« VorigeDoorgaan »
tion may be for to pass from one point to another, some time, however small, is requisite; and therefore, since the space supposed is infinitely divisible, to pass over an infinite number of parts must require an infinite number of times."* Dr. Brown did not perceive that granting his premises, the conclusion is not founded; for the time required to traverse one of the infinitely small divisions, would also be infinitely small; and the sum of an infinite series of infinitely small quantities is a finite quantity. These errors, it is true, are in a science which is not very intimately connected with that which was peculiarly the object of Dr. Brown's pursuits; yet, a person who assumes the province of correcting mathematicians in the metaphysics of their studies, (and we consider the section,† of which this is the design, as one of the ablest of the "Inquiry,") should beware of stumbling on the very threshold of that science. In the philosophy of the mind, however, Dr. Brown does not display that familiarity and grasp of power which distinguish the master spirits; and which would, perhaps, have been more visible in himself at a more mature age. We are under the impression,-whence received, we know not, unless from his works-that Dr. Brown was called at a comparatively early period of life, to fill the high station which he occupied with so much eclat; and this may account for the resemblance which his Lectures bear to the prize essays of an aspiring and ingenious mind. But we must have done we do not know that we could express our opinion of Dr. Brown's scholarship more precisely, though we might less fancifully, than by saying that he appears only to have snatched glances of the Penetralia of the temple of science, while the gates were swinging to and fro in the wind.
ART. V.-Dictionaire des Rimes. Par P. RICHELET. à Paris. 1762.
"Quoi! encore des Racans!" was the exclamation of the lady of Gournay, when the marquis made his appearance. We trust, however, that none of our readers will betray the like impatience at beholding a second article on the origin of rhyme. But if any one should, we have at least the satisfaction of smiling incognito, at the thoughts of that discipline of the slipper, so liberally bestowed by our Gascon lady on the real Marquis de Ra*Inquiry, p. 209. + Sec. 4, part 3.
We take leave, however, by way of prolegomena, to this our second disquisition, to say, that we covet not the "jus trium liberorum.'
Perhaps we ought not to regret having dedicated our first article entirely to the claims of Arabic literature; for we have been ever since upon a voyage of discovery, and have certainly satisfied ourselves more completely than before, that an hypothesis adopted more than twenty years ago, is, in the main, correct. We proceed, therefore, at once to develope our views, which are contained in the following proposition. The modern world is no more indebted to the Moors of Spain, for the invention and use of rhyme, than to the Phoenicians; but it is due, both in the south and north of Europe, to the northern nations in connection, more especially in the south, with the Christian Latin poets of the fourth century, and to their successors.
Is it not singular that many distinguished writers should have devoted much time and attention to this inquiry, and should still have left the question in uncertainty? With the privilege of access to all the requisite authors in the original languages, and with the advantages of a correspondence all over Europe, her scholars do not seem to have done more, than might have been expected from us in America. Even Ginguéné does little more than repeat what had been said by previous writers, especially by Andrès. He adopts the Abbé's opinion in favour of a Moorish origin, founded upon the same reasons, with the addition of the "envoi." To the views presented in our third number, we have nothing to add ; except, that as we have there, at least to our own satisfaction, disproved negatively, this claim to a Saracen parentage, so we trust that we shall now be able to disprove it positively, by tracing this foundling to the home of her parents, the ancient, unwritten poetry of Pagan Northern Europe, and the written verse of the Christian Latin writers of the fourth century.
The Barbaric origin of rhyme is sanctioned by the opinion of many highly respectable writers. Lord Roscommon, in his Essay on Translated Verse, writes thus :
"For rhyme in Greece or Rome, was never known,
Subdued, undone, they did at last obey,
And change their own for their invader's way.
In double rhymes our Thor and Woden spoke.”*
Rhyme is found in the British poetry, at the earliest period, in those Druidical triplets, called Englyn Milwr, or the Warrior's Song, in which every verse is closed with a consonant syllable. 1 Wart. 1 Diss. Note i
Dryden, in his fourteenth Epistle, addressed to Kneller, says:
"Rome raised not art, but barely kept alive,
And rhyme began t' enervate poetry."
"La Rime, ainsì que les fiefs et les duels, doit son origine à la Barbarie de nos ancêtres. Les peuples dont descendent les nations modernes, et qui envahirent l'empire Romain, avoient dejà leurs poëtes, quoique barbares, lorsqu ils s'établirent dans les Gaules, et dans d'autres provinces de l'empire. Comme les langues dans lesquelles ces poetes sans étude composoient, n'étoient point assez cultivées pour être manieés suivant les regles du mêtre, comme elles ne donnoient pas lieu à tenter de le faire, ils trouvérent qu'il y auroit de la grace à terminer par le même son deux parties du discours, qui fussent consécutives ou relatives et d'une egale étendue."a
In the Dict. des Sc. we have the following passage-" Runes (Poes. Goth.) Ou nommoit ainsi les poetes Goths, qui s'etoient établis dans les Gaules. Ce sont ces Poetes qui introduisirent dans les vers la consonance: et leurs ouvrages en vers s'appellérent runes, ensuite rimes. Cette nouveauté fut si bien reçue dans la poesie vulgaire, qu'on voulut ridiculement y assujettir la poesie Latine." The author of the Literary History of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuriesc says, on this subject, "the Gothic Runes are generally admitted to afford a nearer and simpler origin," than Moorish literature.
In the Glossary of Du Cange,d is the following curious passage, which, it seems to us, can only be understood of those rhyming poets, who had settled in Gaul. "Rimarius. S. Columbanus, Epist. 5 & S. Hieronymus in suo hoc idem de Pascha opus collaudavit catalogo de hâc Lunæ ætate vituperando disputat, qui contra Gallicanos Rimarios de Paschâ ut ait, errantes horrendam intulit sententiam, dicens, &c. Nostri Rimeurs vulgò vocant Poetastros. Sed an ea hìc sit notio, non definio."
Fauchet, says Andrès, claimse the invention of rhyme for the French (Francesi); but without the adduction of any reason for the opinion, if our Abbé is to be implicitly credited. Now, if
a Du Bos. tom. i. P. 1. c. xxxvi
b Tom. xiv. p 436.
c p. 118.
d Du Cange, tom. iv. p. 1448.
e Tom. ii. p. 196.
Fauchet meant, what must be presumed, viz. that the Gothic Runers, who had settled in France, were the authors, we are more disposed to credit him than the Arabic theory. Andrès,fit is true, quotes Fauchet as admitting, that the oldest French poetry (i. e. still remaining and in writing) is only of the middle of the twelfth century. But Ginguenes obviously explains what Fauchet means, when he says,-"Fauchet fait remonter l'usage de la rime, jusqu'à la langue thioise ou théotisque, qui est la source de la nôtre. Il rapporte un long passage d'Ottfrid, moine de Wissembourg écrivain du neuvieme siecle, qui avait traduit en vers thiois les Evangiles."
Pasquier, in his "Recherches de la France" (1. viii. c. 3), relies on the same proof to show that rhyme was then known in Germany, whence it passed into France. Levèque de la Ravailliére, la Borde, and the Abbé le Bœuf deny the position of Andres.
"Les uns," says Ginguené,h attribuent l'invention aux Goths, d'autres aux Scandinaves." It is really curious to read the positive and explicit authorities collected by Andres himself, in favour of the Gothic origin of rhyme, which he admits to be more probable than the claims of Latin verse. As a sound critic, setting a right value on the testimony of men, far better acquainted with northern antiquities than himself, he ought to have preferred their judgment to all his speculations on the alleged similarity between Arabic and Provençal poetry. Even according to his own account,i Wotton, Hickes, Junius, Stephens, and others, (ed altri) as well as Muratori, Sarmiento and Sanchez, have held the opinion, that rhyme has a Gothic origin, and have given their facts to support their opinions. We may remember with what goût the Abbe exclaimed, at the prospect of a Saracen derivation through Sicily, "ed i Siciliani appunto erano dominati dagli Arabi ;" but here we find Muratori, a far
ƒ Tom ii. p. 151. p. 239.
g Hist. Lit. d'Ital. tom. i. h Hist. Lit. d'Italie, tom. i. p. 237. i "Vuolsi communemente che i popoli del Settentrione usassero da tempi 'antichi la rima ne loro versi. Il Sarmiento cita e Guglielmo Wotton, il quale nell' estratto, che fece del tesoro delle lingue settentrionali de' Giorgio Hikisio dà notizia di varii poemi rimati ne' dialletti della Gotica lingua; e il Giunio, il quale al principio del suo Glossario Gotico, da parimente ragguaglio de molti altri poemi rimati; e lo Stefanio, ed altri, che parecchie rime in lingua Gotica ci presentano. A tutti noti sono i poemi rimati in lingua Teutonica del Monaco Otfrido, tanto citati à parlarsi della volgare poesia. Da quali esempii conchiude el Muratori che la rima, oltre i ritmi Latini, pote' introdursi altresi nella Italia pel mezzo di Normanni, i quali lungo tempo dominarono nella Sicilia è pero facilmente ebbero campo di colà recare quest' ornamento della settentrionale poesia; é il Sarmiento ed il Sanchez fanno derivare da Goti la rima ne' versi Latini e negli Spagnuolí singolarmente delle provincie piu boreali."
higher authority on such a question, admitting a northern derivation through the Normans, who held Sicily from 1072 to 1298. Of such writers, Andrès cannot say, in the language of Burke, they must take it for granted, that we attend much to their reasons, but not at all to their authority;" for their authority consists of facts.
Andrèsk relies much on the remark of Dalin, that the Scalds of Norway and Sweden composed in sapphic verse without rhymes: and that these were introduced into the north by Einar Scowluson, poet of Swerker Rolson, King of Sweden, about the year 1150. We may admit this to be true: yet still the question remains, whence did Scowluson himself derive the knowledge of rhyme, which was familiarly known in Germany several centuries before. Shall we concede that he received it from the Arabians, through the Spaniards and Troubadours, when the derivation from Germany is so obvious and probable? The earliest Scald lived after the year 750. Egill's ransom, the oldest Runic ode extant, is after 870.m The extract from the Voluspa, in Cottle's Edda," certainly is not in rhyme; yet Egill's ransom is. This supports Dalin's opinion; for the Edda received its present form, between the ninth and the eleventh century."
We have said that rhyme was well known in Germany, before the time of Scowluson. We give the proofs. The Abbé Massieú says, that the oldest rhymed poetry of all Europe is by Ottfrid or Afrid,p "religieux de Vissembourg; c'est du Franc
m 1 Ell. p. 35. It must have been between 924 and 941. 1 Wart. 1 Diss. a 1, T.A. S. 340, 365.
n p. 31.
• 1 Schleg. 265.
* 1 Wart. H. E. P. 22.
p "Quatre vers que Fauchet cite de la préface de cette traduction d'Otfrid dont a parlé, sont en langue thiosise et rimés deux à deux.
Warton remarks, vol. i. p. 8, N. g. that Ottfrid's dedication consists of four-lined stanzas in rhyming couplets; but the first line of every stanza begins, and the last line ends with the same letter. Flaccus Illyrius published Ottfrid's work at Basil, 1571: Schilterus, afterwards, more correctly as our Professor thinks.