulay, Niebuhr, and Arnold, and the last work Francis Turner Palgrare, who honorably upholds of Prescott. The third and fourth volumes, post- the honored name he inherits,


[ocr errors]

men ?

not do. How can it be expected of All remembrance of their national pomild men that they should cut human etry was as completely obliterated throats, when they cannot be trusted among the posterity of the Northmen even to stick the sheep which they in France, as if, in traversing the ocean, have no hesitation in eating? How they had drank of the water of Lethe. unreasonable it would be to expect This total oblivion of their original moral men to become soldiers, — and home they have in common with the the soldier's trade is the only per- West Goths, who in Castilian poesy manent pursuit, save the pursuits of the have not left the faintest trace of their grave-digger and the hangman, when original manners and opinions. The so exemplary a personage as the great same remark has been applied to the Duke of Wellington gravely said, on Vareger, who founded a royal dynasty his oath and on his lonoř, that the ar- in Russia, and to whom that country, my is no place for moral and religious as a Russian author remarks, is not

The felons who flocked to indebted for a single new idea. The Rollo's standard wellnigh a thousand causes are here the same with those years ago were recruited from the that effected a complete oblivion of dangerous classes” of those remote their mother tongue, namely, their indays, and were probably as useful in ferior civilization, their intermixture the task of civilizing the world as, ac- with the natives, their marriages with cording to the assertion of one of the the women of the country, who knew most eminent of English divines and no other traditions than those of their historians, are rough and lawless men native land. In Normandy, too, the in that of Europeanizing Polynesia. Christian clergy must have suppressed

Dr. Lappenberg, whose authority is every memorial of the ancient mygreat in all that relates to the history of thology." * Further, “Whatever parthe Normans, confirms what is said by tiality the Normans may have enterSir F. Palgrave of the ignorance of the tained for history, they nevertheless North and the indifference to it which betrayed an almost perfect indifference characterized the Normans. Speaking for their original country. The hisof the Norman literature, he observes : torians of Normandy describe the “In vain we seek herein imitations of heathen North as a den of robbers. the old Norse poesy, or allusions to After an interval of two centuries, they the history or customs of Scandinavia. knew nothing of the events that had There may, perhaps, exist more resem

* A History of England under the Norman blance between the heroic sagas of Kings, etc., pp. 84, 85, and 87. Dr. Lappenberg is the North and the romances of chiv- emphatic on the subject of the formation of the

Norman race through the junction of various races. alry of the South of Europe, both hav

Rolf (Rollo) and his companions were like those ing for subjects wonderful adventures, meteors which traverse the air with incredible swiftand the praise of heroism and beauty ; ness,” he says, “and in vanishing leave behind them

long streams of fire which the eye gazes on with but from this resemblance it cannot be

The Northmen who settled in Neusconcluded that the Anglo-Norman poets tria gradually became lost among the French, a have borrowed their fictions from the mixture of Gauls and Romans, Franks and BurNorman skalds. We have not a single gundians, West Goths and Saracens, friends and

foes, barbarians and civilized nations, Ten sorts of proof that they were acquainted with language, and with them, perhaps, as many forms of any saga or any skaldic composition. government, were lost amid this mass of peoples.

French and foreigners have visited Normandy in * Merivale, History of the Romans under the search of some traces of the old Scandinavian colonies, Empire ; Vol. IV. p. 297, note : “The civilization or at least of some testimonial of their long sojourn of barbarians, at least their material cultivation, has there, and one or other memorial characteristic of been generally more advanced by instructors whose this daring people. All have admired the prosperity moral superiority was less strongly marked, than of the province, to which the fertility of the soil and where the teachers and the taught have few common its manufactures and commerce have contributed ; but sympathies and points of contact. Thus, in our own vainly have they sought for the original Northmen times, rough whalers and brutal pirates have done in the present inhabitants. With the exception of more to Europeanize the natives of Polynesia than some faint resemblances, they have met with noththe missionaries."

ing Norsk." — Pp. 65, 66. VOL. XVIII. — NO. 108.



caused the founder of their ruling learning acquired, or their taste in-" family to forsake the North ; they did formed ? Amongst the eminent men not even know where Denmark and who gloriously adorn the Anglo-NorNorway lay. Benoît de Ste More be- man annals, perhaps the smallest numgins his chronicle with a geographic ber derive their origin from Normandy. sketch, in which he takes Denmark for Discernment in the choice of talent, Dacia, and places it at the mouth of and munificence in rewarding ability, the Danube, between the extensive may be truly ascribed to Rollo's succountries of the Alani and the Getæ, cessors ; open-handed, open-hearted, which are always covered with ice, not indifferent to birth or lineage, but and surrounded by a chain of moun- never allowing station or origin, nation tains." The excellent chronicler's or language, to obstruct the elevation geographical notions seem to have of those whose talent, learning, knowlbeen about as clear as those of Lolah, edge, or aptitude gave them their pawho tells Katinka that

tent of nobility."* The Normans won “Spain 's an island near

their fame, as the Romans their emMorocco, betwixt Egypt and Tangier.” pire, through aid of various races, and The earliest Norman chroniclers by borrowing and assimilating whatshow that the Normans, or rather the ever they found of good among all the Northmen, bore much ill-will toward peoples with whom they came in conthe French ; and this prejudice, it has tact, - meaning by good what was correctly been said, “probably lasted useful for the promotion of their puras long as their Northern physiog- poses. nomy, their fair hair, and other char- The old Northmen in Neustria did acteristics whereby they were distin- not give way without a struggle, not guished from the French.” But they for existence only, but for victory, of soon became the flower of French races, which at one time their prospect was and were regarded as Frenchmen in by no means bad. The Danish party all the lands to which they were led by was strong in the time of Rollo, and it their valor, their enterprise, their am- might have established itself over Norbition, and their avarice. They con- mandy in the early years of his son, tinued to avail themselves of the tal- William I., who deemed his Norman ents of other races long after North- sovereignty lost, and who at one time men had been converted into Normans, showed the white feather in a very ungreatly to their own advantage, and Norman-like manner, and in quite the considerably to the advantage of oth- reverse fashion to that adopted by Heners. “Inclination, policy, interest,” says ri IV. at Ivry. At length he recovered Palgrave, “strengthened the impulse his courage, and, delivering battle, he given by the diffusion of the Romane won a complete victory, which was ruinspeech. Liberality was the Norman ous to the vanquished. They were virtue. “Norman talent,' or “Norman exterminated, and Riulph, their leader, taste,' or 'Norman art,' are expres- was captured, and blinded by William's sions intelligible and definite, convey orders. It is supposed he died under ing clear ideas, substantially true and the operation. William's cruelty is yet substantially inaccurate. What, for attributed to his earlier cowardice, and example, do we intend when we speak it is an old saw that no one is so cruel of Norman architecture ? Who taught as a victorious coward; but cruelty the Norman architect? Ah, when you was not so uncommon a thing in the contemplate the structures raised by year 933 that there should be any Lanfranc or Anselm, will not the re- necessity for attributing the Norman's ply conduct you beyond the Alps, and * The History of Normandy and of England, lead you to Pavia or Aosta, — the cit- Vol. I. pp. 704, 705. Lanfranc, who was made Archies where these fathers of the Anglo- bishop of Canterbury by the Conqueror

, was a native

of Pavia, and Anselm, his successor, a native of Norman Church were nurtured, their


« 上一頁繼續 »