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The reason why no attempt was made to adopt into the vulgar tongues, the rules of classic versification, was not, because these were unknown; for there was no period from Boethius to Petrarch, when Latin verse, in imitation of the classic poetry, was not written in every part of Roman Europe. But those who thus wrote, took no part (one or two instances excepted) in the composition of verse, in their vernacular languages. Hence, these were as little affected by the rules of art, which prevailed in the Greek and Latin school, as the Arabic itself. As soon, therefore, as the poetry of the vulgar tongues had passed from the rude inartificial forms, which belonged to it, as the trade of the scop or professional poet of a semi-barbarous age, it began to assume something of the dignity of art, and of the order of science. Now, we comprehend perfectly, how the modern versification arose out of the elements of the modern languages, without any aid from the Arabic, just as the Arabic itself arose at a much earlier day; and this we believe every scholar will readily admit, to have been the natural, probable course of events. It would seem then, after the review heretofore taken of the history, language, people, and literature of Spain, that Andrès must furnish vastly superior evidence to any as yet known, to convince us that this fifth resemblance is not a mere imagination, impressed into the service of his theory.
6. Our learned Abbé has found in the subjects of Arabic and Provençal poetry, a sixth feature of similarity. He has forgotten, however, that he has shown no resemblance between the subjects of Spanish and Moorish poets; although he supposes these to have taught those, and those to have fashioned the Troubadours. But how could he alledge any such likeness, after his own admissions, and after the remarks already made on the Cid and Alexander the Great ? When Andrès tells us? that the subjects treated, “le materie trattate,” are a point of resemblance, we look back with some surprise, to his opinion, at page 183. “Egli è vero, che nelle composizioni de' provenzali, non si scorge vestigio d'Arabica erudizione, ni v'è segno
alcuno d' essersi formati i provenzali poeti, su le poesiè degli Arabi.” If now the Provençal poets bear no marks of having ever studied Arabian poetry, or of having had even the slightest acquaintance with it, of what avail is it to point out similarities, which belong to the essential character of the respective languages, of man himself, and of the state of society? The poetry of the Troubadours is chiefly amatory* or elegiac, panegyrical
1 Vol. ii.
202. * La Harpe tells us, “Les Troubadours, qui professaient la science gaie (el gaf saber 1 Sism. 90) cést ainsi qu 'ils l'appelloient, et qui couraient le monde, en
or heroic. And do not the same characteristics, with few exceptions, belong to the poetry of every age and every country, bowever rude, or however polished ? Indeed, when we consider that the only artificial resemblances, as to materials, were more probably derived from the Crusades, than from any intercourse with the Moors of Spain, we feel that the theory of Andrès is still less worthy of our credence. The result then of our examination of the six points of resemblance, between Arabic and Provençal poetry, relied on by the Abbé, is, that not one of them furnishes any legitimate ground of argument, in favour of the imitation of the first by the last, and still less of any resemblance between the intermediate depository, Spanish literature. After all then, we return to the mere fact, that the verse of the Troubadour and of the Saracen bard was distinguished by rhyme. Now, we hesitate not to say, that the very mode, in which rhyme arose in Arabic poetry, before the Hegira, is the mode, mutatis mutandis, in which it came to give a new character to modern verse, as the natural growth of our modern languages, in their transition from gross barbarism to something like regularity and artificial arrangement. Let us lay aside Arabic literature, and we see at once, that the only two points of resemblance, rhyme and oriental fiction are traceable to sources entirely independent of Saracen Spain: viz. the first to the character of the northern languages, whether in their Romanic dialects, or in their primitive combinations, and the second to the Greek book of popular legends already noticed, and to the Crusades.
Let us close this review of the question, as to the Arabic origin of rhyme, with a few general remarks.
chantant l'amour et les dames, furent honorés et recherchés." (Vol. iv. Cours de Lit. p. 210.) And yet, notwithstanding the influence which Andres supposes the Spaniards to have exercised over the Troubadours, and the re-active influence of these upon those, the proper æra of love-poetry in Spain was not until the fifteenth century. (1 Schleg. p. 300.) The Provençal poets, therefore, whose verse was dedicated more to the praise of woman and to love, than to any other subject, and who had passed away before the year 1300, (4 Hall. p. 397) could not possibly in respect of amatory poetry, perhaps the essential feature of their occupation-the very life blood of their whole character-have received from their southern neigh bours this quality, or have imparted it to them. We are incredulous of this Spanish influence, which Andrès would have us believe to have been, in very deed,
-The sweet south, "That breathes upon a bank of violets,
“ Stealing and giving odours.” But, if we look to the North East, we behold in Germany, a long line of imitators of Provençal poetry, in the sonnets of one hundred and forty poets, discovered by the Baron Zurlanben, in the King's library. (Pref. to Lit. Hy. Troub. p. 23.) And if we turn our eyes to the South-East, we behold the Italians, Dante, Petrarch, Boccacio,
and others, borrowing extensively from the Troubadours, as Bembo, Tassoni, Tiraboschi, Redi, &c. have testified. In France also, the poetry of the langue d'oc, (the Provençal south of the Loire) could not but have exerted a large share of influence on the langue d' oil, (or French, North of the Loire.)
1. The very different characters of Arabian and European poetry induce us to believe, that the rhyme of the former was not the model of the same quality in the latter. The prevailing verse among the Arabians was marked by three features, not one of which is found, except perhaps very rarely, in any known poetry of the European languages, viz: 1st. the division into independent distichs, not merely into our couplets; 2d. the second line of each having the same rhyme throughout the poem ; 3d. the first line of each having no rhyme at all; besides which the rhymes employed consist in consonants as well as vowels, and not merely in the latter. But, the poetry of the European nations has been distinguished by very different features. 1st. According to Sismondi, the assonant rhyme characterised the early poetry of the south, though the Spaniards only reduced it to rules. 2d. The couplet rhymes of our modern poetry are a prevailing feature of the early poetry of Europe, and such is also the fact with rhymed quatrains. 31. The monkish latin verse, whether rhyming by hemistichs or couplets, whether in hexameters only, or in these and pentameters combined, or in neither, is the prevailing species, in what may be called the scholastic department of poetry, in the middle ages. 4th. Among the northern nations, a leading feature of their poetry, prior to the introduction of rhyme, was alliteration, or the repetition of the same consonant several times in the same lineas in Gray's Elegy,
“Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind :"> and in Rogers' Pleasures of Memory“,
"The few, fine flushes of departing day." “ Aussi “ l' alliteration,” says Sismondi,“ qui est la repetition des consonnes, est elle l'ornement des langues du Nord.” Wartono and Turner, mention it also, and Turner speaks of a peculiar species of alliteration as characteristic of Welch poetry, whilst Ellis considers alliteration as introduced by the Danes, Now, the very practice of thus repeating the same initial sounds in the same line, would very probably lead of itself, in time, to the repetition of the same final sounds, and to their substitution for the iteration of letters merely.
2. Our second remark relates to the Spanish language: and is principally confined to that; because Andrès considers it as a vehicle for the passage of rhyme from Arabian to Provençal poetry. The idea, which strikes us with great force, is, that the Spanish language is so happily fitted for rhyme, that if there be any one, above the rest, in which it might be expected to grow n Vol. i. p. 101. 0 1 Wart. pp. 26. 28. 33. p2 Turn. Angl. Şax. p. 330.
9 Vol. i. Specim. p. 11. VOL. 1.-NO. 1.
up spontaneously, from the natural cultivation of vernacular poetry, it is the Spanish. We are aware that Malcolm Laing, in his History of Scotland, has insisted, that the classic languages are so well adapted for rhyme, that it is more necessary to avoid, than to seek it: and he argues, from the variety of inflections, produced by their declensions and conjugations, that the command of materials for rhyme must be proportionably increased. It may be assumed as a general position, without any minute examination of final sounds, that if one language has twice as many words as another, it might be expected to have double the facilities for rhyme. But, after all, if in a language, having a smaller number of words, the terminations be fewer, in proportion, the advantage must be in favour of the limited language. If, for example, there be a greater number of words, as nouns, adjectives, and participles, ending in o, or a, in one language, than in another, the facility of rhyming is greater in that, than in this. Now, the terminations"0, os,
a, as,” must necessarily occur more frequently in Spanish, than in Latin, because the noun, adjective, or participle undergoes but a single change, either in the masculine or feminine, viz. by adding s for the plural. These, therefore, can be more easily disposed of as rhymes, than if they experienced eight or ten different changes. Were it optional, which of the eight or ten we would use, then the facility would be so much enhanced; but if we are equally restricted by the same rules of syntax, then the facility is diminished; because we are compelled, as the word changes from case to case, to seek eight or ten, instead of simply two correspondent terminations. Is it not, in some measure, for this reason, that the Improvisatori and Improvisatrici of Italy are able to produce their extempore verse, with such incredible facility? And is it surprising that they should coin verse with a readiness, almost justifying the Arabic epithet for poetry, "La magie legitime," when we consider that a vast majority of the rhymes in Italian, (and it is equally so in Spanish) consist of final vowel sounds, whereas in the northern languages a very great proportion is formed by final consonants; or by mute final vowels; so that the facility of rhyme, in those compared with it in these, is somewhat in the inverse ratio of the number of vowels to the number of consonants.
If Laing's theory were correct, we ought to find in Virgil, for example, every tenth or twelfth line rhyming with its neighbour; whereas we may read page after page, without meeting
p Vol. i.
458 and 524 N.
an instance. According to the same theory, the number of cases ought to be much greater in Greek, than in Latin; and yet Sismondi, (why it is not easy to comprehend) though he admits that rhyme occurs in the Latin writers, does not admit it as to the Greek." Rhyme, “inconnue aux Grecs, se trouve à la vérité quelquefois, dans les poésies Latines mëmes classiques. Il s'agit moins de marquer le vers, que de marquer le sens." We do not believe with Laing and Dutief, that rhyme was avoided by the classic poets; for we apprehend they never thought about it : and perhaps the best proof is, that the modern writers of Latin verse, who might be supposed more upon their guard, from their familiarity with rhyme in their vernacular tongues, furnish as many instances as the ancient writers, in the same language. Hence, we conclude it to be matter of accident.
To illustrate our idea of the natural tendency of the Spanish language to rhyme, we would simply refer to the poem of the Conde de Norona, “La Muerte.” This composition is obviously no more written with a view to rhyme, than Homer or Virgil: and yet every page is crowded with just such rhymes, as occur in the old romance of the Cid, though not arranged, of course, in any regular order. We have taken the trouble, by way of exemplifying our position, to ascertain the number of rhymes in the first eleven successive pages, and we find them to stand thus. Out of 342 lines, 144 rhyme in o, and these constantly occur in clusters of 2, 3, 4, 5_43 in
18 in as; 28 in e; 22 in es; 9 in en;
and a few scattered ones in il and on. Thus 215 out of 342, i. e. more than 5-9ths, end in the three vowels, o, a, and e-while 268 out of 342, that is nearly 4-5ths, end in o, os, a, as,' justifying the pleasantry of a wag, who said “ que si l'on ôtoit les os et les as de la langue Espagnol, il ne lui resteroit que pour sifler et bailler.” In further illustration, we would refer to the three odes of Lope de Vega Carpio, on the death of his wife; to the monostrophes of Estiban Manuel de Villegas, translated from Anacreon; to the Anacreontic Idyl of Ignacio de Luzan, on Hero and Leander, and to Juan de Jaurequi’s translation of the Aminta of Tasso.
3. We should say, without any very special examination of the Provençal, Italian, and Portuguese poetry, that much the same state of facts exists in each of those languages. We refer, in confirmation of our opinion, to the first specimen at hand, Guarini's prologue to the Pastor Fido. The terminations of the 150 lines are four vowel sounds. Of these 150 final sounds, 37 are in a; 49 in e; 25 in i; and 41 in o. Indeed, the authors of
ç Vol. i. p. 99.
$ Del de l'Esp. et. du Port. Tom. 5.