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VOL. V, 1914
COLLECTED BY OLIVER ELTON
I. RHYTHM IN ENGLISH VERSE, PROSE, AND SPEECH.
II. THE NOVELS OF MARK RUTHERFORD. A. E. TAYLOR.
IV. SHELLEY'S TRIUMPH OF LIFE. F. MELIAN STAWELL.
VI. TRANSLATION FROM OLD INTO MODERN ENGLISH.
IV. ON PLAYING THE SEDULOUS APE. G. SAMPSON.
V. CONRAD. F. MELIAN STAWELL.
VI. SOUTH-EASTERN AND SOUTH-EAST MIDLAND DIALECTS.
H. C. WYLD.
VOL. VII, 1921
COLLECTED BY JOHN BAILEY
I. RHYME IN ENGLISH POETRY. B. DE SÉLINCOurt.
II. WORDS AND MUSIC IN SONG. A. H. FOX STRANGWAYS.
IV. A CONTEMPORARY LIGHT UPON JOHN DONNE.
V. A BUNDLE OF BALLADS. GEO. NEILSON.
VI. THE 1604 TEXT OF MARLOWE'S DOCTOR FAUSTUS.
VOL. VIII, 1922
COLLECTED BY G. C. MOORE-SMITH
I. TRAGEDY. JOHN S. SMART.
II. ON THE MEANINGS OF CERTAIN TERMS IN THE ANGLO-
III. THE FELON SEW. G. H. CowLING.
IV. THE MYSTICAL ELEMENT IN ENGLISH POETRY.
V. ROMANTICISM IN THE MODERN WORLD. C. H. HERFORD.
VI. HAZLITT. W. P. KER.
VII. ENGLISH GRAMMAR AND GRAMMARS. R. R. McKERROW.
THE TROJANS IN BRITAIN 1
It was a childish grievance among us, when I was a boy, that our British histories began with Julius Caesar; and the grievance persisted when we were no longer boys. Such a wealth of time had passed before the Roman came: was Britain to be counted voiceless all this while? no message? no traditions? Empires had risen and declined; numerous poets had died in poverty; in a hundred different and even contradictory ways philosophers had demonstrated that pleasure is really pain; the world had gone through a great part of its normal course, it was old and was beginning to feel it, when Caesar landed and wrote down his remarks. Was it not a little annoying that Britain should be dumb all this while, and speak first to the world in Caesar's Latin?
These are elaborations, the embroideries of an old grudge. This schoolboy patriotism, as I remember, was never gratified. We were not even told that it had not always been so, that our grievance was modern. I must think it an opportunity lost. For, in fact, this dumbness, this British silence is recent: not much more than some two or three hundred years old. The modern schoolboy is in the habit of envying his remoter predecessors who lived when there was so much less history to learn, and he has all men's sympathy. But there is a rough justice even in our studies. The English schoolboy or undergraduate three centuries ago began his British history not with Julius Caesar and that trumpeting date of 55 B.C., but with Brute and his Britons 1100 years before Christ. A whole Empire was added to his history of which the modern boy knows next to nothing, and he construed his Virgil and his Latin Homer with an interest peculiar
1 This paper is an expansion of an essay originally read to the Alexandrian Society in Glasgow in 1910, and subsequently rehandled in a lecture to the English Association in London on November 17, 1922.
to himself, for, as he was well aware, the first Britons were Trojans, and their leader, King Brute, was a member of the House of Priam, a kinsman of Aeneas, and an ancestor, therefore, of all the Caesars. Nowadays, when a Prince of Wales sits down to learn the history of his family, he is popularly supposed to begin with Cerdic the Saxon. The little Edwards and Henries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries began, we know, with Brutus the Trojan. We have the school books still in which they read.
It was about the beginning of the seventeenth century, in the days when Camden, Speed, and Selden sat in judgement on antiquity, that the first shadows of suspicion began to fall heavily on these British Trojans, after they had enjoyed an almost undimmed reputation for nearly 500 years. They staggered on, still finding defenders, for another half century, persisting still in the popular histories and the popular mind, and flourishing mightily in Wales, but passing more and more, like all lost causes, into the keeping of the poets. The poets had always been friends with them, and it was in the works of a poet that they made perhaps their last signal and historical utterance, in that History of Britain which Milton wrote during the Civil War and Commonwealth. In the new generation of Pepys and Sir William Temple they gradually disappeared from the pages of history, as a fabulous, discredited, and poetical people. The gap which they left remained a gap for many years. The historians tried to fill it with Pytheas of Marseilles and Julius Caesar, but fill as they might they had little success. The hole was too big, and the prehistoric wind kept coming through. Despairing of texts, they began to look about them. They dug; they tapped; they tried Stonehenge. But as every one thought differently about that impressive structure, they were thrown back once more. In the end the really notable discovery was made that digging is an art, and from that time things have mended. Archaeology has swept up antiquarianism, and carried it to the point where inquisitiveness becomes inquiry, and curiosity almost begins to look like science. Archaeology now rules in the place of Brutus and his Trojans, to the notorious advance