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Cæsar Nostradamus, in his Provençal history, says, "An infinite number of persons, of the highest ranks, honored the Provençal poetry with their compositions. They romanced, poetized, and sung their songs with lyres and other instruments. They were called Trobadores, i. e. inventors, (trouveurs) violars, juglars, musars, &c. from the instruments they used. Emperors, kings, princes, and counts, honored and recompensed them; and the Emperor Frederic, a poet himself, praising the different nations who had followed him in his conquests, thus expresses
"A Frenchman I'll have for my cavallier,
And a Catalonian dame;
A Genoese for his honor clear,
And a court of Castillian fame.
The Provençal songs my ear to please,
And the dances of Trevisan;
I'll have the grace of the Arragonese,
An Englishman's hands and face for me,
The Trobadores originated in Provence, where, under Frederic the First, the gaya sciencia had a reign of triumph. Thence, a great many of them went into Spain, where they found cordial patronage. John the First, of Arragon, invited many Provençal and Narbonne poets to settle at Barcelona and Tortosa. He established the Academia dels Jogos florios in 1390, and sent (says Zurita) a solemn embassy to the King of France, entreating the latter to supply him with members, on whom he showered rewards. In him the passion for poetry seemed to
¿Que fueron sino desvaneos?
"Plas mi cavalier Francez,
E la donna Cathalana
El onrar del Ginoez
Las mans et Kara d'Anglez
subdue, and tower above the love of glory. The object of this academy was the cultivation of poetry in Barcelona. Martin (his brother) gave to it a library, and granted to the members many privileges. In Toulouse, an academy of the Gay Saber has existed from the year 1323, which would appear to have been founded by Ramon Vidal de Besalu, who wrote a volume, containing the rules of poetry, entitled La dreita maniera de Trovar. John the First was accustomed to attend, and even to take a part in the displays of poetic strength, and himself conferred the guerdon of triumph. Mervesin, in his history of French poetry, tells us, that Clementia Isaura, in 1324, invited all the poets she could gather together to contend for a golden violet, and bestowed it, with her own hand, on the most successful. Other writers, among whom is Bastero, deny to the Countess Clementia the honor of first assembling this "meeting of bards;" but the fact of its existence at the beginning of the fourteenth century admits of no controversy. In 1355, rules were drawn up and agreed to for the guidance of the academy. They were called Ordenanzas dels vii Senhors Mantenedores del gai saber. The subjects given for the exercise of the poetic art were such as these : One lover is so jealous, that he takes offence on every occasion; another so tranquil, that nothing can awaken his distrust-which is the sincerer lover of the two?"* The compositions, after being recited, were handed over to a jury of ladies, who formed the Court of Love; and their sentence was called "the decree of love." We have seen, at Valencia, a volume, which contained all the pieces produced, when the subject of competition was a religious one, in which the prize was promised to the Trobador who should best sing the praises of the Seraph, Catherine de Senna. This theme was proposed by Mossen (Mr.) Cherori Fuster, master in theology, and six trovadores appeared to
* Another from Ranouard II. cxix.
"Secretarius quidam intima turpiter et secreta vulgavit amoris. Cujus excessus omnes in castris militantes amoris postulant severissime vindicari, ne tantæ prævaricationes vel proditoris exemplum, impunitatis indè sumpta occasione, valeat in alios derivari. Dominarum ergo in Vasconiâ congregatâ de totius curiæ voluntatis assensu perpetuâ fuit constitutione firmatum, ut ulteriùs omni amoris spe frustratus existat, et in omni dominarum sive militum curiâ contumeliosus cunctis ac contemtibilis perseveret. Si verò aliqua mulier dominarum fuerit ausa temerare statuta, suum ei putà largiendo amorem, eidem semper maneat obnoxia pœnæ et omni probæ fœminæ maneat exinde penitùs inimica."
Tractatus Amoris & de Amoris remedio, fol. 97.
dispute for the mastery.-Vicent Ferrandis, an embroiderer; Antoni Pineda, a notary; Narcis Vinyolls, Pere Marti, Pere Sorevella, and Miguel Garcia; whose professions are not mentioned. The poem crowned is that of the notary, and the honor is conferred by Pere Gomis in the following words:
"Que puix en dir y en bell estil avança
A great variety of verse was introduced by the Trobadores. 68 Their songs were principally (says Ranouard) lyrics; some of them, as the epistles, novels, or tales, were read or recited. But the art of singing and of declamation was generally united with the talent of poetical and musical composition: travelling poets, with their harp or estols, went from court to court, from castle to castle, everywhere welcomed, everywhere honored they charmed their illustrious hosts by graceful songs, or brilliant recitations, and received, at the same time, the favors and rewards lavished on them by kings, nobles, and ladies."
We are not aware that any perfect pieces of Spanish trobador poetry exist beyond the age of Mosen Jordi de Sant Jordi, who is believed to have lived in the beginning of the thirteenth century, except a poem of the twelfth century by an anonymous author on the subject of the first cruzade. The following verses of his are preserved in the Antwerp Canciones:
"Esperanza res nom dona
a ma pena comportar
"Beneath my grief I fainted not,
Sant Jordi is the poet to whom many of the early Italians are held by Spanish writers to have been much indebted; and Benter, with many others, have given, as a specimen of direct plagiarism, the following lines of Petrarch:
"Pace non trovo e non ho da far guerra
E nulla strengo e tutto'l mondo abraccio
E ho in odio me stesso et amo altrui
Si non è amor che dunque è che io sento."
Of late, the priority of Sant Jordi to Petrarch has been much contested; but we happen to possess a MS. copy of the whole poem, in which the lines copied by Petrarch are to be found. They clearly form an original part of the whole, and have not the slightest appearance of having been dovetailed into the compositions. The imitation is so close and obvious, that one must necessarily have been copied by the other, and in Petrarch they are brought in with some artifice. We have given the lines quoted in italics. Dante, and the early Italian poets, decidedly studied the Provençal, and have, in fact, introduced Provençal verses in their original form, while there is no proof at this period, as far as we recollect, that the language of Italy was studied in Spain so early as the thirteenth century. In cases of doubt, therefore, as to a priority of claim to any passage, the more probable originality of the Trobador must be recognised. The verses referred to are called the "Cancion de Opositos," or Song of Contraries.
"From day to day I learn, but to unlearn,
Be pardon ready;-oft one sees
I hoped-but sunk beneath the thought,
This poem has never before been published entire. Four verses only have been in circulation, and we must express our obligation to the erudite Fr. Jayme de Villanueva, of Valencia, who first discovered it perfect during his tour for the elucidation of the ecclesiastical history of Spain, and communicated it to us in MS.
In dreary darkness I can light discern,*
Evil I find when hurrying after bliss, Loveless I love, and doubt of all I see; All seems a dream that most substantial is, I hate myself-others are dear to me. Voiceless I speak-I hear, of hearing void; My aye is no; truth becomes falsehood strange; I eat, not hungry-shift, tho' unannoyed; Touch without hands-and sense to folly change.
I seek to soar, and then the deeper fall, When most I seem to sink, then mount I still; Laughing, I weep-and waking, dreams I call, And when most cold, hotter than fire I feel; Perplex'd I do what I would leave undone, Losing I gain-time fleetest, slowliest flows; Tho' free from pain, 'neath pain's attacks I groan, To craftiest fox the gentlest lambkin grows.
"Tots iorns aprench, e desaprench ensemps, e visch, e muyr, e fau du nuig phaher axi mateix fan del avol bon temps
e vey sens ulls e say menys de saber
Lo mal nom plats, e sovem lom percas
Com vull muntar devall sens que nom gir