« ZurückWeiter »
and is more highly and distinctively cha- which usually characterize contemporary racteristic of subdued and delicate feeling. French society and literature. It breathes the sentiments of innocent and There is a marked distinction between tender affection-admiration of his lady's the lyric poetry of the two countries. perfections, joy in her smiles, grief at her The German is more chaste, tender, and frowns, and anxiety for her welfare- delicate. The lays of the troubadours, expressed by the poet in a thousand ac- whenever they emerge from cold and fancents of simplicity and truth. These ciful conceits, much oftener require prunancient "love-singers" seem to revel in ing for modern eyes. The German songs the charms of nature, in her most smiling are less metaphysical and spiritualized. forms: the gay meadows, the budding They are less classical in their allusions, groves, the breezes and the flowers, songs and may be ruder, but they breathe more of birds, grateful odors, and delightful of feeling, more of love for the beautiful colors, float and sparkle in their song, in nature, and more of joy in her perfecand the bounding rhythm and musical tions. Among the lyrics of the troubaelegance of the verse often correspond dours there are very few if any
instances with the beauty and effervescent passion of entire songs of joy, floating on in of the words. The following verse, by buoyancy of spirit, and glowing with the minnesinger Von Buwenburg, exem- general delight in natural objects in the plifies the spirit with which these topics bursting promise of spring, or the luxuwere often selected and dwelt upon. riant profusion of summer-like some of Say, what is the sparkling light before us
those of the minnesingers. O'er the grassy mead, all bright and fair,
The metaphorical language of the minAs the spirit of mirth did wanton o'er us?
nesingers is often spirited. Thus, Henry Well, well, I see that summer is there;
of Morunge singsBy the flow'rs upspringing, and birds sweet Where now is gone my morning star? singing,
Where now my sun ? Its beams are fled. And animals playing :-and, lo ! the hand
Though at high noon it held afar Of Nature her beautiful offspring bringing,
Its course above my humble head, All ranged in their seasons at her command!
Yet gentle evening came, and then May heav'n complete thee, thou fair creation,
It stoop'd from high to comfort me; For such pleasures as these are joy's true And I forgot its late disdain, foundation !
In transport living joyfully. In common with the fashion of the And, again, the same authorday, and in the manner of the trouba
Mine is the fortune of a simple child dours, the minnesingers blended religious,
That in the glass his image looks upon ; with amatory ideas, without any seeming And, by the shadow of himself beguilla, of irreverent intention; and some of Breaks quick the brittle charm, and joy is their lyric pieces are devoted entirely to gone. religious topics, such as praises of the So gaz'a 1—and I deem'd my joy would Virgin, or of a favorite saint.
lastWith the ascendancy of chivalric On the bright image of my lady fair : feelings, there arose a spirit of devotion
But ah ! the dream of my delight is past, for the sex, which, in France, was carried
And love and rapture yield to dark despair. extravagantly high. To women were as- In the construction of their verses, the cribed all the attributes of sovereignty; Germans seem entitled to the merit of and courts of justice were created to great originality. Their versification is enforce obedience to a new code of laws, almost universally different, and must and to dignify all sorts of caprice with have required tunes as various. The the mimic consequence of judicial so- Iambus is the only foot of the troubalemnity. These follies never attained to dours; the minnesingers have almost as such a height among the Germans, who many as the classical writers. The subwere not, in the eleventh or twelfth cen- ject, not the form, characterizes the German tury, to be taught the respect and esteem song; and every poet gives vent to his due to the female sex. Even in their joys or his sorrows, in such strains as may barbarian days Tacitus had extolled an be most accordant to his feelings, unshackexample which Rome might have copied. led by such laws as were imposed in the Chivalry and civilization only mellowed decay of the art, when the “ meisters" or ancient sympathies, and aroused purer “ masters," began to make a trade of the and more social affections than those muse.
A mournful one am I, above whose head
VOGELWEIDE, THE MINNESINGER. One of the most celebrated ininne- and died in Palestine in the following singers, Her Walther_von der Vogel- year, to the great grief of the almost infant weide, or Walter of the Birdmeadow, lived minnesinger. from 1190 to 1240. An outline of his In 1198 began the dissensions as to the life and character will represent one of the
succession of the Imperial crown; and chivalric curiosities with which his sin- Waiter attached himself to Philip of gular age abounded.
Suabia, in opposition to the papal faction, Walter Vogelweide seems to have begun which supported Otho. One of the longest his career under Frederic, son of Leopold of his songs is a lamentation on the diVI., who went to the crusade in 1197, visions of his country, which proceeds, in Vol. I.-10
a strain of great boldness and considerable cipal character, and rejoiced in one of his poetic merit, to descant on the causes of songs at having entered the service of the the existing troubles, and particularly on landgrave, “the flower that shines through the part borne in them by Rome. The the snow.” Several of his pieces, at this piece opens with a circumstantial descrip- period of his life, refer to his companions tion of himself in the position in which at the court, to its customs, and even he is drawn in the Manesse MS., seated jokes. Others are devoted to the inculca. upon a rock (or bank of flowers), reposing tion of moral and knightly virtue, and are one knee on the other, with the elbow often of a highly liberal and philosophic, resting on the uppermost, and the hand and not unfrequently of a religious and covering the chin and one cheek. The devotional, turn. engraving, in the preceding page, is from During the struggle between Otho and an outline of that illumination, in the Frederic, for the Imperial crown, Walter “Lays of the Minnesingers;” the represen- drew a poetic comparison between their tation is curious, on account of the anti- merits and pretensions, and sided with quity of the original, and because it Frederic. At the court of Vienna, under assigns to Vogelweide an emblematical ar. Leopold VII., he addressed to him and morial bearing of a singing bird upon a other princes a very plaintive appeal :shield. The bearing of arms on a shield
To me is barr'd the door of joy and ease; originated during the crusades.*
There stand I as an orphan, lone, forlorn, His next historical piece is a song of And nothing boots me that I frequent knock. triumph on the coronation of Pbilip, in Strange that on every hand the shower should 1198, at Mentz, where he appears to have fall, been present. He gives judicious advice And not one cheering drop should reach to me! to the new emperor for consolidating his On all around the gen'rous Austrian's gifts, government by a liberal policy; and for- Gladdening the land, like genial rain descend : tifies his counsel by the examples of A fair and gay adorned mead is he, Saladin, and Richard Cæur de Lion. Whereon are gather'd oft the sweetest Aowers : Many of his subsequent songs allude to the Would that his rich and ever gen'rous hand evils which intestine war and the intrigues Might stoop to pluck one little leaf for me, of the papal court had brought upon Ger- So might I fitly praise a scene so fair ! many. Soon afterwards he commemo- Walter sought protection in Carinthia, rated the marriage, celebrated at Magde- at the court of the duke Bernard, a burg, in 1207, between Philip and a patron of song, with whom he had a misGrecian princess :
understanding; and he soon returned to A Cæsar's brother and a Cæsar's child.
the court of Leopold, whose death was
followed by fierce intestine disturbances. The bride he describes as
These calamities wrung from his muse a song of sadness, which
boldly personifies A thornless rose, a gall-less dove.", the court of Vienna, and makes it address Walter's life was that of a wanderer, wreck of its greatness. The times were
to himself a bitter lamentation over the With the geige and the harp he pursued rapidly growing worse for men of his his way on horseback.
“ From the Elbe mood and habits; and he sighed for to the Rhine, and thence to Hungary, a resting-place from his wanderings. In had he," as he says, “surveyed ;-from the Seine to the Mur, from the Po to the addressed to the emperor Frederic II., he
one of the most interesting of his poems, Drave, had he learned the customs of mankind : " yet he ends with preferring
saysthe excellence of his native land—the Fain, could it be, would I a home obtain, good-breeding of the men, and the angel- Then, then, i'd sing about the sweet birds”
And warm me by a hearth-side of my own. forms of the women. Walter joined the court of Herman, And fields and flowers, as I have whilome
strain, landgrave of Thuringia, the great foster
done ; ing-place of the Minnesinging art, where, And paint in song the lily and the rose in i207, was the famous contention of That dwell upon her cheek who smiles on me. the minnesingers, or poetic battle of But lone I stray-no home its comfort shows : Wartburg, at which he assisted as a prin. Ah, luckless man! still doomed a guest to be!
His next song announced the fulfilmeut * Fosbroke.
of his wishes, in a burst of gratitude to
" the noble king, the generous king," for gion in lofty strains of devotional feeling. his bounty. He had promised to turn În one of his last efforts, a dialogue with his thoughts, when placed in ease and re- “the world,” he takes his leave of its cares pose, to fields, and flowers, and ladies' and vanities : charms; and he produced many of these lighter pieces, although he was not so
Too well thy weakness have I proved; much distinguished for gaiety as others
Now would I leave thee ;-it is timeof the Minnesingers.
Good night! to thee, oh world, good night!
I haste me to my home. His touching accents in adversity were yet accompanied by expressions of confi- It does not appear where Walter spent dence in his poetic powers :
the latter period of his life, subsequently
to his expedition to the Holy Land. At all Chill penury, and winter's power,
events it was after a long absence, and in Upon my soul so hard have prest
old age, that he returned to his native That I would fain have seen no more
land, and expressed his feelings on revisitThe red flowers that the meadows drest :
ing the scenes of youth, in a plaintive song, Yet, truth! 'twere hard, if I were gone, which commences thus :Upon the merry-making throng, That loud with joy was wont to sing,
Ah! where are hours departed fled ! And o'er the green to dance and spring!
Is life a dream, or true indeed ?
Did all my heart hath fashioned In the dissensions between Frederic II.
From fancy's visitings proceed ? and the pope, Walter fearlessly exposed Yes! I have slept ; and now unknown the crafty policy of the see of Rome, and To me the thing best known before : the mischiefs that resulted from investing The land, the people, once mine own, the church with political power, which Where are they ?-they are here no more : produced an anomalous herd, as he ob- My boyhood's friends, all aged, worn, serres, of "preaching knights and fighting Despoil'd the woods, the fields, of home, priests." Still he was a warm exhorter to Only the stream flows on forlorn what he considered the Christian duty of
(Alas! that e'er such change should come !)
And he who knew me once so well engaging in the holy wars.
He opposed the pretensions of the pope, on prin. The very earth to me can tell
Salutes me now as one estranged : ciples of resistance to papal usurpation Of nought but things perverted, changed : befiting the land which was to be the And when I muse on other days, cradle of the Reformation. Many events of That passed me as the dashing oars the earliest poets of southern France were The surface of the ocean raise, also more or less associated with heretical Ceaseless my heart its fate deplores. notions and practices; and there is an old tradition, that the twelve real or imaginary
An ancient MS, records that Walter's “ masters,” or founders of song, in Ger- mortal remains were deposited beneath a . many, were accused of heresy before the tree in the precincts of the minster at emperor, and compelled to defend them- Wurtzburg; and his name and talents selves in an open assembly in the pre- commemorated by the following epi-, sence of the pope's legate. One of taph : Walter's songs seems written from the ranks of the crusading army, while on his Pascua qui volucrum vivus, Walthere, fuisti, passage, full of zeal and hope; and an- Qui flos eloquii, qui Palladis os, obiisti! other is full of joy and exultation at find. Ergo quod aureolam probitas tua possit haing himself among scenes rendered sacred Qui legit, hic dicat—“ Deus istius miserere!” by scriptural recollections and religious associations. During thirty eventful years his muse was devoted to the service of his Vogelweide, by his last will, dictated
It is stated, on the same authority, that father-land, and, to the admiration of the beauties of nature, and to the praise of grateful and pure feelings of the minne
a bequest, beautifully accordant with the female virtue. At an after period he says, singer “ of the Birdmeadow”-he di- ' “Forty years and more have I sung of rected the birds to be statedly fed love." He attained to an advanced age, his tomb.*
upon little blest by the gifts of fortune, but, with an increasing love for his country, zealously inculcating the precepts of reli
* Lays of the Minnesingers.
S. H. S.
ing of three men and women; they were
examined and committed for trial. THE CHANCELLOR'S MACE.
These circumstances are stated in a rare
little quarto tract of four leaves, entitled On the 8th of March, 1577, there was " A perfect narrative of the Apprehension, a trial at the old Bailey, arising out of the Trial, and Confession on the day before following circumstances :
mentioned of the five several persons that A little girl, the daughter of a woman were confederates in stealing the mace who let lodgings in Knight Rider Street, and two privy purses from the lord high went up to a room of one of the lodgers to chancellor of England, at the sessions held make the bed, and was agreeably surprised at Justice Hall in the Old Baily.” On the with finding on the floor some silver arraignment of the prisoners, and before spangles and odd ends of silver. Her the evidence was taken, “ the principal curiosity was awakened; she pryed further, of those malefactors, a person very and looking through the keyhole of the well known in court, having been ardoor, to a locked closet perceived what raigned at the same bar five or six several she imagined to be the royal crown. She times,” very confidently said to the bench, hastened down stairs, and cried out,” Oh * My lord, I own the fact : it was I, and mother! mother ! yonder's the king's crown this man," pointing to a fellow prisoner in our closet! Pray mother come along at the bar, " that robbed my lord chancelwith me and see it." The admiring mother lor, and the other three are clear of the followed her daughter, opened the lock of fact; though I cannot say but that they her lodgers' closet with a knife, and dis- were confederates with us in the concealcovered the lord chancellor's mace, which ment of the prize after it was taken. This had been stolen from his house. She I declare to the honorable bench, that I had been informed of the loss, and imme- may be clear of the blood of these other diately gave information of the discovery. three persons.” The court was surprised Officers were despatched and secured by this premature avowal, and quite as the persons who rented the room, consist- much when, one of the witnesses deposing