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dentius, two favorite classics of the dark ages: and partly from the Saracens their neighbours in Spain, who were great inventors of apologues. The French have a very early metrical romance DE FORTUNE ET DE Felicite, a translation from Boethius's book DE CONSOLATIONE, by Reynault de Louens a Dominican friarb. From this source, among many others of the Provencial poems, came the Tournament of Antichrist above mentioned, which contains a combat of the Virtues and Vices : the Romaunt of Richard de Lisle, in which MODESTY fighting with Lustd is thrown into the river Seine at Paris : and, above all, the RoMAUNT OF THE Rose, translated by Chaucer, and already mentioned at large in its proper place. Visions were a branch of this species of poetry, which admitted the most licentious excursions of fancy in forming personifications, and in feigning imaginary beings and ideal habitations. Under these we may rank Chaucer's HOUSE OF FAME, which I have before hinted to have been probably the production of Provencet.
See Mem. Lit. tom. xviii. p. 741. stance of imitation be produced, I shall 4to. And tom. vii. 293. 294. I have be- be slow to believe, that in either he ever fore mentioned John of Meun's trans- copied the poets of Provence; with lation of Boethius. It is in verse. John whose works, I apprehend, he had very de Langres is said to have made a trans- little, if any acquaintance.” vol. i. Aplation in prose, about 1336. It is highly PEND. Pref. p. xxxvi. I have advanced probable that Chaucer translated Boe- the contrary doctrine, at least by implithius from some of the French transla- cation: and I here beg leave to explain tions. In the Bodleian library there is myself on a subject materially affecting an ExPLANATIO of Boethius's Consola- the system of criticism that has been formTion by our countryman Nicholas Tri- ed on Chaucer's works.
I have never vett, who died before 1329.
affirmed, that Chaucer imitated the Pro° See supr. p. 121.
vencial bards; although it is by no means Puterie. Properly Bawdry, Ob- improbable, that he might have known scenity. Modesty is drowned in the their tales. But as the peculiar nature river, which gives occasion to this con of the Provencial poetry entered deeply clusion, “ Dont vien que plus n'y a into the substance, cast, and character, Honte dans Paris.". The author lived of some of those French and Italian about the year 1300.
models, which he is allowed to have fol+ [The ingenious editor of the Car- lowed, he certainly may be said to have TERBURY Tales treats the notion, that copied, although not immediately, the Chaucer imitated the Provencial poets, matter and manner of these writers. I as totally void of foundation. He says, have called his House or Fame origi“I have not observed in any of his writ- nally a Provencial composition. I did ings a single phrase or word, which has not mean that it was written by a Prothe least appearance of having been vencial troubadour : but that Chaucer's fetched from the South of the Loire. original was compounded of the capriWith respect to the manner and matter cious mode of fabling, and that extravaof his compositions, till some clear in gant style of fiction, which constitute the
Bat the principal subject of their poems, dictated in great measure by the spirit of chivalry, was love: especially among the troubadours of rank and distinction, whose castles being crowded with ladies, presented perpetual scenes of the most splendid gallantry. This passion they spiritualised into various metaphysical refinements, and filled it with abstracted notions of visionary perfection and felicity. Here too they were perhaps influenced by their neighbours the Saracens, whose philosophy chiefly consisted of fantastic abstractions. It is manifest, however, that nothing can exceed the profound pedantry with which they treated this favorite argument. They defined the essence and characteristics of true love with all the parade of a Scotist in his professorial chair : and bewildered their imaginations in speculative questions concerning the most desperate or the most happy situations of a sincere and sentimental heart. But it would be endless, and indeed ridiculous, to describe at length the systematical solemnity with which they cloathed this passion. The RoMAUNT OF THE Rose, which I have just alledged as a proof of their allegorising turn, is not less an instance of their affectation in writing on this subject: in which the poet, under the agency of allegorical personages, displays the gradual approaches and impediments to fruition, and introessence of the Provencial poetry. As la plus cortoise et la plus bele, into his bedto the FLOURE AND THE LEAFe, which chamber, avec ce chevalier gesir. Mem. Dryden pronounces to have been com Cheval. ut supr. tom. ii. p. 70. Not. 17. posed after their manner, it is framed on f This infatuation continued among the old allegorising spirit of the Proven- the French down to modern times. "Les cial writers, refined and disfigured by gens de qualité,” says the ingenious M. the fopperies of the French poets in the de la Curne de Sainte Palaye, “conser. fourteenth century. The ideas of these voient encore ce goût que leurs pères fablers had been so strongly imbibed, avoient pris dans nos anciennes cours : that they continued to operate long after ce fut sans doute pour complaire a son Petrarch had introduced a more rational fondateur, que l'Academie Françoise method of composition. - Additions. ] traita, dans ses premiers séances, plu
e In the mean time the greatest liber- sieurs sujets qui concernoient l'Amour; ties and indecencies were practised and et l'on vit encore dans l'hotel du Lonencouraged. These doctrines did not in- gueville les personnes les plus qualifées fuence the manners of the times. In an et le plus spiritualles du siecle de Louis old French tale, a countess in the ab- XIV. se disputer a qui commenteroit et sence of her lord having received a raffineroit le mieux sur la delicatesse du knight into her castle, and conducted him cæur et des sentimens, a qui feroit, sur in great state to his repose, will not suf- ce chapitre, les distinctions le plus subfer him to sleep alone : with infinite po- tiles." Mem. Cheval. ut supr. tom. ii. liteness she orders one of her damsels, P. v. pag. 17.
duces a regular disputation conducted with much formality between Reason and a lover. Chaucer's TESTAMENT of Love is also formed on this philosophy of Gallantry. It is a lover's ' parody of Boethius's book DE CONSOLATIONE mentioned above. His poem called LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCY, and his ASSEMBLE OF LADIES, are from the same school h. Chaucer's PRIORESSE and Monke, whose lives were devoted to religious reflection and the most serious engagements, and while they are actually travelling on a pilgrimage to visit the shrine of a sainted martyr, openly avow the universal influence of love. They exhibit, on their apparel, badges entirely inconsistent with their profession, but easily accountable for from these principles. The Prioresse wears a bracelet on which is inscribed, with a crowned A, Amor vincit omnia'. The Monke ties his hood with a true-lover's knot. The early poets of Provence, as I before hinted, formed a society called the Court of Love, which gave rise to others in Gascony, Languedoc, Poictou, and Dauphiny; and Picardy, the constant rival of Provence, had a similar institution called Plaids et Gieux sous l'Ormel. These establishments consisted of ladies and gentlemen of the highest rank, exercised and approved in courtesy, who tried with the most consummate ceremony, and decided with supreme authority, cases in love brought before their tribunal. Martial d'Avergne, an old French poet, for the diversion and at the request of the countess of Beaujeu, wrote a poem entitled ARRESTA AMORUM, or the Decrees of Love, which is a humourous description of the Plaids of Picardy. Fontenelle has recited one of their processes, which conveys an idea of all the rest'. A queen of France was appealed to from an unjust
& Translated or imitated from a French ble, that the latter should have translated poem of Alain Chartier, v. 11.
any thing of his. In MS. Harl. 372. La
belle Dame sans Mercie is attributed to Which Maistir Alayne made of rememe
Sir Richard Ros.—TYRWHITT. Mr. Tyrbrance
whitt also rejects the Assemblee of Ladies Chief secretary to the king of France.
from the list of Chaucer's works.-Edit.] He was secretary to Charles the Sixth So is Gower's CONFESSIO AMANTIS, and Seventh. But he is chiefly famous as we shall see hereafter. for his prose. [Alain Chartier was cer i v. 162.
k v. 197. tainly living near fifty years after Chau | Hist. Theat. Franc. p. 15. tom, iii. cer's death, which makes it quite incredi- Oeuvr. Paris, 1742.
sentence pronounced in the love-pleas, where the countess of Champagne presided. The queen did not chuse to interpose in a matter of so much consequence, nor to reverse the decrees of a court whose decision was absolute and final. She answered, “God forbid, that I should presume to contradict the sentence of the countess of Champagne!” This was about the year 1206. Chaucer has a poem called the Court of Love, which is nothing more than the love-court of Provence": it contains the twenty statutes which that court prescribed to be universally observed under the severest penalties. Not long afterwards, on the same principle, a society was established in Languedoc, called the Fraternity of the Penitents of Love. Enthusiasm was here carried to as high a pitch of extravagance as ever it was in religion. It was a contention of ladies and gentlemen, who should best sustain the honour of their amorous fanaticism. Their object was to prove the excess of their love, by shewing with an invincible fortitude and consistency of conduct, with no less obstinacy of opinion, that they could bear extremes of heat and cold. Accordingly the resolute knights and esquires, the dames and damsels, who had the hardiness to embrace this severe institution, dressed themselves during the heat of summer in the thickest mantles lined with the warmest fur. In this they demonstrated, according to the antient poets, that love works
* See also Chaucer's TEN COMMAND- p. 45. seq. Not. xix. But for a comMENTS OF Love, p. 554. Urr.
plete account of these institutions, and • Vie de Petrarque, tom. ii. Not. xix. other curious particulars relating to the p. 60. Probably the Cour d'Amour was antient manners and antient poetry of the origin of that called La Cour Amo- the French, the public waits with impareuse, established under the gallant reign tience for the history of the Provencial of Charles the Sixth, in the year 1410. poets written by Mons. de la Curne de The latter had the most considerable Sainte Palaye, who has copied most of families of France for its members, and their manuscripts with great care and a parade of grand officers, like those in expence. [The only authentic source the royal houshold and courts of law. of information on this subject is a work See Hist. Acad. Inscript. Tom. vii. written about the year 1170 and publishP. 287. seq. 4to.
See also Hist. Lan- ed (among other places) at Dorpmund gued. tom. ii.
1610. Erotica seu Amatoria Andreæ The most uniform and unembarrassed capellarii regis &c. See Roquefort's view of the establishment and usages of Poesies des Troubadours, von Aretins this Court, which I can at present re- Ausprüche der Minnegerichte and Müncollect, is thrown together from scattered cher 1813 and No. II. of the Retrospecand scarce materials by the ingenious tive Review.mEvr.] author of VIE DE PETXARQUE, tom. ii,
the most wonderful and extraordinary changes. In winter, their love again perverted the nature of the seasons: they then cloathed themselves in the lightest and thinnest stuffs which could be procured. It was a crime to wear fur on a day of the most piercing cold; or to appear with a hood, cloak, gloves, or muff. The flame of love kept them sufficiently warm. Fires, all the winter, were utterly banished from their houses; and they dressed their apartments with evergreens. In the most intense frost their beds were covered only with a piece of canvass. It must be remembered, that in the mean time they passed the greater part of the day abroad, in wandering about from castle to castle; insomuch, that many of these devotees, during so desperate a pilgrimage, perished by the inclemency of the weather, and died martyrs to their profession P,
The early universality of the French language greatly contributed to facilitate the circulation of the poetry of the troubadours in other countries. The Frankish language was familiar even at Constantinople and its dependent provinces in the eleventh century, and long afterwards. Raymond Montaniero, an historian of Catalonia, who wrote about the year 1300, says, that the French tongue was as well known in the Morea and at Athens as at Paris. “E parlavan axi belle Francis com dins en Paris ?." The oldest Italian poetry seems to be found. ed on that of Provence. The word Sonnet was adopted from the French into the Italian versification. It occurs in the ROMAN DE LA ROSE, “Lais d'amour et SONNETS courtois"." Boccacio copied many of his best Tales from the troubadours.
P See D. Vaisette, Hist. du Langue fort ut supr. p. 172.] He wrote a French doc, tom. iv. p. 184. seq.
romance, in verse, called the Seven Sages 4 Compare p. 145. Note'. Hist. of Greece, or Dolopathos. He translated Arragon. c. 261.
it from the Latin of Dom Johans, a monk v. 720.
of the abbey of Haute-selve. Particularly from Rutebeuf and Herbers. Rutebeuf was living in the
[Uns blancs moine de bele vie
De Halte-Selve l'abeie year 1310. He wrote tales and stories of entertainment in verse. It is certain
A ceste histoire novelée
Par bel latin l'a ordenee that Boccacio took, from this old French minstrel, Nov. x. Giorn. ix. And per
Herbers le velt en romans traire haps two or three others. Herbers lived
Et de romans un livre faire.] about the year 1200. (1260. See Roque. It has great variety, and contains several