Слике страница
PDF
ePub

frum-stol, the head seat, until the boy became of CHAP.

I.

age 8

The Northmen were in the habit of exposing their children. The Anglo-Saxons seem not to have been unacquainted with this inhumanity; as one of the laws of Ina provides, that for the fostering of a foundling six shillings should be allowed the first year, twelve the next, thirty the third, and afterwards according to his wlite, or his personal appearance and beauty.'

BEDE mentions, that their period of infancy ended with the seventh year, and that the first year of their childhood began with the eighth." In the early stage, he exhibits the person of whom he speaks as amusing himself with his play-fellows in the tricks and sports of his age, but as excelling in his dexterity, and in his power of pursuing them without fatigue.” It is hardly worth a line to remark, that the Anglo-Saxon child must have resembled every other : restless activity without an object, sport without reasoning, grief without impression, and caprice without affectation, are the usual characteristics of our earliest

years

in

every age and climate.

As the Anglo-Saxons were not a literary people, it is natural that their childish occupations should be the exercises of muscular agility. Leaping, running, wrestling, and every contention and contortion of limb which love of play or emulation

8 Wilkins, p. 20.
10 Bede Vit. Cuthb. c. i. p. 229.

9 Ibid. p. 19.*
1 Bede, Ibid,

At Repton, where the kings of Mercia had a palace, and in the monastery of which place many were buried, a stone coffin was found, containing a skeleton nine feet long. It was surrounded with an hundred other skeletons of a common size. Phil, Trans. v. XXXV. art. 9.

VII.

BOOK could excite, were their favourite sports. Bede

describes his hero as boasting of his superior dexterity, and as joining with no small crowd of boys in their accustomed wrestlings in a field; where, as usual, he says, they writhed their limbs in various but unnatural flexures. 12

The names of the Anglo-Saxons were imposed, as with us, in their infancy, by their parents. In several charters it is mentioned, that the persons therein alluded to, had been called from their cradles by the names expressed ; and which they had received, “not from accident,” but from the will of “ their parents.

Their names seem to have been frequently compound words, rather expressive of caprice than of appropriate meaning. The appellation of Mucil, “ large,” which Alfred's wife's father bore '4, may have been suggested by the size of the new-born infant; as hwithyse, “ the white boy,”

“ the white boy," or Egbert, “bright eye,” might have been imposed from some peculiar appearance. But the following names, when considered as applied first in infancy, appear to be as fantastic, and as much the effusions of vanity, as the lofty names so dear to modern parents :

"13

Æthelwulf,
Berhtwulf,
Eadwulf,
Ealdwulf,
Æthelwyn,
Eadric,
Ælfred,
Hundberht,

the noble wolf.
the illustrious wolf.
the
prosperous

wolf.
the old wolf.
noble in battle, or the noble joy.
happy and rich.
an elf in council.
the illustrious hound.

12 Bede, Vit. Cuthb. c. i. p. 230.
13 Ms. Claud. B. vi. p. 34. et 62., &c.

14 Asser, p. 19.

СНАР.

I.

Heardberht,
Æthelheard,
Sigered,
Sigeric,
Æthelred,
Eadmund,
Eadwin,
Ælfheag,
Dunstan,
Æthelbald,
Wulfric,
Eadward,
Ethelstan,
Ethelbert,

the illustrious protector.
the noble protector.
victorious counsel.
victorious and rich.
noble in council.
the prosperous patron.
prosperous in battle.
tall as an elf.
the mountain-stone.
noble and bold.
powerful as a wolf.
the prosperous guardian.
the noble rock.
noble and illustrious.

Of the female names, the meaning is more applicable, and sometimes displays better taste. We give the following as specimens, taken as they occurred:

very noble.

Æthelswytha,
Selethrytha,
Editha,
Elfhild,
Beage,
Ethelfritha,
Adeleve,
Eadburh,
Heaburge,
Eadfled,
Adelfleda,
Ælfgiva,
Eadgifa,
Æthelgifa,
Wynfreda,
Æthelhild,
Ælfthrythe,

a good threatener.
the blessed gift.
the elf of battle.
the bracelet.
noble and powerful.
the noble wife.
the happy pledge.
tall as a tower.
the happy pregnancy.
the noble pregnancy.
the elf favor.
the happy gift.
the noble gift.
the

peace of man.
the noble war-goddess.
threatening as an elf.

In the will of a Dux Ælfred, written 888, we have the following names, chiefly of priests and monks, who witnessed it :

BOOK
VII.

Beornhelm,
Eardwulf,
Werburg,
Sigfred,
Beonheah,
Beagstan,
Wulfheah,
Beornoth,
Wealdhelm,
Wine,
Sæfreth,
Ceolmund,
Eadwald,
Sigwulf,

the helmet of the nobles.
the wolf of the province.
the hedge of the city.
the peace of victory,
the soaring bee.
the bracelet stone.
the tall wolf.
the nobles oath.
the ruling helmet.
the dear one.
the freedom of the sea.
the protecting ship.
the prosperous governor.
the victorious wolf.

We will subjoin a few specimens of the names prevailing in the same families :

A father and three daughters :
Dudda,

the family stem.
Deorwyn, dear to man, or the precious joy.
Deorswythe,
Golde,

Very dear, golden. 15

A father and his four sons:
Æthelwyn, the noble joy.
Æthelwold, the noble governor.
Alfwold,

the ruling elf.
Athelsin,

always noble. Æthelwyn.

A brother and two sisters :

the lion of the kingdom.

Leonric,
Adelfleda,
Adeleve,

the noble wife.

15 The state of this family is thus mentioned in a Saxon MS. “ Dudda was a husbandman in Hæthfelda; and he had three daughters: one was called Deorwyn ; the other Deorswythe ; and the third Golde. Wullaf, in Hæthfelda, hath Deorwyn for his wife; and Ælfstan, at Kingawyrth, hath Deorwythe ; and Ealhstan, the brother of Ælfstan, married Golde." Cott. MS. Tib. B. 5.

CHAP.

I.

A husband, wife, and daughter :)
Ridda,

the horseman.
Bugega,

nimble as a hind.
Heaburge.
To which we may add,

Ethelwulph and his four sons :
Ethelbald,
Ethelbert,
Ethelred,
Alfred.

It has been a subject of discussion, whether the Anglo-Saxons used surnames. There can be no question that many were distinguished by appellations added to their original, or Christian names. Thus we find a person called Wulfsic se blaca, or the pale; Thurceles hwitan, or the white; others Æthelwerde Stameran, and Godwine Dreflan. Sometimes a person is designated from his habitation, as Ælfric at Bertune; Leonmære at Biggrafan. Very often the addition expresses the name of his father, as Ælfgare Ælfan suna, Ælmær Ælfrices suna, Sired Ælfrides suna, Godwine Wolfnothes suna, or more shortly Wulfrig Madding; Badenoth Beotting. 16 The office, trade, affinity,

16 It is a remarkable peculiarity in some of the Mahomedan countries, and is universal in Syria, and nearly so in Arabia, that instead of the child being called from his parents, as among the Anglo-Saxons and the Northerns, with the addition of son, like our Richard-son, William-son, &c.; both the eastern parents take their name from their first-born son. Thus the paternal person assumes the appellation of abu-Michael, or the father of Michael, because his eldest son received that name. For the same reason the maternal parent is styled om-Suleyman, the mother of Solomon. Jowett's Researches. Hence, whenever we meet with the common prefix of abu, as abubekr, abu-taleb, &c., it always means the father of the son whose name follows the abu. This fact may lead us to consider the system of primogeniture as not merely a civil institution. It seems to have had an origin still more venerated, for we cannot avoid recollecting

« ПретходнаНастави »