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other hand, merited the highest praise from philologists; and also decisively proved that the Italian dialects can adapt themselves to the expression of tender sentiments, powerfully sway the feelings, and yet lose none of their capability of unfolding subjects in a lively and agreeable style.
Another department asks for a slight notice before we finally leave this division of the enquiry. Among the Veronese and Vicentine Alps, lying betwixt the rivers Adige and Brenta, is a small nation which has preserved its customs, language, and government inviolate for several centuries. The inhabitants of the Sette-Comuni, according to the opinion of three of the best informed Italian antiquaries, 'speak the flower of the most • ancient German.' Whether they are descendents of the Rhæti, Tigurini, Allemanni, Huns, Goths, or Cimbrians, is a question that has exercised and puzzled the philological speculations of numerous ethnographers. The result of their investigations would, however, lead to the belief, that this isolated community is a vestige of the Allemanni and other northern barbarians, when they were in the habit of making irruptions from their own cold and sterile regions into the more genial and fertile plains of the south; and who, ebbing and flowing through the Rhætic Alps, became gradually established among the fastnesses of this unfrequented district. Such an opinion certainly gathers confirmation upon examining the curious vocabulary of their language that has been compiled by Pozzo; since, out of eight or nine thousand words, a vast proportion are identical with the ancient Theotisc, whilst those among the remainder not assignable to the surrounding language, resemble that of Saxony. Yet even these rude and primitive mountaineers can boast of a dialectical literature, if indeed a translation entitles it to the name. Cornaro, Bishop of Padua, with the laudable intention of preserving their speech, as well as of ministering to the spiritual wants of his beloved people, as he affectionately styles them in his Pastoral, and seeing that there were many of their number at that time (two centuries and a half ago) who did not comprehend the neighbouring Italian, caused the celebrated catechism of Cardinal Bellarmina work more frequently rendered into other languages than any volume extant, excepting the Holy Scriptures—to be translated into their own colloquial tongue.
Upon taking a survey of the kingdom of France, its political limits are observed comprising a nation speaking six different languages. It is not our intention to examine the peculiar varieties under which these, the Breton, Basque, Catalan, Flemish, German, and Gallic, may be found, still less to analyse the numerous patois into which they are subdivided. It will be enough briefly to glance at some of the most important districts where these interesting materials are offered to the researches of the philologist. The antiquarian wanderer, whose eye and ear are both alive to the vestiges of a bygone race, may thread this vast realm from the sepulchral stones of Carnac, to the Roman arch of Frejus—may perhaps pass on from village to village without immediately perceiving any difference of languagewithout even noticing the intermediate shades of variety. The transition from one tongue to another seems rapid and decisive; yet were he to retrace his course, it would be discovered that, at the last French viilage he passed through before reaching the first German one, the inhabitants did not speak correct French ; nor at the first German, pure German-a defect easily accounted for by each of them being placed at the extreme edge of their lingual boundaries. In this manner, Italian gradually becomes merged into Provençal, Castilian into Gascon; and on the other hand, by slow degrees, French melts into and amalgamates with Italian. An illustration of this is noticeable in the dialect of Friuli; a country which, although far distant from the confines of France, carries in its dialect, nevertheless, a much stronger resemblance to French than to any of those dialects which intervene. In Colloredo's translation of Molière's Médecin Malgré lui, there are some scenes where the similarity is most strikingly exhibited. Yet although such a coalescence is perpetually occurring between Italian and French, the fusion of the former with German, even among the Grisons, is much less distinguishable. Indeed, on the contrary, the patois of Gardena partakes more abundantly of French than it does of the language of the Tyrol. The same kind of anomalies may be noticed in our own island, where the language of those English counties contiguous to the Principality, is found totally distinct and separate from its neighbours, with whom, as it has no lingual affinity, so neither has it become enriched by borrowing from their vocabulary. Yet it must be at the same time acknowledged, that the accent of the Saxon counties lying on the Welsh frontier is exceedingly corrupt, and so completely symphonious with the Cambro-British, as only to lack the vocables to become perfect Welsh. This may be observed very decidedly at Oswestry, in Shropshire, where the cadences are identical with those of Montgomeryshire, bearing to them, in fact, a much closer harmony than the accent of North does to that of South Wales.
Geographically speaking, the French language has been divided into two parts, the Langue d'oil and the Langue d'oc, or Romane language ;-a distinction so clearly marked, that the states of these two portions of the realm often assembled separately to vote the subsidies. Without doubt, this distinction has lost much of its power from various causes that have arisen,-causes which con
tinue to bring on an intimate blending of different parties in France; such, for instance, as the extinction of the nearly independent grand vassals, the more frequent residence of the Peers and Deputies at Paris, the increasing attraction of an abode in the capital, the extreme facility of communication, the thirst for news conveyed through the central organs of intelligence, and the adoption, throughout the empire, of a uniform code, instead of the Roman law or local customs. These, with other circumstances, have tended to weaken the distinction betwixt the northern and southern dialects of France, in a far greater degree than could ever be produced by legislative enactments. Futile, indeed, is any effort that attempts the extirpation of a people's language by coercive or administrative measures. How far did the absurd project of Attila meet with success, when he strove to force all those whom he had conquered to use his own barbarous tongue? To what extent did the imbecile Claudius introduce elegancy of diction into the state by depriving Licio of his citizenship, on the plea that he who could not answer him in good Latin, was unworthy the name of a Roman? And, coming nearer to our own time, it may be asked, in what respect did the subjugation of Wales by Edward, change the language of the vanquished mountaineers ? how far did his impolitic proscriptions of the Bards check the utterance of their magic strains, or silence the lyre of Bleddyn, Casnodyn, and Ap Gwilym? Though, indeed, the sounds of melody were for a brief time hushed in those rude halls where metheglin had been riotously quaffed, and the title of bard, to use their own words, had become empty and dishonoured, a muse which had once awakened their countrymen to strive for liberty, could never be utterly banished from their affections, or voiceless upon their hearths. The fire of freedom's song burst out with renewed energy from the Grufydds, Jevans, and Iolos; when Owain Glendwr resisted the arms of Henry IV., (slightly altering the words of the great lyric poet who has alluded to the event,)
it repair'd the golden flood, And warm'd the nation with redoubled ray.' Again, were more recent proof required, let us turn to Belgium, where we see all the vain-glorious exertions of Joseph II. were unable to make that nation adopt the language of his capital;-or to the Magyars, who, in consequence of similar methods, have become inspired with more ardent zeal for their national idiom, and excited to create in their country's literature a higher class of poetry.
The line of demarcation that has been drawn betwixt the Langue d'oil and the Romane language, commences at the southwest of the extremity of the Gironde near Blaye, where the Saintongeois patois borders on the Gascon: thence traversing the departments of Charente Inferieure and Charente, towards the eastern part of Vienne, and towards the north of Haute Vienne and Creuse—entering the departments of Allier, to the east of Puy-de-Dome, and to the north of Haute Loire, Ardeche, and Isere,—it finishes by embracing Savoy and Roman Switzerland. To the north of the line the language of the capital is found existing, with certain modifications, but too slightly marked to be termed a genuine patois. The centre of this region, comprising twenty departments, appears to be about Blois and Tours, on the banks of the Loire; a country where, for a considerable period, the Kings of France fixed their principal residence. This same department extends to the confines of Basse Bretagne; where, although pure French is not spoken, the language can scarcely be called corrupt, its peculiarities being merely the archaic expressions that were used in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, common in the writings of Amyst and Rabelais. South of these begins the patois Poitevin, spoken in La Vendée, the Deux Sevres, and Vienne; it is joined on the south by the Saintongeois, a simple variety used in the department of Charente. The inhabitants of the ancient duchy of Burgundy use the patois Bourguignon, whilst the western appendage of its county has naturalized the Franche Comtois. Going northwards, we find the Austrassien spoken throughout the whole of ancient Lorraine, parts of Haute Marne, and certain districts of Alsace; above this, the dialect of Picardy and the Walloon, the latter extending over the southern provinces of Belgium, Hainault, Namur, and Luxembourg, and as far up the Meuse as Liege.
The Langue d'oc, spoken to the south of all the foregoing provinces, comprehends the Gascon, the most western of the French idioms, the Perigordin, Limousin, Languedocien, Dauphinois, and Provençal. The first of them has some marks of resemblance to the Castilian, from which it is separated by the Basque and the chain of the Pyrenees. The Perigordin is current in the department of Dordogne; the Languedocien used in Correze, and throughout Haute-Vienne and Creuse, as well as in those parts of Vienne, Charente, and Dordogne, which are contiguous to the ancient province of Limousin, is spoken, not only in these districts, and in the territory of High and Low Languedoc and Cevennes, but also in the Comté de Foix, and the smaller districts of Rouerque and Quercy. It is the most extensively diffused of all the Gallic patois, distinguishable by five perfectly different dialects, the sweetest amongst which are those of Aude and Hérault. The Dauphinois, said to be confined to the departments of Isere, the Higher Alps, and the north of Drome, is also met with among the Vaudois, and encroaching on the Provençal in one part of the Lower Alps. This latter dialect, separated from the Languedocien by the Rhone, would have had as strong claims to be entitled a language as the Italian and Spanish, if Charles the IV. of Maine, its last Earl, had not bequeathed his kingdom to Louis XI., and thus merged the sovereignty in the house of Valois ; and so indeed might the present dialect of Languedoc have been dignified by the same title, if the Counts of Toulouse could have preserved their privileges from the hands of John, who united them to the crown of France. Sufficient has, however, been accomplished, to rescue the Provençal from reproach, as well as to give it a share in the intellectual interests that an admiration for the Muses cannot fail of creating. It was from this tongue that Southern Poetry took her birth, long ere the Italian Troubadours had struck their Lyres; and the geniuses of this balmy latitude awakened many a tender thought whilst the spirit of Italy slept; yet these, the glowing compositions which served as models for Dante and his predecessors, are now scarcely perused, or, when perused, merely by the desultory antiquary or the linguist, indolently to trace the records of a tongue forgotten or despised.
There are two authors in the Languedocien dialect eminently deserving mention-Goudelin, the creator of its poetry, and Jasmin, the modern hairdresser of Agen. The talents of the former inspired him to produce the most exquisite pieces, whether, as his greatest admirers enthusiastically state, he wished to take the Lyre of Pindar, the Flute of Theocritus, or the Lute of Anacreon. Receiving this eulogium with some degree of abatement, it must be conceded that his verses on the death of Henry IV. brilliant efforts, and such as justify, in great measure, the admiration which they, together with his other works, have received from being translated on both sides of the Alps and Pyrenees. Goudelin's talents, cultivated with great success, have, at the present day, been equaled by the untaught genius of a common friseur, whose amatory verses and soubenis contest with him the palm of superiority ; whilst, at the same time, each of them alike, are destined to live, as long as a taste for elegancy and truth of diction is appreciated by lovers of poetry.
In the most southern province of France is found a still different dialect from any of the foregoing—it may be, in fact, termed a language. The inhabitants of Roussillon, a small department betwixt Languedoc and the eastern Pyrenees, speak Catalan. It is of somewhat limited currency, being diffused only
VOL. LXXIX. NO. CLX,