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come localised as it were upon the Spa- original Latin, not only into the vanish soil, by means of the prose ro- rious Roman dialects, but even into mances which recorded their prowess, Irish - a curious version in that lan. and which attained an extraordinary, guage existing to the present day in though short-lived, popularity. The the celebrated Celtic S., known as principal exception to these remarks is the “ Book of Lismore," the date of to be found in those ballads which are which is certainly not later than the first founded upon stories connected with half of the fifteenth century." The SpaCharlemagne and his peers. “ That nish balladists were not content with great Sovereign,” says Mr. Ticknor, surveying Charlemagne and his peers
who in the darkest period of Eu- at a distance in one way or the other rope since the days of the Roman they contrive to mingle them so with Republic, roused up the nations, not Spanish and Moorish persons and cironly by the glory of his military con- cumstances, as to leave the impression quests, but by the magnificence of his that they belong more to the history civil institutions - crossed the Py- of the Peninsula, than to the fair rennees in the latter part of the eighth land of France. Thus the Moor century, at the solicitation of one of Calaynos departs alone, at the simple his Moorish allies, and ravaged the request of his Moorish mistress, and Spanish marches, as far as the Ebro, rides boldly into the city of Paris, taking Pamplona and Saragossa. The and blowing his bugle on the banks of impression he made there seems to have Seine, challenges not only one of the been the same he made everywhere; great paladins to meet him in combat, and from this time the splendour of his but the three very bravest of the engreat naine and deeds was connected tire band. Then there is the expediin the minds of the Spanish people tion of Orlando and Rinaldo into the with wild imaginations of their own Moorish territory. The subsequent achievements, and gave birth to that disgrace and banishment of Orlando, series of fictions which is embraced in bis disguise as a Moorish knight, and the story of Bernardo del Carpio, and his laying siege to Paris itselt. Then ends with the great rout at Ron. we have the steadfastness of the Adcesvalles."
miral Guarinos in the halls of MarBut even in those romances (we lotes, and the gallant foray of Gayspeak of the series devoted to the ex, féros, as far as Saragossa, to rescue his ploits of the twelve Peers, and of the captive bride. There are, in fact, in. Christian or Saracenic Knights of Spain numerable instances of this blending engaged with them) the Spanish na- the two countries and the three races, tional spirit maintains its usual predo, wherein full justice is done to the peminance. It was not so much the culiar merits of each, and to the valour greatness of Charlemagne, or the of all. In point of style, these balmarvellous valour of his peers, that lads are very simple and inartificial in excited the Spanish balladists to record their construction. their glories; it was rather to exhibit
“ The author of these romances," says Spanish heroism on a newer and more
Bouterwek, “paid little regard to the ingesplendid stage, and to show how in the
nuity of invention, and still less to correctpresence of the great Einperor Spanish
ness of execution. When an impressive or Moorish valour could hold itself, if story of poetical character was found, the not always with triumph, yet never with subject and the interest belonging to it were disgrace, even against those peers seized with so much truth and feeling, that whom the voice of fame and popular the parts of the little piece, the brief labour prestige pronounced to be the bravest of untutored art, linked themselves together in the world. Spain is seldom if ever as it were spontaneously, and the imaginalost sight of. Many episodes are nar
tion of the bard had no higher office than to rated, of which the chronicle of Tur
give to the situations a suitable colouring
and effect. This task was performed withpin makes no mention that famous
out study or effort, aud the situations paintstorehouse from which Boiardo, Pulci,
ed more or less successfully, according to and Ariosto drew the materials of
the inspiration, good or bad, of the moment. their poems, which was circulated all These antique racy effusions of a fertile poeover Europe, and translated out of the tic imagination, scarcely conscious of its own
* See Gilbert's "" Historic Literature of Ireland," p. 42.
productive power, are nature's genuine off- The first ballad in this division of the spring. To recount their easily-recognised Romancero of Duran, is that of Count defects and faults, is as superflous as it would d'Irlos, the extreme length of which be impossible, by any critical study, to
has been already alluded to. The imitate a single trait of the noble simplicity which constitutes their highest charm."
story on which it is founded is an
imaginary expedition to the East, which Mr. Ticknor, referring to the ro- was commanded by Charlemagne to mantic events which form the subject be undertaken for the conquest
of the of the ballads of which we are at pre- kingdom of a great Moorish Prince, sent treating, says —" These pic- called Aliarde. The Count of Irlos turesque adventures, chiefly without was selected to conduct this expedicountenance from history, in which tion; he obeyed with alacrity, although the French paladins appear associated grieving much at the separation from with fabulous Spanish heroes, such as
and beautiful wife, to whom Montesinos and Durandarte, and once he had been but recently united. His with the noble Moor Calaynos, are
instructions to her were, that if tidings represented with some minuteness in should not be heard of him for seven the old Spanish ballads."
years, she should consider him to have The largest number, including the perished; and that then she would be longest and best, are to be found in at liberty to enter into a new marriage, the Ballad Book of 1550-1555, to should she think it advisable to do so. which may be added a few from that He departs on his distant expedition, of 1593–1597, making together some
succeeds in landing on King Aliarde's what more than fifty, of which only territory, and reduces it to subjection twenty occur in the collection expressly in three years. Twelve years, in addevoted to the Twelve Peers, and first dition, however, roll by, before his published in 1608. Some of them are power is so sufficiently consolidated as evidently very old, as, for instance, to permit him to think of returning, that on the Conde d'Irlos, that on the during which period no intelligence Marquis of Mantua, two on Claros of of him had reached France.
He is Montalban, and both the fragments on at length startled by a dream that his Durandarte, the last of which can be wife is about being united to another traced back to the Cancionero of 1511. husband; he suddenly abandons his “The ballads of this class are occasionally
conquest, and returns to France. quite long, and approach the character of
His beard and hair had grown to such the old French and English metrical roman
a length, and his long endurance of ces; that of the Count d'Irlos extending to the fatigues of war had so changed about thirteen hundred lines. The longer his appearance, that he was enabled to ballads, too, are generally the best; and those, inquire into his private affairs without through large proportions of which the same being discovered. He learns that his asonante, and sometimes even the same con- wife bad been compelled to betroth sonante, or full rhyme, is continued to the
herself to the young Prince Celinos, end, have a solemn harmony in their pro- another of the Peers of Charlemagne, tracted cadences, that produce an effect on
that his castles were already in the the feelings like the chanting of a rich and well-sustained recitative.
possession of the bridegroom, but that “ Taken as a body, they have a grave
the lady herself, by an express stipu. tone, combined with the spirit of a pictu
lation required by her, and enforced resque narrative, and entirely different from by the Emperor, was never to be asked the extravagant and romantic air afterwards to live with Celinos as his wife. The given to the same class in Italy; and even poor Count is sadly perplexed what to from that of the few Spanish ballads which, do; he is strongly inclined to kill the at a later period, were constructed out of the audacious semi-bridegroom, and all imaginative and fantastic materials found
those among the Peers who abetted in the poems of Bojardo and Ariosto. But
his pretensions ; but he is fortunately in all ages, and in all forms, they have been favourites with the Spanish peop!
recognised in time, and thus a good They
deal of mischief is prevented. His were alluded to as such above five hundred
castles and his wife are returned to years ago, in the oldest of the national chronicles ; and when at the end of the last him, and Charlemagne honours the century, Sarmiento notices the ballad-book reunion with a banquet, to which all of the Twelve Peers, he speaks of it as one the twelve Peers, who ate bread at the which the peasantry and the children of one table, were invited, and where, it Spain still knew by heart."
is to be hoped, they received a more sumptuous entertainment than is re- this series of ballads, in 1598, at Alcala, corded in that celebrated and ofte was its author; but the simplicity of repeated couplet. Count Irlos deli- the narrative, and its freedom from vers up to Charlemagne the keys of any traces of elaborate poetical ornathe conquered cities of Aliarde, and ment, lead Duran to the conclusion, all ends happily.
that Trevino acted merely in an editoLockhart describes this ballad as rial capacity, and confined himself to “extremely flat and tedious” — a ver- the task of correcting and modifying dict in which, probably, most modern a much more ancient production. critics must agree ; but it could not Though condemned by the fastidious have been considered so by the Spanish Lockhart, in his notes to an edition of people themselves, as it is one of those Motteux’ “Don Quixote,” edited by primitive compositions handed down him, * in which a considerable number by tradition, but which, previous to of his celebrated translations first apits being printed, underwent many peared, “as a very flat and unprofitchanges at the hands of those min. able composition," it is considered by strels and others who have transmitted Duran to present a most beautiful it to us. “ The narrative," says Duran, picture of chivalrous manners, and is “is told generally with simplicity and full of interesting sentiments, which, vigour, although occasionally weakened by their naturalness and simplicity, by heaviness and monotony; but the arrest the attention of the reader, and dialogue is uniformly interesting and give an appearance of truth and well-sustained.”
reality to the conceptions of the poet. The next ballad in the collection, The story must have been very popuor rather the first of a series of ballads, lar, as we find Lope de Vega making which form one continuous narrative, use of it as the subject of one of his is of still greater length. It is on dramas, which he entitles El Marques the subject of the Marquis of Mantua, de Mantua, and which is to be found and is more famous than the preceding in the twelfth volume of his Draone, from the use Cervantes makes of matic Works. In addition to the it in the fifth chapter of the “Don longer ballads on the subject of Sir Quixote,” where he represents the poor Baldwin (or Baldovinos, as he is called knight consoling himself with various in the Spanish), there are several quotations from this romance, after shorter and still more ancient ones, his discomfiture by the swine-drivers. which have served for the glosses of It relates the treachery of Carloto, later poets; they are all fragmentary, one of the sons of Charlemagne, who and generally refer to some incident inveigles Count Baldwin into a forest, or circumstance more fully detailed in and there mortally wounds him, with those we have referred to. The Spanish the intention of marrying his widow minstrels seem to have had an espeafter his decease. The Marquis of cial hatred to Carloto, the supposed Mantua, his uncle, bappening to pass murderer of Sir Baldwin, which is through the forest at the time, hears inexplicable to the Spanish critics him lamenting, after the manner so themselves, as of the three sons of admirably burlesqued by Cervantes. Charlemagne, this Carlos, or Carloto, Owing to this circumstance, the crime seems to have been the favourite, of Carloto is discovered; the Marquis and history records nothing to his vows that until Carloto is punished, disadvantage. Had the Spanish min. he will act in the manner Don Quixote strels selected Pepin, or Pipino, as determined to imitate; and the assassin they call him, the son of Charlemagne is accused before the Emperor, his by his first wife, whom he repudiated, father.
as the object of their satire and hatred, This forms the subject of a separate there might be some reason for it, in ballad ; another is devoted to his the circumstance that, like the popusentence; and a fourth terminates with lar notion of the English Richard the bis execution on a public scaffold, in Third, he was known by the sobriquet Paris. The Spanish editors of the of El Jorobado, or the crooked-back, “Don Quixote” consider that Jeronimo from his personal deformity. He was Trevino, who published the first of also at variance with his father, entered
* Edinburgh. 1822. 5 vols.
into conspiracies against him, and nicle of his imperial father-in-law which would probably have met with a still exists. violent death, but from the circum. The best known portion of those stance of his having received a vocation ballads is that fragmcat already al. for a religious life in a monastery, a luded to, wbich was printed in the calling which he eventually embraced. Cancionero of Valencia, in the year
The ballads on the subject of Count 1511. It is a dialogue between the Claros de Montalban's love for one of imprisoned count and his uncle, the the daughters of Charlemagne which Archbishop, after the former has been follow, are among the very earliest of condemned to death for his ambi. those which appeared in print, frag- tious love of the Emperor's daughter. ments of them being given in the It has been translated by Dr. Bowring first Cancionero General, which was and Mr. Ticknor. The following is the published at Valencia, in 1511. Al- graceful and correct version of the though the name of Count Claros is frequently to be met with in Spanish poetry as the very type of a true lover, “ PESAME DE VOS, EL CONDE. no trace of his adventures can be found “ It grieves me, count, it grieves my heart, in the old historical chronicles : unless, That thus they urge thy fate, indeed, we consider with the Ger- Since this fond guilt upon thy part man critic, Depping, that the actual Was still no crime of state; story of Eginhard, the secretary, and
For all the errors love can bring afterwards the son-in-law of Char
Deserve not mortal pain,
And I have knelt before the king, lemagne, forms the original and au
To free thee from thy chain. thentic foundation on which they are
But he, the king, with angry pride constructed. In the first of them (the
Would hear no word I spoke : opening line of which Cervantes uses as "The sentence is pronounced,' he cried, the commencement of the ninth chapter Who may its power reroke?' of the second part of "Don Quixote," The infanta's love you won, he says, “It was midnight by the thread” - a When you her guardian were, mode of computation which would in- O, nephew, less, if you were wise, dicate, says some annotator, that the For ladies you would care. ballad was composed before the use of
For he that labours most for them
Your fate will always prove; clocks was known) the story is told
Since death or ruin none escape with the happy denouement which at
Who trust their dangerous love.' tended the suit of Eginhard. In some
'O, uncle, uncle, words like these others a more tragical catastrophe is A true beart never hears ; recorded; but on the whole, the gene- For I would rather die to please, ral resemblance between the two nar- Than live and not be theirs.'" ratives is too striking to be accidental. The loves of Eginhard and the daugh- We now have reached the celebrated ter of Charlemagne form the subject of ballad of Count Alarcos, which the a prose romance, in which a pictu- critics of all countries have agreed in resque but somewhat primitive strata- pronouncing one of the most affecting gem is resorted to by the lovers. From and beautiful that can be found in any the position of Eginhard in the em- language. Although the story is raperor's court, the addresses of his future ther one of love than chivalry, a certain son-in-law had first to be made to the resemblance which it bears to the preprincess in secret. On one occasion ceding ballads on Count Claros, and that they thus met in the garden of still more, the view which it gives of the palace, a heavy shower of snow the arbitrary power. exercised by the fell, and the lady, fearing that the im- Sparish princes over their feudatories press of a man's foot on the white sur
and subjects during the middle ages, face would betray their meeting, took appropriately place it in the present Eginhard in her arms and carried him division of our subject. In reading out of the garden. The emperor, who this ballad, we should remember that was an early riser, beheld the circum
the king, who exercises the tremendous stance from his window, and though authority which it records, acted but liat first indignant, was eventually ap- terally in the spirit of the ancient Gothic peased, and united his daughter to the laws, which, under circumstances of a fortunate secretary, who showed his similar nature, empowered not only the gratitude by writing the valuable chro. father of a family to put his wife or
daughter to death, but even delegated of the Conde Alarcos, he says, is disthis terrible power, in case the father tinguished from most of the other rowas dead, to the brother in relation to mances by greater richness of composihis sister, or even to the lover when tion. It opens in a very simple manthe offending party had been betrothed ner with a description of the sorrow of to him (Ticknor, ii. 364). From the the infanta Solisa, who, after being semanner in which the story is told, as if cretly betrothed to Count Alarcos, has it were an occurrence of no extraordi. been abandoned by him :nary novelty, it is possible that the ballad was composed when those laws were u Alone, as was her wont, she sate within her bower practically in force; for though they
Alone and very desolate, Solisa made her moan ; remained unrepealed, as we would say, Lamenting for her flower of life, that it should pass on the statute-book, down even to the
And she he never wooed to wife, nor see a bridal time of St. Ferdinand, in the middle of the thirteenth century, they were practically a dead letter in those respects At length, after Count Alarcos has for a long time previously. Their long been married, the forsaken prinspirit, however, continued to be felt cess discloses her connexion with him for centuries later, as the strict social to her father. This scene is strongly laws which regulated domestic honour painted, but not overcharged; the abundantly testify, and which in the king is transported by rage and indigsixteenth and seventeenth centuries nation : his honour appears to bim so formed the most fruitful and exciting wounded, that nothing but the death sources whence Lope de Vega, Calderon, of the countess can be a sufficient satisand others drew the inspiration and the faction. He has an interview with the materials of their dramas. On this count, addresses him courteously, reparticular story of Count Alarcos, there presents the case to him with chival. are not less than four full-length plays rous dignity as a point of justice and in the Spanish theatre. One of them honour, and concludes by categorically by Lope de Vega, called La Fuerza demanding the death of his lady. Thus Lastimosa, or the Deplorable Neces- the development of the story commences sity; another, by Guillen de Castro; in a manner which, though most sina third, by Mira de Mescua; and a gular, is perhaps not unnatural, when fourth, by José J. Milanes, a poet of the ideas of the age to which the comHavana — the three last being called position belongs are considered. The simply El Conde Alarcos, after the count conceives himself bound, as a man ballad. The Romance itself has been of honour, to give the king the satisfactranslated into English, by Mr. Lock- tion he desires. He promises to comhart and Dr. Bowring. In German a ply with his demand, and proceeds on very pleasing analysis of it has been his way home. There is a touching made by Bouterwek of which the fol- simplicity in the picture wbich is here lowing is the substance. The romance
" In sorrow he departed— dejectedly he rode
For though it had three nurses, it liked her milk the best.
Hangiug about their mother's knee while nursing she did sit." The pathetic interest now rises gra- his melancholy. He sits down to supdually to the highest pitch of tragic per with his family; and again we horror. The countess, who receives have a situation painted with genuine her husband with the wonted marks of feeling, though with little art. They sit affection, in vain inquires the cause of down together to supper in the hall
** The lady brought forth what she had, and down beside him sate,
He sat beside her, pale and sad, but neither drank nor ate.
I fain would sleep-I fain would sleep,' the Count Alarcos said.