Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 32.djvu/308

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Layamon
Layard
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mentioned as dead in the above passage, died in 1189 and in 1206 respectively. In the account given of the establishment of the Rome-feoh or Peter's pence, a doubt is expressed by the writer as to the continuance of the payment (see iii. 288). Now, in 1206 it 'appears that King John and his nobles resisted the pope's mandate for its collection' (see Fœdera, vol. i. pt. i. p. 94; Wilkins, Concilia, i. 514). There seem to be no allusions to this of a later date, nor is such a date suggested by the grammar and language. We may therefore conclude that Layamon belongs in origin and growth to the latter part of the twelfth cent a period remarkable for its intellectuilg vigour both in Wales and in England, noticeably in the western midlands of England, that is, on the Wehh marches-and that he accomplished his great task in the beginning of the thirteenth century.

Upon resolving rewrite the history of the first men who came to England after the flood, he travelled far and wide over the country, and procured the noble books which he took for his model [i.e. his authority]. He took the English book that Saint Beda made; a second in Latin he took, which Saint Albin made, and the fair Auston who brought Christianity [fulfiht, i.e. baptism] in hither.' After mentioning Wase, 'Layamon,' he continues, 'laid these books before him, and turned over the leaves; lovingly he looked on them. (May the Lord be good to him!) Pen tools he in his fingers, and wrote on bookskin, and put together the true words; and combined the three books.' He ends by begging his readers topray for his own soul and the souls of his father and mother.

Layamon's learning was far from complete; for he seems to think that the Anglo-Saxon version of Bæda's ‘Historia Ecclesiastica' made by King Alfred was made by Bæda himself; and that Bæda'a Latin work was made by Albin, whom Bæda mentions only as one of his authorities. How be comes to associate Augustine with Albin as joint author is a mystery. Moreover, he makes scarcely any use of the work. Perhaps was more at home with Wace's French than with Bæda’s Latin; but here, too, a careful criticism has discovered shortcomings (see Madden, vol. i. p. xiv n.) Layamon, however, was an enthusiastic reader and collector. He gathered togother from other sources, written and unwritten stories that might otherwise have perished. He makes large additions to what he found in the ‘Romande Brut' (see ib. vol. i. pp. xiv-xvi). No doubt his position on the Welsh marches brought to his ears man old traditions. As late as the time of Henry VIII, it has been remarked. Herefordshire was regarded as a semi-Welsh county; and Worcestershire would share the current folk-lore. In the dialect of his district, and with such effectiveness as the state of the of the long-over-shadowed English language permitted, with real spirit and power, and often with vivid imagination, Layamon retold the tales that had so attracted, and delighted him.

His work marks the revival of the English mind and spirit. Stories told up to Layamon's time only in Latin and French now appear in the vernacular speech and the vernacular form. And among them are some of the most famous stories of English literature-stories of Locrine, of King Lear, of King Arthur. Noticeably also it marks the perfect fusion of the Celtic and the Teutonic elements of our race. Welshmen like Geoffrey of Monmouth and Walter Map might well be expected to make much of the of heroes of Britain and the British, of the island and in inhabitants before the Angles came over the seas; but it was a sign of the times that the descendants of those Angles should accept and honour the heroes of the people when their forefathers had invaded and subdued.

Layamon’s 'Brut' is extant in two manuscipts (both now in the British Museum), viz. Cott. Calig. A. ix. and Cott. Otho C. iii. The latter, which had a narrow escapa from complete destruction by the disastrous fire at Ashburnham House, 1781, is on good grounds believed to be of somewhat later date than the former, and to have been written at some place further north. Both were printed and admirably edited by so Frederick Madden in 1847.

[Sea Layamon's Brut, or Chronicle of Britain; a poetical semi-Saxon paraphrase of the Brut of Wace, now first published from the Cottonian MSS. of the British Museum, accompanied by a literal Translation, Notes, and a Grammatical Glossary by Sir Frederic Maddon, K.H., published by Soc. of Antiq. London, 1847. 3 vols. royal 8vo; Marsh's Origin and Hist. of the English Language, and the early Literature it embodies; Mätzner's Altenglische Sprachproben; Ten Brink's Early English Lit.; Anglia, vols. i. ii. iii.; Wace's Roman de Brut, ed. Le Roux de Lincy; Wright's Biog. Lit.]

J. W. H.


LAYARD, DANIEL PETER (1721–1802), physician, born in 1721, was the son of Major Layard. On 9 March 1742 he graduated M.D. at Rheims. In April 1747 he was appointed physician-accoucheur to Middlesex Hospital, but resigned shortly afterwards on account of ill-health, and went abroad. In 1750 he settled at Huntingdon, and practised there for twelve years. On 3 July 1752 he was admitted a licentiate of