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since distinguished by the name of Jutland, Angelen, and Holstein.* The Jutes and Angles in particular, who composed two-thirds of the conquerors of Britain, were a Danish people, and their country at this day belongs to the crown of Denmark ;t so that when the Danes again infested England, three or four hundred years after, they made war on the descendants of their own ancestors. I From this near affinity we might expect to discover a strong resemblance between both nations in their customs, manners, and even language; and, in fact, we find them to differ no more than would naturally happen between a parent country and its own colonies, that had been severed in a rude uncivilized state, and had dropt all intercourse for three or four centuries; especially if we reflect that the colony here settled had adopted a new religion, extremely opposite in all respects to the ancient Paganism of the mother-country; and that even at first, along with the original Angli, had been incorporated a large mixture of Saxons from the neighbouring parts of Germany; and afterwards, among the Danish invaders, had come vast multitudes of adventurers from the more northern parts of Scandinavia. But all these were only different tribes of the same common Teutonic stock, and spoke only different dialects of the same Gothic language.

From this sameness of original and similarity of man

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Vide Chronic. Saxon. à Gibson, pp. 12, 13, 4to.—Bed. Hist. Eccles. à Smith, lib. i. c. xv.—" Ealdsexe (Regio antiq. Saxonum] in cervice Cimbricæ Chersonesi, Holsatiam proprie dictam, Dithmarsiam, Stormariam, et Wagriam, complectens.” Annot. in Bed. à Smith, p. 52. Et vide Camdeni Britan.

+ “Anglia Vetus, hodie etiam Anglen, sita est inter Sa Giotes (Jutos], habens oppidum capitale .. Sleswick.” Ethelwerd. lib. i.

See Northern Antiquities, &c. vol. i. pp. 7,8,185, 259, 260, 261. § Ibid. Preface, p. xxvi.


ners we might justly have wondered, if a character, so dignified and distinguished among the ancient Danes as the Scald or Bard, had been totally unknown or unregarded in this sister nation. And indeed this argument is so strong, and, at the same time, the early annals of the Anglo-Saxons are so scanty and defective (G), that no objections from their silence could be sufficient to overthrow it. For if these popular bards were confessedly revered and admired in those very countries which the AngloSaxons inhabited before their removal into Britain, and if they were afterwards common and numerous among the other descendants of the same Teutonic ancestors, can we do otherwise than conclude, that men of this order accompanied such tribes as migrated hither; that they afterwards subsisted here, though perhaps with less splendour than in the North ; and that there never was wanting a succession of them to hand down the art, though some particular conjunctures may have rendered it more respectable at one time than another? And this was evidently

For though much greater honours seem to have been heaped upon the northern Scalds, in whom the characters of historian, genealogist, poet, and musician, were all united, than appear to have been paid to the Minstrels and Harpers (H) of the Anglo-Saxons, whose talents were chiefly calculated to entertain and divert; while the Scalds professed to inform and instruct, and were at once the moralists and theologues of their Pagan countrymen; yet the Anglo-Saxon Minstrels continued to possess no small portion of public favour; and the arts

they professed were so extremely acceptable to our ances| tors, that the word Glee, which peculiarly denoted their ,

art, continues still in our own language to be of all others the most expressive of that popular mirth and jollity, that strong sensation of delight, which is felt by unpolished and simple minds, (1).

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II. Having premised these general considerations, I shall now proceed to collect from history such particular incidents as occur on this subject; and, whether the facts themselves are true or not, they are related by authors who lived too near the Saxon times, and had before them too many recent monuments of the Anglo-Saxon nation, not to know what was conformable to the genius and manners of that people; and therefore we may presume, that their relations prove at least the existence of the customs and habits they attribute to our forefathers before the Conquest, whatever becomes of the particular incidents and events themselves. If this be admitted, we shall not want sufficient proofs to show that Minstrelsy and Song were not extinct among the Anglo-Saxons; and that the professor of them here, if not quite so respectable a personage as the Danish Scald, was yet highly favoured and protected, and continued still to enjoy considerable privileges.

Even so early as the first invasion of Britain by the Saxons, an incident is recorded to have happened, which, if true, shows that the Minstrel or Bard was not unknown among this people ; and that their princes themselves could, upon occasion, assume that character. Colgrin, son of that Ella who was elected king or leader of the Saxons in the room of Hengist,* was shut up in York, and closely besieged by Arthur and his Britons. Baldulph, brother of Colgrin, wanted to gain access to him, and to apprize him of a reinforcement which was coming from Germany. He had no other way to accomplish his design, but to assume the character of a Minstrel. He therefore shaved his head and beard, and, dressing himself in the habit of that profession, took his harp in his

* See Rapin's Hist. (by Tindal, fol. 1732, vol. i. p. 36,) who places the incident here related under the year 495.

hand. In this disguise he walked up and down the trenches without suspicion, playing all the while upon his instrument as a Harper. By little and little he advanced near to the walls of the city, and making himself known to the sentinels, was in the night drawn up by a rope. .

Although the above fact comes only from the suspicious pen of Geoffry of Monmouth (k), the judicious reader will not too hastily reject it; because, if such a fact really happened, it could only be known to us through the medium of the British writers : for the first Saxons, a martial but unlettered people, had no historians of their own; and Geoffry, with all his fables, is allowed to have recorded many true events, that have escaped other annalists.

We do not however want instances of a less fabulous era, and more indubitable authority : for later history affords us two remarkable facts (L), which I think clearly show that the same arts of poetry and song, which were so much admired among the Danes, were by no means unknown or neglected in this sister nation; and that the privileges and honours which were so lavishly bestowed upon the northern Scalds, were not wholly withheld from the Anglo-Saxon Minstrels.

Our great King Alfred, who is expressly said to have excelled in music, * being desirous to learn the true situation of the Danish army, which had invaded his realm, assumed the dress and character of a minstrel, (M); when, taking his harp, and one of the most trusty of his friends disguised as a servant, † (for in the early times it was not unusual for a minstrel to have a servant to carry his harp,) he went with the utmost security into the Danish camp: and, though he could not but be known to be a Saxon by

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year 878.

his dialect, the character he had assumed procured him a hospitable reception. He was admitted to entertain the king at table, and staid among them long enough to contrive that assault which afterwards destroyed them. This was in the

About sixty years after, * a Danish king made use of the same disguise to explore the camp of our king Athelstan. With his harp in his hand, and dressed like a minstrel (N), Aulaff, † king of the Danes, went among the Saxon tents; and, taking his stand near the king's pavilion, began to play, and was immediately admitted. There he entertained Athelstan and his lords with his singing and his music, and was at length dismissed with an honourable reward, though his songs must have discovered him to have been a Dane, (o). Athelstan was saved from the consequences of this stratagem by a soldier, who had observed Aulaff bury the money which had been given him, either from some scruple of honour, or motive of superstition. This occasioned a discovery.

Now if the Saxons had not been accustomed to have minstrels of their own, Alfred's assuming so new and unusual a character would have excited suspicions among the Danes. On the other hand, if it had not been customary with the Saxons to show favour and respect to the Danish Scalds, Aulaff would not have ventured himself among them, especially on the eve of a battle,(P). From the uniform procedure, then, of both these kings, we may fairly conclude that the same mode of entertainment pre

* Anno 938. Vide Rapin, &c.

+ So I think the name should be printed, rather than Anlaff, the more usual form, (the same traces of the letters express both names in MS.) Aulaff being evidently the genuine northern name Olaff, or Olave, Lat. Olaus. In the old Romance of Horn-Childe, (see vol. iii. page 25,) the name of the king his father is Allof, which is evidently Ollaf, with the vowels only transposed.

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