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CHARACTERISTICS AND EVENTS,
DATIONS, 449–1066. The evolution of the native
The period of dialects. Three of
NORTHERN. them prominent.
Cædmon, c. 680. 1002. Marriage of Æthelred to Emma the Norman.
century. 1042. Edward the Confessor. Be
SOUTHERN. ginning of direct Norman influence.
Ælfred, 849-901. 1066. Anglo-Saxon no longer the
Ælfric, c. 990. standard language.
Three distinct languages in England:
Latin, the official language of
Church and State ; French, the Layamon's Brut,
polite language of court and no c. 1205. 1066–1250.
bility; and English, the vulgar Ormulum, c. 1215. The native
tongue spoken by the natives. Ancren Riwle, c. tongue holding
1154. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle closes. 1225. its own against English works, like the Brut,contain Walter Map, d. the French.
almost no traces of French influ-
III. PERIOD OF
1250–1350. Native tongue steadily gaining
1258. Proclamation of Henry III. Havelok the Dane, in English.
1270—1280. 1274-1307. Edward I. “used Eng- Robert of Glouceslish familiarly.”
ter's Chronicle, Period of French romances with 1300. English translations.
Guy of Warwick.
1 The dates are mere approximations.
TALBE IV.—THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.-Continued.
CHARACTERISTICS AND EVENTS.
IV. PERIOD OF RAPID TRANSI
1362. Parliament first opened with
Piers Plowman, an English speech.
1362. 1362. Statute requiring that
Chaucer's Dethe pleadings in the law courts be in
of Blaunche, English.
chronicon—the first revival of the els:
English, c. 1400. 1375. Oldest extant private records
Canterbury Tales, in English.
1373-1393. 1385. English rather than French
Wyclif's Bible, used in the schools.
1380. 1386. Earliest English petition to Gower's Confessio Parliament.
Amantis,c.1393. 1387. Earliest English will.
1350-1400. Saxon and French blend into English.
During this period the English lan-
Paston Letters, 1413–1422. Henry V. sends ambas
1422-1507. sadors to France who could Malory's Morte V.
neither speak nor understand d'Arthur, C. THE BEGIN French.
1470. NINGS OF MOD-1444. Petitions and wills regularly Caxton's TranslaERN ENGLISH, in English.
tion of Reynard, 1400-1557.
1477. Caxton's press set up in Eng 1481. The language land.
Skelton, 1460augmented en- 1488. Birth of Coverdale.
1529. riched, and pu- 1491. Grocyn teaches Greek at More's Utopia, rified. Oxford.
1516. 1505. Birth of John Knox.
Tyndal's Transla1515. Birth of Roger Ascham.
tion, 1525. 1535. Death of Thomas More. Latimer's Plowers, 1542. Death of Wyatt.
1549. 1557. Tottel's Miscellany
TABLE V.-THE AGE OF CHAUCER, 1350-1400.
I. POETRY. 1327–1377. EDWARD III. DANTE, 1265-1321. 1. WILLIAM LANGLAND, 1339. Beginnings of the
Vita Nuova, 1307. c. 1332-C. 1400.
Hundred Years' War. Divina Commedia, Piers Plowman.
1346. Battle of Crécy. 1307 ?-1321 ?. 2. JOHN GOWER, C. 1330
1349. First appearance PETRARCH, 1304-1375. 1408.
of Black Death. Sonnets and Lyrics. Vox Clamantis (Latin). 1356. Battle of Poi- BOCCACCIO, 1313– Confessio Amantis.
The Decam3. GEOFFREY CHAUCER, 1359. Chaucer taken by
eron, 1350. 1340-1400.
PETRARCH CROWNED The Parlament of
1372. Chaucer meets at Rome, 1341. Foules.
Giotto, Italian artist, Troilus and Criseyde.
1377. Chaucer's mission 1276–1336. The Hous of Fame.
FROISSART, French The Legende of Good 1377–1399. RICHARD II.
1381. Wat Tyler's Re 1410. Treatise on the Astro
1382. Suppression of The Canterbury Tales. Wyclif's poor priests.
1384. Death of Wyclif. II. PROSE.
1389. Truce with 1. JOHN WYCLIF, C. 1324 France. -1384.
1390. Chaucer clerk of Translation of the
1399-1413. HENRY IV. 2. SiR JOHN MANDE
1399. Persecution of the VILLE, 1300 ?-1371 ?.
Lollards. The Voiage and Trav
THE CENTURY OF DARKNESS
FROM THE DEATH OF CHAUCER TO THE ACCESSION OF
Authorities. Gairdner, The Houses of Lancaster and York; The Paston Letters (Bohn), a series of private letters written between 1422 and 1507, throw a flood of light upon the manners and the spirit of the age; Shakespeare's Richard II., Henry IV., Henry V., Henry VI., and Richard III. should be studied with care in connection with Warner, English History in Shakespeare's Plays.
In literature and in civilization generally, the century after the death of Chaucer was a time of almost total eclipse, well-nigh as dark as that which in earlier days had followed the era of Northumbria. Taine even calls it the age of pagan renaissance. With the death of Chaucer the new literature which had sprung up everywhere in England with such richness and variety, and which had seemed but the promise of a more glorious future, ceased as suddenly as it had begun. A few singers there were like Occleve and Lydgate who for a time feebly imitated their great master, but they were soon silent and the century dragged on to its close as if the great era of Chaucer had never been. The reasons for this sudden relapse are plainly evi
Henry's Usurpation of the Throne
dent. It was a century of civil war, when the nation was learning at a fearful price the lesson of self-control; and it was an era of most narrow religious intolerance. Not until there is freedom of thought and freedom of conscience can there be a national literature.
The Later Plantagenets. The dark days for England had begun even before the death of Chaucer. The early death of the Black Prince caused the succession to fall to his son, Richard II. But his reign was so full of weakness and injustice that Henry, son of John of Gaunt, aided by the Percies and other powerful houses, had even dared to rise against him. In 1399, only a few months before Chaucer's death, this daring young noble suc
ceeded in his rebellion, deposed the King, LANCASTER. (Red Rose.)
and although he was not in the direct Henry IV., 1399–1413. line of succession, seized the crown under Henry V., -1422. Henry VI., -1461. the title of Henry IV. This act of
usurpation kept England in a tumult (White Rose.) Edward IV., 1483.
for nearly a century, and precipitated the Edward V., 1483. quarrel between baron and baron which Richard III., 1485.
was bound to come sooner or later, and which eventually cleared from England the last vestiges of the feudal system.
The storm soon burst with fury upon Henry, but the King was master of the situation and at the battle of Shrewsbury dealt such a blow at the great houses which had arisen against him that the feudal power did not rally again for a generation. His son, Henry V., was a strong, masterful man, one of the brilliant figures in English history. He saw clearly his position,-England was a powder-mill that a single spark might destroy; and with cool wisdom he adopted the plan of Edward III.