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cantigas de amor and cantigas de amigo, or, on formal grounds, as cantigas de maestria and cantigas de refran.
In the cantigas de amor the lover—king, or count, or simple knight—serves as vassal of his lady, always throned afar, always incomparably wise and fair. Necessarily of noble birth, and often his own kin, she is sometimes married, more generally a maid; and he humbly sues for her favour. The cantigas de amigo are ladies' songs, and accordingly pendants to the first. They speak of blissful trysts, and mournful partings, and soft messages, and warm confidences, and angry mothers; and occasionally they resolve themselves into dialogues with him. In addition to these, there are some hundreds of mocking and abusive poems.
The whole Cancioneiro is separable into two groups —songs with, and songs without, a refrain. The former, constituting one-third, are those composed in the Provencal manner, and known as cantigas de maestria. The others, cantigas de refran, have been acclimatised to the court, but are really popular. A habit racy of the soil, and affecting even studied compositions em maniera de proencal, is the repetition of a thought with only a slight variation in the expression. This is best exemplified in a species of verse for which the Portuguese have strictly no name, or, it might be proper to say, no name coextensive with all its possible forms. It is written in parallel stanzas, of which one is the echo of the other, and which hardly differ except as to the vowels. The favourite assonances are i-o and ci-o; and the words most frequently interchanged are amigo and amado, as in the following instance:—
"Solo ramo verde e florido,
Solo florido e verde ramo,
Of such songs in parallel stanzas the Vatican collection contains fifty-four, forty being quite pure, while the rest are mixed. King Dinis wrote eight, and a ninth was written by Dom Affonso Sanches, his son. One of the lyrics, originally a pure volkslied, of which two versions are given and assigned to the gifted clerk, Ayras Nunes, and a popular bard Joam Zorro respectively, is a dance-song, commencing—
"Bailemos ja todas, todas ay amigas
Probably this was actually sung by a double chorus of young maidens round a budding hazel-bush on Mayday or at Eastertide.
In conclusion, this is not really a great period of Portuguese literature. Its real blossoming time is the fifteenth century, the age of voyages, and discoveries, and surpassing national energy, to which, however, the poetry itself offers but faint resemblance, being rather tender and melancholy than vigorous and heroic.
The most salient fact in Catalan literature is the difference of language in artistic poetry and artistic Catalan prose. Till the end of the thirteenth cenuteratun- tury poets wrote, not indeed without occasional solecisms, in the language of Provence. Even at a later period, when an apprenticeship in prose had rendered Catalan more fit for versifying purposes, the poets kept many words and phrases borrowed from the Troubadours or the academic verse of Toulouse. What they did was to simplify the' technique, to exchange variety for certain unalterable forms. The intricacy and refinement of the art degenerate in their hands into clumsiness and obscurity, and Petrarch's influence was most pernicious, leading, as in his own country, to general affectation.
This description of Catalan literature, as it presents itself from the fourteenth to the sixteenth century, applies to artistic composition. Liturgical poems— poems in honour of God and the saints — were in the native speech; and the goigs, religious hymns to-day extraordinarily popular, are unquestionably of ancient origin. The visionary and philosophic Eamon Lull, though in complicated rhythm, employed the Catalan tongue.
Between the early Provencal epoch in Catalan and the founding of the Consistory at Barcelona, there ,n* favourite was a period of transition in which writers tamo. display a marked reluctance to break with the old forms. Thus the chronicler, Eamon Muntaner, in his Sermd on the Sardinian expedition (1323), adopts a monorhymed strophe of twenty lines, each line consisting of twelve syllables. In the cobles (or strophes) addressed by Peter IV. of Aragon to his son, King Martin of Sicily, in 1378, we come upon a favourite and characteristic metre of the Catalan gay science— the cobla croada unisonant. A cobla is called croada when the rhymes cross: thus, abba. It is said to be unisonant when the same rhymes are continued through all the strophes of the poem. In the cobles referred to, the lines are decasyllabic and divided into two unequal halves of four and six (or seven) syllables respectively. The standing pause after the fourth syllable produces a monotonous effect, which, however, appears not to have been felt by the Catalans themselves, as even Auzias March, lauded by Santillana as "gran trovador 6 ome de assaz elevado espiritu," and one of their few distinguished poets, made no attempt to vary it.
Distinct from the " art de trobar," or representing only its most vulgar and prosaic side, are the poems in bordons appariats (couplets), already designated in the Leys d"Amors as novas rimadas. This form was early adopted by the Catalans; indeed, according to Santillana, the noves rimades had preceded the cobles. In any case, this non-strophic variety, because much easier than cobles croades or encadenades, was bound to attract many versifiers too lazy or stupid to attack the more intricate forms.
"Car ignorant suy del estil
says, unabashed, the writer of one of these poems. The great master in this style was Jaume itoig, who flourished about the middle of the fifteenth century, and whose Libre de Consells or de les Dames is a satire against women, inspired by his own experiences and the confessions of similarly unlucky wights.
The break-up of the aristocratic monopoly is nowhere more evident than in Germany, where the whole German nation seems to have abandoned itself to enthusiasm. song This enthusiasm is strikingly attested in the Limburg Chronicle, in which the appearance of a new song is hailed as an event, and something is said as to the author. "Item at this time [i.e., in 1356] people sang the matin ode of the Holy Passion, and it was new, and a knight made it.
"' O starker Got,
Befelen wir herre in din gebot,
Lass uns den dag mit gnaden oberschinen!
Di namen dri
Di stent uns bt
In allen noden wo wir sin,'
Di negel dri, das sper und ouch di krone.'
"Item in the same year 'dictamina' [i.e., prosewritings] and verses in German songs were transformed. Whereas heretofore people had sung long odes with five or six strophes, now the masters make new songs, which they call widersange, with three strophes. A revolution has occurred also in pipes and piping, and never were they so good heretofore as they have begun now to be. For he who five or six years before was