Classical poetry, conceived and brought to perfection in the generous atmosphere of early Anglo-Saxon monastic culture, gave way to looser forms of alliterative writing, which accommodated the more didactic and practical needs of the late tenth and eleventh centuries. England’s loss of independence is a loss of status. There are times, as during the reign of Henry II, when England is merely a province of the Angevin Kingdom. Anglo-Saxon had achieved, by the eleventh century, an importance in relation to Latin which no other vernacular was to match for centuries. This was partly due to the prestige won for it by poetry within the monastic tradition, but more particularly to the reforms instituted by Alfred and the translations put in hand by him, made necessary by the decline of Latin learning during the Danish invasions. The Owl and the Nightingale appears in two MSS, Cotton Caligula A.ix and Jesus 29.