ORTUGAL only began to exist at the end of the eleventh century (1095), and the first century of

its existence was tentative, since it was occupied in disengaging itself from Galicia in the north and in extending itself over the south, held by the Moors. The Cid had fought and died and the Poema de mio Cid had been written before Portugal became a separate kingdom. Thus a nation did not properly exist to sing the epic deeds of Afonso Henriquez (who was making a new nation) and other heroes, and the legends of the battle of Ourique (1139) were handed down orally, to be chronicled later in prose. Portuguese literature opens without epics. The lyric poetry of the troubadours came to Portugal as it went to Sicily and Spain, about a century after it had begun to flourish in Provence. The founder of Portugal had been a French prince of the House of Burgundy. Whole colonies of Frenchmen settled in the new country and helped to drive the Moors southward, and the Benedictines of Cluny played no small part in its affairs. Portugal, by its geographical situation, its extensive seaboard, and the neighbourhood of Galicia with the world-famous pilgrimages to Santiago, was peculiarly exposed to foreign influences and also received many crusaders on their way to the Holy Land, not a few of whom settled in the country. It is, therefore, not surprising that Portugal had close relations with France

and was not ignorant of the poetry of the trouvères of the north, from which some of the Portuguese pastorelas may have been directly imitated. It was, however, the poetry of the troubadours of Provence that predominated, and this came to Portugal through Spain and the courts of Aragon, León, and Castille, with which that of Portugal became intimately connected by dynastic marriages. Unhappily, this poetry lost heavily in exportation to Portugal as to other lands, and although it was cultivated by Court poets with uncommon zeal, it grew up white and insipid, like a plant in a cellar. Despite astonishing technical excellence, the Portuguese-Provençal cantigas de amor lack variety and character. It was only the satirical cantigas de maldizer that were as coloured and personal as any sirventès of Provence. Perhaps it was the very monotony of the cantigas de amor that caused another kind of lyric to flourish side by side with the imported Provençal. This indigenous poetry is confined in Portugal to the region north of the Tagus, and King Dinis, the last poet to patronize it keenly, was the first king to establish his court so far south as Lisbon. The first specimen that we have is by King Sancho I, an earlier Dinis, and dates from 1199, ten years after the first recorded poem in Portuguese (Galician). During the period between 1220 and 1280 the indigenous poetry was cultivated abundantly, by noble trovador and humble jogral, by priest and soldier, in Portugal and Galicia, and by foreigners who composed their lyrics in Galician, the language of the new kingdom of Portugal. Other literatures offer no parallel to these strange, exquisite cossantes, as it is convenient to call them (always remem

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bering that the Spanish cosante was by no means confined to the parallel-strophed lyrics); nor were it easy to find poems of such freshness and grace elsewhere. Portuguese literature is thus opened with a golden key. That we are privileged so to open it is due to the researches of recent years, which constitute, in the words of that great scholar Menéndez Pelayo, 'one of the most splendid achievements of modern learning'. These researches were mainly those of foreigners. It has ever been a characteristic of the Portuguese, in their love of new things, to neglect their past, as the minhotos whitewash their ancient shrines ;. although a brilliant group of modern scholars, with Dr. Leite de Vasconcellos at its head, is now making up for past remissness. Writers of the sixteenth century, if they knew of these ancient lyrics, were half ashamed of their roughness and rusticity, and it was left for the nineteenth century to re-discover them in the Vatican Library at Rome. Even so, the full appreciation of the value and beauty of these poems has been reserved for the twentieth century. Together with the PortugueseProvençal poetry they are preserved in the Cancioneiro da Vaticana (1875), Cancioneiro Colocci-Brancuti (1880), and Cancioneiro da Ajuda (1904), fascinating song-books which are the most striking commentary on the statement of the Marqués de Santillana that it had been customary for poets throughout the Peninsula to compose their lyrics in Galician; for we have here not only poems by Galicians and Portuguese, King of Portugal or Canon of Santiago, but those of high-placed trovador, poor segrel, and lowly jogral from León and Castille and other parts of Spain. Although the earliest cossante we have belongs

to the end of the twelfth century, they were in all probability of immensely older date in Galicia, and whatever influence may be assigned to the Arabic poetry of the south of Portugal must have been derivative, having been received originally from Galicia. Of Oriental origin in so far as they were copied from the psalms and hymns of Church services, the cossantes are Celtic (a term perhaps more convenient than scientific in this connexion) in spirit, and in tone and structure belong to the people. They consist of two, four, or more distichs with a refrain, of which the second and fourth, while often altering the sound from i to a (pino to ramo, amigo to amado), repeat the sense of the first and third, the first line of the third taking up the last of the first, and so on to the end, where the position of the song (always accompanied by its music -son) is found to be very much the same as it was after the first two verses, as far as the sense is concerned. They were dance-songs (bailadas), danced by the peasants in the villages de terreiro or before pilgrimage shrines; alvoradas (songs of dawn); pilgrimage songs (cantigas de romaria); shepherds' hill-songs (serranilhas), boat-songs (barcarolas); songs of ria and sea (marinas). Those that we possess are not anonymous, although many of their authors are obscure. As a rule these cantigas de amigo are placed on the lips of a lovelorn girl waiting or mourning for her lover, and it is scarcely doubtful that in the twelfth century they were copied by the jograles from the songs composed and sung by the women in Galicia. The happy result for us is that this neglected literature yields at the outset something new and entirely charming, which lovers of poetry can as ill afford to neglect and ignore as

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