Is there not, in truth, beauty in the old Anglo-Saxon story of the bird that shot in at one open window of the large assembly hall and out at another, where were gathered together a great company of thanes and vassals; and when the missionary was asked to speak to them concerning God and His salvation, the thane who was presiding rose and said, recalling the bird's speedy flight from side to side of the hall, "Such is our life, and if this man can tell us anything concerning the place to which we are going, let him stand up and be heard."
Among the ancient representations are models of the boats in which the old Norsemen sailed the seas, and of those by which our Anglo-Saxon ancestors invaded England from Germany.
I was then ordered to return to the brig, bring on board her crew, leaving only the cook and steward, and to take charge of the prize as Lieutenant Bukett, our first lieutenant, was not yet wholly recovered from an attack of African fever. The crew of twenty men, when brought on board, consisted of Spaniards, Greeks, Malays, Arabs, white and black, but had not one Anglo-Saxon.
Two men were with her: one a Russian, the silent type, with a big hat, who was taking care of the horse: the other, a tall, broad faced Anglo-Saxon fellow, whose bronzed face would be appropriate in the tropics but not on the white steppes of Siberia. A little longhaired pony brought the trio in a fancy sledge early in the morning. He took me for Lucie's servant.
Alliteration and assonance are the natural ornaments of poetry in a rude age. In Anglo-Saxon literature alliteration is one of the chief ways of distinguishing poetry from prose. But when a strict prosody is formed, it is no longer needed. Thus in almost all civilised poetry, it has been discarded, except as an occasional and appropriate ornament for a special purpose.
He was an exceedingly handsome youth, with exquisite manners, "dreamy rather than dazzling eyes, dilated nostrils, and vermilion lips half opened." Such was he when George Sand, then seven years his senior, met him. There is something which, to the Anglo-Saxon mind, seems far more absurd than pathetic about the events which presently took place.
But there was a community, or rather group of communities, living in Britain before the Conquest under what we call Saxon names, and of a blood probably more Germanic and certainly less French than the same communities after the Conquest. And they have a modern reputation which is exactly the reverse of their real one. The value of the Anglo-Saxon is exaggerated, and yet his virtues are ignored.
I have by this time heard a great deal about the necessity of saving Anglo-American friendship, a necessity which I myself feel rather too strongly to be satisfied with the ambassadorial and editorial style of achieving it. I have already said that the worst style of all is to be Anglo-American; or, as the more illiterate would express, to be Anglo-Saxon.
In this year of grace, among all races except our own, there are ways in which a man may definitely commit himself without saying a word. A flower or a serenade is almost equivalent to a proposal in sunny Spain. A "walking-out" period of six months is much in vogue in other parts of Europe, but the daughter of the Anglo-Saxon has no such guide to a man's intentions.
The oldest political institution in England is the monarchy. Older than Parliament, older than the law-courts, older than the division of the country into shires, the monarchy dates back to the consolidation of the petty Anglo-Saxon states in the ninth century and these were themselves kingdoms.