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A. D. 711.* This wide and early diffusion of them is precisely what might have been expected. They spread with religion, they entered into the church-service every where, and formed a part of the recreations and employments of ecclesiastics. Thus had they, in conjunction with the traditionary rhymes of the North, prepared the way for a successive and very extensive use of rhyme, in all the dialects of Southern Christian Europe. Hence, as might have been anticipated, when the vulgar poetry appeared in writing, it came forth every where in the dress of rhyme, as its native, its national costume.†
* Witness those of Sedulius (Coll. Pisaur tom. v. p. 346) of Ireland, who wrote A. D. 430; those of Augustin, who died A. D. 430, (Id. p. 275, and 4 Hall, p. 169); of Hilary of France, (Coll. Pis. tom. v. p. 275) who died 368; of Gregory of Italy, (Id. p. 253) who died 604; of Fortunatus, Bishop of Poitou, (Ritson's Metr. Rom. vol. i. Diss. p. 18) who died 609; of Columbanus of Ireland, (Ginguené, tom. i. p.241) but chiefly a resident of France, who died 615; of the war-song written upon the victory gained in 622, by Clotaire II. over the Saxons, and sung all over France, (1 Wart. H. E. Py. Diss. 2, note 1); of Aldhelm of England, who died 709, (2 Turn. Anglo Sax. p. 236; of the Latin poem of 400 lines, written at Constantinople, A. D, 707, (1 Wart. H. E. P. 2 Diss. N. r.): of Bede of England, who died A D. 735, (2 Turn. A. S. p. 349); of the Church Hymns, (1 Wart. H. E. P. 2 Diss. N. r.) of which rhyme was a common ornament in Bede's time. (Warton remarks, vol. i. H. E. P. 2 Diss. N. r. that Bede does not seem to have known, that rhyme was a common ornament of the Church Hymns of his time. This seems not very likely, for Bede was a rhymer himself, 2 T. A. S. p. 349.) To these let us add the rhymes of Boniface, the Anglo-Saxon, who died 756, (2 T. A. S. p. 350); of Leobgitha, an AngloSaxon lady, his correspondent, (2 T.A. S. p. 351); of Ethilwald, the pupil and friend of Aldhelm; of Alcuin, the teacher and friend of Charlemagne, (2 T. A. S. p. 354); of the song on the battle of Fontenay in 841, (1 Rits. Metr. Rom. Diss. p. 28, N.; of Gotescalc about the same time, (Id. ibid. p. 19); of the Latin song for the Modenese soldiery in 905, (Sism. tom. i. p. 26, Murat. Annal. tom. v. p. 257) and of the “grand nombre d'exemples tirées d'anciennes inscriptions, epitaphes, et autres monumens du moyen âge, tous antérieurs de plusieurs siècles à celui de Léon," that is several centuries prior to 1135.
This costume is destined, we apprehend, to survive the very languages, in whose sanctuaries it had taken refuge, to escape the swift destruction that befel the ancient tongue of the rude Goth, and the modern dialect of the Troubadour, comparatively elegant and refined. Had this species of verse never been known, who can say, what would have been the character of modern poetry or whether we should have had aught but hexameters, blank verse and measured prose? Who can say, whether French verse, so dependent upon rhyme for its distinctive character, would have existed at all? Who can tell us, what forms would have supplied the mighty void that modern literature would exhibit, if the rhymed poetry of Europe had never been known? Doubtless, some fortunate genius, the flower that has wasted its sweetness on the desart air, the gem that has glistened in dark unfathomed caves, would have arisen, if called forth by the occasion. and have moulded the vulgar languages of Europe, into forms of versification, which even the accomplished critic and poet cannot now hope to conceive. Or, perhaps. the early origin of rhyme, co-existently with our modern dialects, may have insensibly, yet irresistibly imparted, by a mysterious agency, a species of structure and mode of pronunciation, the nature of whose origin and progress are, and must ever remain incomprehensible. And, if such were the fact, shall we not believe, that the absence of rhyme in the very beginnings of modern languages, would have left them free to assume, by a natural growth and gradual developement, a style of construction and pronunciation, that would have insured to them a poetical literature, not inferior in its forms to those, which enshrine the genius and taste of Tasso, Ercilla and Camoens, of Corneille and Racine, of Pope, Gray and Byron.
We cannot but think Ginguené must have had some strange aversion to Church poetry and Church music, when he will only say, it is possible that Latin rhyme may have given rise to the same form in Provençal and Italian verse. But the communication of the Provençal people with the Arabians was, in his judgment, more immediate and correct: though they lived in different countries, spoke languages totally different, had no interchange of literature, and no intercourse, except through the sailor and the merchant; for that by Troubadours and Jongleurs could not have existed, until after these orders of men had become known, and this of course must have been after the dialect and poetry of Provence had been already formed. On some similar principle, overlooking the history of nations, none of whom have ever been without instruments of music, and that of the Northern nations especially, among whom the union of poetry, with vocal and instrumental music, was a kind of law of their very being, Ginguené will not believe, but that the Provençals derived from the Arabians, their taste for poetry, accompanied by song and instruments; whereas, the rude poetry and music of the forest and the valley, of the mountain and the plain, in every age and in every clime, bear testimony with one accord, against him.
ART. VI.-Travels through North-America, during the years 1825 and 1826. By his Highness, BERNHARD, Duke of Saxe-Weimar Eisenach. 2 vols. 8vo. Philadelphia.
It is impossible to read this book without being charmed with the bonhommie and simplicity of "His Highness, Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar Eisenach." At the first glance, indeed, we were so much struck with these qualities, as to be forcibly reminded of the inimitable epistles of Mrs. Letitia Ramsbottom to Mr. Bull. We shall, perhaps, have occasion to exemplify this resemblance in the course of our subsequent remarks; indeed, we were at first disposed to make a collection of the most notable things in this kind under the title of "Weimariana,"
which we are persuaded, would have been quite equal as a specimen of gossiping naiveté to any thing the language affords. Whatever inclination, however, to raillery or ridicule this extreme simplicity may occasionally have excited in us, has been repressed or mitigated by the esteem, we might even say, the affectionate regard with which the native amiableness and candour, the truly Catholic charity, that pervade the whole work, have inspired us.
The form which the Duke has adopted, is the simple one of a journal or diary. He assures us in his preface, doubtless, with more truth than is usual in such cases, that "it was by no means originally designed for publication. I wrote it (he continues) during my travels, partly to recal past incidents at a future period, partly to give with more ease and certainty, information to my much honoured parents, my relatives and friends, on any subject on which inquiry might be made. After his return, the book was read by several persons," whom the reader may be sure insisted upon its publication so strenuously, that His Highness found it quite impossible to resist their solicitations, especially after he had had the good fortune to meet with a certain counsellor Luden, a person, in every respect well qualified to be the editor of the precious manuscript. Great exceptions, as we perceive from some of our daily journals, have been taken to this simplicity in the form of the work-but we are by no means sure that they are well-founded. This is the age of dissertation; every thing runs out into prosing common-place, and takes the shape of a scholastic diatribe. A history, written after the manner of Thucydides or Xenophon, does not suit us; we must have, not a mere narrative of facts, with such a developement of their causes as may be necessary to a proper understanding of the events recorded, but withal ponderous disquisitions about political economy and national wealth, excursions on the march of intellect, and the state of letters and science, &c. And this confounding of two things, or rather of many things, as distinct as possible in their nature, is what we call "philosophical history." So it is with biography. The life of an individual of any consequence, is sure to present a succinct view, in two or three volumes, at least, of every thing connected with the history of the period during which he flourished, and, perhaps, of some centuries before his birth. Books of travels, too, have followed the same fashion-nothing will do but "Classical Tours," and we are disappointed if our itinerant philosophers do not take occasion, in the course of their peregrinations, to empty their common-place books of the
VOL. III. NO. 5.
hoarded results of years of study and research. Certainly, if our ideas are formed upon such models, the modest journal of His Highness, Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, by no means comes up to them. He indulges very little in speculation. He favours his readers with no fine-spun theories and no high-flown rhetoric. He gives his evidence with all possible simplicity, brevity and caution. He tells just what he saw and heard himself-very rarely what he heard of—and then, generally, puts us upon our guard by apprising us that it is hearsay. If all this wariness and moderation have not saved him from many blunders, we may judge how little confidence is to be reposed in the more specious and elaborate works of those who substitute their own random speculations for facts, and build their conclusions upon the loosest on dits, as confidently as if they were demonstrative evidence. It is true, a traveller passing rapidly through a country may, and must often be deceived by first appearances but such errors can seldom be so gross and extravagant as those into which fancy or rumour so often betray less cautious tourists-especially where, as in the present instance, the writer has the candour to advertise us that he pretends to do nothing more than to cast a hasty glance over the surface of things.
We confess it was with no little curiosity that we took up this book. It was enough to excite our interest in it, that the writer was a German, and a man of very high rank. We were anxious to see what impression our young country, our republican institutions and simple manners had made upon a mind accustomed to a state of society, in every point of view so different. To such a man, a visit to this new world, of which so little that can be depended on has been heard in Europe, must reveal almost as strange things, as Voltaire's inhabitant of Saturn saw, when he came down to our little planet. The naiveté with which, as we have already remarked, Duke Bernhard lets his wonder escape him on all occasions, enhances very much the interest excited by such a situation. The other circumstance, however, of his being a German, was still more important. The Germans are, of all nations that ever existed, the fairest in their criticisms upon others. Their studies are too enlarged for bigotry, and excessive nationality has never, we believe, been numbered among their faults. This remark is strikingly exemplified in their literary opinions. The glowing admiration, the profoundness and originality, with which they have studied and illustrated the beauties of Greek literature, and defended those immortal master-pieces against the flippant ignorance of the Parisian wits, will at once occur to every one versed in such
subjects. If any other instance were necessary, it would be found in their intimate knowledge and just appreciation of the English and Spanish classics, and, especially in the homage, they were the first among strangers to offer up to the genius of Shakspeare and of Calderon. To us, peculiarly situated as we are, to be by a foreigner looked at with any thing like impartiality, seemed rather to be desired than expected. In the very nature of things, no country needs so many allowances to be made for any imperfections in its manners and institutions, as one actually engaged in felling its forests, laying out towns, and providing itself with the necessaries of life-yet none has been treated with less indulgence. Our visitors have distanced Smelfungus in absurd petulance and garulousness. Nothing but absolute impossibility could satisfy them. They have exacted of youth, the maturity of age; of poverty, the splendour and magnificence of hereditary wealth. They have been offended with the spirit of equality under a democratic government, and (negabitis posteri) have lost all patience with the constitution of a great nation, because the servants of New-York and Boston insist upon being treated and addressed as "helps!" The majority, it is true, of these illuminati, have been vulgar cits and adventurers of no character; travellers of the Cockney school! It must be admitted that the things published of us by the Faux's and the Fearon's, were precisely such as might have been expected from writers of that stamp, and we have been sometimes amused at the wrath which condescended to break such insects upon the wheel. But we have had some, and even much reason to complain of the treatment we have received from other and higher quarters. Things appear to have lately taken a different turn; still it will be a long time before we can expect perfect justice-not to speak of favour and indulgence-from British writers of any class. Naturally regarding the standard set up in England, as the only right one for all the forms and institutions of society-where society is, in its general character, English--they can scarcely fail to condemn every deviation from it, as ipso facto an imperfection, without giving themselves the trouble of inquiring how far it is rendered necessary or fitting by the circumstances of the country, or other the like causes. A striking instance of this proneness to consider every thing on this side of the Atlantic, which is not in vogue with the other, is furnished by what are called "Americanisms" in language. The fact is, that most of the peculiarities noted as such, are to be found in the older English authors, and even in common use at this day among certain classes of society in England, but as they have been generally disused there by literary men, it is