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Commodianus is the second Christian Latin Poet, and Por. phyrius the fourth, (for it is very doubtful, whether we have any poetry of Lactantius): and it is singular how the succession of rhymers is kept up, especially in the fourth century. Hilary, who died 367 or 368, follows Porphyrius: and in him we find such remarkable specimens of rhyme, that it would be useless to go farther, were it not desirable to establish such a series of rhymers in the fourth century, as to leave no doubt that Christian Latin Europe was perfectly familiar with rhyme, three hundred years before the invasion of Spain. Hilary has left us three hymns, “ De Epiphaniâ,” “Jejunantium," and in.“ Dies Pentecostes :'* the first and third of six quatrains, and the second of five. The first is not only complete in all its rhymes, but eight end in um, and as many in e, counting & as one. The second is not at all remarkable, compared to the first, though its rhymes are all perfect except, one couplet. The third has only two rhymes in each quatrain. We copy the first hymn below, for the satisfaction of our readers. Damasus, who died 883, and who is said to have introduced into the Church service, the chanting of the Hallelujah, furnishes our next specimen. He has left us a hymn,De Sanctâ Agatha Martyre," .containing six quatrains of rhyrned couplets, except the first in the fifth verse; which may have rhymed according to the pronunciation of that day. Our readers will find it in the note.
* Coll. Pis. tom. vi. p. 275.
Pius redemptor gentium,
$ Coll. Pis. tom. v. v. 94.
Martyris ecce dies Agathæ
The next poet is Ausonius, who died about 392, after fulfilling Juvenal's prediction, that, if fortune favoured, the Rhetorician might become Consul. He was certainly a Christian, though L'Advocat denies that he could have been a Bishop, because of his indecent centos; as though the same mode of argument would not prove, that Alexander VI. and Leo X. were never Popes; Swift, not a Dean; and Sterne, not a Clergyman. We consider these lines as a specimen of intentional, not of accidental rhyme; because there are so many instances in his poems of three or four lines, in which, according to Malcolm Laing, a poet, who did not desire to avoid rhyme, could hardly have missed it from the correspondences of genders and numbers. We copy below the rhymes of Ausonius, being the thirtieth Epigram.t
We shall now cite the rhymes of another author-Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, who shares in common with Minos, Pindar, Plato, Lucan, and Gregory Nazianzen, the fabled homage of the bees. Cave pronounces all the hymns, ascribed to Ambrose, to be doubtful : while Harles in his “Notitia," Fabricius in his “ Bibliotheca," and Schoell, in his “ Histoire de la Literature Romaine,” reject some as spurious, while they acknowledge others (without particularising all) to be genuine. Mattaire, whom Dibdin calls “a sound scholar and careful editor,” gives all the hymns as genuine : and the Collectio Pisaurensis does the same: following, it would seem, the examples of George Cassander, of Ehinger, and of George Fabricius. But the Benedictines of St. Maur, in the second volume of their edition, of the works of Ambrose, Paris, 1691, (the best ever published) have admitted only twelve hymns as genuine, confining themselves, says I. M. Schroeckh, in his Ecclesiastical History, I to those, which are ascribed to him by Augustin, Cassiodorus, and other distinguished writers, as early as the ninth century, and we learn from Fabriciuss that the seven on the seven days of creation, are admitted as part of the twelve genuine hymns. From our imperfect means of reference, we have been able to identify only eleven; but these establish conclusively the Bishop of Milan's familiarity
* 3d No. South. Rev. p. 58. + Myobarbum Liberi patris signo marmoreo in villa nostra omnium deorum argumenta habentis.
Ogygia me Bacchum vocat.
Biblioth. Latin. tom. ii. p. 233
with rhyme. Indeed, if we were to grant that all but the seven were spurious, the forgeries themselves would prove our position : for the obvious rhymes in parts of several and the entire hymn “tempore paschali dicendus," of twenty-four lines, in six quatrains of rhyming couplets, show that the contriver of the forge ries was aware of the rhyme in Ambrose, and knew that his imitation of them, in this particular, would be a mark of genuine, not of spurious compositions. Ambrose, says Pelagius, “Scriptorum inter Latinos, flos quidem speciosus enituit:" and no doubt, according to the taste of those days, the rhymes of Ambrose were esteemed as admirable, as the Euphuism of John Lily in his age. If Ambrose himself had had a classic taste, when he found the vulgar admiring his gingling terminations, he would have laid them aside, as Bruschius, when his fine suit of new clothes attracted the vulgar homage, cast them off, " as slaves, that had usurped their masters honors."
But let us examine these seven hymns on the seven days of creation, in proof of our position. The seventh hymn, on the Sabbath, consists of eight quatrains, and only one couplet rhymes.t But the other six hymns have such remarkable resemblances as to show, that they are all constructed with a view to rhyme. Each of the six contains only four quatrains, as though the poet felt, that a Sabbath day's journey, in poetry at least, ought to be double of that of any week day. The six first poems contain ninety-six lines, of which fifty rhyme in couplets, and forty not at all: nor are the rhyming lines for the most part scattered. Thus, in the first and second, eight are together; in the third, ten; in the fourth, seven ; in the fifth, eight; and in the sixth, six. The rhymes are chiefly found in the latter half of each hymn. We content ourselves with quoting below only the two last stanzas of the first and fourth hymns, as containing satisfactory proofs of intentional rhyme.* Grotius argued against chance, by throwing down repeatedly the letters of his name, to see whether they would fall in the order of “Hugo Grotius." To believe, that fifty-two of these ninety-six final words, could have been selected and arranged, as they now stand, except with a view to rhyme, is impossible. If it be asked, why do not all the lines rhyme, and why is the series sometimes broken by adjacent couplets,t that do not rhyme, we reply, that the terminations, teneat, comprimant,-ordinem, homini—and tuis, immunditiam—may very well have been tolerated in the infancy of rhyme, when we find, in Sternhold and Hopkins, caterpillar and grasshopper; in Oldham, I and thee, tree and by ; in Dryden, form and man, wish and bliss ; in Addison, views and boughs, and in Pope, vice and destroys.
* Coll. Pis. tom. v. p. 156. + This hymn is quoted by St. Augustine, (Confess. L. 9, c. 12, $ 5), who speaks in the 6th c. of the same book of his weeping at hearing hymns and canticles, being exceedingly moved by the voices of the harmonious church. And in ch.7, he mentions that at this time (the persecution of Ambrose by the Arian EmpressMother Justina) it was appointed that hymns and psalms should be sung, after the manner of the East, that the people might not languish with weariness and sorrow, which practice, says he, was retained there, and was followed by many or most of the congregations in the rest of the world. It seems to us somewhat singular, that no European scholar, as far as we are acquainted, has connected with the inquiry into the origin of rhyme, the state of sacred poetry in the Greek and Eastera churches, both ancient and modern. In the Preliminary Memoir to Pinkerton's translation of Platon's State of the Greek Church in Russia, we are told, that Chris tianity was introduced in 988; that the faith of the Greek church, with all its ordinances, rites and ceremonies has been preserved, nearly in their original state ; and that the greater part of the service consists of psalms and hymns. The modern Greek has its rhymes, as we see by the specimens cited in the appendix to Byron's notes to the second Canto of his Childe Harold. He has a of Albanian or Arnaout rhyme in the thirtieth note to the second Canto.
After this examination of the hymns, it is almost superfluous to say more; yet, we cannot resist the claim, which the hymn to the Trinity has upon us, this being one of the number admitted by the Benedictines to be genuine. We accordingly place it below, for the inspection of our readers. It seems a little remarkable, that each of the poets (Commodianus, Porphyrius, Hilary, Damasus, Ausonius and Ambrose), should have left but one poem complete in all its rhymes. Some of them, as Ambrose and Hilary, in the hymns already mentioned, and Commodianus
*" Ne mens gravata crimine,
Vitæ sit exul munere :
Seseque culpis illigat."
* Ut noctibus, vel lumini,
Signum daret notissimum."
Absterge sordes mentium,
Everte moles criminum." + To show that oocasional departure from rhyme is not to be regarded as proof, that the author considered himself as not writing in rhyme, we need only refer to the Moallakat, where we sball find in Amriolkais, nineteen deviations in seventy-five lines ; in Tarafa, fifteen jo one hundred and three ; in Amru, sisteen in one hundred and seven, &c.
Te mane laudum carmine,
Te deprec nur vespere,
Te nostra supplex gloria
Per cuncta laudet secula.
in his forty-ninth and sixty-eighth Instructions (the first containing thirteen lines, of which eleven end in e, the second nine, of which seven end in i) have given sufficient proofs, if they had not left complete poems, that they understood what rhyme was; yet chose to employ it only in part.* It is worthy also of notice, that the first of these rhymers gives us, in each of the three poems above mentioned, specimens not only of rhyme but of the monorhyme, triumphantly referred to as exclusively Arabic. What then can our learned Orientalists say for their favourite theory, when we have such proof, that even the monorhyme was known in Italy, four hundred years before the invasion of Spain by the Arabians ? Can these advocates of a Moorish origin insist, that Commodianus wrote after the Saracens had conquered Spain; when it has been settled, without a view to the controversy about rhyme, that he lived four centuries before ? But Andrès seems to have thought, that he enshrined in himself all the authority ascribed by his followers, to the great “ipse dixit" “ of Magna Græcia, whilst he penned the following (supposed) unanswera. ble argument.” Certo egli è, che i versi Leonini e le rime per fette de due sillabe in uno Spondèo, e di trè in uno dattilo quali soltanto servir potevano di modello alla volgare poesiá, non si trovano con tale frequenza ne' secoli anteriori all' undecimo, che
* If we were certain that the verses, “i de Gloria & Gaudiis Paradisi," ascribed by George Fabricius, (Coll. Pisaur. tom. vi. p. 275) to St. Augustine, (wbo died A D. 430) were written in the fourth century, we should close our specimens with them. When, however, we consider the relation, in which Augustine stood to Ambrose, we shonld expect to find rhyme as a matter of course in his poetry. This poem contains nineteen stanzas, consisting chiefly of six lines each, the second, fourth and sixth of which generally rhyme, while the first, third and fifth d, notHere again is another remarkable instance of such a beginning, as might, when coupled with the monorhyme of Commodianus, give rise to that very species of ver sification (3d No. p. 33.) hitherto claimed as exclusively Arabian.
+ These dissyllable rhymes are of frequent occurrence in the classics. The lines of Eppius are specimens both of the dactyl and trochee (not spondee, as Andrés says; for this is much more rare). Roscommon speaks of the double rhymes of Thor and Woden ; the war-song of Clotaire is in double rhymes: the verses of Gotescale (1 Ritson. Diss. p. xix.) have rhymes both in dissyllables and trissyllables: those of Augustin are in trochaic rhyme ; those in Ethelwald's poems are dactyl rhymes (2T. A. $. 358): in the Latin lines on Athelstan, probably by a cotemporary, are both sponder and trochee rhymes: (2 T. A. S. 358). In the Latin poem, written at Constantinople, A. D. 707, the two first lines are spondee rhymes :
“ Alme Deus, rector qui mundi regna gubernas,
Nec sinis absque modo sedes Auitare supernas." So also are those of the Epitaph on Ethelbert, who died 616:
“Rex Ethelbertus hic clauditur in Poliandro,
Fana pians certus Christo meat absque Meandro." Those on Dagobert, King of France, who died 715:
“Fingitur hâc specie bonitatis odore refertus,
* Istius ecclesiæ fundator, rex Dagobertus." It is worthy of remark, that the form adopted in Epitaphs is scarcely if ever origi nal, perhaps with the single exception of that species so common with us, which is really nothing but prose sentences, divided into unequal parts. These rhyming Epitaphs indicate then a much higher antiquity than their respective datos,