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informed that a celebrated poet was dying of love for her, visited him on shipboard, took him kindly by the hand, and attempted to cheer his spirits. The poet, we are assured, recovered his speech sufficiently to thank the countess for her humanity, and to declare his passion, when his expressions of gratitude were silenced by the convulsions of death. He was buried at Tripoli, beneath a tomb of porphyry, which the countess raised to his memory, with an Arabic inscription. The following are his verses on Distant Love, which he composed previous to his voyage.

46 Angry and sad shall be my way,

If I beho not her afar;
And yet I know not when that day

Shall rise, for still she dwells afar.
God! who hast formed this fair array

Of worlds, and placed my love afar,
Strengthen my heart with hope, I pray,

Of seeing her I love afar.
Though but one blessing may repay

The thousand griefs I feel afar,
No other love shall shed its ray

On me, if not this love afar ;
A brighter one,

where'er I stray,
I shall not see, or near or far."

Rhyme was the groundwork of the Provençal poe. try, from whence it passed into the poetry of all the other European nations. This form of verse appears to have been adopted first from the Arabians. The Troubadours improved on the Arabic rhymes, and varied them in a thousand different ways. They crossed and intertwined their verses so that the return of the rhyme was preserved throughout the whole stanza ; and they relied on their harmonious language, and on the well exercised ears of their auditors, for making the expectation of the rhyme, and its return after many lines, equally productive of pleasure. In this manner they became completely masters of rhyme, and treated it as their own peculiar property. The laws of versification, which the Troubadours discovered, are of very general application. They have been adopted in all the countries of the South, and in most of those of the North of Europe. The structure of the verse, this mechanical part of poetry, is singularly connected, by some secret and mysterious associations, with our feelings and our emotions, and with all that speaks to the imagination and the heart.

Poetry, as we have shown above, became the recreation of the most illustrious men in Europe, immediately after the appearance of the Troubadours in Provence. The amorous monarchs celebrated their mistresses in verse ; and, when the first sovereigns of Europe had thus assumed this rank, there was not a single baron or knight, who did not think it his duty to add to his fame, as a brave and gallant man, the

reputation of a gentle Troubadour. To these poetical pursuits nothing more was necessary than a quick perception of the musical and harmonious. In obedience to this faculty, the words naturally fell into the order most agreeable to the ear, and the thoughts, the images, and the sentiments acquired that general accordance and melodious congruity which seem to proceed from the soul, and to which study can add noth ing. We are struck with surprise at observing what very slight traces of learning are displayed in the poetry of the Troubadours. No allusion to history or mythology, no comparisons borrowed from foreign manners, no reference to the sciences, or the learning of the schools, are mingled with their simple effusions of sentiment. This fact enables us to comprehend how it was possible for princes and knights, who were often unable to read, to be ranked among the most ingenious Troubadours.

The martial songs of the Troubadours afford instances of the most lively and powerful inspiration. The following is by Guillaume de St. Gregory.

“ The beautiful spring delights me well,

When flowers and leaves are growing ;
And it pleases my heart to hear the swell
Of the birds' sweet chorus flowing,

In the echoing wood;
And I love to see, all scattered around,
Pavilions and tents on the martial ground;

And my spirit finds it good
To see, on the level plains beyond,
Gay knights and steeds caparison'd.

“ It pleases me when the lancers bold

Set men and armies flying;
And it pleases me, too, to hear around
The voice of the soldiers crying:

And joy is mine
When the castles strong, besieged, shake,
And walls uprooted totter and quake,

And I see the foemen join
On the moated shore, all compassed round
With the palisade and guarded mound.

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“ Lances, and swords, and stained helms,

And shields dismantled and broken,
On the verge of the bloody battle-scene,
The field of wrath betoken;

And the vassals are there,
And there fly the steeds of the dying and dead :
And where the mingled strife is spread,

The noblest warrior's care
Is to cleave the foeman's limbs and head,
The conqueror less of the living than dead.

" I tell you that nothing my soul can cheer,

Or banqueting or reposing,
Like the onset cry of Charge them !' rung
From each side, as in battle closing:

Where the horses neigh,
And the call to · Aid !' is echoing loud,
And there on the earth the lowly and proud

In the fosse together lie,
And yonder is piled the mingled heap
Of the brave that scaled the trench's steep.

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The high reputation of the Provençal poets, and the rapid decline of their language, are two phenomena equally striking in the history of the cultivation of the human mind. All at once the voice of the Troubadours became silent; the Provençal language was abandoned, and, undergoing new changes, again be. came a mere dialect, till, after a brilliant existence of three centuries, its productions were ranked among those of the dead languages. That literature which has given models to other nations has not produced, among its abundance of agreeable poems, a single master-piece, or a work of high genius, destined to immortality. It was entirely the offspring of the age, and not of individuals. Had Dante been born in Provence; had he boldly united in one great poem all the high mythology of Catholicism, with the sentiments, the interests, and the passions of a knight, a statesman, and a crusader, he would have opened a mine of riches unknown to his contemporaries. By his sole influence, the Provençal language might still have been in existence, the most cultivated, as well as the most ancient language of Southern Europe. But no Dante arose in Provence, and the poetry of that country merely reveals to us the imagination and the spirit of the modern nations in their infancy. It exhibits what was common to all and pervaded all; and not what genius, superior to the age, enabled a single individual to accomplish. It had no resources except such as were within itself, no classical allusions, no mythology, either native or borrowed, nor even a romantic imagination. It was a beautiful flower springing up on a sterile soil ; nor could any cultivation avail it, in the absence of its natural nourishment.

* Richard Ceur de Lion.

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