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the honorary offices about their court on poetical noblemen, in order to have at hand at all times, poets for the tournaments in the court of love.* Contests of wit and poetry were as much in vogue as con bats with weapons. They were practised at
Chron. de Provence, p. 135 136. Sometimes they received in token of a victory, a flower, (either natural or composed of rich stuffs) This at least was the case in the jeux fleuraux, which were an imitation of the cours d'amours, some phrases in the Provençal poets hinted at this practice. Foulquet of Marseilles, commences one of his songs with the words,
Eia o quan per flor
Non veyran Cantadoreven the older Provençal poets use the flower as a token of victory, as Piere Cardea Hal in the following strophe
Mas den hom amar vencedor
El vencut nay hom sebelir. Pauchet found on the margin of an air of the old French poet, Robert Cartel, noticed, "couronnée;" this will probably say crowned in a cours d'amours Caseneuve sur l'origine des jeux fl. p. 90. Fontanini cites many sentences of the "ours d'amours in his work • della eloquenza Italiana," p 55—gli arresti della qual coite, Scritti da Marziale d'Alvernia nel regno di Carlo VII, e legalmente chiosati da Benadetto Curzio Sinforiano, si veggono piu volte Stampati in Lione da Bastione Grifio. A re presentation of the cours d'amour is given in les six livres de Mario Lquicola d'Alveto de la nature d'amour Mis en François par Gabriel Chappuis, Tourangeau à Lyon, 1597, p. 361, lib. 5-in the Italian original, “ libro di natura d'amore di Ma. ria E quicola, MDXXVI, p. 173.
In the Northern provinces of France, they were also introduced and held in the month of May, upon an open field under an elm tree, for which reason they were called Gieux (jeux) sous l'ormel. In this part of France they were sometimes in reality courts of justice, for they weighed and decided real disputes-cases of love. The cours d'amours were in most repute at the French Court, under Charles VI, when the celebrated Isabeau managed them. (Hist. de France par Velly, t. xii. p. 97.) A poetical representation of the French cours d'amours exists, the work of Mastil d'Auvergne, Procureur au Parlement de Paris; from which Fontenelle Hist. de Theatre de Paris-euvres a la Haye. 1746-8, t. vi. p. 11, has made an extract.
After this institution had been long extinct, Cardinal Richelieu, out of vanity, brought it again to remembrance by his assemblée galante, which he held at Ruel, nominally as a recreation from the affairs of State. His theses of Love, will probably be the last of this kind. (Memoires d'Anne de Gonzagues, Lond. 1786, p. 41.)
* Nostradamus (vies des plus celebres poetes Provencaux, p. 195,) says in the biography of Philip the tall, Le comte de Poictou daigna bien faire honneur à la poesie en notre langue Provensalle, car outre ce qu'il est ait savant aux Sciences liberalies encor prenoit il plaisir avoir en sa cour des plus savans poetes qu'il pouvait trouver, lesquels il honorait et prisait, leur assignant bons et suffisans gages, et si les provoy oit des plus beaux et honorables offices de sa cour, d'entre losquels Peyre Milbon gentil homme de Poicton fut son premier maistre d'hostel, Bernard Marchyz fut son chambellan, Peyre de Valieres fut son valet trénchant. Loys Emerye fut sieur de Rochefort en Poictou avoit elé un des principaux secretaires du Roy d'Arragon, pour faux rapport s'etoit retiré vers le comte de Poictou, qui lui bailla place et estat de Secretaire. Peyre Hagon, Gentilhomme de Dampierne son valet de chambre. Guilhelm Bouchard fut aussi de ses valets de chambre. Gyrandon lou Roulx, fut un des Gentilhommes de say mayson. Americ de Sarlac, autre Gentilhomme de sa mayson. Guilhem dels Amalrics, fut Gentilhomme Provençal. Pistolleta, autre Gentilhomme de sa cour. Tous ces poetes cy dessut nomméz fleurissoient d'un weme temps du dit comte de Poictou.
home as in the field-even princesses and noble ladies held them in their castles during the absence of their lords.*
The president of the court of love was sometimes the prince or nobleman who gave the entertainment, sometimes a poet, chosen by ballot, from among the noble chevaliers. The contests in verse, the tensons, were generally sustained by men, but the ladies at that time fondly devoted to poetry, sometimes participated in them. The announcement of the judgment and the delivery of the merited prize, were the office of the most noble and distinguished lady present, either at the request of the president or of the contending parties themselves, who generally appealed, at the termination of their gay repartees, to such a judgment. The nominated lady might, however, and occasionally did share her office with a knight. However mixed may have been the circle in which these themes and points of love were debated and sung, the most strict propriety was preserved, no equivocal word, no allusion which could offend the chastest ear was permitted, for the most delicate respect and devotion to the fair was the first duty of a true knight.
The poetical essays of the Provençals did not extend beyond the classes of poetry we have enumerated. There is found in their works no trace of dramatic or epic poems, nor of fables, nor of stories in verse, of which, in France and other countries, the poets were so fond. The duration of the flourishing period of the Troubadours was about three hundred years. The eldest,
* Caseneuve l'origine des jeux fl. p. 42. Parceque ces princes et ces grands seigneurs quelque inclination, qu'ils eussent à la poesie et de quelque affection qu'ils pussent portéz a l'entretion des cours d'amour, etoient souvent constraints d'interrompre la douceur de ces exercises, pour suivre les durs employs que leurs donnoyent les guerres, tantot civiles, tantot etrangeres, ils en laissoynent d'ordinaire le soin aux Dames~Aussi lisons nous que les plus illustres et les plus vertueuses tenoyent de de tems là cour d'amours et y presidoyent-et pour y rendre le jugement avec plus d'equité et de justice s'adonnoyent a la poesie, et en apprenoyent l'art avec un soin si exact, que bien souvent elles egalloyent les graces et les douceurs des poetes les plus excellens comme peuvent témoigner les vers de la Comtesse Claire d'Anduse, et d'autres dames qui jay leus parmy ceux des anciens poetes Provencaux.
+ There remains beside the Lais, Soulas, Sirventes and Tenzen of the Provençals, yet two rhymed narrations, (Nouvelles, Contes, Fabliaux,) one of Arnaud Carcasses, and the other of Raymond Vidal, (Hist. des Troubadours, t. ii. p. 360_ t. iji. p. 296,) some authors enumerate yet four more, but their subjects do not permit them to be ranked among Contes. Two of Pierre Vidal (1180) belong to the didactic poetry of the Troubadours, for the one contains instructions for lovers, and the other for jongleurs –(Hist. Lit. des Troub. t. ii. p. 273)—a third one .commonly called a conte of Raimond Vidal. is more in the style and fashion of the opinions and sentences of the cours d'amour—(Hist. des Troub t. iii. p. 277)—and the fourth of Lanfranc Cigala, resembles more a Tenzen-(ibid. ii. p. 163.)
Even detailed relations, in verse, of the deeds of renowned knights, (the epic poems of the period of Chivalry,) either as romances or as the foundation for romances, are as little to be found in the works of the Provençals as fabulous romances, although their imaginations must have been excited and enlivened by the military expeditions of the age to Sicily, Constantinople and Jerusalem, by tourmaments and
who is yet known by name, and of whom we possess some compositions, is the William of Poitiers, whom we have already mentioned, who described the adventures of his crusade, from which he returned in 1102.* But he was probably not the first. The earliest efforts of their muse were, no doubt, unnoticed in history. Their brilliant reputation may be dated from the year 1162, when Frederick I. invested Raymond Berenger III. with the crown of Provence. This was the period when not only the nobility of Provence, but of Italy, Germany and England, strung the lyre, and emperors and kings were induced to try their poetical talents in the language of the Troubadour.t The decay of the Provençal poetry was completed in 1382, on the death of
gay emprizes, while the works of the Northern French abound in this species of poetry. Among the works of the Troubadours, only four religious novels or romances are found.
1. Philomena, the oldest of the series, composed by a monk of the Abbey de la Grasse, under the name of a Secretary of Charlemagne. It contains the enterprizes of the Emperor against the Moors, and chiefly the history and wonders of the Abbey de la Grasse, the foundation of which the monk ascribes to the Emperor. According to the Hist. Lit. de France, this romance is a production of the year 1015, but Count Caylus (cuvres bardines) removes it to the reign of St. Louis. Some attribute this Latin romance to the Northern French.
2. Guillaume au Court-nés, contains the life of the Saint William, whom Charlemagne had confided with the command of his armies, who was rewarded after his victories over the Moors (Arabs) in Spain, with the dukedom of Aquitania, and finally made himself a monk.
3. Gerard de Rousillon, a rhymed chronicle, contains the history of the Crusade against the Albigenses, (very different from the French novel under the same title, whose hero was a companion of Charlemagne.)
4. Honorat de Lerins-a mere legend-Le grand, Fab. t. i. pres. p. 35.
The Provençals had dialogues in their Idyls and Tenzens, but no regular dramatic pieces, which were even then not uncommon among the Northern French. It is true the Troubadours are styled in Nostradamus Comics, yet undoubtedly in an improper sense, or by a loose phraseology, for he calls them also jongleurs, Violars, which they never were. In his Hist. de Provence, p. 134, he says of Arnaud Da. niel, (1189) il fit outre infinies comedies, tragedies, un chant des resveries du paganisme et un tres beau moral qu'il addressa à Phillippe roy de France. But all these are mere public and exaggerated rumours, as the expression “ infinies,” shows, upon which we can the less rely, as not a single trace of dramatic essays is met in the still existing compositions of the Provençal poets--and for the same reason the “Vie de Charles VI. par F. Favenel des Ursins," wbich asserts that the Provençals composed in praise of Louis of Anjou, during his abode in Provence, (1382,) " chansons, comedies et balades," may be suspected. Even if these references should be admitted as historical proofs, still we know that the early authors used to call comic and tragic poems, though very incorrectly, comedie and tragedie, as Dante called his large poem “ Divina Commedia"-Wart. Hist, of Eng. Poetry, t. i. p. 234. We may add that the pieces which are mentioned in the Hist du Theatre Franc. t i.p. 10–11, as Provençal comedies, are more similar to the dialogues in the poetical contests, than to the dramatic compositions which bave been composed since the reign of Charles IX.
See Hist. generale de Languedoc, par relig. Bened. t. ii. p. 247—a general view of his poems is given by Ondericus Vitalis, lib. 1. p. 793—in du Chesne Script. rerum Normannicorum.
+ Accounts from the Provençal poets are given by Jean de Nostradamus-Vies des plus celebres poetes Provençaux que ont Aurys du temps des Comtes de Provence, à Lyon, 1575—De Beauchamp, recherches sur les theatres de France, à PaVOL. IV.-NO 8.
Jeannette I. Queen of Naples and Sicily, and Countess of Provençe, who was their last protectress.
Its decline, however, had been gradual and slow. It, per baps, commenced when Beatrix the fourth daughter of Raymond IV. and heiress of Provence, desirous of equalling her elder sisters in rank and dignity, persuaded her husband, the ignoble Charles of Anjou (1265) to accept the throne of Naples and Sicily, which was offered to him.* The poets of her court in Provence, followed her beyond the Alps, so that Naples, and still more Sicily, which soon passed away to the house of Arrayon, attracted the most distinguished poets from among the Provençals. As the house of Arragon, the descendants of the Berengers, had always been the patrons of the Troubadours, its princes continued to draw from France all that were eminent for talents, and the more easily, because the inheritance of Provence having passed into the royal house of France, the Provençals were no longer a cherished or a favoured race, but the rougher dialect of Northern France (Langue d'oni) was made the language of the court, and of the little literature which it possessed.t About the same time also, the number of large baronies in the Southern provinces of France, and, consequently, the splendour of the Provençal nobility, was greatly diminished, many extensive fiefs became incorporated with the crown of France, others passed into foreign families. The order of chivalry itself was declining under the increasing power of the crown, and of the class of ris, 1735-4to-Crescembini dell'istoria della volgar poesia-L'histoire et Chronique de Provence de Cesar de Nostradamus gentil honime Provencal, à Lyon, 1614– Papon, Hist. general de France, Paris, 1778–Millot Hist. Litteraire des Troubadours, Paris, 1774-8vo.
About 1200 the Provençal songs became fashionable beyond the Alps. particolarly in Calabria and Sicily The Lombards successively cultivated this poetry in 1227—(Muratori in Antiq. Ital. t. ii. p. 843.) The partiality of the Italians for it is known by the charming passage of Petrarca, Triumph c.iv. Cardinal Bembo (pros. 1 i.) read Provençal poetry of the following Italian authors-Fulcho Falchetto, Bonifacio Calvo, Lanfrani Cygala, Sordel Mantuano, Albert Marg. de Malespino, Perceval Doria. Caseneuve, orig. des jeux Al. p. 27, speaks of a collection of fiftyfive different Provençal poets in a manuscript three hundred years old, and continues, “entre lesquelles j'ay remarqué celles de la plus part de ces poesies Italiens, que j'ay cy dessus nommez, et entre autres, cette satyre de Soldat Mantouen contre les Princes de son temps, dans laquelle il n'a pas meme epargné St. Louis comme a remarqué Papirius Masson en ses Annales de France.
* Honore Bouche, Histoire Chronologique de Provence, t. ii. p. 265-275.
+ Jeanne 1. (1382,) was succeeded in the kingdom of Naples and Sicily, as well as in the Compté of Provence, by Louis I, the son of King John of France whom Jeanne had adopted. History makes no mention of Louis I, II, and III, as having encouraged poets. only Renatus, son of Louis II, is praised as a prince of bigh talents and of a noble character About that time the dominion of the French Kings was greatly increased by escheated and forfeited fiets. (for already in the 13th and 14th centuries, Navarre, Dauphiné, Rousillon and Thoulouse, had fallen into the possession of the crown) and with the increase of the jurisdiction of the French King, the use of the French language was augmented, and that of the Provençal proportionably lessened. Under such circumstances it is not wonderful that with the lanJuage the poetry should decay.
free citizens who were gaining new privileges and an accession of military skill; and time and knowledge, the great innovators of the world, were acting against them by the revival of order, and of something like a distribution of justice. Many of the causes which called for the interference of the knight-errant disappeared, and the strange and diversified train of adventures which had animated their spirits, and enriched and ennobled their poetry, were no longer to be met with. Personal conflicts lost the ennobling principle and high character which they assumed, when they were proclaimed as in defence of the exile or the captive, the orphan or the widow of injured innocence or oppressed weakness, or particularly of that sex, before whom every true chevalier was equally obliged and willing to bow, and for whom they were bound to wage interminable warfare. The stern and inexorable voice of justice, passing gradually, though slowly, over the land, removed all these pretexts, and the strife of the once gallant and magnanimous knight degenerated into those petty but sanguinary duels, which so long disquieted and disgraced the courts of Europe, and which, even the illumination of a brighter era has not caused entirely to disappear. In the meantime, all that was performed by the gallant and still chivalrous race of wobles that surrounded the monarch-deeds that were now national rather than personal-was to be told in a language still unpolished and inflexible. This produced a pauser between the disappearance of one set of opinions, customs, laws, and the adoption of another, between the change even of languages. The spirit of Provençal poetry might, indeed, have been transferred to the court of France, but, as if to render the transition more strong, the change more complete, other circumstances intervened :—the persecution of the Albigenses took place, and a war, one of the most merciless which modern history relates, was carried on against that unhappy people. It extended over the greater part of the South of France; the seats of the arts and of poetry, of hospitality and refinement, were desolated with the most savage barbarity. Every evil that revenge and bigotry could inflict, was poured over the suffering victims. Until late in the reign of Louis XIV. this fair portion of France was unquiet, and vexed with repeated wars. And the people and the noblity, impoverished and oppressed, became wild, and ignorant, and rude, and lost almost every trace of the mild glories which once had been their ornament and boast.*
On the decline of chivalry, their poetry already feeble, ceased among the knights; a few of humbler rank retired to the
* The political decay of the South of France, (which was also called in the middle ages, Albigsium,) is described by the historians of the Albigensian war to whom I refer. The country was made desolate by the repeated ravages of war,