« ПретходнаНастави »
constant intercourse. If on the North of the Pyrenees, we read of noble Troubadours, a Dauphin of Auvergne, a Count of Poitou, a Prince of Orange, and a Baron of Puy, we read on the South, of a Lord of Mur, and two Kings of Arragon,* but of none of Castile, Oviedo or Leon. The Catalan spoken in Catalonia, Arragon, and Navarre, was almost altogether like the Provençal, but very different from the Castilian, and Galician or Portuguese. And it is remarkable, that the names of the French Troubadours, are sometimes purely French, as Cabestaing, Ogier, Capdueil-sometimes Spanish in termination, as Figueira, Castelloza, Adhemar, Germonda, and Rambaldo Vaqueiras, to say nothing of the Catalonians, Escas and William de Muror of the terminations of Blondel, Sordel, Rudel, Vidal, Blacas. The succession of Raymond Berenger, Count of Barcelona, to the sovereignty of Provence, (A.D. 1092) contributed to fix, extend, and improve this identity of language, and to facilitate the identity of Provençal literature, both in France and Spain. The rapid developement and advancement “ of this transitory love of verse," though in a great measure unaccountable, doubtless arose chiefly from the singular prosperity of Languedoct and Provence, while the rest of Europe was distracted by foreign and domestic wars, and from the disposition “of the inhabitants to feel with voluptuous sensibility, the charms of music and amorous poetry." L'union de la Provence, pendant deux cent treize ans, sous une suite de Princes, qui ne jouérent pas un rôle brillant au-dehors, et qui sont presque onbliés par l'histoire, mais qui ne souffirent aucune invasion, qui, par une administration paternelle, augmentérent la population et les richesses de l'etat, et favorisérent le commerce, auquel les appellait leur situation maritime, suffit pour consolider les lois, les mœurs, et la langue des Provençaux. It is conceded also, that the language and poetry of Provence were cultivated earlier, more extensively, and more successfully, than those of Spain, France, Germany, and Italy. Hence,
* Alfonzo II. and Peter III. Kings of Arragon, (1 Sisin. p. 123.) Alfonzo X. of Castile, 1252 to 1284, was a verse-maker, but no Troubadour; for his "stances dactyliques or versos de arte mayor,” treated of Alchymy. On ny trouve pas l'ombre de la poésie.” (1 Bout. p. 90.) Grand Riquier de Narbonne, who breathed "les derniers soupirs de la poésie Provençale,” could not make his patron a poet. i 1 Swinb. Trav. p. 106.
j 1 Bout. p, 61. + Languedoc-i. e. Langue d'Oc-thus transferring, by a singular anomaly, the descriptive name of the language to the country, from which it was derived: Occitania being the ancient name of Languedoc. k 1 Sism. p. 85:
1 4 Hall. p. 398. VOL. 1.-N0. 1.
the literature of the Troubadours, going forth, a river of living waters, as from another Garden of Eden
“Rolled o'er Elysian flowers her amber waves :
“And country.” Do we not then naturally expect the literature of Provence, thus arising in a manner by itself, and advancing with such rapidity beyond that of its neighbours, to discover a native and original, not an imitative character?
Let us now glance our eye over the leading causes of these peculiarities. They are to be found, we apprehend, in ages and countries remote from Provence, but exercising a decisive influence over modern Europe: and yet, entirely apart in their origin, and entirely different in their character, from .aught to be found among the Arabians.
“Women,” says Mrs. Kindersley, “have, naturally, most power," and it is plain, that the Christian Religion has placed women, in the exercise of a legitimate influence, whether as unmarried or as wives, as Patriot and Christian mothers, “in the thoughts of their lovers and husbands, between heaven, the throne and the altar." Christianity has given to females their equality of rights and duties; their influence on public taste and sentiment; their freedom in the intercourse of society at home and abroad, with their own, and with the other sex; and above all, the personal independence of choice.
We discover also in the manners of the ancient northern nations, some causes of peculiar character, which have coincided admirably with the precepts of Christianity, in fashioning a new people, unseen and even unimagined before. The ancient northern nations believed of women, says Tacitus, “ inesse etiam sanctum aliquid et providum:" and the Greeks and Romans were astonished that the northern barbarians should treat their women with so much respect, and allow them such privileges, as they themselves had never accorded to the sex. Chastity and the love of liberty, were of the essence of the northern female character. But the Moors, whether we consider men or women, set little value on either of these as virtues in the fair sex: the men being tyrants, and the women slaves. A woman among the northern tribes, was not received into her husband's house as a slave, but as the companion of his life, as the partner of all his joys and sorrows, of all his dangers, and of all his labours.”n The wife, the mother, the daughter, the sister accompanied the men to war: and were the most solemn witnesses and the warmest panegyrists of their achievements. The same women participated in public affairs, and were often selected as judges and arbitresses. “Among the ancient Germans, and other northern nations, love incited tj achievements as transcendent, was subjected to trials as severe, and was capable of sacrifices as great, as ever shed lustre on the passion of the most irreproachable knights."! “Dangerous enterprises, and heroic achievements were, in the remotest ages, not only the surest means of acquiring extended fame, and the love, regard and favour of kings and nations, but were better calculated to gain the hearts of the generous fair, than rank, riches, or the greatest personal attractions.!!! Offences against the female sex were punished by the same people, with far greater severity, than if man were the object of insult or injury.® Such were the elements of character, which the northern nations carried with them wherever they went: and although the influence of the corrupt and effeminate Romans must have produced a great effect on them ; yet, it is certain that the vanquished were put to shame, and reformed by their northern conquerors: that many ancient abuses were corrected, that equity and justice were administered, that the weak, the widow, and the orphan were protected from oppression, and criminals punished with severity. Let us not then go beyond such proofs as these, to show that the spirit of the
k 1 Bout. p. 61. 1 1 Hall. p. 398. m Wom. by Segur. vol. i. p. 201. n Meiners' Hist. of Fem. Sex. vol. i. pp. 165–166.
of the Troubadours was not derived from an Arabian fountain. And is it not a remarkable fact, that the European nation, in which gallantry and politeness, deference for, and the power of women have subsisted the longest, and in the highest state of perfection, is that very country, France, which received in the Normans, the largest and latest accessions from the northern hive? The origin of chivalry, in France, need not then be traced to Moorish Spain: and when we consider the power, and extensive dominions and conquests of Charlemagne, together with the comparative dependence, and absolute inferiority of all the other European states," it is plain that his age must bave exerted a great influence on the manners, sentiments, and literature of all Christendom.
“ It is not known,” says Segur, “whether the Spaniards derived their gallantry from the Moors, or whether they imparted it to the latter." "This extraordinary mixture of mildness and cruelty, of delicacy and ferocity, this passion of evincing them
p 1 Mein. p. 170.
o 1 do. p. 174.
1 do. pp. 178, 179.
u 9 Gibbon, p. 186.
selves the bravest and most faithful of mankind, whence did it come? Did it descend to the Moors from the Spaniards, or did the Spaniards receive it from the Moors? I confess I know not; but, in remarking that this distinction of character never existed in Asia, the first country of the Arabs, that it is less perceivable in Africa, where conquest naturalized them, and, that, since they left Spain, they have lost every vestige of these amiable and romantic manners, I cannot help thinking they owe them to the Spaniards."'it “In effect, before the invasion of the Moors, the courts of the Gothic Kings present us with such examples."y Who indeed can doubt, that the spirit of gallantry, in Spain and France, had a far more ancient origin than the Moorish æra in Spain? And if Spain was not indebted for this to the Saracens, we must conclude, irresistibly, that Provence did not derive it from them.
Let us next inquire, whence originated the spirit of chivalry? “ To protect the timid and innocent, to combat the Moors in Spain, the Saracens in the east, the tyrants of the castles in Germany, and to secure in France, the quiet of travellers,” was, according to some historians, the origin of chivalry.” “From the prevailing spirit of the times,” says Professor Millar, in his Distinction of Ranks in Society, “the art of war became the study of every one, who was desirous of maintaining the character of a gentleman,” “The feudal establishments, by the high rank to which they elevated certain families, no doubt greatly favoured this romantic system.” “The formalities of the duel, and a kind of judicial challenge were known among the Celtic nations of Europe." "A martial spirit” “had diffused itself all over Europe, and the feudal nobles, whose minds were elated by their princely situation, eagerly embraced the most hazardous enterprises. Hence arose their passion for chivalry, and their ambition to outshine each other, in exertions of strength and prowess.'
We must not forget, in examining the heroism of the age of chivalry, that the romance in character is the only genuine foundation of romance in narrative. Now, Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Charlemagne and his Paladins, the Cid, the Niebelungen and Helden-Buch, are all natives of Christian Europe, and must have had their foundations broadly and deeply laid, not in oriental or Moorish fiction, but in the romance of northern life and manners. And who can doubt, that Charlemagne's admiration of the old German heroic tales, and his
2 1 Gonz: of Cord. 158.
y 1 do. p. 159. % 1 Segur. p. 198. a Ferguson on Civ. Soc'y. b Ibid.
c Russell's Mod. Eur. P. 1, lib. 20. Vol. i. p. 163.
care to collect them, had a great influence on the spirit of his own age, and on the national character of France? In vain may the author of the Introduction to the Literary History of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, assign the honour of romance to the Moors. The very name (Romancia, lingua vulgaris; Romanciare, fabulas et historias linguâ vulgari scribere vel narrare') indicates a native growth: and the fact, that we have no name for this species of composition, derived from the Arabic, seems to us conclusive. Our terms for epic, tragic, comic, lyric, elegiac poetry, mark their classic origin: and if any such argument could have been offered by the advocates for the Arabic origin of rhyme and romance, it would have been to them a word of power, in no wise inferior to the Durindana or Balisarda of Ariosto's Knights. But no such argument exists in fact, and the absence in all European poetry, of any names like Ghazelle and Casside, goes far to shew, that whatever may be found in the verses of Christian poets like them, had a separate, independent origin. We cannot but quote the sentiments of Schlegel, when expressing his disapprobation of the custom of those, who are perpetually tracing resemblances between the poets of different countries and ages. “If we must compare the poetry of that age (the thirteenth century.) to something, let it be, not to the poems of other times, but to the other works of art, which were produced in their own time, and in their own country.”
It is worthy of notice, that all eminent writers on the origin of chivalry, consider the influence of the fair sex, as a chief element in the composition of this remarkable spirit, the undoubted offspring of religion, love and valour. “The system of chivalry (says Professor Ferguson) proceeded on a marvellous respect and veneration for the fair sex, on forms of combat established, and on a supposed junction of the heroic and sanctified character.” “The situation of mankind in those periods, had a manifest tendency to heighten and improve the passion between the sexes." “ To be in love, was looked upon as one of the necessary qualifications of a knight.” “The sincere and faithful passion, the distant, sentimental attachment which commonly occupied the heart of every warrior, was naturally productive of the utmost purity of manners, and of great respect and veneration for the female sex.”g " What does it now signify,” says Segur, “what might have been the object of women, in improving the primitive chivalry?” “Every step in the progress
d p. 119. of Vol. i. p. 335.
e Du Cange, Supp. 3, 641, g Millar on Ranks.