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ly upon the grace and felicity of expression, can convey no adequate idea of the original beauty. It is the inanimate form compared with living grace—and this is especially true in reference to the productions of an age, when fancy was more exercised than reason. The interest of such songs lie in their figures, in the harmony of the rhythm, in the delicacy of the chosen expressions, and what translation, especially in prose, can represent these evanescent charms. The graces of such airs are as flowers that wither in the hand that would transplant them—their charm like life itself, is inseparable from a peculiar organization and must disappear in another language, particularly in one that has become philosophically correct.
The detects of the poets of the middle ages are known, but not all their merits it would be wrong to neglect and despise them because they are even now but imperfectly understood. The minds that have illumined and enchanted modern Europe, Dante and Petrarch, Ariosto and Tasso, Chaucer and Spencer, all were familiar with these older bards, held them in daily converse, and the wild spirit of the chivalric poets was refined and purified by a nobler band.
Of those who for so long a period occupied the attention of Europe, it may not be an uninteresting task to consider more in detail the origin and history.
The impulse that awakened the muse of chivalry was given by the Berengers of Arrayon, who reigned from 1100 to 1245, and extended itself from Catalonia and Provence through the North of France, and England, Spain, Italy, and Germany, even to Iceland. For nearly three centuries, poetry was the attendant of paladins and knights, and heralds and minstrels as we have already shewn, accompanied their lords to tournaments and costly feasts.* In the South of France, they styled the poets of chi
* Nostradamus, vies des plus celébres poetes Provencaux, p. 14. Les rithmes qu'ils ont faictes et composées (les Troubadours) les ont nommées Chant, Chanterel, Chanson. Son, Sonnet Vers, Mot, Comedia, Satyra, Syrventes, Tenson, Layz, Depports, Soules et autres. Ils ont aussi faict de Pastorelles et plusieurs autres rithmes telles qu'on trouve aux auvres des dits Poetes Tuscans (Dante, Petrarque, Bocace) toutes, d'un grand artifice-quant aux Syrventes, c'etoit une facon de rithine satyrique ainsi que le descript Jehan le chaire de Belges au premier livre de ses illustrations de Gaule, en la celebration des noces du roi Peleus et de la belle nymphe Thetis. et eri la description de son Temple de Venus. Les dits Syrventes contenoyent aigres reprehensions des vices des Empereurs, Roys, Ducs, et autres grands Seigneurs, et contre l'hypocrisie des gens d'eglise, et contre les tyrans. Les Tensons (also called Partiences,) etoyent disputes d'amour, qui se faisoyent entre les Chevaliers et daines poetes, entreparlans ensemble, de quelque belle et subtille question d'amour et ou ils ne s'en pouvoyent accorder ils les' envoyoyent pour en avoir la definition aux dames illustres presidentes, que tenoyent cour d'amourouverte et pleniere a Signe et a Pierre feu, ou à Romanin ou à autres et là dessus en faisoyent arrests quon nommoyent Laus Arrests d'amours. Les poetes qui faisoyent les mots et le son (qu'estoyent la note musicalle de la parolle) estoyent les plus estimex et plus prisez que les autres.
valry on account of their inventions Troubadours, and of their language Provençals.* They sung in the 12th and 13th cen
The names of the different Provençal airs deserve a particular explanation. Lai, pl. Layz, lais (which certaii ly may be derived from lessus) seem not to differ from the German word Lied, (air, song.) In the romances the heroes frequently sing Lais (Lieder,) of different tunes and tenors, sometimes merry, sometimes melancholy, amorous or religious. They had (at least in the North of France, where the verses were composed in French,) fixed for the Lai a certain number of stanzas, and a lyric form, in which sbape they occur in the manuscript poems of Froissart, and long after him also in the poets who took him for a pattern. At first they sung only Lai, and accompanied it regularly with the barp._ (Barbaros Leudos harpa relidabat, Fortun. epist. ad Gregor. Turon.) In the French poetry, even the Contes, appear to have been styled Lai, and were at least partly sung. (Le Grand, Fabliaux ef Contes du XII et XIII. siecle; a Paris, 1799, t. i.) Soulas, (which means merry songs,) signifies, according to Charpentier, gaudium, voluptas, satisfactio, from soul, sætur, ebrius-may be derived from solatium, from whence also soulagement is derived, especially as it is also spelled solas. In the dictionary which forms an appendix to the “ Poesies du Roy de Navarre,” t. ii. it is explained solas, soulagement, consolation, divertissement,
Puis que solaz de mon cuer partiz
Poinne i convient, ainz qu'en li puist retraire(from Gasse Brulés,) salasier is soulager, adoucir, se divertir.
Sirventes or Sirventois, (for which, accord.ng to Richelet, they also wrote Ser. ventés, Serventesés, and Serventoi:.) even the French etymologists are unable to explain, although we are sure that this word was only used for satires. (See Riche. let Dict. de la langue Française.)
Tenson, (a poetical dispute about love and gallantry,) is derived from tenier, (tangere,) that is quereller, frapper quelqu'un. Tençon est batterie, querelle, dispute. Richard de Fornival
droit master et sans tençon
Que joue dame à laer à plus hant donLe Marechal du Temple dit, Sire laissez en paix les noises et tenzons du Sire Joinville. Ronsard and La Fontaine use this word as a verb. Les Poesies du Roy de Navarre, t. ii. p. 295, in the glossary. The Northern Frenchmen called questions from the Gallent Jurisprudence Jeux-parties, on which the above-mentioned glossary observes, Jeu, or Gieu parti piece de poesie en dialogue, le terme de Gieu-parui se trouve dans le poeme d'Alexandre employé an sens que voici
Le XII pers des Gresce ne sont pas en oubli
A l'epee en chant leur ont un Gieu.parli. Le mot jeu convient à des poemes qui ont merités depuis d'etre appellés la science gaie. Les Provençaux, qui nous ont transmis cette sorte de poesie, ont été tellement persuadés, que ce n'etoit qu'un jeu d'esprit, qu'encore aujourd'tui ils appellent les productions de leur academie, les jeux floraux.
* Troubadours, Italian Trovatori. that is, in the Provençal language, poets; from trouver, It. trovere to invent, to find. Provence was called, on account of the number of its poets, la boutique des Troubadours. (Nostradamus vies des plus celebres poètes Provensaux, p. 8.) The appellations, Violars, jonzlars, (jongleurs, Fr.) Musars and Comics, which were sometimes given them, suited only the heralds who sung their strains mimically, and the musicians who accompanied them with instruments, but the Troubadours theinselves obtained that title improperly. Yet "ostradamus must have found these appellations given to the Troubadours also, for he says, (Nost. ib. p. 14.) Les poetes se nommoyent Troubadours, cest à dire inventeurs ou poetes, quelquefois on les a nommé Violars pour sonneurs des Violons; quelquefois Fuglars pour sonneurs des flustes; Musars pour musiciens, ou sonneurs d'instrumens musicaux; et Comics, pour comiques. See also Nostradamus Hist. et Chronique de Provence, lih. ii. p. 132—and as be perused many of their manuscripts, and the manuscript memorials of them, he has just claims on our belief. It may be that these
turies at the courts of the Berengers, and of other princes in the Southern provinces of France and in Spain, (Provence and Catalonia) in the Provençal language, the daughter of the Latin which preceded in culture by several hundred years, its modern sisters.
The Latin language which the Romans had introduced into Gaul, became by the invasion and residence of many German tribes a roinanzo, a Latin highly corrupted in sound, substance and form by the pronunciation of the then uncultivated and harsh German organs, and by the intermixture of Franconian, Burgundian, East and West Gothic, Bavarian and other German words and terminations and idioms. In fact, it became a patois a peasant language (lingua Romana rustica.*)
In the North of France, where the Latin was never spoken very purely, and where, probably, a greater number of Germans had settled, the Latin became more rude and incapable of expressing abstract or intellectual ideas, while in the South it was more pure, flexible and expressive. This, in a great measure, arose from position and from the early fortunes of the country. The South of Gaul, from its vicinity to Italy, was after its conquest by the Romans more easily settled. Numerous colonies were transplanted into it, and it was consequently longer retained. Nay, long before the Roman conquests, Marseilles
names were applied to them late, when they began to be degraded to court buffoons, or perhaps a Troubadour received that title when he was able to set his songs to music. We ought correctly to make a distinction between the Troubadours and Trouvères; the latter were the poets in the North of France, who composed in French, yet many authors confound them. Also the poetry of the old Troubadours onght not to be called Gay Saber, or la Gaye Science, for this title it received only after it was transplanted to the court of Thoulouse, and in Spain, after the customs of this court were imitated in Arragon.
* Even in France its corruption was known, and it was there called lingua Ror mana rustica. In the acts of the council of Arles, anno 851, Artic. 17, it is orderedEt easdem homilias quisque transferre studeat in rusticam Romanam aut Thedoscam quo facilius cuncti possint intelligere quæ dicuntur. The
same expression is also found in the acts of the 3d Council of Tours, anno 813. Concil. tom. iv. p. 12631233. Fabulous stories in prose or verse were called from the 12th century, Romans, and Romanzer was to invent in prose or verse. When the culture of the language of the South of France, and its contrast with that of the North became more and more conspicuous, and the double kingdom of France and Provence was formedthen only the distinction between the Provençal and the French languages was established, and after that period only was the Provençal styled lingua Romana. In a deed of Sanctius, King of Arragon, making some donations, anno 1093—(In Arragon a dialect of the Provençal was spoken,) is the known clause, “quidquid dici vel nominari Romano ore potest, omnia et in omnibus sicut ego unquam habui vel tenui seu habere debui, par qualescunque voces sive ulla re-dono prælibatis Sanctis." Catel, Hist. des Comtes de Tolose, p. 93. The Provençals themselves called their language linguam Romanam. See Menage origines de la langue Francaise, p. 569. VOL. IV.NO. &.
was built by the Greeks, and attained to such a rank, not only in wealth, but in arts and sciences, that it was termed the Athens of Gaul, and the towns around it were all founded by Grecians, and acknowledged Marseilles as their metropolis or parent city. Therefore, during the government of Rome, Greek and Roman literature were mingled in the Southern provinces of Gaul, and the Greek language bad prepared and formed the organs of the ancient tribes for the more easy reception of the Latin. Its adoption, therefore, must have been far more prompt and general in the Southern, than in the Northern provinces. We may, therefore, readily suppose that before the great emigration of nations, the former were in possession of a purer dialect than the latter, and this superiority probably continued until the entire formation of the modern language. From the number of Germans in the North of France, it was frequently called the lavd of Franconians, the South that of the Romans, the Loire forming the boundary.
This mixture of Latin and German words formed in the course of time two dialects, one rude and awkward in the North, the other polished and harmonious in the South of France. About the time that this latter was highly cultivated, Raymond of St. Giles, Count of Provence, united the whole of Gothia and a great part of Aquitania under his government, and the Southern provinces of France, became all known under the general name of Provence. After that, France and Provence were distinguished as separate countries, and the language of the provinces on the North of the Loire, gradually received the name of French, while that of the South, and of Catalonia, retained the name of Provençal. These languages advanced towards a state of refinement with very unequal steps. The one from previous advantages, perhaps from climate, from being used by a more cultivated and better instructed people, became regular, noble, sonorous and rich, while the other was rude and barbarous. The elegance and harmony of the Provençal language, recommended it to kings and their courts, and the poets and writers, not only of France and Spain, but even of Italy, used it as a favourite tongue. The emperors Frederic I. and II. and Richard of the Lion Heart of England, used it in their lays. For three centuries it acquired and maintained a high and universal reputation, and it aided to form or to enrich all the modern languages in the South-west of Europe. As it extended, however, it insensibly became mingled with foreign words, and modulated by different organs, it broke into many dialects, and although, now much altered and no longer a national tougue, it is still the rude country language of Pro
vence, Languedoc, Gascoigne, Catalonia, Valencia, Majorca, Minorca, Ivica, and Sardinia.
The French very early attempted to compose in their Northern patois or vulgar dialect, but this bold effort, though meritorious, did not succeed; the material was rough and inflexible, the subjects generally without any poetical dignity, the poets ignorant, and the verses feeble and insipid—yet even these efforts served to improve their language.
In Provence, extraneous circumstances added to its superiority. Commerce began to revive, and its benefits were soon perceived, in the increasing wealth of the inhabitants, the better cultivation of the soil, and the spirit, activity and industry which was communicated to the whole population. The Provençaux, with some culture, and souls filled with the love of beauty, wandered forth with the cross on their shields or on their frocks as warriors or as pilgrims, to visit in the East, all that remained of ancient arts, magnificence and taste, the vestiges of former glory that still lingered upon earth; and on their return home displayed at the courts of their princes, all the knowledge they had acquired abroad, as well as the refined manners and courtesy of the accomplished knight.
It was then that the star of chivalry was most refulgent. In the court of Provence were again combined advantages that had long been separated. A cultivated and copious language, a nobility gallant and mild ; fancy was enlivened and embellished by heroic adventures, and crusades and pilgrimages opened an unbounded field to enterprize and fiction. The nobles be came poets, because poetry was the boast and pride of every court, and whether at tournaments or at feasts, was among the prominent and applauded accompaniments of every spectacle. But it was particularly in the reign of Raymond Berenger III. (1168_1181) and Raymond Berenger IV. (1209—1245) a prince of great power, a lover of poetry himself, and the father of four queens, who followed his example and collected in their courts the poets of their times, and even contended with them in song, that the most brilliant era of the Troubadours may be placed. The example of these princes operated powerfully, and after their reign, it seemed like a duty imposed on the princes of Provence and Catalonia, to collect around them a circle of poets from the nobility, and to bestow on them princely rewards. It was after that time also required of a knight, that he should possess the talent of making verse.
The favourite subjects of these poets were women and love. They sung of them in various ways and in different kinds of poetry, in merry and humourous airs, (soulas) or in melancholy