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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).>br>Volume I. From the Beginnings to the Cycles of Romance.

I. The Beginnings

§ 3. Theodore and Hadrian

Yet in the years that had passed England had risen to literary pre-eminence in Europe. She took kindly to the Latin and Greek culture brought her in the seventh century by the Asian Theodore and the African Hadrian, scholars learned in worldly, as well as in divine, lore, who “made this island, once the nurse of tyrants, the constant home of philosophy.” The love of letters had been fostered in the north by English scholars; by Bede’s teacher, Benedict Biscop, foremost of all, who founded the monasteries of Jarrow and Wearmouth, enriched them with books collected by himself and, in his last days, prayed his pupils to have a care over his library. Bede’s disciple was Egbert of York, the founder of its school and the decorator of its churches, and Alcuin obtained his education in the cloister school of his native city.

The seven liberal arts of the trivium (grammar, logic, rhetoric) and the quadrivium (astronomy, arithmetic, geometry, music) were so ably taught and so admirably assimilated in the monastic schools that, when Alcuin forsook York for the palace-school of Charles the Great, he appealed for leave to send French lads to bring back “flowers of Britain” to Tours, from the “garden of Paradise” in York, a “garden” described by him in often quoted lines.