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"EUDES," THE COMPANION OF ROLLO, AND PATRIARCH
OF THE HOUSE OF GOURNAY.
JT is just a thousand years since that great
branch of the Gothic race which had occupied from a period beyond history the Penin
sula of Scandinavia, began to establish its position, and prepare for its future in modern Europe. Thirty generations of men have passed away, and the whole face of the world is changed; but the special streak of Norse blood may still be traced—like a vein in the arm—in the most powerful nations and institutions existing. The most vigorous aristocracies which survive are based upon its early achievements. Many princely houses sprung from Rurik, the Scandinavian conqueror of Russia, are yet found in the nobility of that kingdom, and supply eminent worthies to every department of the State.* But more conspicuous examples of its permanence are to be seen among ourselves. Within the last few years, one descendant of a Norman has been twice Prime Minister of the Kingdom; † and another has opened to Northern enterprise new countries in distant Eastern seas. The bearer of a Danish name saved us India. Extend the survey backward over the last few generations—the same blood has proved itself worthy at once of its source and its successes. The names of Byron, Berkeley, Hastings, Marlborough, and Washington,|| admit of little rivalry in' the fields in which they became famous. Yet we need not linger exclusively among the great and the celebrated, nor too curiously follow out the traditions and philological speculations which connect Blake and Drake, Nelson and Collingwood, with the days of the Vikings and the coasts of the Baltic. The nobles and heroes of a people are its cream; but there is no good cream without good milk. Over the north-east of
* “ Notice sur les Principales Familles de la Russie,” 1843. (By Prince Dolgorouky.)
+ Lord Derby—a scion of the Audleys.
|| For Washington's Norman origin (that of the others named is notorious) see Irving's “Life.”
Scotland, and broadcast over its Lowlands ;-in the great and enterprising North of England-along its shores-in its great cities—we everywhere meet the traces of its Northern invaders.* The traveller to the North sees in its strong men and fair women the brothers and sisters of those of the island from which he comes; while the traveller from it discovers amongst ourselves forms and faces that make him fancy himself at home.f It is only, however, of late years that these facts have received proper appreciation, and that the exclusiveness of the term “ Anglo-Saxon ” has been rebuked by those who would have justice done to the Northmen, whether from the Baltic or from France. We are about to write the history of a Norman family, and must endeavour—however imperfectly—to estimate the character of the race from which it camefor certain fundamental points of resemblance run through a race's history, and in the families of nations, as in single families, the child is father to the man.
Like all other histories, that of the Scandinavian people is lost at last in distant clouds of traditionclouds tinted, indeed, with the sunlight of mythology
* Worsaae ; proofs of this are accumulated in his “ Account of the Danes and Norwegians,” &c., a few years back, and since confirmed by Mr. Robert Ferguson's “Northmen in Cumberland and Westmoreland.”
+ “ Log of the Pet,” 1854 ; Worsaae.
I Laing's “Heimskringla,”—Preliminary Dissertation ; " Lives of the Lindsays."