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tout pur," and Schlegel in speaking of the same work, (Otfrid's translation or rather abridgment of the Gospels in verse," made about 8704) remarks, "that this and other like performances are valuable, because these Christian poets did not invent a form of writing for themselves; but were content with copying and adopting that of the heroic poems of the preceding ages. The war-song of Lewis, King of the East Franks, (written A. D. 883") proves that such a form of versification was familiar to the common people. This fact could not have been fairly gathered from the production of a monk, though agreeing in all circumstances with the form of the war-song. Below, are two
couplets from this song."
Schlegel mentions also, that the love songs of the different countries of Europe agreed in one thing, that they were all in rhyme: and he says that as early as the reign of Lewis the Pious, (814 to 840) it was found necessary to address an edict to the Nuns of the German cloisters, admonishing them to restrain their inordinate passion for singing love-songs (mynelieder.) Now, it is obvious, as rhyme was at that early day, the form of the war-song and of the love-song in Germany, and had even become the amusement of the cloister, it must have had a far more ancient date, than the beginning of the ninth century. But if we grant these mynelieders, the war-song and the verse of Otfrid to have been written at the same time, it is still more plain, that the use of rhyme in three compositions of such different character, at the same time, is a conclusive proof that the form was familiarly known to the people, the soldiery and the cloister. It is no argument against these views, that the Nibelungen in its elder form, of the ninth or tenth century, is in prose. The most ancient compositions, in all ages and countries, are poetical in spirit, but it is equally true that they have the form of prose. The poem of the Nibelungen is believed by Sisinondi to have existed immediately after Attila ; and
q Dict. des Sc. tom. xiv. p. 294.
r Vol. i. 268.
8 4 Hall. 237.
w Blut schien en wangen Kampf lustigen Franken."
"There were red cheeks in the ranks Of the war delighting Franks."
t Rees. Title Versific.
u 1 Wart. 1 Diss.
v 1 Schleg. p. 268.
"Now the song was sung,
"We can see from this, that the same old German custom, which is described by Tacitus, of inspiriting the soldiers for action by a heroic song, was still preserved, after the lapse of many centuries, among the armies of the Teutonic people."
z 1 Schleg. p. 269.
y Id. ibid. Tom. i. p. 30, and see 1 Wart. 1 Diss. N. b. VOL. III.-No. 5.
what may have been its primitive form, we know not. Trissino, in his epic, “La Italia Liberata da' Goti," preferred blank verse to rhyme; though the latter had been previously used by the Troubadours, and by Dante, Petrarch and Boccacio. And why may not the author of the Nibelungen, in the ninth or tenth century, have preferred prose to rhyme, seeing that the latter had been degraded, as he might have thought, by the employment of it in religious poetry and in love-songs? The use of prose does not imply that rhyme did not previously exist ; whilst the common, general use of this, necessarily implies the preexistence of more ancient versification of the same character. And this opinion is justified by the fact, that when we find any settled custom among rude nations, we shall seldom err in assigning to it, an almost indefinite antiquity.
But whence could the rhyme thus previously existing, have been derived? Let us hear Monsieur Ginguené." "Otfrid dit dans le prologue Latin de sa traduction, que la langue thioise affecte continuellement la figure omoiototeleuton, c'est à dire, finissant de même; et que dans ces sortes de compositions, les mots cherchent toujours une consonance agréable." "Les Germains et les Francs ecrivaient leurs guerres et leurs victoires, en rhytmes ou rimes. Charlemagne ordonna d'en faire un recueil. Eginhart nous apprend qu'il se plaisait singulierèment à les entendre, et ce n'étaient pour la plupart, que des vers thiois ou thiotisques rimés." Now Charlemagne died in 814; so that
a Tom. i. p. 239.
We have not been able to find any relics of the "Cantilena Rollandi,” though we had hoped that Du Cange would have furnished some. This was the war-song of the Normans at the battle of Hastings, (1 Hume, p. 193) and was sung by Taillefer, a celebrated knight, who, leading at once the song and the vanguard, perished in the action. Dr. Burney, in his History of Music, vol. ii. p. 276, has copied the French version of the “Chanson de Roland,” by the Marquis de Paulmey, who has combined in his poem, all the fragments, which he had found in the ancient Romances. Whether the fragments found by Paulmey were in rhyme, we know not; they probably were, as in that form, the song would be doubly acceptable to Charlemagne, on account of his passion for the rhymed war-song of Germany. Fábyan, in his Cronicle, 1583, fo. xciii. speaks also of this song as sung at the battle of Fountanet, 941. 66 "When the shote was spent, and the speres to shatteryd, then both hostes ranne togyther wyth Rowlande's Songe." This is the same song, of which an account ia given in Maistre Wace. or Gace's metrical romance Le Brut (a free but excellent translation of Geoffrey of Monmouth's British History). The lines quoted by Du Cange (Gloss. tom. ii. p. 196) from the Roman de Rou. (from the "Histoire ou Roman des Ducs de Normandie," says Ritson on the authority of the Abbe de la Rue) differed little from those of Wace. We prefer the former.
"Taillefer qui moult chantoit,
beyond doubt, as the heroic poems collected by him, were in rhyme, they establish a far higher antiquity for this species of verse, than his own age. Indeed, when we remember that these were the popular heroic tales, handed down by tradition, and collected by Charlemagne, (who was to the German bards, what Solon was to Homer and the Homerida,c) we cannot doubt that rhyme must have been, to use Sismondi's expression as to Arabic rhyme, "dès la plus haute antiquité," familiar to the Germanic nations.
Traditionary rhyme having then so ancient a source, as we have already seen, let us now follow the invaders, and trace the connection between the Gothic rhyme and that of modern Italy. From the manner, in which the Latin historian Jornandes acknowledges his obligations to the heroic poems of the Goths, there is great reason to believe that he, or rather the authors, whom he transcribed, had not barely heard these poems recited, but saw them committed to writing at the court of Theodorica. Jornandes was himself of Gothic descent, and wrote his history in 552. Now, it is true, that the Goths were in turn conquered by Roman arts and manners; but it is very certain that multitudes of them settled in Italy, and that chiefly, through their influence, Latin ceased to be the spoken language. It was undergoing changes long before the coming of the Goths, for the corruption of the language had commenced several centuries earlier. The new language arose from the intermixture of the Barbarian and Roman tongues, just as the new population sprang from the domestic and social intercourse of the old inhabitants and the new comers. The majority, that is the natives, contributed, of course, the greatest number of words; but the emigrant influence was predominant in forming the character of the new language, by keeping out of it, effectually, the peculiarities of the Latin tongue. That the Goths would still have preserved, for some time at least, their traditionary poems, seems unquestionable. But during the changes in the vulgar tongue of Italy, all vestiges of Latin poetry, such at least as it is known to us, must have disappeared among the people. We question, indeed, whether the vulgar of Italy ever had any poetry, traditionary or otherwise, in common use, constructed on the principles of clas
c 1 Schleg. p. 256.
d 1 Schleg. p. 254.
Sulpicius Apollinaris, who lived in the middle of the second century, boasts that he was the only person who could then understand the History of Sallust: (Ginguené tom. i. p. 7.) and Aulus Gellius, who lived at the same time, abounds with tamentations over the decay and corruption of letters.
sic verse. And we think so more especially, because the States of Italy were not allowed to speak the Latin tongue publicly.f
It seems to us then, that the songs of the Goths must have given a character to the popular poetry of the newly formed language of Italy; since this must have resembled Latin, in the elements of versification, much less than the Gothic dialect. We could not expect any of the vulgar verse, thus arising, to be perpetuated in writing, not only because the common people could neither read nor write, but because the state of confusion, in which Italy lay for centuries. is a sufficient reason. Hence also the written copies of the Gothic poems soon ceased to exist in that form, in any condition or rank of society; and no influence of Theodoric or of Amalasonta could have preserved them much beyond their own day. But though the poems may have perished, the principle of rhymed versification would have been easily preserved in the vulgar songs of the people-especially if they were unacquainted with the classic forms of versification.. These, in turn, must have experienced a variety of changes in successive centuries; but they could scarcely after the fifth have exhibited any national characteristics; for Italy had nothing national left, being little more than the battle-field of neighbouring States. Hence we conclnde that rhyme would be retained only in the rustic verse of the peasant: and this, we readily perceive, would not be preserved in the works of authors. Yet still the principle of rhyme, as well as the familiar verse, in which it was first known to them as children, could not but preoccupy the minds of the earliest poets, when composing, whether orally or in written verse, in their vernacular language. Hence also rhyme, when it first appeared in writing would not be claimed as an invention of the writer, but would be used, as a matter of course, like the hexameter in the earliest Grecian poetry. Our inference then is, that we can more readily conceive how the rhymed poetry of Christian Europe arose from the rhymes of the Goths, than from those of the Arabians. We are in favour of a native growth; but as Europe has neglected their poetry, Andrès would have the Arabians exclaim, in imitation of Dennis against the stage-players-"That's my thunder-! how these rascals use me! they will not have my play, yet steal my thunder."
On similar principles, we think the earliest Spanish and Provençal rhyme may be traced to similar sources, much more naturally, than to Moorish poetry. Indeed, if we did not know that rhyme was familiar to the Arabians, before they entered
ƒ Cumanis eo anno petentibus permissum, ut publicè Latinè loquerentur, et præ. conibus Latinè vendendi jus esset. Liv. lib. xl. c. 42.
Spain, we believe that Andrès himself, and all his fellow-labourers, could not have hesitated one moment in ascribing Arabic rhyme to the very fountains, to which we are tracing our own versification. Nor can we omit here the remark, that none of the champions of the Arabians, have shown us the time, when the supposed resemblances* came into vogue in Saracen poetry: and it is obvious that something, perhaps much, would depend upon that. But to return. The Goths in Spain and Southern France, were blended in language, institutions and manners with the Latin population, just as they were in Italy. New languages arose in each country: and as might have been expected, the heroic poems of the emigrant conquerors perished at periods far beyond the memory of man, in both peninsulas, leaving behind them in each, the principle of rhymed versification, to arise centuries after, as from a charnel-house, to a life of beauty, variety and glory, unimagined in the forests of Germany.
We shall close this review of the northern origin of rhyme with an extract from our author's Histoire De la Rime, prefixed to his rhyming Dictionary. "Les Gots, quit ont toujours été de grands rimeurs se répandirent dans les Gaules. Ils y corrompirent le Latin, ils y firent force vers rimés, & obligérent insensiblement les Gaulois de rimer à l'envi, & avec une ardeur toute nouvelle. La rime des lors fut plus en usage & elle s'introduisit dans les Hymnes de l'Eglise. Après, sitot que les Francs, qui etoient des peuples d'Allemagne se furent entiérement emparés des Gaules, ils leur donnérent le nom de France. Ils mêlerent pluseiurs mots Francs au langage Gaulois et la rime s'y continua, parce que les Francs rimoient eux mêmes. On fit au sixieme siècle en faveur de l'un de nos Rois‡ quelques, vers qui se chantoient et se dansoient par tout, et qui, apparemment, etoient rimés! Il est très croyable qu'on rima aussi en langue vulgaire sous les autres Rois, & principalement sous Charlemagne, qui aimoit les vers avec passion. Le langage qui avoit cours etoit mêlé de Gaulois, de Franc & de Latin corrompu. Ce langage fut nommé Langage Romain, et l'on y composa de la poesie jusques vers l'an 1050. La langue venant alors à se defaire peu છે peu de son air barbare, le siécle eut des poetes,
qu'on appella, Chantéres & Trouvéres, & qui par la gentillesse de leurs rimes, portérent les Espagnoles & les Italiens à les
* See third Number p. 50.
+ Fauchet de la langue et poesie Française. Lib. i. c. 7.
‡ De quâ victoriâ carmen publicum juxta rusticitatem per omnium volitabat ora & feminæ canendo & plaudendo choros componebant. Duchesne Hist. de France, Tom. i.