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of the arts; to which we may now recall the reader's attention with as little violation of our general subject.
We are taught in the mythology of the antients, that the three Graces were produced at a birth. The meaning of the fable is, that the three most beautiful imitative arts were born and grew up together. Our poetry now beginning to be divested of its monastic barbarism, and to advance towards elegance, was accompanied by proportionable improvements in Painting and Music. Henry employed many capital painters, and endeavoured to invite Raphael and Titian into England. Instead of allegorical tapestry, many of the royal apartments were adorned with historical pictures. Our familiarity with the manners of Italy, and affectation of Italian accomplishments, influenced the tones and enriched the modulation of our musical composition. Those who could read the sonnets of Petrarch must have relished the airs of Palestrina. At the same time, Architecture, like Milton's lion pawing to get free, made frequent efforts to disentangle itself from the massy incumbrances of the Gothic manner; and began to catch the correct graces, and to copy the true magnificence, of the Grecian and Roman models. Henry was himself a great builder; and his numerous edifices, although constructed altogether on the antient system, are sometimes interspersed with chaste ornaments and graceful mouldings, and often marked with a legitimacy of proportion, and a purity of design, before unattempted. It was among the literary plans of Leland, one of the most classical scholars of this age, to write an account of Henry's palaces, in imitation of Procopius, who is said to have described the palaces of the emperor Justinian. Frequent symptoms appeared, that perfection in every work of taste was at no great distance. Those clouds of ignorance which yet remained, began now to be illuminated by the approach of the dawn of truth.
THE reformation of our church produced an alteration for a time in the general system of study, and changed the character and subjects of our poetry. Every mind, both learned and unlearned, was busied in religious speculation; and every pen was employed in recommending, illustrating, and familiarising the Bible, which was now laid open to the people.
The poetical annals of king Edward the Sixth, who removed those chains of bigotry which his father Henry had only loosened, are marked with metrical translations of various parts of the sacred scripture. Of these the chief is the versification of the Psalter by Sternhold and Hopkins: a performance, which has acquired an importance, and consequently claims a place in our series, not so much from any merit of its own, as from the circumstances with which it is connected.
It is extraordinary, that the protestant churches should be indebted to a country in which the reformation had never begun to make any progress, and even to the indulgence of a society which remains to this day the grand bulwark of the catholic theology, for a very distinguishing and essential part of their ritual.
About the year 1540, Clement Marot, a valet of the bedchamber to king Francis the First, was the favorite poet of France. This writer, having attained an unusual elegance and facility of style, added many new embellishments to the rude state of the French poetry. It is not the least of his praises, that La Fontaine used to call him his master. He was the inventor of the rondeau, and the restorer of the madrigal : but he became chiefly eminent for his pastorals, ballads, fables, ele
gies, epigrams, and translations from Ovid and Petrarch*. At length, being tired of the vanities of profane poetry, or rather privately tinctured with the principles of Lutheranism, he attempted, with the assistance of his friend Theodore Beza, and by the encouragement of the professor of Hebrew in the university of Paris, a version of David's Psalms into French rhymes. This translation, which did not aim at any innovation in the public worship, and which received the sanction of the Sorbonne as containing nothing contrary to sound doctrine, he dedicated to his master Francis the First, and to the Ladies of France. In the dedication to the Ladies or les Dames de France, whom he had often before addressed in the tenderest strains of passion or compliment, he seems anxious to deprecate the raillery which the new tone of his versification was likely to incur, and is embarrassed how to find an apology for turning saint. Conscious of his apostasy from the levities of life, in a spirit of religious gallantry he declares that his design is to add to the happiness of his fair readers, by substituting divine hymns in the place of chansons d'amour, to inspire their susceptible hearts with a passion in which there is no torment, to banish that fickle and fantastic deity Cupid from the world, and to fill their apartments with the praises, not of the little god, but of the true Jehovah.
E voz doigts sur les espinettes
He adds, that the golden age would now be restored, when we should see the peasant at his plough, the carman in the streets, and the mechanic in his shop, solacing their toils with psalms and canticles: and the shepherd and shepherdess, reposing in the shade, and teaching the rocks to echo the name of the Creator.
[Hence was it observed in a poem before quoted, at p. 44. In Fraunce did Marot rayne,
And neighbour thearunto
Was Petrark murthing full with
Le Laboureur a sa charruë,
que rochers et estangs,
Marot's Psalms soon eclipsed the brilliancy of his madrigals and sonnets. Not suspecting how prejudicial the predominant rage of psalm-singing might prove to the ancient religion of Europe, the catholics themselves adopted these sacred songs as serious ballads, and as a more rational species of domestic merriment. They were the common accompaniments of the fiddle. They were sold so rapidly, that the printers could not supply the public with copies. In the festive and splendid court of Francis the First, of a sudden nothing was heard but the psalms of Clement Marot. By each of the royal family and the principal nobility of the court a psalm was chosen, and fitted to the ballad-tune which each liked best*. The dauphin prince Henry, who delighted in hunting, was fond of Ainsi qu'on oit le cerf bruire, or, Like as the Hart desireth the water-brooks, which he constantly sung in going out to the chase. Madame de Valentinois, between whom and the young prince there was an attachment, took Du fond de ma pensée, or, From the depth of my heart, O Lord. The queen's favorite was, Ne vueilles pas,
0 Sire, that is, O Lord, rebuke me not in thine indignation, which she sung to a fashionable jigt. Antony king of Navarre sung, Revenge moy, pren le querelle, or, Stand up, O Lord, to revenge
Les Oevvres de Clement Marot de seen in the Godly and Spirituall Songs, Cahors, valet de chambre du roy, &c. &c. printed at Edinburgh in 1597, and A Lyon, 1551. 12mo. See ad calc. reprinted there in 1801. -Park.) TRADUCTIONS, &c. p. 192.
+ [Jig does not here signify a dance, • [This mode of adaptation may be but a tune.-Park.]
my quarrel, to the air of a dance of Poitoub. It was on very different principles that psalmody flourished in the gloomy court of Cromwell. This fashion does not seem in the least to have diminished the gaiety and good humour of the court of Francis.
At this period John Calvin, in opposition to the discipline and doctrines of Rome, was framing his novel church at Geneva: in which the whole substance and form of divine worship was reduced to praying, preaching, and singing. In the last of these three, he chose to depart widely from the catholic usage: and, either because he thought that novelty was sure to succeed, that the practice of antiphonal chanting was superstitious, or that the people were excluded from bearing a part in the more solemn and elaborate performance of ecclesiastical music, or that the old papistic hymns were unedifying, or that verse was better remembered than prose, he projected, with the advice of Luther, a species of religious song, consisting of portions of the psalms intelligibly translated into the vernacular language, and adapted to plain and easy melodies, which all might learn, and in which all might join. This scheme, either by design or accident, was luckily seconded by the publication of Marot's metrical psalms at Paris, which Calvin immediately introduced into his congregation at Geneva *. Being set to simple and almost monotonous notes by Guillaume de Franc, they were soon established as the principal branch in that reformer's new devotion, and became a characteristical mark or badge of the Calvinistic worship and profession. Nor were • See Bayle's Dict. V. Marot. rivalled the words in plainness and sim
[Marot's French translation of the plicity. They who could read the one Psalīns, said the late Mr. Mason, be- would find little difficulty in learning came popular in the court where it had to sing the other. As therefore it was its origin; not, as it seems, because it the protestant father's aim to open the was a version of the Psalms, but as being Scriptures entirely which had been so a version in rhyme, and what the taste long shut up in a dead language, nothing of the time deemed good poetry. De- would come more opportune than this votion it must be believed had little to version of the psalter ; which, united do in this matter, the version was with prayer in their own tongue, would fashionable! Calvin conceived it might enable his congregation to understand be turned to a pious purpose. The verses and join in the one, and become choriswere easy and prosaic enough to be ters of the other. Essays &c. on Enintelligible to the meanest capacity. glish Church Music.-PARK.) The melodies to which they were set