« AnteriorContinuar »
Another stanza with the same sort of line appears in the poem on the destruction of Aquileia, attributed to Paulinus, and in the lament for the abbot Hugh, a bastard son of Charles the Great, who fell at Toulouse in 844, in the war between Charles the Bald and Pippin
“Hug dulce nomen, Hug propago nobilis
One of the most interesting of the new types is a trochaic line of eleven syllables, which appears in many different places and times.
“Where the quiet coloured end of evening smiles"
in Browning is identical in scansion with a Provençal verse used by Count William of Poitou. That same measure is found in Provence in the tenth century, in Latin, along with a Provençal burden. The poem where it occurs is commonly known as the first alba, the oldest extant morning song of the kind, which afterwards was to be so famous : “The dawn over the dark sea draws on the sun: she passes over the hill, slanting; see, the darkness is clearing.” So the difficult refrain has been interpreted.
“Phæbi claro nondum orto jubare,
Fert aurora lumen terris tenue ;
L'alba part muet mar atra sol ;
This trochaic Latin verse is used earlier in a comic poem on the abbot of Angers, which also has a refrain, though not in the vernacular
“ Andecavis abbas esse dicitur
Ille nomen primum tenet hominum
Eia eia eia laudes, eia laudes, dicamus Libero."
This belongs to the ninth century; the Lorica of Gildas has the same measure in the sixth, if that poem be authentic, as Zimmer thinks, and Mommsen denies :
“Subfragare trinitatis unitas,
As used by William of Poitou, it is found in combination with the trochaic tetrameter,
“Compaigno, non posc mudar qu'eu nom esfrei
de novellas qu'ai auzidas e que vei,
The Irish poet of the court of Charlemagne, “Hiber
i Compare the hymn of Gui de Basoches, twelfth century, Mone, ii. 6:
"Dei matris cantibus
sollemnia Recolat sollemnibus
nicus Exul,” makes use of a rhyming measure with many Irish characteristics :
“ Carta Christo comite per telluris spatium
Ad Cæsaris splendidum nunc perge palatium
Dic regales pueri per prolixa spatia
It is like Mihi est propositum, with a trisyllabic rhyme. The half line of seven syllables is the commonest type of Irish verse in the vernacular; and this poem of “Hibernicus Exul,” along with similar verses later by Sedulius Scottus, has been of interest in connection with the problems of Irish metre.1
There is a short kind of verse in a poem of the ninth century which strikes the ear with a modern ring:
“Sancte sator, suffragator,
Legum lator, largus dator
It is probably Anglo-Saxon in origin, to judge from
1 Cf. Ebert, Litteratur des Mittelalters, ii. 324 ; Thurneysen, in Revue Celtique, vi. 345.
the vocabulary, not to speak of the alliteration. A comparison with Anglo - Saxon rhymes like blissa bleoum, blostma hiwum shows how easily the forms of the two languages might be brought to correspond : while the resemblance to certain Icelandic rhymes is also notable. It is hard to dissociate the form of Egil's Ransom poem, with its short rhyming lines, from this Latin specimen.
“Quando celox currit velox” is much the same in form as the Icelandic
“Brustu broddar, enn bitu oddar.” In the song written by Gottschalk (about 846 ?) the trochaic measures are in a way less regular; the effect is singularly unlike anything in the old Teutonic languages, and not far from some of the melodies of French and Spanish verse, with the “ broken ” trochaic half-line :
“O quid jubes, pusiole,
Quare mandas, filiole,
Intra mare ?
O cur jubes canere ?" Gothschalk's adversary Hraban has nothing so good, but his poem in octosyllabic couplets on Paradise Lost and Regained is of some interest historically, considering the future fortunes of that sort of measure. The Latin poem on the story of Placidas (St Eustace),
1 Müllenhoff and Scherer, Denkmäler, v. lxi ; Mone, i. 365 ; Braune, Althochdeutsches Lesebuch, v. xi.
which belongs to the ninth century also, is in a drawling verse suited to professional story-telling, and near akin to much of the common minstrelsy later. It goes in stanzas of five lines; for example, in telling about the happy meeting of Placidas with his wife and his two sons :
“Exivit mater eorum, ivit ad principem
Et cum lacrimis marito cepit dicere"which is not an unfair specimen of the style and method of this narrative. No legend has more of the character of mediæval romance than that of St Eustace, and few were in greater favour. A comparison of the different versions—Ælfric's prose, the Northern Placitus Drápa, and many more-would bring out very clearly the differences of taste in story-telling all over the Middle Ages. The story of Sir Isumbras is nearly the same as Placidas, though it does not end in martyrdom. From the Latin Placidas of the ninth century to the English Sir Isumbras there are many stages to pass through ; but the Latin version has already the simple unaffected pleasure in adventure which makes up for so much else in the stories of the minstrels and the less courtly romances, the companions of Sir Thopas.
The Sequentia,2 or Prosa, which comes into favour in 1 Edited, along with other poems of the Carolingian period, by Dümmler in the Zeitschrift für deutsches Alterthum, xxiii.
F. A. Wolf, Veber die Lais, Sequenzen, und Leiche, 1841 ; K. Bartsch, Lateinische Sequenzen das Mittelalters, 1868.