What a wonderful flavour of romance hangs name was Gabrielle, which suggested to the over the word troubadour! The imagination | poet the idea of comparing her to a gazelle : immediately turns to the gorgeous pictures of this resemblance of sound (due to chance) made the chivalry of the middle-ages, when the them both sinile, and was the origin of rhyme minstrel (often a knight, sometimes a prince) among the people. Astonished and above all donned his armour, placed the gage d'amitié of charmed by this new language, with the cadence his fair lady in his helmet, and set out to sing and harmony of which she had no previous her praises in every court, and to do battle in acquaintance, the lady lost herself in a thousand her honour with each disputant who met him. reveries. Or we think of that other minstrel who, wander. “What honied tones!” she said. “ Never ing over Europe, sang his lays beneath every have I heard such in my castle. Is it the lanfortress in Germany, until answered by one guage of the poor?" who had suffered a sad imprisonment; and “No, madam," said Merlin, “it is the lanthen, turning his steps to England, told his guage of love." discovery to the barons, who, collecting a And he taught her that these verses were the ransom, released the valiant Richard Caur-de- most beautiful that had been composed since Lion. How it came about that, after the long the days of Virgil, and how she had performed centuries of barbarism (during which poetry the miracle. seemed banished from the world), there When she re-entered her castle, the lady was should suddenly have sprung up a race of Pro- | suffering from the deepest ennui. vengal poets, flourishing for three centuries in “Speak to me in verse," she said to a crowd the greatest vigour, and then their language be- of courtiers, who were waiting for her favour. coming a dead one, is a problem of history; let But none understood her: all seemed coarse us first hear the legend in explanation, and then and rough in comparison with what she had turn to the more sober side of fact.

heard. Listening, when seated on the tower, In the days when Merlin, the great enchanter, the voice of her slave sounded in the valley. was wandering over the earth, consoling and From that day the one gave, the other received, teaching, he met with a fine-looking youth and both were filled with happiness. begging by the road-side. Merlin had already. This was one of Merlin's greatest prodigies. parted with his stores to the wretched, but a | He reconciled the rich with the poor, and at the lady appearing from a neighbouring castle, same time invented poetry. riding with a falcon on her wrist, the wizard | Leaving these poetical fancies, we must turn addressed her, saying:

our eyes to the eleventh and twelfth centuries, “I bring you a great happiness, madam." and we shall find that the Provençal or romance “ What is that?" said she.

language, in which the thousands of poets A rare occasion of giving away your horse wrote who sprurg up as if by the touch of and falcon."

Merlin's magic wand, was one well known and “ To whom?”

generally used in the southern half of France, “ To this wretched man.”

and by the Christians of Spain. These latter, “You are mad, Merlin,” replied the lady, I refined by their intercourse with the Moors, indisdainfully : “recollect yourself.”

troduced among their northern neighbours the "Ah, madam, I have just returned from the spirit of gallantry, with the refinements in art infernal regions. I have seen nothing more and science, wbich the Arabians understood so terrible than what I see now-avarice on an much better than the descendants of those barangel's brow.”

barian hordes who had overrun Europe, and The lady was struck with this pointed reply. quenched the light of Latin taste and poetry. She felt she had a heart, and was ashamed that | Cordova, Grenada, and Seville were famed for her clouded face should seem as if she had their colleges and libraries, where the young wrinkles and thin lips. She cast a more cheer- | men practised oratory, and, mingling prose and ful glance on the beggar. Nothing could equal poetry, excited the people in a manner well her astonishment when she saw in him a young suited to the love of Eastern nations for storyman with black eyes and curly hair. She telling: indeed, Arabia is said to have produced jumped lightly to the ground, and, giving her more poets than any other nation in the world, horse and bird to Merlin, said :

and they are celebrated for the boldness of their “There, I give them to him.”

imagery and warmth of imagination; so much This kindness melted the heart of the young so as to astonish the reader by their hyperbole man like wax. He immediately poured forth run mad. Thus they excited in the southern some verses prompted by his devotion, and in nations among whom they lived an intense adhis gratitude were mingled words of love. miration for women, with that tender and deliThey were the first poetry that had been com- cate passion which was so strongly developed posed in this country and language. The lady's / in the age of chivalry; the effects of which may

be traced long after in the literature of Ariosto, badour of the court of Raymond Berenger, and and Boccacio, many of whose stories are bor- | mentioned with admiration by Danto, proposes rowed from the Arabian tales. As the courts this tenson, and decides in favour of resignof these Moorish sovereigns encouraged talent | ing everything for the happiness enjoyed in of every kind, Christians were attracted to them; the society of his lady-love; whilst Bertand and if, on any occasion, they felt mortified or d'Alamanon, a crusader, prefers the honour of oppressed, their remedy was an easy flight to arms in order to merit her esteem, and leaves Catalonia or Provence, where the Princes were his opponent to be the protector of the follies of only too happy to receive amusement from the love. Many of the ladies present were able to troubadour, or inventor of verse, as the name reply to the verses they had inspired, and take a imports.

part in the contests. But these tensons were by It is pleasant also to remember that, distant | no means the only efforts of the early poets; as as England would then seem to the nations of the “Lay le Fraine” expresses it, their songs whom we are speaking, yet our kings exercised | were various : great influence in advancing and encouraging the Provençal poets. The Count Raymond “Some be of war and some of woe, Berenger, descended from a branch of the

And some of joy and mirth also, kings of Aragon, could boast of four beautiful

And some of treachery and of guile, daughters, whose praises were the perpetual

Of old adventures that fell erewhile; theme of the troubadours thronging their

And some of cowrdes and treachery, father's court. The eldest of these is well

And many there be of fairy;

Of all things that men seth, known in history as the Marguerite or pearl of

Most of love forsooth there beth." the French Court, the wife of St. Louis, who accompanied her husband with the utmost devotion to the crusade in Egypt and Palestine,

The sirventes were martial and political

songs, two of which, composed by our Richard a worthy mate of the adored monarch to whom she was united. The second sister, Eleanor,

the First during his fifteen months' captivity in

the Tour Tenebreuse, in Germany, are still exwas married to our Henry the Second, and brought as a dowry to the crown several

tant, one stanza of which we quote : countries where the laugue d'oc was spoken,

“Too true it is-so selfish human race ! Guienne, Poictou, and Saintouge; whilst the

Nor dead, nor captive, friend or kindred find ; third sister, Sancie, married Richard, Henry's

Since here I pine in bondage and disgrace, brother, elected King of the Romans. Thus

For lack of gold my fetters to unbind; there arose a kind of rivalry between the French Much for myself I feel, yet ah! still more, and English monarchs as to which should be That no compassion from my subjects flows; the greatest patron of literature, and we may | What can from infamy their names restore, trace the formation of our language to these If while a prisoner, death my eyes should close ?" poets, as they no doubt furnished Chaucer with a model for imitation. These princes, as

The knight whose sirventes are considered well as the rulers of Provence and Catalonia, the most impetuous and passionate, was one invited the troubadours to attend every tournay who exercised a powerful and by no means and fête : after the joust was over, and the advantageous influence over the destinies of brilliant assemblage had turned to the festal England's royal family, and the many family board, they were requested to hold a literary feuds which disgraced the sons of Henry the tournament, and questions were proposed for their Second. This was Bertrand de Born, Viscount discussion relating to the most delicate love of Hautefort, who was strongly attached to affairs. The lady of the castle, or court, after | Helen the sister of Richard the First, both the distributing the crowns which had been won brother and sister accepting with pride and by the conquerors, collected around her the | pleasure the homage of so distinguished a youngest and most beautiful women; and thus, poet. But one of the poems he dedicated to in imitation of the baron and his peers, formed her remain; it was composed in camp when the her court of love, inviting two troubadours to army was without provisions, and he enadvance and show their skill. Often a knight deavoured to forget the necessities of hunger by who had won his crown at the fight, would, | feeding upon love. harp in hand, sing his prelude, proposing a Always in the field of war, he roused his solsubject on which to argue; another replying, diers and animated his allies by writing sir. in the same air and in a composition of five | ventes ; " Let others embellish their mansions stanzas, which was the rule, took the opposite if they will ; let them surround themselves with side, on which the whole Court then deliberated all the conveniences of life; but for me, my and decided. Many of these tensons (a word sole desire is to collect lances and casques, and signifying a contest) are still extant. Sometimes swords and borses." the question is : “If it were necessary either to Thus he wrote, and attaching himself to the forego the delight of your lady-love, and to re- cause of Henry, Duke of Guienne, the heir to the nounce the friends whom you possess, or to English crown, who was fighting against his sacrifice to the lady of your heart the honour brother Richard, he laboured with unconwhich you have acquired by chivalry, which of querable ardour, securing for him support among the two would you choose ?" Sordello, a trou-l the neighbouring provinces, and arming the towns people ; but the young prince dying in the close of life, he set off to the east to pursue 1183, Bertrand was left to face the anger of his chimerical project of becoming Emperor, Henry the Second, the outraged father, and but, failing in it, he returned to his native land, found himself besieged in his castle, which he and died in 1229. defended to the last, and was taken prisoner. A long list of kings may be added to adorn Brought before the king, he reminded him of the ranks of the troubadours; the Emperor the great friendship which existed in former Frederick the First delighted greatly in their years between him and Prince Henry; and the works, and replied on one occasion by the unhappy father, bursting into tears at the allu- | following lines : sion, generously restored to Bertrand his castle and possessions. His turbulent spirit could not “A Frenchman I'll have for my cavalier, rest, but at length wearied of the world, he

And a Catalonion dame, retired to a Cistercian convent, and died in the

A Genoese for his honour clear habit of a monk. Dante, in his great poem,

And a court of Castiliau fame; describes his meeting with Bertrand de Born in

The Provencal songs my ear to please, hell, holding his head by the hair in his hand;

And thc dances of Trevisan,

I'll have the grace of the Arragonese, thus it spoke:

And the heart of Julian ;

An Englishman's hands and face for me,
“Know that I

And a youth I'll have from Tuscany."
Am Bertrand, he of Born, who gave King John
The counsel mischievous. Father and son

Alfonso the Second, and Peter the Third of
I set at mutual war * * * * *
For parting those so closely knit, my brain

Arragon, Frederic the Third of Sicily, were Parted, alas! I carry from its source,

among the troubadours, and the unfortunate That in this trunk inhabits. Thus the law

King René of Provence, who endeavoured with Of retribution fiercely works in me."

all his power in the fifteenth century to restore the race, but in vain; the invasions of the

English had driven poetry away, and the troubaThe career of one other celebrated troubadour | doura we

of one other celebrated troubadour dours were extinct. Some ascribe their fall may be glanced at; those who wish to know to the degradation their poems met with at the more of their lives and loves, will find a long and

hands of the Jougleurs, to whose share it fell tedious repertory in the Abbe Millot's “ His

to recite the composition of the troubadours toire Littéraire des Troubadours.” When the

playing at the same time on the tambourine and third crusade was preached through the length

cymbals, the claricord, guitar, and harp, with and breadth of Europe, a native of Toulouse,

many other instruments now unknown. But, in Pierre Vidal by name, joined the ranks of King

8 order to amuse the grosser tastes of the people Richard. He had long been celebrated for his

the Jougleurs became little else than mounteextravagance in love as well as his poetical

banks; dressed in grotesque attire, carrying powers : every woman he believed fell into rap

bears and apes with them, and performing tricks tures at his approach, whilst he saw in him

of sleight-of-hand, looking only for a high self the model of the bravest warrior. His reward. Thus it was that the nobles objected friends were not slow in turning his vanity to to admit both classes, ranking them as equal ridicule, and thus, when the crusading army to their castles; and felt jealous of the attentions landed at Cyprus, he was persuaded to marry a paid them by ladies of rank, sometimes even lady whose family had been connected with one their own wives; and a lament on this subject of the Bizzantine Emperors. In consequence forms one of the last poems of the troubadours of this he considered himself competent to adopt dated 1275. the title, assume the purple, and have a throne

But cruel war, which destroys through the carried before him; whilst the money he

violent passions it excites, the softer pleasures received for his songs was to furnish him with of society and literature, disturbed Languedoc the means for recovering his kingdom. and Provence, and probably gave the final Finding his efforts unavailing, and by no deathblow to the courts of love and the means constant to one affection, he returned to troubadours. The infamous crusade against the Provence, and falling in love with a lady whose Albigenses desolated the country; Charles of name was Louve de Penantier, he thought it | Anjou, their sovereign, gained the crown of the highest compliment to adopt the surname of Naples in addition, and, carrying his Court Loup, and, to add to its force, he clothed him thither, Italian became the fashionable language, self in a wolf's skin, and even induced the shep and the langue d’oc was left to the people. herds of the neighbourhood to hunt him with One last effort was made—which, singularly their dogs, and was thus carried half-dead, to the enough, exists to this day-in the year 1323 feet of his mistress, who could only pity such Charles the Fourth, King of France, paid a madness, instead of applauding him, as he hoped. royal visit to Toulouse, in company with the Yet his poems were very superior to his charac kings of Bohemia and Majorca. "Loving learnter, and Tasso gives him the highest place among ing himself, he did all he could to encourage it the race of troubadours; his descriptions were among the inhabitants, who had already formed not merely sensual, but pointed to the higher an academy, afterwards to become so famous. place which the poets might occupy in advancing | Seven of the principal citizens, amateurs of the morality and heroic sentiments. Once more, at' fine arts, who were delighted to find a patron of letters in their king, proposed (in order to excite pense. The seven associates chose one of thememulation) a prize to him who should excel in selves as chancellor to preside over them, and a poetry. Their first step was to write a letter in secretary to draw up a treatise on rhetoric and Provençal verse, styling themselves “la gaie poetry, giving rules by which to judge fairly of Société des sept Trobadors," inviting all the the merit of the works presented to them. Bepoets of Languedoc to meet at Toulouse, to sides this, statutes were framed, which were read their works and decide upon the author of called “loix d'amour," and in which the rising the piece who should be judged worthy of the academy was named “le jeu d'amour.” The crown. The subjects were to be in honour of title of Bachelor in the “gaie science” was given God, the holy Virgin, or the saints. The in- to those who carried away the first prizes, if vitation was welcomed, and, on the day ap- they could pass an examination before the chanpointed, people arrived from all parts and met cellor; and a further public examination was in the garden, where the seven associates were necessary if they were advanced to the rank of accustomed to assemble. The different poems doctor and master. On being received they which were presented were read aloud; the fol- | took an oath to keep faithfully the laws, and lowing day they were examined in private, and, to be present each year at the meeting when the day after, “la joya de la violetta" was ad- they adjudged “la principale joie," or jewel. judged to Master Arnaud Vidal de Castelnau- The place of assembly, too, was changed; the deri, who, at the same time, was made doctor garden and the faubourgs having been destroyed in “la gaie science,” or poetry.

in the English war, it was transferred to the The prize was of the most elegant description, Hôtel de Ville, and took the name of the Coland given for the best song-it was a violet of lege of Rhetoric. About the end of the fourgold, more than a foot high, and carried on a teenth, or beginning of the fifteenth century, it pedestal of silver-gilt, on which were engraved received a new lustre by the liberality of a lady the arms of the city. In 1355 two others were of Toulouse, Clemence d'Isaure, who, wishing added-an eglantine of silver (not the flower of to show her love for literature, left by will sufhthe wild rose, but of the Spanish jasmine) for cient to defray the expense of the flowers they the author of the best sirvente, or pastoral; and gave each year. The citizens, out of gratitude, the flor de gaug, or joy-flower (that of the ordered a statue of white marble to be placed thorny acacia), to the writer of the best ballad. on hier tomb in the church of the Daurade; but Thus they gained the name of the floral games which was eventually put in the hall where the of Toulouse.

yearly meeting was held, and on the third of The citizens, enchanted with the success and May it is crowned with flowers. There may utility of such a project, and pleased with the still be heard the echo of the names troubadour, concourse of clever men that this assembly sirvente, Provengal ballad; but the courts of brought to their city, decreed that every year a love, the tournays, and the chivalry of the days similar prize should be given at the public ex- 'of the troubadours are for ever extinct.



| moment a violent gust of wind dispersing the

mass of rags, disclosed to the eyes of the horrorA bleak north wind was blowing in fitful stricken Hans the white face of a child. gusts one winter's night, and a cold sleet fall- “Good God!" he exclaimed, "a little child ing, covering with a white shower the unlucky left in the street in such weather as this ; who foot-passengers, who, with heads well bent to ever heard of such a thing? Ob, God! I the storm, hastened their footsteps towards believe it is dead!” He knelt down and laid some welcome shelter. “ This is pandemonium his hand upon its heart: a movement showed darkness," muttered honest Hans Schmidt to him there was still life, and in another moment kimself, as he stepped from the theatre into the it opened a pair of large, black, glistening street; and he wrapped himself closely in an eyes. old faded shawl, and hurried homewards. He “What are you doing here in the street, my had hardly taken a dozen steps, when he child? Why do you not go home?” asked knocked his foot against some object that Hans. lay upon the ground; with a muttered exclama- “Home!” repeated the child, and looked at tion, he stooped down, and found what seemed him wonderingly, to be a bundle of rags. He dragged it under 1 “Yes, home: where do you live?" the light of a street-lamp, and at the same “With old Beck; but she beats me, and

makes me beg, and I hate her," said the Look at these four naked walls, and these five child, with a sudden flash of anger in her dark hungry children, and at me, who, from one eyes.

week's-end to the other, work all the flesh “ Have you no mother or father?” asked off my bones, and then tell me how you could Hans, looking down with pity on the little balf have taken in this beggar-child !” starved creature.

There was no answering these words. Hans “I had once a mamma, a long time ago, but was silent, sat down, and warmed his hands over she is gone away,” answered the little thing. the stove. At length he said, “I believe, dear

“How is it that you were lying here on the wife, that the Lord will not let us starve because pavement ?” asked Hans, whose sympathies | we give shelter to a poor child who is still poorer became stronger with each answer.

than we are; and perhaps she can herself help “I asked a man to give me something, and something towards her keep. Tell me, what he called me a little thief, and that he would can you do, Undine?” put me in prison, and then I ran away and "I can dance," said the child. “Beck played fell down. But Sir, I am not a thief !” said the organ, and Marie the tambourine, and I the child earnestly.

dance in the streets." “ Certainly not, you do not look like a thief. Hans rose, and, taking a violin from the What is your name ?".

wall, began to play, saying, “Now show us, “Undine.”

| little one, how you can dance." "A strange name for a beggar girl; but now The child threw the torn hat and shawl on go home, that is the best you can do."

one side, shook back the long elfin locks from “I cannot go home.”

| her broad white forehead, and, bending slightly “Why not?”

forward, she began to dance. There was a won“Because I have no money; and Beck half-derful grace and lightness in every movement kills me when I take nothing home," said the as the slight, childish figure swayed backwards child, despairingly.”

| and forwards to the time of the music, and “ Poor child," said Hans, compassionately, when, at the end, she sank on one knee, her “I wish I could help you.” He thought for a head bent forward, as though waiting the ap. moment on his wretched garret; his over- | plause of the bystanders, Hans Schmidt clapped worked wise, and five hungry children. Then bis hands vigorously, and cried, “ Well done, he thought that this poor child was worse off | litile woman! your fortune is made! Why, even than they; and Hans, who, though only a the little Tina, whom the public clap so much, poor actor, had as noble a heart as ever beat, is not worthy to tie your shoe; I tell you what, said kindly to the little thing, “ will you come wife, Undine will make our fortune yet, or my home with me, Undine?”

name is not Hans Schmidt! She looked at him as though to see if he were really in earnest; and when she saw his friendly face, she put out her little hand, and said “ Yes."

Chap. III.

[ocr errors]

“ Have you seen the wonderful dancer La Chap. II.

Villette ?" asked a fashionable-looking young

man of his friend, Friedrich Bernhardt, whom In a small, poorly-furnished room sat Mrs. he had just met in the public promenade. Schmidt, bending closely over her work. Four “Seen her-no," was the answer. “You children-two boys and two girls-crouched know very well that I have only been in Vienna shivering by a stove, that seemed to give out two days, and I have had no chance." more smoke than heat. A pale, sickly child “Oh, come with me then; I have a free lay in a broken cradle, that was moved from entrance into the green-roon, and will intime to time by the foot of the mother. Hour troduce you that is, if you promise not to sup. after hour passed, and no sound disturbed the plant me.” silence of the room but the rocking of the cra- | “Is she pretty ?" asked Bernhardt. dle.

“Pretty !" cried his friend: “My dear “ Wilhelm is very hungry, mother: will Friedrich, she is a perfect angel, but proud as father soon be home?” cried a weak voice from Lucifer-faith, you would declare she was a the corner of the room.

princess, instead of a dancer." “Yes, soon. I hear him coming now: run . “Who are her friends ?” and open the door, Hans,” said Mrs. Schmidt. "I do not believe she has any : an old actor

The child ran hastily to the door, and the picked her up in the streets when she was about next moment Hans Schmidt entered, leading five years old ; and, since she has appeared on by the hand the little Undine.

the stage, she has been the favourite of the pub. “Good heavens! Schmidt, what have you lic. She is a splendid dancer, and beautiful as brought home with you?” cried Mrs. Schmidt, a houri; but, as I have said, 80 confoundedly letting her work fall in her astonishment. proud, that she will hardly look at one," and

“A poor little homeless, forsaken creature, the young man sighed, as he spoke these that the Lord has sent us," answered Schmidt. | words.

“Oh, Hans, Hans, you will drive me mad!' In the meantime, the object of their remarks

« 前へ次へ »