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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."* "In effect, before the invasion of the Moors, the courts of the Gothic Kings present us with such examples." 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
≈ 1 Gonz: of Cord. 158.
y 1 do. p. 159. a Ferguson on Civ. Soc'y.
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." 66 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." "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
of this new system, however slow, declares the delicacy of the minds, which had produced it." "The ideas of chivalry in an imperfect degree, had been of old, established among the Gothic tribes. The fashion of challenging to single combat, the pride of seeking dangerous adventures, and the spirit of avenging and protecting the fair sex, seem to have been peculiar to the northern nations, in the most uncultivated state of Europe." The perfect equality instituted by chivalry, was a very remarkable feature. "This dignity, (knighthood) even the greatest potentates were ambitious of acquiring."
When we reflect on the preceding circumstances, and bring. them to bear on the Provençal States, during their long tranquility of 213 years, with a delicious climate, a flourishing country, and a people, disposed "to feel with voluptuous sensibility, the charms of music and amorous poetry," we discover at once the original fountains of Provençal literature. The state of society, the relation between the sexes, between the knight and his lady, his squire and his jongleur, between the Troubadour of the humblest family, and the greatest Lords; and the relation between poetry and music, and all, honours and enjoyments, public and social, will account, in a satisfactory manner, for the origin of the "envoy" in Provençal poetry. Besides, is it not a very singular circumstance, that we no where discover in Provençal verse, the monorhyme distich, that prevailing feature of Arabian poetry? Had this characteristic distinguished very generally, Troubadour literature, we should have been as certain of its origin, as that Latin hexameters were derived from the Greek poets.
But there is an internal view of Provençal literature, far more important to disprove its Arabic origin, than the arguments deduced from mere forms. This internal view results from the facts already stated, as to the influence of the fair sex and the spirit of chivalry. Who, indeed, that comprehends the vast difference between the clannish spirit of the feudal system, and the personal character of the Moorish state of society; between the imperial power and magnificence of Saracen monarchs, and the comparative indigence and weakness of Christian kings; between the general education, wealth and luxury of individuals in Moorish Spain, compared with the ignorance, poverty and rudeness of the lower orders in Christendom; between Saracen valour, exclusively martial and superstitious, and Christian valour, founded on courage, honour, religion, love and sentiment; between the Christian woman, virtuous from
h 1 Wart. p. 109.
i Millar on Ranks.
personal pride and relative duty, and the Moorish female, chaste only through fear and necessity; between the lady of Christian States, living, acting, speaking freely and openly, in the presence of the community, and diffusing her soft, yet commanding influence over the hearts and manners of all above, around, beneath her, and the Arabian female, a prisoner and a slave, the property of her lord, the object of jealousy, rather than of love; between the pure and faithful devotion of the Christian knight, and the sensual, wandering attachments of the Mussulman; between the love of the former, a virtue and a sentiment, purifying, exalting and remodelling the character of the soldier and the man, and that of the Mahometan, a passion, destitute of modesty and delicacy; who that comprehends the vast difference between these elements of personal and social character, of domestic and public life, but must acknowledge that Provençal poetry is eminently original, the child of northern institutions and manners, sentiments and feelings, and deservedly entitled the poet to the proud yet significant name, Troubadour (Trouveur) Inventor?
The first Sanscrit verse, say the traditions of Hindostan, was uttered in a burst of resentment, by Valmic: and, we can well imagine, that the earliest poetry of Provence flowed from a heart, alive to the honour of knighthood, the dignity of woman, the purity and faithfulness of sentimental love. The fountain of Vaucluse, the lovely and virtuous Laura, the sonnets of Petrarch, his passion so respectful, so tender, so delicate, are not so much the first fruits of amatory and sentimental verse among the Italians, as the last monuments of Provençal poetry, erected in the enduring forms of a nobler and more accomplished language. The love poetry of Petrarch, is, indeed, the beautiful,
* Pasquier declares, that Dante and Petrarch are, indeed, the fountains of Italian poetry; but fountains, which have their sources in the Provençal poetry. Bouche, in his History of Provence, says, it was there that Petrarch learnt the art of rhyming, which he afterwards practised and taught in Italy; and Tassoni tells us, "il Petrarca molto prese da rimatori Provenzali." Petrarch speaks of Arnaud Daniel (born in Perigord, in the twelfth century) as the most celebrated of all the Provençal poets: and calls him "The great master of Love." He even imitated and borrowed a verse from one of his sonnets, the only Provençal, to whom he did the honour.—Lit. Hist. Troub. p. 13. Dante, in his treatise on the Eloquence of the Vulgar Tongue, says that Arnaud excelled all other writers in the Romance dialects, in tender verses and in prose.-1 Sism. p. 76. In the 26th Canto of Purgatory, he says of Arnaud, "Fu miglior fabbro del parlar materno: "Versi d'amore e prose di romanzi "Soverchiò tutti: e lascia dir gli stolti "Che quel di Lemosi credon ch' avanzi."
And when Arnaud speaks, he is represented as addressing Dante, not in Italian, but in Provençal, "quòn rencontre" says Sismondi, "avec etonnement dans un poëme tout Italien." The curious anecdote of Frederick the Great, Voltaire and the English Gentleman, who overheard Voltaire's poem, finds its prototype in the adventure of Arnaud with a jongleur, at the English Court.-Hist. Troub. p. 217.
affecting apotheosis of Troubadour literature, perishing by fire and sword in the bloody crusades against Raymond VI. and VII. It is the youthful, majestic Phoenix, springing aloft to a new career of glory, from the fiery grave of its parent.
"O felix, hæresque tui! Quo solvimur omnes,
"Hoc tibi suppeditat vires. Præbetur origo
"Per cinerem. Moritur, te non pereunte, senectus."
We have thus finished the task, which we had allotted to ourselves, of examining the claims of Arabic literature, to be accounted the author of rhyme, in the poetry of Christian Europe. We should have been well pleased, could we have embraced in the same article, the additional claims of the early verse of England, Germany, and France, and of the Latin rhymes of the cloister and the schools. But we have already consumed our morning and our noon, and have trespassed too far towards the evening of the longest summer's day, assigned as the period of a single article.
ART. III.-Commentaries on American Law. By JAMES KENT. Vol. I. 1826. Vol. II. 1827. 8vo. O. Halsted. New-York.
It is quite a matter of course that "the influence of America upon the mind," (to borrow a convenient, though somewhat pedantic phrase) should become first and chiefly, if not exclusively perceptible, in the department of politics and law. We are not aware that any new and peculiar sources of poetical enthusiasm have been revealed to us, nor have we as yet seen any thing in our history or condition, to justify the belief-so confidently inculcated by many of our prophetic fellow-citizens—that some great revolution in the abstract sciences and in speculative philosophy, is to be reckoned among the probable consequences of the declaration of independence. The adventurers that first peopled this continent, were not a race of barbarians, whose character was yet to be formed or developed. They brought with them the manners, the knowledge, and the modes of thinking, which belong to a highly advanced state of social improvement. Cœlum non animum, &c. All their historical