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Wherever we are to look for the reasons, the the twelve volumes of Bouterwek, on the elegant fact will hardly be disputed, that, since Warton's literature of modern Europe. That of Spain learned fragment, no general literary history has occupies one of these volumes. been produced in England, which is likely to It is written with acuteness, perspicuity, and endure, with the exception of Hallam's late work, candor. Notwithstanding the writer is perhaps that, under the modest title of an “ Introduction,” too much under the influence of certain German gives a general survey of the scientific and literary theories then fashionable, his judgments, in the culture of Europe during three centuries. If the main, are temperate and sound, and he is entitled English have done so little in this way for their to great credit as the earliest pioneer in this unown literature, it can hardly be expected that they trodden field of letters. The great defect in the should do much for that of their neighbors. If book is the want of proper materials on which to they had extended their researches to the Conti- rest these judgments. Of this the writer more nent, it might probably have been in the direction than once complains. It is a capital defect, not to of Spain ; for no country has been made with be compensated by any talent or diligence in the them the subject of so large historical investiga- author. For in this kind of writing, as we have tion. One or two good histories devoted to Italy said, books are facts, the very stuff, out of which and Germany, as many to the revolutionary period the history is to be made. of France—the country with which they are most Bouterwek had command of the great library nearly brought into contact—make up the sum of Göttingen. But it would not be safe to rely of what is of positive value in this way. But on any one library, however large, for supplying for Spain, a series of writers—Robertson, Wat-| all the materials for an extended literary history. son, Dunlop, Lord Mahon, Coxe, some of the Above all, this is true of Spanish literature. The highest order, all respectable—have exhibited the difficulty of making a literary collection in Spain political annals of the monarchy under the Aus- is far greater than in most other parts of Europe. trian and Bourbon dynasties. Even at the present The booksellers' trade there is a very different moment, a still livelier interest seems to be affair from what it is in more favored regions. awakened to the condition of this romantic land. The taste for reading is not, or, rather, has not Two excellent works, by Head and by Stirling- been, sufficiently active to create a demand for the the latter of especial value—have made the world republication always of even the best authors, the acquainted for the first time with the rich treas- ancient editions of whose works have become ures of art in the Peninsula. And last, not least, scarce and most difficult to be procured. The imFord, in his Hand-Book and other works, has pediment to a free expression of opinion has conjoined to a curious erudition that knowledge of demined many more works to the silence of manthe Spanish character and domestic institutions uscript. And these manuscripts are preserved, that can be obtained only from singular acuteness or, to say truth, buried, in the collections of of observation combined with a long residence in old families, or of public institutions, where it the country he describes.
requires no ordinary interest with the proprietors, Spain, too, has been the favorite theme of more private or public, to be allowed to disinter them. than one of our own writers, in history and ro- Some of the living Spanish scholars are now mance; and now the long list is concluded by the busily at work in these useful explorations, the attempt of the work before us to trace the prog- result of which they are giving from time to time ress of intellectual culture in the Peninsula. to the world, in the form of livraisons, or num
No work on a similar extended plan is to be bers, which seem likely to form an important confound in Spain itself. Their own literary histo- tribution to historical science. For the impulso ries have been chiefly limited to the provinces, or thus given to these patriotic labors the world is to particular departments of letters. We may mainly indebted to the late venerable Navarrete, except, indeed, the great work of Father Andres, who, in his own person, led the way by the pubwhich, comprehending the whole circle of Eu- lication of a series of important historical docuropean science and literature, left but a compara- ments. It is only from these obscure and uncertively small portion to his own country. To his tain repositories, and from booksellers' stalls, that name may also be added that of Lampillas, whose the more rare and recondite works, in which work, however, from its rambling and its contro- Spain is so rich, can be procured ; and it is only versial character, throws but a very partial and under great advantages that the knowledge of their unsatisfactory glance on the topics which he places of deposit can be obtained, and that, having touches.
obtained it, the works can be had, at a price proThe only books on a similar plan, which cover portioned to their rarity. The embarrassments the same ground with the one before us, are the caused by this circumstance have been greatly histories of Bouterwek and Sismondi. The diminished under the more liberal spirit of the former was written as part of a great plan for present day, which, on a few occasions, has even the illustration of European art and science since unlocked the jealous archives of Simancas, that the revival of learning-projected by a literary Robertson, backed by the personal authority of association in Göttingen. The plan, as is too the British ambassador, strove in vain to peneoften the case in such copartnerships, was very trate. imperfectly executed. The best fruits of it were Spanish literature occupies also one volume of Sismondi's popular work on the culture of South-( modern Europe attracted the notice of Sir Walter ern Europe. But Sismondi was far less instructed Scott, who, in a letter to Southey, printed in in literary criticism than his German predecessor, Lockhart's Life, speaks of his young guest (Mr. of whose services he has freely availed himself in Ticknor was then at Abbotsford) as a wonderful the course of his work. Indeed, he borrows from fellow for romantic lore.” him not merely thoughts, but language, translating On his return home, Mr. Ticknor entered at from the German page after page, and incorpo- once on his academic labors, and delivered a series rating it with his own eloquent commentary. He of lectures on the Castilian and French literatures, does not hesitate to avow his obligations ; but they as well as on some portions of the English, beprove at once his own deficiencies in the perform-fore successive classes, which he continued to ance of his critical labors, as well as in the pos- repeat, with the occasional variation of oral session of the requisite materials. Sismondi's instruction, during the fifteen years he remained ground was civil history, whose great lessons no at the University. one had meditated more deeply ; and it is in the We well remember the sensation produced on application of these lessons to the character of the the first delivery of these lectures, which served Spaniards, and in tracing the influence of that| to break down the barrier which had so long concharacter on their literature, that a great merit of fined the student to a converse with antiquity; his work consists. He was, moreover, a French- they opened to him a free range among those great man-or, at least, a Frenchman in language and masters of modern literature who had hitherto education ; and he was prepared, therefore, to cor- been veiled in the obscurity of a foreign idiom. rect some of the extravagant theories of the Ger- The influence of this instruction was soon visible man critics, and to rectify some of their judgments in the higher education, as well as the literary by a moral standard, which they had entirely over- ardor shown by the graduates. So decided was looked in their passion for the beautiful.
the impulse thus given to the popular sentiment, With all his merits, however, and the additional that considerable apprehension was felt lest modgrace of a warm and picturesque style, his work, ern literature was to receive a disproportionate like that of Bouterwek, must be admitted to afford share of attention in the scheme of collegiate edonly the outlines of the great picture, which they ucation. have left to other hands to fill up in detail, and on a After the lapse of fifteen years so usefully emfar more extended plan. To accomplish this great ployed, Mr. Ticknor resigned his office, and, thus task is the purpose of the volumes before us; we released from his academic labors, paid a second are now to inquire, with what result. But, be- visit to Europe, where, in a second residence of fore entering on the inquiry, we will give some three years, he much enlarged the amount and the account of the preparatory training of the value of his literary collection. In the more perwriter, and the materials which he has brought fect completion of this he was greatly assisted by together.
the professor of Arabic in the University of MadMr. Ticknor, who now comes before the world rid, Don Pascual de Gayangos, a scholar to whose in the avowed character of an author, has long literary sympathy and assistance more than one enjoyed a literary reputation which few authors American writer has been indebted, and who, to a who have closed their career might not envy. profound knowledge of Oriental literature, unites While quite a young man, he was appointed to one equally extensive in the European. fill the chair of modern literature in Harvard Col- With these aids, and his own untiring efforts, lege, on the foundation of the late Samuel Eliot, a Mr. Ticknor succeeded in bringing together a body name to be honored by the scholar, not only for its of materials in print and manuscript, for the illusgenerous patronage, but for the important services tration of the Castilian, such as, probably, has no it has rendered, and still renders, to the cause of rival either in public or private collections. This letters. To prepare himself for this post, Mr. will be the more readily believed, when we find Ticknor visited Europe, and passed several years that nearly every author employed in the compothere, to study the languages and literatures of the sition of this great work—with the exception of different countries on their own soil. A long time a few for which he has made ample acknowledge was passed in diligent study at Göttingen. In ments—is to be found on his own shelves. We Paris, he explored, under able teachers, the diffi- are now to consider in what manner he has availed cult romance dialects, the medium of the beautiful himself of this inestimable collection of materials. Provençal.
The title of the book—the “ History of SpanDuring his residence in Spain, he perfected ish Literature”-is intended to comprehend all himself in the Castilian, and established an inti- that relates to the poetry of the country, its romacy with her most eminent scholars, who aided mances, and works of imagination of every sort, its him in the collection of rare books and manu- criticism and eloquence-in short, whatever can scripts, to which he assiduously devoted himself. be brought under the head of elegant literature. It is a proof of the literary consideration which, Even its chronicles and regular histories are ineven at that early age, he had obtained in the cluded ; for, though scientific in their import, they society of Madrid, that he was elected a corre are still, in respect to their style and their execusponding member of the Royal Academy of His- tion as works of art, brought into the department tory. His acquisitions in the early literature of of ornamental writing. In Spain, freedom of
thought, or, at least, the free expression of it, has and exhibiting all the characteristics of an unbeen so closely fettered, that science, in its strict- formed idiom, but, with its rough melody, well est sense, has made little progress in that unhappy suited to the expression of the warlike and stirring country, and a history of its elegant literature is, incidents in which it abounds. It is impossible more than in any other land, a general history of to peruse it without finding ourselves carried back its intellectual progress.
to the heroic age of Castile ; and we feel that, in The work is divided into three great periods, its simple and cordial portraiture of existing manhaving reference to time rather than to any philo- ners, we get a more vivid impression of the feudal sophical arrangement. Indeed, Spanish literature period than is to be gathered from the more formal affords less facilities for such an arrangement than pages of the chronicler. Heeren has pronounced the literature of many other countries, as that of that the poems of Homer were one of the princiEngland and Italy, for example, where, from dif- pal bonds which held the Grecian states together. ferent causes, there have been periods exhibiting The assertion may seem extravagant; but we can literary characteristics that stamp them with a pe- well understand that a poem like that of the Cid, culiar physiognomy. For example, in England with all its defects as a work of art, by its proud we have the age of Elizabeth, the age of Queen historic recollections of an heroic age, should do Anne, our own age. In Italy, the philosophical much to nourish the principle of patriotism in the arrangement seems to correspond well enough bosoms of the people. with the chronological. Thus, the Trecentisti, From the “ Cid” Mr. Ticknor passes to the the Seicentisti, convey ideas as distinct and as in- review of several other poems of the thirteenth, dependent of each other as the different schools of and some of the fourteenth century. They are Italian art. But, in Spain, literature is too deeply usually of considerable length. The Castilian tinctured at its fountain-head, not to retain some-muse, at the outset, seems to have delighted in what of the primitive coloring through the whole works of longue haleine. Some of them are of a course of its descent. Patriotism, chivalrous loy- satirical character, directing their shafts against alty, religious zeal, under whatever modification, the clergy, with an independence which seems to and under whatever change of circumstances, have have marked also the contemporaneous productions constituted, as Mr. Ticknor has well insisted, the of other nations, but which, in Spain at least, was enduring elements of the national literature. And rarely found at a later period. Others of these it is this obvious preponderance of these ele- venerable productions are tinged with the religious ments throughout, which makes the distribution bigotry which enters so largely into the best porinto separate masses, on any philosophical princi- tions of the Castilian literature. ple, extremely difficult. A proof of this is af One of the most remarkable poems of the forded by the arrangement now adopted by Mr. period is the Danza General—the “Dance of Ticknor himself, in the limit assigned to his first Death.” The subject is not original with the period, which is considerably shorter than that Spaniards, and has been treated by the bards of assigned to it in his original Lectures. The alter- other nations in the elder time. It represents the ation, as we shall take occasion to notice hereaf-ghastly revels of the dread monarch, to which all ter, is, in our judgment, a decided improvement. are summoned, of every degree, from the potentate
The first great division embraces the whole to the peasant. time from the earliest appearance of a written document in the Castilian to the commencement of the
It is founded on the well-known fiction, so often sixteenth century, the reign of Charles the Fifth, illustrated both in painting and in verse during the a period of nearly four centuries.
Middle Ages, that all men, of all conditions, are
summoned to the Dance of Death; a kind of spirAt the very outset, we are met by the remark-itual masquerade, in which the different ranks of able Poem of the Cid, that primitive epic, which, society, from the Pope to the young child, appear like the Nieblungenlied or the Iliad, stands as the dancing with the skeleton form of Death. In this traditional legend of an heroic age, exhibiting all Spanish version it is striking and picturesquethe freshness and glow which belong to the morn
more so, perhaps, than in any other--the ghastly ing of a nation's existence. The name of the nature of the subject being brought into å very author, as is often the case with those memorials lively contrast with the festive lone of the verses,
which frequently recalls some of the better parts of the olden time, when the writer thought less of those flowing stories that now and then occur of himself than of his work, has not come down in the Mirror for Magistrates."
Even the date of its composition is uncer The first seven stanzas of the Spanish poem contain-probably before the year 1200; a century stitute a prologue, in which Death issues his sumearlier than the poem of Dante ; a century and a mons partly in his own person, and partly in that half before Petrarch and Chaucer. The subject of a preaching friar, ending thus :of it, as its name imports, is, the achievements of
Come to the Dance of Death, all ye whose fate the renowned Ruy Diaz de Bivar—the Cid, the By birth is mortal, be ye great or small : Campeador, " the lord, the champion," as he was
And willing come, nor loitering, nor late,
Else force shall bring you struggling to my thrall : fondly styled by his countrymen, as well as by his
For since yon friar hath uttered loud his call Moorish foes, in commemoration of his prowess, To penitence and godliness sincere, chiefly displayed against the infidel. The versifi
He that delays must hope no waiting here ;
For still the cry is, Haste ! and, Haste to all ! cation is the fourteen-syllable measure, artless,
Death now proceeds, as in the old pictures and its verses by Mr. Ticknor, with his few prefatory poems, to summon, first, the Pope, then cardi- remarks :nals, kings, bishops, and so on, down to day-laborers; all of whom are forced to join his mortal On the first night after the outrage, Jusuf, as he dance, though each first makes some remonstrance, is called in the poem, when travelling along in that indicates surprise, horror, or reluctance. The charge of a negro, passes a cemetery on a hill-side call to youth and beauty is spirited :
where his mother lies buried. Bring to my dance, and bring without delay,
And when the negro heeded not, Those damsels iwain, you see so bright and fair ;
That guarded him behind, They came, but came not in a willing way,
From off the camel Jusuf sprang, To list my chants of mortal grief and care:
On which he rode confined, Nor shall the flowers and roses fresh they wear,
And hastened, with all speed Nor rich attire, avail their forms to save.
His mother's grave to find, They strive in vain who strive against the grave;
Where he knelt and pardon sought, It may not be ; my wedded brides they are.
To relieve his troubled mind.
He cried, “God's grace be with thee still, Another poem, of still higher pretensions, but,
O Lady mother dear!
O mother, you would sorrow, like the last, still in manuscript, is the Poema de
If you looked upon me here; Jusé— The “Poem of Joseph.” It is, probably, For my neck is bound with chains,
And I live in grief and fear, the work of one of those Spanish Arabs who
Like a traitor by my brethren sold, remained under the Castilian domination after the
Like a captive to the spear. great body of their countrymen had retreated. It
" They have sold me! they have sold me! is written in the Castilian dialect, but in Arabic
Though I never did them harm; characters, as was not very uncommon with the
They have torn me from my father,
From his strong and living arm, writings of the Moriscoes. The story of Joseph By art and cunning they enticed me, is told, moreover, conformably to the version of
And by falsehood's guilty charm,
And I go a base-bought captive, the Koran, instead of that of the Hebrew Scrip
Full of sorrow and alarm.” tures.
But now the negro looked about, The manner in which the Spanish and the
And knew that he was gone, Arabic races were mingled together after the great For no man could be seen,
And the cainel came alone : invasion produced a strange confusion in their lan
So he turned his sharpened ear, guages. The Christians who were content to
And caught the wailing tone, dwell in their old places under the Moslem rule,
Where Jusuf, by his mother's grave,
Lay making heavy moan. while they retained their own language, not un
r frequently adopted the alphabetical characters of
And the negro hurried up,
And gave him there a blow; their conquerors. Even the coins struck by some So quick and cruel was it, of the ancient Castilian princes, as they recovered
That it instant laid him low:1 their territory from the invaders, were stamped
"A base-born wretch,” he cried aloud,
“A base-born thief art thou : with Arabic letters. Not unfrequently, the Thy masters, when we purebased thee, archives and municipal records of the Spanish
They told us it was so." cities, for a considerable time after their restora
But Jusuf answered straight, tion to their own princes, were also written in
"Nor thief nor wretch am I;
My mother's grave is this, Arabic characters. On the other hand, as the
And for pardon here I cry; great inundation gradually receded, the Moors I cry to Allah's power,
And send my prayer on high, who lingered behind under the Spanish sway often
That, since I never wronged thee, adopted the language of their conquerors, but
His curse may on thee lie.” retained their own written alphabet. In other
And then all night they travelled on, words, the Christians kept their language and
Till dawned ihe coming day, abandoned their alphabetical characters ; while
When the land was sore tormented
With a whirlwind's furious sway ; the Moslems kept their alphabetical characters and The sun grew dark at noon, abandoned their language. The contrast is curi
Their hearts sunk in dismay,
And they knew not, with their merchandise, ous, and may, perhaps, be accounted for by the
To seek or make their way. fact, that the superiority conceded by the Spaniards to the Arabic literature in this early period led the The manuscript of the piece, containing about few scholars among them to adopt, for their own 1200 verses, though not entirely perfect, is in compositions, the characters in which that literature Mr. Ticknor's hands, with its original Arabic was written. The Moriscoes, on the other hand, characters converted into the Castilian. He has did what was natural, when they retained their saved it from the chances of time by printing it at peculiar writing, to which they had been accus- length in his appendix, accompanied by the foltomed in the works of their countrymen, while lowing commendations, which, to one practised in they conformed to the Castilian language, to which the old Castilian literature, will probably not be thoy had become accustomed in daily intercourse thought beyond its deserts. with the Spaniard. However explained, the fact
There is little, as it seems to me, in the early is curious. But it is time we should return to narrative poetry of any modern nation better worth the Spanish Arab poem.
reading than this old Morisco version of the story We give the following translation of some of of Joseph. Parts of it overflow with the tenderest natural affection ; other parts are deeply pathetic; every science but that which would have been of and everywhere it bears the impress of the extraor
more worth to him than all the rest—the science dinary state of manners and society that gave it of government. He died in exile, leaving behind birth. From several passages,
be inferred that it was publicly recited ; and even now, as we
him the reputation of being the wisest fool in
Christendom. read it, we fall unconsciously into a long-drawn chant, and seem to hear the voices of Arabian In glancing over the list of works which, from camel-drivers, or of Spanish muleteers, as the their anomalous character as well as their antiqOriental or the romantic tone happens to prevail. uity, are arranged by Mr. Ticknor in one class, I am acquainted with nothing in the form of the introductory to his history, we are struck with the old metrical romance that is more attractive
great wealth of the period—not great, certainly, nothing that is so peculiar, original, and separate compared with that of an age of civilization, but from everything else of the same class.
as compared with the productions of most other With these anonymous productions, Mr. Tick- countries in this portion of the Middle Ages. nor enters into the consideration of others from an Much of this ancient lore, which may be said to acknowledged source, among which are those of constitute the foundations of the national literathe Prince Don Juan Manuel and Alfonso the ture, has been but imperfectly known to the Tenth, or Alfonso the Wise, as he is usually Spaniards themselves ; and we have to acknowltermed. He was one of those rare men who edge our obligations to Mr. Ticknor, not only for seemed to be possessed of an almost universal the diligence with which he has brought it 10 genius. His tastes would have been better suited light, but for the valuable commentaries, in text to a more refined period. He was, unfortunately, and notes, which supply all that could reasonably so far in advance of his age that his age could be demanded, both in a critical and bibliographical not fully profit by his knowledge. He was raised point of view. To estimate the extent of this so far above the general level of his time, that the information, we must compare it with what we light of his genius, though it reached to distant have derived on the same subject from his predegenerations, left his own in a comparative obscu- cessors; where the poverty of original materials, rity. His great work was the code of the Sicte as well as of means for illustrating those actually Partidas-little heeded in his own day, though possessed, is apparent at a glance. Sismondi, destined to become the basis of Spanish jurispru- with some art, conceals this poverty, by making dence both in the Old World and in the New.
the most of the little finery at his command. Alfonso caused the Bible, for the first time, to Thus his analysis of the Poem of the Cid, which be translated into the Castilian. He was an his- he had carefully read, together with his prose torian, and led the way in the long line of Cas- translation of no inconsiderable amount, covers a tilian writers in that department, by his Cronica fifth of what he has to say on the whole period, General. He aspired also to the laurel of the embracing more than four centuries. He has one Muses. His poetry is still extant in the Galli- fine bit of gold in his possession, and he makes cian dialect, which, the monarch thought, might the most of it, by hammering it out into a superin the end be the cultivated dialect of his king- ficial extent altogether disproportionate to its real dom. The want of a settled capital, or, to speak value. more correctly, the want of civilization, had left Our author distributes the productions which the different elements of the language contending occupy the greater part of the remainder of his as it were for the mastery. The result was still first period into four great classes :- Ballads, uncertain at the close of the thirteenth century. Chronicles, Romances of Chivalry, and the Alfonso himself did, probably, more than any Drama. The mere enumeration suggests the other to settle it, by his prose compositions-by idea of that rude, romantic age, when the imagithe Siete Partidas and his Chronicle, as well as nation, impatient to find utterance, breaks through by the vernacular version of the Scriptures. The the impediments of an unformed dialect, or, Gallician became the basis of the language of the rather, converts it into an instrument for its pursister kingdom of Portugal, and the generous poses. Before looking at the results, we must dialect of Castile became, in Spain, the language briefly notice the circumstances under which they of the court and of literature.
were effected. Alfonso directed his attention also to mathe- The first occupants of the Peninsula who left Inatical science. His astronomical observations abiding traces of their peculiar civilization were are held in respect at the present day. But, as the Romans. Six tenths of the language now Mariana sarcastically intimates, while he was spoken are computed to be derived from them. gazing at the stars he forgot the earth, and lost Then came the Visigoths, bringing with them the his kingdom. His studious temper was ill accom- peculiar institutions of the Teutonic races. And modated to the stirring character of the times. lastly, after the lapse of three centuries, came the He was driven from his throne by his factious great Saracen inundation, which covered the whole nobles ; and in a letter written not long before land up to the northern mountains, and, as it slowly his death, of which Mr. Ticknor gives a transla- receded, left a fertilizing principle, that gave life tion, the unhappy monarch pathetically deplores to much that was good as well as evil in the charhis fate and the ingratitude of his subjects. acter and literature of the Spaniards. It was near Alfonsn the Tenth seemed to have at command the commencement of the eighth century that the