A trade with China had been a major objective of English adventure since the middle of the sixteenth century, when the Muscovy Company had had its origins in an attempt to find a northeast passage around the Scandinavian peninsula leading to Cathay Marco Polo's fabulous kingdom of northern China.
Only two relics of this age, in their primitive form, remain; they are rhymeless, but alliterated, a kind of versification common to the German, Anglo- Saxon, and Scandinavian poetry, and which, early in the ninth century, gave place to rhyme.
England is certainly the first and foremost. Endowed with all the characteristics of the Scandinavian race, which we shall touch upon after, deeply infused with the blood of the Danes and Northmen, she has all the indomitable energy, all the systematic grasp of mind and sternness of purpose joined to the wise spirit of compromise and conservatism of the men of the far North; she, of all nations, has inherited their great power of expansion at sea, possessing all the roving propensities of the old Vikings, and the spirit of trade, enterprise, and colonization, of those old Phoenicians of the arctic circle.
"Truly," said the Duke mildly, and with the tone of a meek man much injured; "my dear cousin's death, and the wrongs I have received from Harold, touch me nearly." Then said Fitzosborne, with that philosophy, half grave as became the Scandinavian, half gay as became the Frank: "No man should grieve for what he can help still less for what he cannot help.
They may possibly, at some future time, come within the range of Russia's territorial appetite, but at present the only part of the Scandinavian Peninsula on which she is supposed to cast longing eyes is a barren district in the extreme north, which is said to contain an excellent warm-water port.
"As you are going to-morrow, eh?" said Garth. "Boys play at what men achieve," answered Harry. And then was begun a dream which Yaspard and Harry realised in later years. In the evening, Amy, seeing Yaspard still hankering after Garth's Scandinavian travels and lore, said, "Do, Garth, read us what you have written about the Jews and the Norsemen. I am so fond of that little bit.
On the contrary, however, languages exceedingly similar in other respects, may differ in the order of the parts of a term; e.g. the German dialects, throughout, place the article before the noun, and keep it separate: whereas the Scandinavian tongues not only make it follow, but incorporate it with the substantive with which it agrees.
As for Scandinavian, not every one in England is aware that the Icelanders are, and have been for a thousand years, the most literary people in the world; that in one important branch of literature, that of story-telling, they are absolutely without a rival, except in the Old Testament.
Rollo assumed the title of Duke of the Normans and introduced the Christian religion among his people. For a considerable time the newcomers kept up their Scandinavian traditions and language. Gradually, however, they appropriated such culture as their neighbors possessed, and by the twelfth century their capital, Rouen, was one of the most enlightened cities of Europe.
This tomb has been thought to be that of a Scandinavian, and we venture to say, that of Thorvald, son of Eric the Red. In the spring of 1007, three vessels carrying 160 men and some cattle, left Eriksfjord; the object in view was the foundation of a permanent colony.