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but it has this quality in common with it, that it is the representative European work of its
A luvk-book. , .
class. It is the culmination of a literature, the literature of pilgrimage. This circumstance, even more than the quaintness of the book itself, explains its wide diffusion, not only in England but in Continental countries. Marco Polo was popular; Maundeville was, if anything, more popular. Germany, for instance, had at least two translations, one by Michel Velser, the other by Otto von Diemeringen; and the influence of this precedent is seen further in original German Pilgerreiscn.1 Holland could boast its Reysen van Jan van Mandeville; and Denmark also had a translation. In addition to these vernacular works there were many Latin renderings. In fact, "the book named Mandevyll" obtained every distinction the age could bestow.
1 See Rohricht and Meisner's Deutsche PUgerrcisen nach dem heiligen Lande, Berlin, 1880.
ALLEGORY, MYSTICISM, AND REFORM.
ITALIAN ALLEGORIES — SPANISH AND JVDXO - SPANISH MORALISTS — ARABIAN CULTURE — ' PIERS PLOWMAN ' — RELIGIOUS POETRY — THE 'FIORETTI' OP ST FRANCIS—ITALIAN PREACHERS—ST CATHERINE OP SIENA—GERMAN MYSTICS—JEAN GERSON—JOHN WICLIK.
Although in the literature of this period allegory is to be found apart from mysticism, mysticism apart The world and from reform, and reform apart from allege church. gory, still there is a tendency on the part of each pair to coalesce; sometimes, indeed, all three characteristics are united. This circumstance renders it expedient, if not imperative, to study these developments in a single chapter, in order to show their interaction, notwithstanding a certain incongruity in associating the purest and most spiritual effusions with the leavings of Provencal animalism. Even this, however, is not quite so incongruous as might at first appear, seeing that, in this matter, the Church borrowed from the World, and the World from the Church.
So far as allegory is concerned, in the Italian peninsula the preponderant fact is the influence of the Roman de la Rose. On this point I have already touched in relation to Brunetto Latini, whose position with regard to Dante made it desirable to introduce him earlier in the work than would otherwise have been the case. Strictly his place is here. Concerning him I shall only add the remark that his poem the Tesoretto, especially as viewed in connection with his French work the Tr&sors, illustrates the tendency of didactic verse to become allegorical in character and encyclopaedic in range. It is very true, as M. Aubertin observes, "on est facilement enclin a tout embrasser quand on ne peut rien approfondir." The continuation of the Roman de la Rose itself, by Jehan de Meung, is, of course, an exemplification of this truth.
One great fault of the Roman de la Rose, particularly of the later contribution, is its discursiveness.
An Italian imitation, II Fiore, which, in form, is a garland of two hundred and thirty-two sonnets,1 avoids this defect, partly, no doubt, on account of the compendious nature of the sonnet, which precludes the admission of more than a limited amount of matter and does not easily transfer its surplus stock to its successor. The general term fiore is kept throughout, there is no specific mention of the rose, and this is only one indication out of many that the work is not a translation, properly so
1 The employment of the sonnet as a stanza is a proof of the early date of the poem; it probably belongs to the last twenty years of the thirteenth century.
called, but, like many other mediaeval productions, examples of which have been quoted, an adaptation. It might perhaps be better named an appropriation, for, in a passage corresponding to that in which Guillaume de Lorris inserts his name, we met with the name Ser Durante, which occurs also in two other places. Ser Durante was probably a real personage, who "flourished" at the end of the thirteenth and at the beginning of the fourteenth century, and was a Florentine notary.
Ser Durante appears to have been formed rather in the mould of the satirical Jehan than the soft and dreamy Guillaume, but he is the slave of neither. He thinks, indeed, less of his models than of his readers, for whose tastes he endeavours to cater; and he seems to have been animated by contempt and dislike for the all-powerful middle class, which in Florence at this time had gained a monopoly in public affairs.
The influence of French literature is visible also in the Intelligenzia. The reason for attributing the InThe inteiii- telligenzia to Dino Compagni is the circumeenzia- stance that one of the two oldest MSS., the Magliabecchiano, has, written by a later hand and halferased, the words "Questo si chiama la 'ntelligienzia, lo quale fecie Dino Chompag. . . ." The poem, which consists of three hundred stanzas in nona rima—practically the ottava, with the addition of a ninth line rhyming with the sixth—exhibits a convergence of several literary movements. In Stanza-V. we find an allusion to Guido Guinicelli's thesis regarding Love and the Gentle Heart.
On the other hand, the poem opens with a description of Spring conceived quite in the Troubadour style, and the two first lines are, as Nannucci has pointed out, directly translated from the Provencal. The great bulk of the work is taken up with a minute account of the jewellery worn, and the palace inhabited, by a lady of whom the poet feigns himself enamoured.
The significance of the poem is certainly not selfevident, but we are not left to the illumination of our own unaided understandings. The conclusion of the work shows that the Lady is a personification of Universal Intelligence, her palace is the soul of man, her summer and winter rooms are the liver and the spleen; the kitchen is the stomach; the paintings and sculptures are pleasant memories, and the chapel is faith in God. This is sorry stuff, and were it not that the Intelligenzia, in respect of its symbolism, is a fit representative of the age, it would not be worth while to bestow so much space on it.
This scholastic idea again presents itself in Francesco da Barberino's Del Reggimento e Costumi di Donne, com
pleted between 1318 and 1320. The writer
Barberiao. claims tnat tfas }s the firsfc attempt ever
made in verse to improve the morals of females. The work is concerned with the externals of morality, the proprieties, and is, in fact, a manual of etiquette. Some of its precepts, inculcating lying and deception, cannot be reconciled with the highest form of morality, though the prevailing character of the poem undoubtedly favours correct behaviour. Francesco in