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by Bouterwek,“ to have been translated from the French or Latin chronicle of the same name.*
It appears to us impossible, not to see, upon this review, that Spanish literature arose, as it did in England and France, with the natural developement of the language and state of society, unaffected entirely by the neighbourhood of Saracen academies and libraries. The earliest original efforts are native in subject and language, and have nothing Arabic about them. “There are here,” says Schlegel, speaking of the romance of the Cid, "no
“ по trace of that oriental taste for the wonderful and the fabu. lous, which afterwards became so predominant. It breathes the pure, true-hearted, noble, old Castilian spirit, and is in fact, the true history of the Cid.” Even their imitations or translations are not from Arabic works, but from Latin or French. Besides, Sismondi admits, that, with the single exception of Ferdhuzi's historical poem, entitled Schâh-namah, oriental poetry is altogether lyric or didactic: and, although the mere catalogue of Arabic poems in the Escurial, occupies twenty-four volumes, yet neither tragic, nor comic, nor epic poetry is found among them.
Is it not then singular, that the earliest Spanish literature should be totally different in essential character, as well as in style and versification, from any of the Arabian models; for the Schâh-namah is Persian? As to the life of Hai Ebn Yokdhan, written A.D. 1198, it is a perversion of terms to call it a Romance, in any proper understanding of the word. Whoever has read the work of Tophail, must admit that it has nothing of Romance about it; no chivalry, no love, no adventures, no heroes, nothing of the marvellous or supernatural. It is neither more nor less, than a philosophical attempt, in the form of biography, to prove, that a man may arrive at a knowledge of God, by the light of nature only, unassisted even by his fellows. Again, if this be the first Arabic specimen, as it is a philosophical romance, and was written at the close of the twelfth century, how could it have had any influence on the historical heroic romances of Spain, written in the middle of the same century ? Besides which, they are in verse, and Tophail's work is in prose. The Spanish romances must, therefore, be regarded as partly indigenous, and partly copied from northern, not southern or eastern models.
n Vol. i. p. 87.
* The old French tales and fabliaux, says Schlegel, show that most of these fictions came from the East into Europe, chiefly with the crusades. At the same time, he thinks there was a reaction, and that many of the European novels were conveyed to the professional story-tellers of the east. But there is no evidence in his judgment, that we ever borrowed any entire heroic-fictions from oriental sources; and he then expresses the same opinion, as to the romances of Alexander and the wars of Troy, as Bouterwek. (1 Schlegel, pp. 324–325.) Warton's account of it is very interesting and curious. (Vol. i. p. 128, &c.) “ The truth is, Alexander was the most eminent knight-errant of Grecian antiquity. He could not, therefore, be long without his romance. Callisthenes, educated under Aristotle, with Alexander, wrote an authentic life of Alexander, which has been long since lost. But a Greek life of this hero, under the adopted name of Callisthenes, at present exists, and is no uncommon manuscript in good libraries. It is entitled Bιος Αλεξανδρου του Μακεδονος και Ileages: That is, the life and actions of Alexander, the Macedonian. This piece was written in Greek, being a translation from the Persic, by Simeon Seth, styled Magister and Protovestiary, or wardrobe-keeper of the palace of Antiochus at Constantinople, about the year 1070, under the emperor Michael Ducas. It was, most probably, very soon afterwards translated from the Greek into Latin, and at length, from thence into French, Italian and German.” “This Latin translation, however, is of high antiquity, in the middle age of learning; for it is quoted by Gyraldus Cambrensis, who flourished about the year 1190. About the year 1236, the substance of it was thrown into a long Latin poem, written in elegiac verse by Aretinus Quilichinus.” It was even turned into Hebrew. It is remarkable that Warton does not notice the Spanish romance of Alexander.
o Vol. i. p. 344.
But we are told by Sismondi,P that the most ancient form of the Spanish poetry is like the Arabian, where every second line rhymes throughout the strophe or poem. And Bouterwek' says that the Spanish poets were proud of being able, like the Arabians, to compose long romances, in which every second line had the same form. If we had no reason for doubting the fact, we should still say from the rhyming capabilities of the Spanish language, as will be hereafter shown, that such rhyme must have been perfectly natural, and need not be traced to a foreign
But our first inquiry is, whether such be the fact. We must believe the contrary. Bouterwek' gives the following, as
" a passage from the old romance of the Cid, the most ancient Spanish poetry extant.
De los sus ojos tan fuertemente llorando
Esto me han envuelto mis enemigos malos, &c. Now, upon this passage, there can be but one opinion, that, so far from being an example of Arabic rhyme, it is a totally different species, exhibiting the elements of the Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese double rhymes, and of that class of French rhymes, where the accent is not on the rhyming syllable as in “mejorādo,” “alto," or where the accent is pretty much divided, between the last or rhyming syllable, and the penult, as “mantos," "malos.” Let us compare the above, with the following lines of Lebeid, the convert of Mahomet, and the great rival
P Vol. i. p. 101. 9 Vol. i. p. 78. ✓ Vol. i. p. 86.
and antagonist of Amriolkais, the satirical adversary of the prophet.
Waramai dábirahá álsafa watahayyajat
We must bear in mind, that the prevailing form of Arabian poetry was the same as this specimen, viz. distichs—the first line of each having no rhyme, (except occasionally, see first and second distichs of Amriolkais, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th of Lebeid, &c.) and the second of each, rhyming with every other second line, throughout the poem. Now, the specimen from the Cid, differs from Lebeid's verse in every particular, except in the mere fact of rhyme. The Spanish is not in distichs, the couplets rhyme, though not always perfectly, and no uniform rhyming sound runs through all the second lines. Again, the author of the Spanish romance of Alexander the Great, boasts exceedingly of having arrived at such perfection, as to be able to write his work in quatrains,* (not in distichs, the Arabic form) each having the same rhyme.
“Fablar curso rimado per la quaderna via
Per silabas cantadas, ça es grant maestria." This poem was written at least 400 years after the battle of Xeres, and yet we are to believe, according to the argument of Andrès, that after rhyme was more than four centuries old in Spain, this writer boasted of that, which would have been the veriest trifle, in the judgment of an Arabian poet. Does not this fact show that rhyme, so far from having been derived to the Spaniards from the cultivated and refined poetry of the Moors, was the native growth of the language, and was itself in the rude and imperfect state of the Spanish tongue and literature of that day?
8 Works of Jones, vol. iv. p. 364.
t 1 Bout.
87. * Note. i. e. in successive divisions of four lines, each line in every section of four, having one rhyme common to the four, but the four not forming a separate verse or stanza of four lines, as in Gray's Elegy. 1 Bout. p. 87.
Sismondi, like Bouterwek, cites neither example nor authority, but contents himself with saying, “C'est aussi la forme la plus ancienne de la poésie Espagnole,” and then passes to the well-known “ dizain” of Fred. I. written in 1154, to prove that the same order of rhymes prevailed in the Provençal poetry.
But the example, which he cites, though it resembles the Arabic verse, in the fact of rhyme and in the correspondence of every second line, differs from it in these particulars, that the poem is not in distichs, and the first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth lines have the same rhyme throughout. If, therefore, we were disposed to grant, that the rhymes of the second, fourth and sixth lines were an imitation of the Arabian poets, yet it would not follow that rhyme itself, then familiarly and extensively known in Provence, had been borrowed from the Moors. But the repetition of the same rhyme, even to satiety, seems so natural, before the cultivation of a critical and refined taste, that unless the resemblance in the very form and arrangement of rhymes and verses were identical, we should not regard a partial similarity as any proof of imitation. Besides, at the very time that the Troubadour Emperor is writing such verses at Turin in 1154, the author of the Cid is composing lines of a totally different character in Gothic, not Provençal Spain, and the author of the romance of Alexander, is boasting of four lines of similar rhyme: and yet we are expected to believe, that the Spaniards had taught the Provençal poets, and had yet abandoned at that early day, the very form of verse, which the Troubadour literature, then far beyond the Spanish in improvement, was cultivating with the utmost care and pride. Nor must we forget, that if the Spaniards had learnt rhyme from the Arabians, the rhyming dictionary would have been a facility, that must have been copied ; although every other species of dictionary may have been disregarded, as valueless. Nor will our Abbé find it, we believe, an easy matter on his theory, to account for the fact, that the Spaniards have no word for rhyming dictionary, whilst the Italians have “rimario.'
Let us now turn to another view of the subject, founded on the distinction between the “rimas assonantes,” and “rimas consonantes” of Spanish poetry. The former are found, where the rhyme is only in the vowels, as in “noble," " pone," "dolor,” “coroçon;” the latter, where the rhyme is both in the consonants and vowels, as in "paladino," "vecino," "latino," "vino."'
u Gloss. Du Cange, vol. v. 1448. w Bouterwek, vol. i. p. 89.
v 1 Bouterwek, p. 79 N.
The former, says the dictionary of the academy, are esteemed a defect in modern poets, though not in the ancient. The former is found, in no other language than in the Spanish, says Bouterwek,“ while Sismondi tells us, that it was proper to all the popular songs in the languages of the south, though none but the Spaniards ever subjected it to rules. This species of rhyme, says Sismondi, the Spaniards apparently borrowed from the Arabs. May we not well ask, where is the evidence of this: None of the Pleiades of Mecca justify the position ; for the distich form, already explained, is totally different, and the Arabic rhyme consists most obviously of consonants, as well as of vowels. Andrès, who ought to have known better, tells us, that Al Farabi (who spoke seventy languages, and died A. D. 950) “sottomise a certi e stabili leggi la poesia, che prima altra regola non conosceva, che il capriccio de' poeti ;" although we have seen that the moâllakát, written more than 300 years before, was regular in versification and rhyme. We ask it the more especially too, because Bouterwek, who ought also to have known better, says, that assonant rhymes are found only among the Spaniards, whereas Sismondi has given an instance of a Latin song* in thirty-six lines, written for the Modenese soldiery, while guarding their walls, upon the invasion of Italy by the Hungarians, A. D. 905. We ask it likewise, still more emphatically, because Bouterwek, whose work is confined to Spanish literature, in order to illustrate the supposed influence of the Arabian monorhymes on the ancient Castilian poetry, does not refer us to any popular Arabian poem, but cites from the Koran, (which is half verse and half prose,) a passage of four lines : as though such a book would not have been the last to which a Christian, in those days of religious and political intolerance, of ignorance and superstition, would have resorted, either for poetry or religion. The frequent repetition of the same rhyme, (which is characteristic of Arabic and Persian poetry) was, indeed, familiar in the North, before it was a Vol. i.
61. * It is worth while to quote a few lines of this poem, to show that assonant rhymes were not only known in Italy, but had been adopted into Latin, not by a mere harper or travelling poet, but by a man acquainted with antiquity, and
yet accom. modating Latin to the versification of the vulgar languages. (1 Sism. p. 26.)
“O tu qui servas armis ista mænia,
“Invadunt urbem, et incendunt Pergama." d Vol. i. p. 204. e Vol. i. p. 27. f Murat. Ann. D’Ital. vol. 5, p. 257. VOL. II.-NO. 3.