[Auihorities. - Dudo of S. Quentin, a verbose and confused writer, has preserved the earliest Norman traditions. His work is abridged and continued by William of Jumieges, a contemporary of the Conqueror, whose work forms the base of the "Roman de Rou, composed by Wace in the time of Henry the Second. The religious movement is best told by Ordericus Vitalis, a Norman writer of the twelfth century, gossiping and confused, but full of valuable information. For Lanfranc see "Lanfranci Opera, ed. Giles," and the life in Hook's "Archbishcps of Canterbury." For Anselm see the admirable biography by Dean Church. The general history of Normandy is told diffusely but picturesquely by Sir F. Palgrave, "Normandy and England," more accurately and succinctly by Mr. Freeman, " History of Norman Conquest," vols. i. and ii].
The quiet of Harold's accession was at once broken by news of danger from a land which, strange as it seemed then, was soon to become almost a part of England itself. A walk through Normandy teaches one more of the age of our history which we are about to traverse than all the books in the world. The story of the Conquest stands written in the stately vault of the minster at Caen which still covers the tomb of the Conqueror. The name of each hamlet by the roadside has its memories for English ears; a fragment of castle wall marks the home of the Bruce, a tiny little village preserves the name of the Percy. The very look of the country and its people seem familiar to us; the peasant in his cap and blouse recalls the build and features of the small English farmer; the fields about Caen, with their dense hedgerows, their elms, their apple-orchards, are the very picture of an English country-side. On the windy heights around rise the square grey keeps which Normandy handed on to the cliffs of Richmond or the banks of Thames, while huge cathedrals lift themselves over the red-tiled roofs of little market towns, the models of the stately fabrics which superseded the lowlier churches of aelfred or Dunstan.
Hrolf the Ganger, or Walker, a Norwegian and a pirate leader like Guthrum or Hasting, had wrested the land on either side the mouth of Seine from the French king, Charles the Simple, at the moment when aelfred's children were beginning their conquest of the English Danelaw. The treaty in which France purchased peace by this cession of the coast was a close imitation of the peace of Wed-more. Hrolf, like Guthrum, was baptized, received the king's daughter in marriage, and became his vassal for the territory which now took the name of "the Northman's land " or Normandy. But vassalage and the new faith sat alike lightly on the pirate. No such ties of blood and speech tended to unite the northman with the French among whom he settled along the Seine as united him to the Englishmen among whom he settled along the Humber. William Longsword, the son of Hrolf, though wavering towards France and Christianity, remained a northman in heart; he called in a Danish colony to occupy his conquest of the Cotentin, the peninsula which runs out from St. Michael's Mount to the cliffs of Cherbourg, and reared his boy among the northmen of Bayeux, where the Danish tongue and fashions most stubbornly held their own.
A heathen reaction followed his death, and the bulk of the Normans, with the child Duke Richard, fell away for the time from Christianity, while new pirate-fleets came swarming up the Seine. To the close of the century the whole people are still "Pirates"to the French around them, their land the "Pirates' land," their Duke the " Pirates' Duke".
Yet in the end the same forces which merged the Dane in the Englishman told even more powerfully on the Dane in France. No race has ever shown a greater power of absorbing all the nobler characteristics of the peoples with whom they came in contact, or of infusing their own energy into them. During the long reign of Duke Richard the Fearless, the son of William Longsword, heathen Norman pirates became French Christians, and feudal at heart. The old Norse language lived only at Bayeux, and in a few local names. As the old northern freedom died silently away, the descendants of the pirates became feudal nobles, and the " Pirates' land " sank into the most loyal of the fiefs of France. The change of manners was accompanied by a change of faith, a change which bound the land where heathendom had fought stubbornly for life to the cause of Christianity and the Church. The Dukes were the first to be touched by the new faith, but as the religious movement spread to the people it was welcomed with an almost passionate fanaticism. Every road was crowded with pilgrims. Monasteries rose in every forest glade.
Herlouin, a knight of Brionne, sought shelter from the world in a little valley edged in with woods of ash and elm, through which a beck or rivulet (to which his house owed its after-name) runs down to the Risle. He was one day busy building an oven with his own hands when a stranger greeted him with " God save you!" "Are you a Lombard?" asked the knight-abbot, struck with the foreign look of the man. "I am," he replied: and praying to be made a monk, the stranger fell down at the mouth of the oven and kissed Herlouin's feet. The Lombard was Lanfranc of Pavia, a scholar especially skilled in the traditions of the Roman law, who had wandered across the Alps to found a school at Avranches, and was now drawn to a religious life by the fame of Herlouin's sanctity. The religious impulse was a real one. but Lanfranc was destined to be known rather as a great administrator and statesman than as a saint. His teaching raised Bec in a few years into the most famous school of Christendom: it was in fact the first wave of the intellectual movement which was spreading from Italy to the ruder countries of the West. The whole mental activity of the time seemed concentrated in the group of scholars who gathered round him; the fabric of the canon law and of mediaeval scholasticism, with the philosophical scepticism which first awoke under its influence, all trace their origin to Bee.
The most famous of these scholars was Anselm of Aosta, an Italian like Lanfranc himself, and who was soon to succeed him as Prior and teacher at Bec. Friends as they were, no two men could be more strangely unlike. Anselm had grown to manhood in the quiet solitude of his mountain-valley, a tender-hearted poet-dreamer, with a soul pure as the Alpine snows above him, and an intelligence keen and clear as the mountain air. The whole temper of the man was painted in a dream of his youth. It seemed to him as though heaven lay, a stately palace, amid the gleaming hill-peaks, while the women reaping in the corn-fields of the valley became harvest maidens of its heavenly King. They reaped idly, and Anselm, grieved at their sloth, hastily climbed the mountain-side to accuse them to their lord. As he reached the palace the King's voice called him to his feet, and he poured forth his tale; then at the royal bidding bread of an unearthly whiteness was set before him, and he ate and was refreshed. The dream passed with the morning; but the sense of heaven's nearness to earth, the fervid loyalty to the service of his Lord, the tender restfulness and peace in the Divine presence which it reflected became the life of Anselm. Wandering like other Italian scholars to Normandy, he became a monk under Lanfranc, and on his teacher's removal to higher duties succeeded him in the direction of the Abbey of Bec. No teacher has ever thrown a greater spirit of love into his toil. " Force your scholars to improve! " he burst out to another teacher who relied on blows and compulsion. "Did you ever see a craftsman fashion a fair image out of a golden plate by blows alone? Does he not now gently press it and strike it with his tools, now with wise art yet more gently raise and shape it? What do your scholars turn into under this ceaseless beating?" "They turn only brutal," was the reply. " You have bad luck," was the keen answer, " in a training that only turns men into beasts." The worst natures softened before this tenderness and patience.
Even the Conqueror, so harsh and terrible to others, became another man, gracious and easy of speech, with Anselm.
But amidst his absorbing cares as a teacher, the Prior of Bec found time for philosophical speculations, to which we owe the great scientific inquiries which built up the theology of the middle ages. [His famous works were the first attempts of any Christian thinker to elicit the idea of God from the very nature of the human reason. His passion for abstruse thought robbed him of food and sleep. Sometimes he could hardly pray. Often the night was a long watch till he could seize his conception and write it on the wax tablets which lay beside him. But not even a fever of intense thought such as this could draw Anselm's heart from its passionate tenderness and love. Sick monks in the infirmary could relish no drink save the juice which his hand had squeezed for them from the grape-bunch. In the later days of his archbishoprick a hare chased by the hounds took refuge under his horse, and his voice grew loud as he forbade a huntsman to stir in the chase while the creature darted off again to the woods.
Even the greed of lands for the Church to which so many religious men yielded found its characteristic rebuke, as the battling lawyers saw Anselm. quietly close his eyes in court and go peacefully to sleep.