By Fletcher, R.H.
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Additional info for A History of English Literature
The Germanic (Anglo-Saxon and 'Danish') element explains, then, why uneducated Englishmen of all times have been thick-headed, unpleasantly self-assertive, and unimaginative, but sturdy fighters; and the Norman strain why upper-class Englishmen have been self-contained, inclined to snobbishness, but vigorously aggressive and persevering, among the best conquerors, organizers, and administrators in the history of the world. SOCIAL RESULTS OF THE CONQUEST. In most respects, or all, the Norman conquest accomplished precisely that racial rejuvenation of which, as we have seen, Anglo-Saxon England stood in need.
The verse is unrimed, not arranged in stanzas, and with lines more commonly end-stopped (with distinct pauses at the ends) than is true i n good modern poetry. org long in quantity. The number of unstressed syllables appears to a modern eye or ear irregular and actually is very unequal, but they are really combined with the stressed ones into 'feet' in accordance with certain definite principles. At least one of the stressed syllables in each half-line must be in alliteration with one in the other half-line; and most often the alliteration includes both stressed sylla b les i n the first halfline and the first stressed syllable in the second, occasionally all four stressed sylla b les.
We have seen that Anglo-Saxon verse depended on regular stress of a defi n ite number of quantitatively l ong syllables in each line and on alliteration; that it allowed much variation in the number of unstressed syllables; and that it was without rime. French verse, on the other hand, had rime (or assonance) and carefully preserved identity in the total number of syllables in corresponding lines, but it was uncertain as regarded the number of clearly stressed ones. The derived English system adopted from the French (1) rime and (2) identical line length, and retained from the Anglo-Saxon (3) regularity of stress.
A History of English Literature by Fletcher, R.H.