תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

badours of Provence, an idle and unsettled race of men, took up arms, and followed their barons in prodigious multitudes to the conquest of Jerusalem. They made a considerable part of the houshold of the nobility of France. Louis the Seventh, king of France, not only entertained them at his court very liberally, but commanded a considerable company of them into his retinue, when he took ship for Palestine, that they might solace him with their songs during the dangers and inconveniencies of so long a voyage. The antient chronicles of France mention Legions de poetes as embarking in this wonderful enterprised. Here a new and more copious source of fabling was opened : in these expeditions they picked up numberless extravagant stories, and at their return enriched

war.

progress of traditionary faith—a plant of language of the old romancers.—The tardy growth—if we limit its first pub- Life of Godfrey of Boulogne was writlicity to the period thus prescribed ten in French verse by Gregory Be(1096-1142). With regard to Charle- chada, about the year 1130. It is usually magne and his peers, as their deeds were supposed to have perished; unless, inchaunted by Talliefer at the battle of deed, it exist in a poem upon the same Hastings (1066), it would be needless to subject by Wolfram Von Eschenbach, offer further demonstrations of their early who generally founded his romances popularity; nor in fact does the accuracy upon a French or Provençal original.-of this part of Warton's statement ap- Edır.) pear to be called in question by the wri Velley, Hist. Fr. sub an. 1178. ter alluded to. It would be more diffi & Massieu, Hist. Poes. Fr. p. 105. cult to define the degree in which these Many of the troubadours, whose works romances were superseded by similar now exist, and whose names are recordpoems on the achievements of the Cru. ed, accompanied their lords to the holy saders; or, to use the more cautious lan

Some of the French nobility of guage of the text, to state how far “ Tre- the first rank were troubadours about the bizonde took place of Roncevalles.” But eleventh century: and the French critics it will be recollected that in consequence with much triumph observe, that it is the of the Crusades, the action of several ro GLORY of the French poetry to number mances was transferred to the Holy Land, counts and dukes, that is sovereigns, among such as Sir Bevis, Sir Guy, Sir Isum- its professors, from its commencement. bras, the King of Tars, &c.: and that most What a glory! The worshipfull company of these were “favorite topics” in high of Merchant-taylors in London, if I reesteem, is clear from the declaration of collect right, boast the names of many Chaucer, who catalogued them among dukes, earls, and princes, enrolled in the “romances of Pris.” In short, if we their community. This is indeed an omit the names of the caliphs, and con- bonour to that otherwise respectable sofine ourselves to the Soldans-a generic ciety. But poets can derive no lustre name used by our early writers for every from counts, and dukes, or even princes, successive ruler of the East-and the who have been enrolled in their lists; cities of Egypt and Syria, this rhap- only in proportion as they have adorned sody, as it has been termed, will contain the art by the excellence of their comnothing which is not strictly demon- positions. strable by historical evidence, or the VOL. I.

I

romance with an infinite variety of Oriental scenes and fictions. Thus these later wonders, in some measure, supplanted the former: they had the recommendation of novelty, and gained still more attention, as they came from a greater distance

In the mean time we should recollect, that the Saracens or Arabians, the same people which were the object of the Crusades, had acquired an establishment in Spain about the ninth century: and that by means of this earlier intercourse, many of their fictions and fables, together with their literature, must have been known in Europe before the Christian armies invaded Asia. It is for this reason the elder Spanish romances have professedly more Arabian allusions than any other. Cervantes makes the imagined writer of Don Quixote's history an Arabian. Yet exclusive of their domestic and more immediate connection with this eastern people, the Spaniards from temper and constitution were extravagantly fond of chivalrous exercises. Some critics have supposed, that Spain having learned the art or fashion of romance-writing, from their naturalised guests the Arabians, communicated it, at an early period, to the rest of Europe'.

It has been imagined that the first romances were composed in metre, and sung to the harp by the poets of Provence at festival solemnities: but an ingenious Frenchman, who has made deep researches into this sort of literature, attempts to prove, that this mode of reciting romantic adventures was in

e The old French historian Mezeray of the Provencial poets. What can we goes so far as to derive the origin of the think of a writer, who having touched French poetry and romances from the upon the gothic romances, at whose ficCrusades. Hist. p. 416, 417.

tions and barbarisms he is much shocked, (Geoffrey of Vinesauf says, that when talks of the consummate degree of art and king Richard the First arrived at the elegance to which the French are at present Christian camp before Ptolemais, he arrived in romances ? He adds, that the was received with populares Cantiones, superior refinement and politesse of the which recited Antiquorum Præclara French gallantry has happily given them Gesta. Ir. HIEROSOL. cap. ii. p. 332. an advantage of shining in this species ibid.- ADDITIONS.]

of composition. Hist. Rom. p. 138. But ! Huet in some measure adopts this the sophistry and ignorance of Huet's opinion. But that learned man was a Treatise has been already detected and very incompetent judge of these matters. exposed by a critic of another cast in the Under the common term Romance, be SUPPLEMENT TO JARvis's PREFACE, preconfounds romances of chivalry, ro fixed to the Translation of Don Quixote. mances of gallantry, and all the fables

high reputation among the natives of Normandy, above a century before the troubadours of Provence, who are generally supposed to have led the way to the poets of Italy, Spain, and France, and that it commenced about the year 1162.8 If the critic means to insinuate, that the French troubadours acquired their art of versifying from these Norman bards, this reasoning will favour the system of those, who contend that metrical romances lineally took their rise from the historical odes of the Scandinavian scalds: for the Normans were a branch of the Scandinavian stock. But Fauchet, at the same time that he allows the Normans to have been fond of chanting the praises of their heroes in verse, expressly pronounces that they borrowed this practice from the Franks or French ".

It is not my business, nor is it of much consequence, to discuss this obscure point, which properly belongs to the French antiquaries. I therefore proceed to observe, that our Richard the First, who began his reign in the year 1189, a distinguished hero of the Crusades, a most magnificent patron of chivalry, and a Provencial poet', invited to his court many minstrels or

VARRE.

6 Mons. L'Eveque de la Ravaliere, year 1193. A whole year elapsed before in his Revolutions de Langue Françoise, the English knew where their monarch à la suite des POESIES DU ROI DE NA was imprisoned. Blondell de Nesle,

Richard's favourite minstrel, resolved to h "Ce que les Normans avoyent pris find out his lord; and after travelling des François." Rec. liv. i. p. 70. edit. many days without success, at last came 1581.

to a castle where Richard was detained i See Observations on Spenser, i. § i. in custody. Here he found that the p. 28. 29.

And Mr. Walpole's Royal castle belonged to the Duke of Austria, and Noble Authors, i. 5. See also Řy- and that a king was there imprisoned. mer's Short View of Tragedy, ch. vii. Suspecting that the prisoner was his p. 73. edit

. 1693. Savarie de Mauleon, master, he found means to place himself an English gentleman who lived in the directly before a window of the chamber service of Saint Louis king of France, where the king was kept; and in this and one of the Provencial poets, said of situation began to sing a French chanRichard,

son, which Richard and Blondell had forCoblas a teira faire adroitement

merly written together. When the king Pou voz oillez enten dompna gentiltz. who sung it; and when Blondell paused

heard the song, he knew it was Blondell “ He could make stanzas on the eyes after the first half of the song, the king of gentle ladies.” Rymer, ibid. p. 74. began the other half and completed it. There is a curious story recorded by the On this, Blondell returned home to French chroniclers,concerning Richard's England, and acquainted Richard's baskill in the minstrel art, which I will here rons with the place of his imprisonment, relate. - Richard, in his return from the from which he was soon afterwards reCrusade, was taken prisoner about the leased. See also Fauchet, Rec. p. 93. Ri

troubadours from France, whom he loaded with honours and rewards). These poets imported into England a great multitude of their tales and songs; which before or about the reign of Edward the Second became familiar and popular among our ancestors, who were sufficiently acquainted with the French language. The most early notice of a professed book of chivalry in England, as it should seem, appears under the reign

chard lived long in Provence, where he temporary Gyraldus Cambrensis, he is acquired a taste for their poeuy. The represented as a monster of injustice, only relic of his sonnets is a small frag- impiety, intemperance, and lust. Gy. ment in old French accurately cited by raldus has left these anecdotes of his Mr. Walpole, and written during his character, which shew the scandalous captivity; in which he remonstrates to grossness of the times. " Sed taceo quod his men and barons of England, Nor- ruminare solet, nunc clamitat Anglia mandy, Poictiers, and Gascony, that tota, qualiter puella, matris industria they suffered him to remain so long a tam coma quam cultu puerum professa, prisoner. Catal. Roy, and Nob. Auth. simulansque virum verbis et vultu, ad i. 5. Nostradamus's account of Richard cubiculum belluæ istius est perducta. is full of false facts and anachronisms. Sed statim ut exosi illius sexus est inPoet. Provenc. artic. RICHARD.

venta, quanquam in se pulcherrima, tha(There is too much reason to believe lamique thorique deliciis valde idonea, this story of Blondell and his illustrious repudiata tamen est et abjecta. Unde et patron to be purely apocryphal. The in crastino, matri filia, tam flagitiosi fapoem published by Walpole is written cinoris conscia, cum Petitionis effectu, in the Provençal language, and a Nor- terrisque non modicis eandem jure hæreman version of it is given by M. Sismon- ditario contingentibus, virgo, ut venerat, di, in his “ Literature du Midi,” vol. i. est restituta. Tantæ nimirum intempe. p. 149. In which of these languages it rantiæ, et petulantiæ fuerat tam immowas originally composed remains a mat- deratæ, quod quotidie in prandio circa ter of dispute among the French anti- finem, pretiosis tam potionibus quam ci. quaries.-Edit. )

bariis ventre distento, virga aliquantulum j. De regno Francorum cantores et longa in capite aculeum præferente puejoculatores muneribus allexerat." Rog ros nobiles ad mensam ministrantes, eiHoved. Ric. i. p. 340. These gratuities que propter multimodam qua fungebatur were chiefly arms, cloaths, horses, and potestatem in omnibus ad nutum obsesometimes money.

quentes, pungere vicissim consueverit: [On a review of this passage in Hove- ut eo indicio, quasi signo quodam secreden, it appears to have been William tiore, quem fortius, inter alios, atque bishop of Ely,chancellor to king Richard frequentius sic quasi ludicro pungebat, the First, who thus invited minstrels from &c. &c.” De Vit. GALFRID. ArchiepiFrance, whom he loaded with favours scop. Ebor. Apud Whart. Angl. SACR. and presents to sing his praises in the vol. ii. p. 406. But Wharton endeavours

But it does not much alter the to prove, that the character of this great doctrine of the text, whether he or the prelate and statesman in many particuking was instrumental in importing the lars had been misrepresented through French minstrels into England. This prejudice and envy. Ibid. vol. i. p. 632. passage is in a letter of Hugh bishop of It seems the French minstrels, with Coventry, which see also in Hearne's whom the Song of Roland originated, Benedictus Abbas, vol. ii. p. 704. sub were famous about this period. Muraann. 1191. It appears from this letter, tori cites an old history of Bologna, unthat he was totally ignorant of the En- der the year 1288, by which it appears glish language. ibid. p. 708. By his co. that they swarmed in the streets of Italy.

streets.

of Henry the Third; and is a curious and evident proof of the reputation and esteem in which this sort of composition was held at that period. In the revenue roll of the twenty-first year of that king, there is an entry of the expence of silver clasps and studs for the king's great book of romances. This was in the

year 1237. But I will give the article in its original dress. “Et in firmaculis hapsis et clavis argenteis ad magnum librum Romantis regis k.” That this superb volume was in French, may be partly collected from the title which they gave it: and it is highly probable, that it contained the Romance of Richard the First, on which I shall enlarge below. At least the victorious achievements of that monarch were so

[ocr errors]

“ Ut CANTATORES FRANCIGENARUM in D. Apud Tom. vi. ut supr. In the year plateis comunis ad cantandum morari 774, when Charlemagne entered Italy non possent.” On which words he ob- and found his passage impeded, he was serves, “ Colle quali parole sembra ve met by a minstrel of Lombardy, whose rosimile, che sieno disegnati i cantatore song promised him success and victory. del favole romanze, che spezialmente della “ Contigit JOCULATOREM ex LongobarFranzia erano portate in Italia." Dis- dorum gente ad Carolum venire, et Can. SERT. ANTICHIT. Ital. tom. ii. c. xxix. TIUNCULAM A SE COMPOSITAM, rotando in p. 16. In Napoli, 1752. He adds, that conspectu suorum, cantare. Tom. ii. the minstrels were numerous in P. 2. ut supr. Chron. Monast. Noval. France, as to become a pest to the com lib. iii. cap. x. p. 717. D. munity; and that an edict was issued To recur to the origin of this Note. about the year 1200, to suppress them Rymer, in his Short VIEW OF TRAGEDY, in that kingdom. Muratori, in further on the notion that Hoveden is here proof of this point, quotes the above speaking of king Richard, has founded passage from Hoveden; which, as I had a theory, which is consequently false, done, he misapplies to our king Richard and is otherwise but imaginary. See the First. But, in either sense, it equally p. 66. 67. 69. 74. He supposes, that suits his argument. In the year 1334, Richard, in consequence of his connecat a feast on Easter Sunday, celebrated tion with Raimond count of Tholouse, at Rimini, on occasion of some noble encouraged the heresy of the AlbigenItalians receiving the honour of knight- ses; and that therefore the historian hood, more than one thousand five hun. Hoveden, as an ecclesiastic, was interdred HISTRIONES are said to have attend- ested in abusing Richard, and in insied. "

Triumphus quidem maximus fuit nuating, that his reputation for poetry ibidem, &c.— Fuit etiam multitudo Hıs- rested only on the venal praises of the TRIONUM circa mille quingentos et ul- French minstrels. The words quoted tra.” Axxal. CÆSENAT. tom. xiv. RER. are, indeed, written by a churchman, Italic. SCRIPTOR. col. 1141. But their although not by Hoveden. But whatcountries are not specified. In the year ever invidious turn they bear, they be1227, at a feast in the palace of the arch- long, as we have seen, to quite another bishop of Genoa, a sumptuous banquet person; to a bishop who justly deserved and vestments without number were gi- such an indirect stroke of satire, for his ven to the minstrels, or Joculatores, then criminal enormities, not for any vain present, who came from Lombardy, pretensions to the character of a ProProvence, Tuscany, and other countries. vencial songster. - ADDITIONS.] Caffari ANNAL. GENUENS. lib. vi. p. 449. * Rot. Pip. an. 21. Henr. III.

« הקודםהמשך »