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In the Norse settlements on the British Isles the saga-narrative flourished universally in the eleventh century, notably at the king's court in Dublin, where Irish and Norse scalds recited their elaborated poems.21 In the twelfth century sagas were still narrated in Dublin, for instance, that of the Norwegian king Magnus Barefoot, who fell in 1103 in Ulster and who is so prominent in Irish saga tradition.22 Is it too much to assume that people had also an oral saga-tale concerning the heroic death of the last king of Dublin and his companion, John the Furious, who clove a Norman knight in two with a single sword-stroke? Cumberland, where a mixed Norwegian-Cymric civilization developed 23 and where Norse runic inscriptions from the middle of the twelfth century have been found, is the home of the Havelok saga. The Viking saga of the Danish king Rolf Kraki and his heroes grew up in Northumberland or Lincolnshire out of old hero-songs, under the influence of the paladins of Charlemagne and Arthur. One of the heroes of King Rolf, the Norwegian, Boðvar Biarki, the Bear's Son, is mentioned in several writings from eastern England, and in them reference particularly is made to fabulae Danorum (Norse tales). Geoffrey of Monmouth has made one of the paladins of Arthur out of this Boðvar (Beduerus, Bedivere).

The Viking saga exercised enduring influence upon the English literature of the Middle Ages. Geoffroy of Monmouth, whose Historia Regum Britanniae is full of Viking stories, knew for example the above-mentioned saga of Brian. Brennius wishes to shake off the authority of his brother, Belinus, and sues for the hand of a daughter of the king of Norway. With the princess and a great host of Norwegians he returns to Britain. They are attacked on the way by the Danish king Guichtlacus, whom the Norwegian princess has long loved. A violent storm comes on, the fleets are scattered, and Guichtlacus lands with his beloved in Northumberland. This tale has been compared with the story of Helgi and his one of its parts it narrates the wonders of Ireland. Dr. Kuno Meyer has recently shown (Eriu, 1908) that these stories about Ireland are not founded upon written sources, but upon oral narratives. This proves that stories and tales during the early Middle Ages really migrated from Ireland and Norway.

Of Icelandic scalds at the king's court in Dublin, I name only Gunnlaug Snakestongue and þorsteinn Orraskald, the court poet of Olaf Cuarán. Irish tales, e. g., of the poet Ruman, tell of Irish scalds who appeared in Dublin.

22 In several Ossianic hero-songs as well as in Irish and Gaelic stories, King Magnus plays an important part. The sea is still called bothar Manuis, the road of Magnus. Among the Ostmen of Ireland the Norse language was still spoken at the middle of the thirteenth century.

23 Cf. the famous cross of Gorforth, with carvings from the Norse mythology. 24 See the narrative of the Anglo-Saxon national hero Hereward, in which several Norse scenes appear (cf. Deutschbein). Axel Olrik calls attention to another Northumbrian saga, that of Earl Siward the Fat.

love Sigrun in the Eddic songs,25 and the Helgi saga in turn is conjectured to have been influenced by the saga of Brian.26 The armies of Brennius and Belinus meet in the wood near Calaterium and fierce is the conflict. "The ranks fell like oats under the reaper's hand", says Geoffrey.27 The Norwegians take flight to their ships; Belinus makes his escape to Gaul. There exists, however, no seaport Calaterium. The whole story is modelled on the narrative of the Battle of Clontarf. Here, too, the battle was fought in a forest outside of Dublin. The Irish saga relates that the "ranks fell as when a great host are reaping a field of oats". At the close of the day the Norwegians fled to their ships. The Irish tale at this point shows its origin from the Norse saga of Brian, for it is said to have been the spectators on the walls of Dublin who made this remark.

The Icelanders became acquainted with the Viking saga in part directly, through their relations with Ireland, and in part indirectly, by way of the Orkney Islands. There was rich literary activity on the Orkneys in the twelfth century. The most noted name about the middle of the century was Jarl Rognvaldr Kali, and about 1200, Bishop Biarni Kolbeinsson. Not poetry alone, but the saga flourished here. According to the view of several scholars Bishop Biarni was the author of the saga of the jarls of Orkney (Jarlasaga). At any rate, the life of St. Magnus, the Orkney jarl, was written there. It was through a man from the Orkney Islands, as we intimated above, that the Icelanders came to know the British saga of Olaf Tryggvason.

Narrative tales had been related in Iceland since the time of its settlement, but now came knowledge of the saga on the British Isles like a mental emancipation. Christianity was introduced; the times were more peaceful. Great deeds were now no longer done; men simply told about them. Legal proceedings had come instead of feuds. In such a period the saga could have its rise.

Richard Heinzel, who was the first to attempt a scientific investigation of the spirit of the saga, calls the sagas "historical romances". Finnur Jonsson (in his history of Icelandic literature) constantly emphasizes their historical value. They are, however, neither romances nor histories, but, as the name indicates, sogur (narrations), artistic reproductions of tradition. The historical and unhistorical are indissolubly blended. Some sagas are more, and some less, historical. A saga like that of Gunnlaug Snakes25 Deutschbein.

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tongue, because of its unified structure, stands very close to the historical romance. What the sagas tell of the Norwegian ancestors of their heroes is, as a rule, unhistorical. Where the action takes place in foreign lands it is generally an invention. Dress and weapons in the sagas belong to the end of the twelfth century. Sigurðr Sýr, when he receives his stepson, St. Olaf, is dressed as a knight of the time of Snorre. The chieftain Arinbjorn presents to the poet Egil Skallagrimsson a complete suit of English cloth and gives him long, elaborate silk sleeves to be fastened to the coat with golden buttons, and this about the year 950 when no English clothindustry existed. Egil expresses his thanks for these sleeves, in a verse. This fashion, as Alwin Schultz28 explains, was not introduced before the second half of the eleventh century.

Where a saga is fiction we find the epic laws established by Axel Olrik prevailing. For instance, the "law of the number three" applies. On the third day the queen of Novgorod finds Olaf Tryggvason; the Hallgerd of the Njála is thrice married and receives a blow on the cheek from each of her three husbands. In these laws we possess an excellent method of deciding whether or not, and in what parts, a saga is the result of poetic invention.

Oral saga-narration originated between 950 and 1000 in the Viking settlements on the British Isles. During the next fifty years these sagas became known in Iceland as well as in Norway. Then the Icelanders in the second half of the eleventh century began to collect the oral traditions. The oral saga had its rise during this time in Iceland, to be written down eighty or a hundred years later.

Peculiar conditions are responsible for the creation of the art of the Icelandic saga: the peaceful life on that distant island in the midst of the ocean, far from the happenings which alter the course of history; remembrance of the forefathers who fought in Britain. and Ireland and who were great chieftains in Norway; the duty of the chieftain to know his ancestral lineage; the relatively great prosperity still prevailing after Viking times, but subsequently offset by economic distress; the long winter evenings in the chieftain's hall or the light summer nights at the Althing.

Three times has the poetry of the Norwegian-Icelandic race conquered the world: by means of the Eddic songs, the Icelandic sagas, and the writings of Ibsen and Björnson. Between these lead. paths which the investigator must follow.

23 Höfisches Leben zur Zeit der Minnesänger.


29 On the Epic Laws Dr. Axel Olrik gave a lecture at the Historical Congress

of Berlin.



THE first great event of an international character which confronted the younger Pitt in his ministry was the Dutch Question. It would take us too far back to describe the origins of the disputes between the hereditary Stadholder and the States of some of the provinces of the Dutch Netherlands. They were complicated by the questions at issue between the provinces and the States General, representing the United Provinces. It must suffice to say that the federal constitution was settled by the compact arrived at in 1747, whereby the stadholderate (which had been suppressed in 1702) was restored as a perpetual office, hereditary in the House of Orange. The relations between the provinces were also adjusted; but neither these nor the powers of the Stadholder were defined with sufficient clearness to avert disputes in the future. The constitution of 1747 was confirmed in 1766. Nevertheless the troubles which followed, especially the war with England in 1780-1783, brought the whole question to a climax in the succeeding years.

The difficulties resulting from a loose federal tie, and the different constitutions and customs of the component provinces, concerning which the Dutch themselves were generally ill informed,1 increased owing to the incompetence of the Stadholder, William V. The grandson of George II. of England, trained by his mother the Princess Anne to love and admire her country, he early ruffled the feelings of his subjects. During his minority he was under the tutelage of the Duke Louis of Brunswick, who made some encroachments on the military prerogatives of the provinces. Even when

1 See Grenville's letter of July 31, 1787, to Pitt from the Hague, in The Dropmore Papers, III. 410.

For the Dutch disputes see Jacobi, Geschichte der Siebenjährigen Verwirrungen . . . in den Vereinigten Niederlanden, 2 vols. (Halle, 1789); Schloezer, Ludwig Ernst, Herzog zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg (Goettingen, 1787); G. Ellis, History of the Late Revolution in the Dutch Republic (London, 1787); De Pfau, Histoire de la Campagne des Prussiens en Hollande en 1787 (Berlin, 1790); P. de Witt, Une Invasion Prussienne en Hollande en 1787 (Paris, 1886); F. Luckwaldt, Die Englisch-Preussische Allianz von 1788 (Leipzig, 1902); Hertzberg, Recueil des . . . Traités, etc. (1778-1789), 2 vols. (Berlin, 1789); von Ranke, Die Deutschen Mächte und der Fürstenbund, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 18711872); H. T. Colenbrander, De Patriottentijd hoofdzakelijk naar buitenlandsche Bescheiden (Hague, 1897, in progress).

the duke was got rid of, foreign influences reigned supreme at the Stadholder's court. Unimpressive in person and torpid in mind, he presented a complete contrast to his consort Wilhelmina, sister of the prince who was soon to become Frederick William II. of Prussia, who possessed not only tact and energy but also the power of inspiring enthusiasm. Sir James Harris who went as British minister to the Hague in December, 1784, wrote soon afterward: “I discover daily many great and good qualities in this Princess: she has a due sense of her situation, and spirit and abilities equal to anything; but he, from that contemptible jealousy ever attendant on imbecility, had rather be crushed by his own awkwardness than saved by her dexterity."2

The party which sought to lessen his powers, and probably to abolish the stadholderate, also strove to weaken the federal tie between the provinces and to undermine the authority of the States General and the Council of State. This party, styled the Patriots, had long enjoyed the support of France. The ambassadors sent. from Versailles, first Vauguyon and then Vérac, encouraged them in their assaults on the central institutions; and after the war, the party of the constitution, or Orange party, which favored an alliance with England or Prussia, steadily lost ground, partly owing to the inactivity of the prince and the unpopularity of England, but also because Frederick the Great, uncle of the Princess of Orange, refused to support her consort, and even pressed him to come to terms with France. Though Pitt and his foreign secretary, the Marquis of Carmarthen, sent Earl Cornwallis on an informal mission to Berlin for the purpose of framing a friendly understanding between the two powers, mainly on the Dutch Question, yet the old monarch declined the proposal and rebuked his envoy at London for lending it his support. The cause of the Prince of Orange therefore declined, despite the tact and energy which. Sir James Harris displayed in its defense. That envoy on December 14, 1784, reported that the British party was "dejected, depressed and divided ". But he added on January 4, 1785, that if the prince acted with energy, two-thirds of the country would obey his call.*


At that time, and indeed throughout the years 1785 and 1786, Pitt refused to allow Harris a free hand at the Hague. His instructions were to do all that was possible by diplomatic means to prevent the fall of the Stadholder, but on no account to commit Great Britain to a policy which might lead to war. The position of foreign

2 Diaries and Correspondence of the first Earl of Malmesbury, II. 97.


Cornwallis Correspondence, I. 206-210; Hertzberg, Recueil, II. 413-416.

Malmesbury Diaries, II. 79, 93. See also Colenbrander, op. cit., I. (Ap

pendix), for documents showing the decline of the Stadholder's party.

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