網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

si possa ragionevolmente opinare gli Spagnuoli ed i Francesi poeti essere stati da quelle indotti a terminare con grata consananza i lor versi.” But after rhyme had been once introduced, though in its most simple and irregular form, who can doubt, that double and treble rhymes might very well grow up in time, not only as an improvement on but as an addition to single rhymes, just as all the varieties to be found in poetry, have originated from the progressive developement and application of the primitive, simple principle of rhyme. And why should we be anxious with Andrès and many of his fellow-worshippers of Arabic literature, to ascribe the second and the third step in the progress of rhyme, to the Moors, when we must deny, on the proofs already offered, that they taught Christian Europe the first step, viz:rhyme in its original form, as found in these Latin writers of the fourth century? It is to be remarked also, that the use of double and treble rhymes in the poetry of Southern Europe, arose naturally from the peculiarity of its languages, in accenting very rarely (compared to English for instance) the last syllable of words.* When, therefore, versification came to be cultivated by writers, and not merely by the travelling harper or minst rel, the resort to the double or the treble rhyme would follow as a matter of course, in the languages of the South of Europe, just as in English, the rhyme would be chiefly confined to the single, accented, last syllable of each line.

But Andrès, not content with the argument, which seems to us of such easy refutation, treats with incredulity and ridicule the idea, that the rhymes of the vulgar dialects could have arisen from the Latin rhymes (alcuni epitaffii; alcune inscrizzioni, alcuni componimenti oscuri e nascosti, la maggior parte nelle ehiese e ne' cimeteri ed appena lette dalle persone ecclesiastiche) whose previous existence he is compelled to admit. Ginguené is not so confident as Andrès, though he seems to us more willing to be as incredulous,t for he states the claims of Latin

* This singularity as to double and treble rhymes appears to us a great advantage, in English poetry over that of France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. In the three last especially, the perfect double rhyme belongs to dignified composition, and in French the imperfect double rhyme, as faiblesse, mollesse, enfoncée, amassée, is appropriated in like manner. But in English, except occasionally in the Spenserian stanza, double rhymes are scarcely adinissible in any other than light poetry : “ Witness the double rhymes of Hudibras, which contribute no small share to its drollery." Kaimes' Elem. Crit. ch. xviii. $ 4. vol. ii. p. 169. Indeed the compound double and treble rhymes of ludicrous verse, in the English poets, have all the effect of caricature. This they could not have; if we admitted as a general rule, double rhymes in grave poetry.

We have been pleased to find that Mr. Ritson (though somewhat extrava gant and we think incorrect), is as incredulous of this Arabic origin, as ourselves. In his dissertation on Romance and Minstrelsy, (1 vol. Met. Rom. Diss. p. xx), he writes as follows, “ncither is any thing known concerning the literature of the Moors, who VOL. III.-NO. 5.

24

rhymes more distinctly and strongly than Andrès. We shall extract the whole passage from Ginguene's work :* as our argument to show the connection between our modern and the Latin rhymes, has reference to several of his views.

“Muratori cite un rhythme de S. Colomban, qui date du sixieme siècle, et qui procede par distiques rimés; un autre de S. Boniface en petits vers, aussi rimés de deux en deux; plusieurs autres tirés d'un vieil antiphonaire du septieme ou huitieme siecle: et enfin un grand nombre d'exemples tirés d'ancicennes inscriptions, epitaphes et autres monuments du moyen âge, tous anterieurs de plusieurs siecles à celui de Léon. Ces exemples deviennent plus frequents, à mesure qu'on approche du douzieme siecle. Cest alors, que l'usage de ces rimes, tant du milieu da vers avec la fin, que des vers entre eux, devient presque general. On ne voit presque plus d'épitaphes, d'inscriptions, d'hymnes, ni de poëmes, dont la rime ne fasse le principal ornement. C'est dans ce temps la même, que naquit la poesie Provençale, et peu après, la poesie Italienne. Il serait possible que ces vers latins rimés, qu'on entendait dans les bymnes de l'eglise, eussent donné l'idée de rimer aussi les vers Provençaux et les vers Italiens. Mais la communication entre les Arabes et les Provençaux est evidente et immediate : les premiers offraient aux seconds des objets d'imitation plus attrayants : ce fut certainement des

came over from Barbary, and settled in Spain in 711; nor is it at all probable or capable of proof, that even the Spaniards, much less any of the other nations of Europe had an opportunity of adopting any literary information, or did so, in fact, from a people, with whom they had no connection, but as enemies, whose language they never understood, and whose manners they detested: or would even bare condescended or permitted themselves, to make such an adoption, from a set of inde del Barbarians, who had invaded, ravaged, and possessed themselves of some of the best and richest provinces of Spain; with whom they had continual wars, till they at last drove them out of the country; whom in fact they always avoided, abhorred and despised. There is doubtless a prodigious number of Arabic poems in the library of the Escurial, which has been plundered from the Moors, but which no Spanish poet ever made use of, or in short, had ever access to." Mons. Ginguené remarks, (Tom. i p. 208), that the Arabs require at the end of their lines serera! syllables (i. e. at least three) and sometimes even five. Now Sismondi says, (Tom i. p. 105) that the Troubadours varied their rhymes in a thousand ways, crossing and interweaving them in such a manner, that the return of the same consonan regulates an entire strophe-and yet, notwithstanding this painstaking and love of variety, we find in the four hundred and fifty-one lines of Troubadour verse cited by him, only ten lines of trisyllable rhymes; and none of four and five syllables. The true reason seems to be the admission of Andrès, “nelle composizioni de' Proved zali, non si scorge vestigio d'Arabica erudizione, ni v'è segno alcuno d'essersi tot mati i Provenzali poeti, su le poesie degli Arabi” (Tom. ii. p. 183.) We are the more disposed to doubt the Moorish claim, because if we except the debatableland of Troubadour poetry, we find no vestige of Hispano-Arabian influence in any." the departments of fiction, through the whole of European Literature. Can this he accoanted for, if Andrès, Sismondi, Ginguené, &c. &c. be right?

* Tom. i. pp. 241-242.

odres 1 worki" me Arabes que les Provençaux prirent leur gout pour la poesie acdera aria compagnee de chant et d'instruments : et il est probable que, E. frappés surtout de la rimne dont ils n'avaient jusque-là connu mban, cel l'emploi que dans les chants sevéres de l'église, ils l'admirent mes; ut aussi dans leurs vers*.” rendesi As the language and poetry of Provençal France came first to teme de perfection,t let us bestow a few reflections on them. The Greek tires de colony at Marseilles (the Athens of the Gauls, as Cicero styles Tu mortet it) douitless exercised a happy influence over the whole of Sou2. led thern Gaul (or Gallia Provinciaț); especially after its conquest -aebedit by the Romans. Gallia Aquitania was the choicest of the four tant die Roman divisions of Gaul, in civilization and improvement, as

numberless monuments of art abundantly testify. Its Mediterfinta di ranean commerce is alone sufficient to account for a vast supe

riority in wealth, intelligence, and general improvement. The genial climate and fertile soil were additional causes: and its exemption from many of the disadvantages, attending frontier or remoter provinces, had a large share of influence over its des

tinies. The Latin language also must have been more geneProfile rally diffused and better spoken there, than elsewhere in Gaul.ll

When, therefore, the Visigoths settled in the South of France, they must have soon experienced the benign influence of all these causes. Accordingly, when the kingdom of Arles was founded by Bozon, A. D. 879, an æra of great comparative

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

que o

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

aur way certaines

the ori

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* We have taken no notice any where of Leonine verses, although a subject, replete with curious and entertaining matter, as to their origin and varieties. Warton considers them (1 vol. 1 Diss. N. r.) as rhymed hexameters and pentameters :and Eberhardus Bethuniensis in his 'I'reatise de Versificatione gives us five different kinds. Fab. Bib Med. & Inf. Lat. Leo. In this point of view then, we can only regard them as one modification of Latin rhyme, so well known in the fourth century, and as actually employed in the epitaphs on Ethelbert and Dagobert, long before the age of Leonius. viz. the twelfth century. The specimens of Walter Mapes, Archdeacon of Oxford, distinguished by the honorary title of the Anacreon of the twelfth century, are among the best; though his celebrated drinking ode,

(Mihi est propositum in tabernâ mori) is neither hexameter nor pentameter. att En rapportant la naissance de chaque langue au premier regne, où chaque na

of tion sembla acquérir de la consistance, nous rangerons les langues romanes dans event l'ordre suivant.' Provençal à la cour de Bozon, roi d'Arles 877, 887. Langue D'Oil, fill d'Oui, Roman Wallon ou Français à celle de Guillaume Longue Epée fils de Rollo, pie duc de Normandie, 917-943 Castillan, sous le regne de Ferdinand le Grand 1037,

1065, Portugais sous Henri fondateur de la Monarchie 1095-1112. Italien sous Roger 1, roi de Sicile 1129-1154. 1 Sism. 37.

# Doubtless this is the origin of the name Provence, afterwards so celebrated in all the literature of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Though confined, eventually, or the content to a small portion of Southern Gaul, it gives a name to the literature of the whole; in pol for the Provençal poetry (after the death of Gillibert 1092, and ihe marriage of his come le daughters, Faydide with alphonso, Count of Thoulouse, and Douce with Raymond

Berenger, Count of Barcelona, (1 Sism. 84) was more cultivated in Languedoc,
Daupbiny and Aquitain than in Provence, only eight or nine of one hundred and
ten poets, being of Provence. 2 Burney on Mus. p. 246.
V Sism. tom. i. p. 83.

11 4 JÍall. 171

[ocr errors]

edou 1

peace, happiness and prosperity, commenced its career, preparing the way, in modes then unimagined and even now but imperfectly comprehended by men, for the brilliant, transitory glories of Troubadour literature. “ Major rerum-nascitur ordo.

Latin (we do not mean the classical dialect) was the language of Northern France, even for the people, in 622 and in 841, as appears from the songs on the victory of Clothaire and on the battle of Fontenai ; so was it likewise of Northern Italy, as we have seen by the Latin song of thirty-six lines, written for the Modenese soldiery. In like manner, it continued the popular language of Provence ; though it experienced, in common with that of the northern emigrants, a more rapid decomposition, while the new dialect was forming more speedily than in other parts of the empire.* During this period, can it be doubted, that Religion also grew and flourished among this people, and that the hymns of the church must have been familiarly known to them, even after they had ceased to use exactly the language of the church service? Can it be possible, that a people, obriously fast improving, and possessed of all the advantages we have mentioned, incapable of enjoying the classic ode, yet alive to poetical impressions, and predisposed to relish the simple verse of the church service, aided and adorned by rhyme, should not notice that rhyme, or should not be deeply impressed by its singular recurrences? We believe, on the contrary, that their universal love of song and verse, is to be ascribed, partly to their emigrant conquerors from the North, proverbially devoted to botb, and partly to the influence of those despised religious poems, which every week at least engaged their attention, and must have had an effect, in forming the vulgar taste for rhyme in verse and song. Is it, indeed, at all improbable, that during their long life of comparative enjoyment and tranquillity, this people, so simple-hearted and contented, so happy and susceptible, a stranger to wars, and no longer the martial population of former years, should exchange the rhyming war songs of an elder age, for the more congenial rhymes of amatory poetry and of Christian hymns ? And although the hymns themselves, when the popular language had become entirely different, as it did in the two hundred and thirteen years, which followed the reign of Bozon, i had doubtless ceased to be sung ; yet it is no improbable supposition, that their successors among the common people retained the same characteristic of rhyme, I the same quality of * Sism. tom. I. p. 37, N.

+ Sism. tom. i. p. 85. The singular conformity of the Romance dialects to the Latin, (their common basis), as to the regularity of terminations, is a strong argument in favour of the

love-poetry and some share of the same religious spirit. Indeed, who can say, but that the combination of religion with chivalry, and the early developement of improved religious opinions and feelings, in the South of France, may have proceeded, in some measure, from the causes we have been considering?

We have already said, that rhyme was well known among the Northern nations, that it could not have been derived from Arabian Spain, and that it must have been carried with them into the South of Europe, in the form of popular songs and heroic verse. Now, as no rude people, especially those in a constant state of warfare, ever were without such poetry : and as the conquerors, and the conquered became one people, it is much more likely, that in this union, the cominon people retained both species of poetry, (viz. the unrhymed of ancient Italy, and the rhymed of the North) than that they discarded either entirely. We must not overlook one remarkable difference between Latin and Northern rhymes, viz. that we cannot expect equal evidence of the existence of the latter, as of the former; nor the same succession in the case of these, as of those ; because the Latin originated, and were preserved, multiplied and extended by writers ; whereas the Northern had no other than oral existence, till reduced to writing, as they occasionally were, for example, at the Court of Theodoric, and by Charlemagne. Yet this very difference strengthens our opinion, that rhyme in the South of Europe, was partly of Barbarous and partly of Latin origin. For, in the struggle between the two languages, while undergoing the succession of changes, that ended in the formation of new dialects, it seems obvious, that the early Latin rhymes we have noticed, would exercise their influence on the writlen poetry of the country, whilst it continued Latin, and subsequently, through this succession of Latin verse on the vernacular poetry, when reduced

transmission of rhyme from Latin into the earliest vernacular poetry of Provence, Spain and Italy. This is remarkably the fact, and a little observation will satisfy any one that the very words, which rhyme together in a Latin poem, will when turned into Provençal, Italian or Spanish, furnish equally good rhymes. It is the same with the Portuguese, and though the principle is not as applicable to French, yet our author Richelet has shown (Avis. p. X.) that the same rule of conversion from Latin into French, prevails also extensively. He indeed, thinks more so in French, than either in Spanish or Italian ; but this certainly is not so. Hence we gather an additional argument in favour of the reasons assigned why Latin rhymes would not be transferred into English ; for no such conformity of termination in the new dialect to those of the old language, existed in England : Latin not being the basis, that was changed into English, in the progress of the popular transmutation into this of the preceding language. The natural tendency of the Southern dialects to rhyme, as already explained (No. 3, p. 57, &c.), and the opposite quality of the Northern, arise very much out of the state of things here noticed: coupled with the fact that these are consonant, and those vowel languages.

« 上一頁繼續 »