September 22, 1863
FR writes a long letter to her niece who is about to be married. The bridegroom has the distinction of "Anglo-Saxon Professor," which FR holds in higher respect than a peerage, and so after a paragraph of good wishes, the letter is devoted to her love of Anglo-Saxon history.
The following three books listed here with links for either reading online or purchasing, were among those FR had read:
History of the Anglo-Saxons by Sharon Turner. 1852. 3 volumes.
Harold, The Last of the Saxon Kings by Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton
History of the Anglo-Saxons by Sir Francis Palgrave
In addition to these, FR mentioned "a very amusing little Anglo-American book, 'The Courtship of Miles Standish,' in which Longfellow included 'a delightful scene between "Alfred the Truth-Teller" and the Mariner-discoverer of the North Polar Sea." And she finishes with this surprising note: "My hero Alfred was well sketched there, and what a fine head he has! beyond 'all Greek, all Roman fame,' for manly beauty."
September 16, 1858
"MY DEAREST CARY,
"_____ _____ wants materials for a speech, or something about Dunmail Raise. I had an old unﬁnished sonnet on it, sketched, with the view on the spot, so I hunted it up, and the crabbed task I have had to ﬁnish it has almost disgusted me with sonnet writing. Cramming one’s thoughts in that measure is like a carpet bag that won't shut . . . ."
FR referred to herself as a Anglo-Saxon enthusiast, which is why she would have visited Dunmail Raise and started a piece of poetry about it. Dunmail Raise is a pass on the Keswick-Kendal road which in AD 945 was the scene of a bloody battle between the King of Cumbria and the Saxon King Edmund First and Malcolm, King of Scots.
Stories of heroism moved FR; she was always a Romanticist. Trying to cram her romantic thoughts into the sonnet form would certainly have left her feeling cramped—and crabby.