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lection of French poets before 1300, in the king's library.

A la fontenelle

Qui sort seur 1' araine

Trouvai pastorelle

Qui n' iert pas vilaine,
Ou ele se dementoit d'amors;
Dex quant vendra mon ami douz?

Merci, merci, douce Marote,

N' ociez pas vostre ami douz.

Dame de grant biaute,

Que ferai je lasse?

Se j'osasse amer

Je n' ose por mon pere;
A tort me chasties d'amors,
Car j' amerai mon ami douz;

Merci, merci, douce Marote,

N' ociez pas vostre ami douz.

E li chevalier

Qui 1' a escoutee,

S' estant arreste

Mist pie fors destrier;
Devant li se mist a genouz;
Bele, vez ci vostre ami douz:

Merci, merci, douce Marote,

N'ociez pas vostre ami douz.

Dites moy Marote

Seres vos m' amie?

A bele contele

Ne faudrois vos mie;
Chemise ridee et pelicon
Aurez, se je ai vostre amors;

Merci, merci, douce Marote,

N' ociez pas vostre ami douz.

. Our selections from the Norman French poets, some of which have never before been in print, will be found to be very scanty; and it is difficult to have it otherwise, considering the little pains which have hitherto been taken, even in France, with this branch of its early literature.

A great deal might be done in this department, from the stores of the King's Library at Paris: but even in what will be found hereafter, and in the volumes which have just appeared, entitled "Les Poetes Francois depuis le XII* Sidcle jusqu'a Malherbe; Paris, 1824," (miserably deficient as those volumes are, in the exhibition of hitherto unpublished matter,) it will be plain that Boileau gave rather a precipitate judgement when he said—

Villon * fut le premier, dans ces siecles grossiers
Debrouiller l'art confus de nos vieux Romanciers.
Marot bientSt apres fit fleurir les Ballades, &c.

* • * *

Enfin Malherbe vint; et le premier en France
Fit sentir dans les vers une juste cadence; &c.

A comparison of the Northern and Southern languages of France leads to the conclusion, that even in its best days the former was greatly the inferior in melody and power, though not perhaps in a peculiar naivete and sweetness. Of these qualities, its

* Of the 15th century.

G

beautiful diminutives furnish the most obvious instance; and they were accordingly turned to excellent account by the poets, as in such lines as these:—

Elle estoyt blanche comme let,
Et doulce comme ung aignellet,
Vermeillette comme une rose.

Unfortunately, these, its most redeeming qualities, have gradually given way before the pretended refinements, that at length produced the "belle langue" which is the most unpoetic of European tongues.

SECTION IV.

Germany.—Songs of the ancient Teutonic tribes.—Reign of Charlemagne.—Formation of the Teutonic languages.—Remains of the Carlovingian age.—Fragment of Hildibrant and Hathubrant.—The Church—Louis le Debonnaire.—Ot

fried.—Song of Victory of Louis III Legend of St. George. —St. Anno.—Popular songs.—Suabian dynasty.—Frederic Barbarossa.—His connexion with the Berengars.—Henry VI. —Frederic II.—Conrad IV.—Conradin.—Decline of German poetry.—Cultivation of poetry at the minor courts, and in various dialects.—Low German.—Landgrave of Thuringia.—Romances of the Suabian age.—Nibelungen Lied.— —Laurin.—Scandinavian mythology and poetry.—Harald the Valiant.—Lyric poetry of the Minnesingers.—Comparison with that of the Troubadours.

Cotemporary, or nearly so, with the most celebrated Troubadours flourished the Minnesingers of Germany. Their poetry was, till of late, almost unknown out of their native land; yet it is decidedly superior to that of their more fortunate rivals. It is the primary object of the present volume to introduce these early ornaments of a kindred tongue to the English reader; on which account he will perhaps excuse rather more particular details of their history.

Of all the branches of modern European poetry, it would be most ungracious to neglect that of the Teutonic nations; for to them may almost every where be traced the love and practice of song, even in »

the days of what we are accustomed to call the deepest barbarism. It is hardly necessary to refer to the earliest observers of their manners, for the purpose of reminding the reader that the deeds of their warriors, as related in legendary songs, were always the delight of the ancient Germans. Time has laid its unsparing hand on much; yet some interesting and venerable reliques have survived; and there is little doubt that in the Nibelungen Lied, the Helden-buch, and the Scandinavian Eddas and Sagas, we see, though in a comparatively modern dress, fragments of a remote and almost primitive antiquity; such, perhaps, as Jornandes heard and referred to as historical materials at the court of Theoderic, who, like Alfred and Charlemagne, seems to have encouraged the ancient vernacular literature of his country.

The reigns of Charlemagne and his successors in the Carlovingian dynasty, exhibit the first glimpses of distinct light thrown upon that portion of the ancient poetry of Germany which has survived to us. Though merciless and cruel in his views of territorial aggrandizement, Charlemagne had the discernment to see that the most politic plan for giving stability to his authority consisted in amending the religion and enlightening the understandings of the tribes over whom he triumphed in arms. Though his literary tastes were acquired in Italy, he had judgement enough to postpone the popular learning of the day

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