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probable that the Arabians, through the Spaniards and Provençals, could have exerted any influence there. Thus the accumulation of identical rhymes is found in the Runic odes, especially in the one called “Egill's ransom." And Warton tells us that the early English poets were fond of multiplying the same final sound, to the most tedious monotony. But how has it happened, while the repetition of the same rhyme is found in the eldest Spanish poetry, that we discover in it no trace of the assonant rhyme, or of the distich of Persia and Arabia ? Does not this seem to show, that the former was of subsequent growth, and that the latter never could have been the model of the early poets of Spain?
We come now to consider one of the chief arguments of Andrès, or rather a summary of all: and that is, the resemblances, which he discovers between the Arabic and Provençal poetry; considering the latter as founded on the Spanish, and this on the former. 1. Poetry was cultivated by Princes and Nobles. 2. Poetry was a sure means of attaining the favour of the great. 3. Arabic Princes and Provençal Lords gave their garments as rewards to the poet. 4. The character of the jongleur. 5. The greater similarity of Provençal to Arabic, than to Greek and Latin versification. 6. The subjects of poetry. This formidable array of resemblances becomes on examination, perfectly harmless in the controversy.
1. Let us grant that Arabian Princes and Nobles cultivated poetry, and that the same fact existed among the Provençal Counts and Lords. We expect, as a matter of course, to find that Spain, as the medium of communication, exhibited generally, the same state of things. But Andrès only tells us, that many Princes, among the Provençals, especially in Spain, (not the Hispano-Gothic Princes) cultivated poetry. And although the private man as a Jongleur, might have travelled among the Moors, yet we find no evidence that the Provençal Lords ever did. Besides, the same fact exists in all ages and countries : and does it not spring from the state of society and manners, rather than from imitation ? The chief request of the besieged Gelimer to Pharas, was a harp. Charlemagne collected the heroic poems of the German bards; and delighted in repeating them. Alfred was himself a poet : Anlaf entered Athelstan's camp as a harper : and Canute has left us some of his poetry. The character of legislator and bard were united in Snorro Sturleson; and Odin boasted that the Runic songs had been delivered to him by the Gods. Indeed, the history of the northern nations constantly exhibits in one man, the noble warrior and noble poet.
e 1 Wart. p. 22.
We behold among them continually something of that imposing scene, exhibited under Conrad, the founder of the Swabian line, when scarcely any one dared to cultivate verse, unless he conld prove his sixteen quarters, and when the banquet-hall unfolded its portals, we beheld the fathers of romantic verse, in the persons of Kings and Dukes, mailed knights and trusty squires, each of whom,
-took the harp, in glee and game, “And made a lay, and gave it name." We find it to be so likewise among the North-American Indians;*
In the 14th volume of the Diction. Raison. des. Sc. p. 291, an American song in rhyme is spoken of, but on referring to Montagne, (Essais, lib. i. c. 30) no such conclusion is justified by any thing said by the writer. In like manner, a reference is made (vol. xiv. p. 291) to the Lapland song in the Spectator, (there are two from Sheffer's History of Lapland, see Nos. 366 and 466) as a specimen of rhyme, but nothing contained in those numbers, sustains the position. This reminds us of Camden's introducing (vol. i. Brit. 116) a quotation from a follower of Geoffrey Monmouth, with the expression, the poet who rhymes thus, though the passage cited has no rhyme; while Voltaire, in speaking of Petrarch's canzone to the fountain of Vaucluse, asserts that the Italian song is irregular and without rhymes, whereas the reverse is the fact. All, that is said in the Spectator, is, that the num. bers in the original are loose and unequal. We might, with as much propriety, refer to the African song, mentioned by Park, (Travels, p. 198) as a specimen of rhyme; though no mistake could be made, if we were at liberty to substitute the version of the Dutchess of Devonshire, set to music by Ferrari. As, indeed, the country of Bambarra is full of Moors, we might be allowed to suspect, (though Park tells the anecdote of the Mandingoe women) that the Arabic love for rhyme had been planted on the banks of the Niger: just as we know, that the Indian poets imitated the Persian, after Tamerlane had carried into India the Persian literature and poetry. It is worthy of notice, that the specimen of poetry, given by Garcilaso, in his History of Peru, (vol. i. p, 68, b. 2, c. 27) is not in rhyme, or at least, the rhymes are so irregular, as to indicate the fact rather as matter of accident, than of intention. Such are the rhymes, which occur in the verses addressed in the name of Charlemagne, to Paul Warnefrid, (Bering. Mid. Ages, p. 162) or in those cited by Muratori (Annal. d'Ital. vol. v. p. 250) or in the speech of Sylvia, (Aminta Atto. 2, sc. 2) or in the epigram of Pentadius,“ de vitâ beatâ.” Cumac Nusta, Pulchra Nympha,
Aquese tu Hermano,
El tu cantarillo,
Lo está quebrantando,
Y de aquesta causa,
Truena, y relampaguea,
Tambien caen Rayos,
Tu Real Donçella,
Tus muy lindas Aguas,
Nos darás lloviendo,
Tambien à las veces,
Graniçar nos has
El Hacedor del mundo,
El Dios que le anima,
El Gran Viracocha,
Para aqueste oficio,
Ya te colocaron,
Y te dieron alma. It is remarkable that the above lines are entirely free from mono-syllables, unless "May,” “Cay," be such in the Peruvian pronunciation of those words.
and Garcilaso de la Vega, in his History of Peru, speaks of the Incas of former days, as poets. Among the ancient Franks and Germans, it was an exercise, in the education of youth, for them to learn to repeat and to sing verses on the achievements of their ancestors. The same was practised among the Peruvians, as Garcilaso informs us. Bede mentions also, that in his day it was very common for the harp to go round in company, that each one might sing, who could : thus reminding us of that practice in France, which gave rise to those beautiful extempore lines of Prior, “ Mais cette belle voix, et ces beaux yeux,” &c. Indeed, the love of warlike and heroic song, is common to the åncient nations of every part of Europe.
2. Poetry was a certain road to the favour of the great. This was equally true of the early state of society in every part of modern Europe, as we shall hereafter shew.
3. It seems to us singular that such a coincidence as this, should have been thought worthy of notice. We doubt not the poet rejoiced at a change, which reversed the witty judgment of Dionysius, by giving to the adored object, a garment of gold for a woollen cloak: though a literal copy of the tyrant's example, would have conferred upon the bard the honourable death of Draco, or the miserable end of Tiberius, perishing “injectu multæ vestis.” Although it be true, that their garments were bestowed as rewards, by Lords and Princes on the poet, yet gifts of money, horses, and arms were equally common.
4. The office of the Jongleur (giullare) is dwelt upon, with much complacency, by Andrès. When the character, rank and influence of the scald, the bard, the harper, the minstrel, among the northern nations, are so abundantly attested by all history, is it not extraordinary, that such a coincidence as this should be relied upon ? The poetical and musical office were found united in almost every northern clime. Andrès, in fact, admits that most of the celebrated Troubadours and Jongleurs were natives of France. In Ireland, they were clothed in royal robes, were endowed with estates, and lived on public patronage. Their property descended not to the eldest, but to such son, as discovered the most talent for poetry and music. They were constantly summoned to a triennial festival; and their selected verse was preserved in the royal archives. In 588, they appear to have attained the zenith of wealth, distinction and power. Alfred, we know, was a harper as well as a poet; and Aldhelm, himself a bishop, who lived before him, took his station on the public bridge, to win the people by his f Vol. i. lib. 2, c. 27, pp. 67-68. 1 Wart. 1 Diss. h lib. iv. c. 24. 2 Vol. ii. p. 204. j i Wars. 1 Diss. * Lit. Hist. of Troub. p. 41, N.
songs. St. Dunstan also was a harper; and one charge against him was, that he had learnt the vain songs of his nation. A joculator or bard was an officer belonging to the household of William the Conqueror. The harper, indeed, appears to have been a part of the national establishment among the northern tribes, whether in their emigrant state, in England, France, Spain and Italy; or in their native state, in Germany and Scandinavia. Does it not seem obvious then, that the character of the harper, or professed singer and musician, has arisen in all countries and in all ages, not from an imitation of neighbouring examples, but from the intimate-union of music with war and religion, in the rude state of society of every people? This intimate union is found in the old and the new world; among the voluptuous Asiatics and the barbarous Africans; among the stern and hardy Europeans of the North, and their refined neighbours of the South. Is it not then clear, that Andrès has assigned as a cause, that state of things among the Arabians, which is only a collateral, yet concurrent and independent testimony of a common origin, in the character of human nature, and in a primitive state of society, anterior to the very existence of the poet and musician of the Saracens or Provençals?
5. The fifth resemblance, relied on by Andrès, is, that Provençal versification bears a closer resemblance to the Arabic, than to the Greek and Latin. In assigning this state of facts as an argument for the derivation of Provençal from Moorish poetry, it appears to us, that Andrès has committed an error, somewhat similar to that, which we have already considered. The Abbé does not refer to the use of rhyme; for he says, “Oltre la rima de' versi moderni, la meccanica loro struttura ha essa pure maggiore somiglianza colla composizione degli Arabici, che non con quella de' Greci e de' Latini."* In page 202, he tells us, that there is scarcely a circumstance in the construction of Provençal poetry, which is not found in the Arabic poets. But, if we except the circumstance of rhyme, it must be obvious to every one, that the principles of versification, especially if simple and natural, must be very much the same in all languages, which resemble each other, although there may have been no actual intercourse between the nations, who speak them. Poetry and music are found, though very rude, in every early state of society. Poetry, at first, is only a measured prose, more or less regular: and, in every primitive state of society, is inseparable from music. Both are then independent of rhyme, or classic feet, or the peculiar rhythm of ancient or modern poetry. But, as society advances, we find in all couns
k Vol. ii. p. 204.
tries, the character of the poet divorced from that of the musician: and in the progress towards this separation, some system of versification must necessarily have arisen. This, in languages of a recent, common origin, such as the Provençal, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and even in the French,* must, in a great measure, rest upon similar principles. Accordingly, notwithstanding the variety of forms, in which their poetry appears, we find a very exact correspondence in their principles of versification, when compared with ancient verse. There is the same affinity between the languages of the north of Europe: and as these resemble those of the south, far more than either class resembles the Arabian, it is perfectly natural to suppose, that the cultivation of each would, without any intercourse, lead necessarily to a similar prosody. As the Saracens despised the Greek poetry, they never attempted the accommodation of their language to the rules of classic verse; but proceeded to fashion a native prosody for themselves, or rather adhered to and improved that, which already existed. The like has been done in all the languages of modern Europe ; and we apprehend the same course would have been taken, though the Saracens had never settled in Europe, or had emulated Plato, in banishing poetry from their Spanish dominions. It has occurred to us, that perhaps we could not accommodate to our modern languages, whether in their present forms, or in their rude state, nine hundred yeårs ago, the rules of Arabic versification. We found this opinion chiefly on the fact, that our languages abound in monosyllables, while they are not only very rare in Arabic, but words of three, four, and five syllables appear to be almost innumerable. In a spirit of literary curiosity, we have examined the ten lines of Provençal poetry by the Emperor Frederick I, “Plas me cavalier Francès," and found in them twenty-four monosyllables, whilst fifty lines of Amriolkais yield only twenty-five: sixty-six of Zohair twenty-five; and one hundred and fourteen of Lebeid, twenty-six monosyllables.
* We class the French with the dialects of the south of Europe; because the popular versification of a language grows up in it, as a spoken and not as a written language. Now, the French as a spoken language, bears a great affinity to the southern tongues, because of the prevalence of the vowel sounds. It is obvious, indeed, that without this feature, it never could have merited, as it still does, the praise of Charles V. when he characterised it as the language of conversation, by reason of its vivacity and ease. But, as a written language, the French is essentially a northern dialect, on account of the excess of consonants, great numbers of which disappear in pronunciation. But, we have only to compare the verses of Tasso or Garcilaso, with the lines of Racine or Voltaire, to be convinced, that if the French shall ever become a dead language, no man of taste will be able to comprehend how. a language so full of consonants, compared to Spanish or Italian, could ever have surpassed them in the sprightliness, delicacy and ease, which distinguish the French as a colloquial dialect.