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tion foreign to theirs. Differing from His poetry may be styled an articulate those of the third, the ballads of this memory, that repeats what it retains. first class, though vitiated by the bal- But these ballads are deficient in lyrilad-singers, though somewhat altered cal enthusiasm, in the colouring and from the primitive text, preserve al- embellishment of fancy; and if at ways the salt of nationality entire, any time they allow a flash of epic pure and unmingled with foreign mat- elevation to illuminate them, it is only ter. They are those which best por- found to arise from the nature of the tray the civilisation of the time, and events which they describe. Such is preserve most faithfully the original the essential type of these ballads. As source of Spanish poetry. Free from to the forms which modify them, it all scientific imitation, without any pre- may be said that they are only artiftensions to learning or to art, they are cial to the extent of the measure and rude as those who composed them, as the rhyme which are peculiar to them, the actions they narrate, and as the and which distinguish them from sim. society of which they are a picture. ple prose ; and even these outward Although in their actual condition, the forms are only preserved when they ballads of the first class, which have present themselves naturally and unnot been introduced in a disguised forcedly to the extemporising poet; shape either into the “Poem of the but they are set at paught and changed Cid” or into the “Chronicles," may without scruple, if they do not readily be posterior to those works, many of occur, or if they present any amount their fragments which have remained of difficulties to be overcome. When uninjured, betray an earlier origin. It any obstacle of this kind threatens to may have happened that they were not impede their onward career, it is so introduced from the circumstance bounded over the measure is broken that the subject did not require them; -the rhyme is changed, or finally beor if it did, it was in such a manner as comes prose, if the difficulty does not to preclude the possibility of recognis- yield easily in any other manner. ing them, from their being reduced to These peculiarities may be observed in a totally different kind of verse, or to the few ballads of the first class that simple prose.
are presumed to be primitive: in those By comparing those ballads with the of the second class, transmitted by the analogous fragments which appear to minstrel ballad-singers, a little more be more ancient, and to have under- art is discernible. Frequently, to pregone less alterations, it may be seen serve the measure and the rhyme, the that the greater portion of the varia- poet vitiates the words, by increasing tions consist in the words having un- or diminishing the number of the sylladergone certain modern changes, or bles, or by changing the natural acmodifications, which do not extend to cents, or by writing and pronouncing, the construction of the phrase, nor to as mute, vowels which are not corthe order and expression of the ideas, rectly so; or, finally, if nothing else nor to those traits and types of man- could be done, by following the examners which they delineate.
ple of those who preceded them that The proper and peculiar character is to say, by throwing colour and art of the ballads of this class consists in aside, and continuing the narrative in their being purely objective-that is to the best way they could. Nor is it say, that in them events are simply strange that this should be so in an Telated without reflections or deduc- epoch of transition, when the new tions of any kind, and almost without a language was struggling for existence, description of the scene in which they and was forming itself as if by instinct. occur. The poet only appears as a At that time art had scarcely any innarrator; and of him no more is seen fluence on the formation of the vulgar than the style in which he has express- dialect, which was arising from the ed, and the order in which he has ashes, as it were, of the expiring Latin, arranged his thoughts. He relates since it was only a commingling of ruins what passes outside of himself, without heaped up without order or method allowing his own inner impressions to previously arranged, and having no appear. He seems to see, but not to Other basis than the natural necessity think; he is like a mirror which re- of having some medium for the comflects, and gives back the appearance munication of simple thoughts, to of objects, but gives them back upmo- which frequently gesture and intona. dified by their connexion with itself. tion supplied the deficiency of words, or the want of logical sequence. The must be considered as exclusively popular ballads born at this period, by made by the minstrel balladists, under expressing themselves in a rude jargon the influence of an imitative type difonly spoken by the common people, ferent from the national, though assiobviously betray a disorder and arbi- milated to it by the form of expression. trariness in the manufacture of ideas, Composed upon subjects foreign to and in the mode of uniting them into the history and to the indigenous cusa smooth and connected discourse. toms of Spain, traced as it were upon Hence the continual suppression of traditions and chronicles written in conjunctions, the shortening of the another language, and founded on pauses in periods, the isolation of events, whether historical or fabulous, thought, and the sudden transitions peculiar to a distinct civilisation, they that are to be found in them. Hence, presuppose at least study, art, and ob also, is it that the old ballads pass from servation employed upon distant obe continuous narration to dialogue, from jects, and acquired by the reading of the dialogue to the drama, converting works proper to other conditions of the epic characters into interlocutors, society. In the ballads of the first and narrative into action, more or less class, even those which were transmit. vivid, whilst the popular improvisatore ted by the minstrel balladisţs, the peofound means of regaining the lost path ple beheld their own portrait, since of his story, by availing himself of con- that was the model of imitation to ventional phrases, of understood mon- those who sang of their glories, their grelisms, of frequent expletives, which deeds, and their thoughts. In those gave him time and breath to continue of the third class were presented his work after the manner in which it only copies of models which were un. commenced.
known to the vulgar, of whose truth The Second Class of BALLADS, in no one could judge, except by a reour system of arrangement, is formed mote assimilation to, and by a faint of certain romances, which, by their perception of, actions and of objects Hispano-Arabic complexion, of which which they never had under their improiound vestiges remain, belong to mediate inspection, or by their own ihe traditional history of Spain, and sides, but only by means of the know. to the period of iis closest connexion ledge which their miinstrels acquired with the Moors. Proceeding from a in books, or from the information civilisation more refined than existed which strangers communicated conat that time among the people, they cerning themselves. The ballad-mina were destined to have a powerful in. strels, by selecting as the themes for fluence on the poetical system which their songs subjects taken from the resulted from the combination of such Bible, from ancient history, anterior diverse elements. They were emi. to the middle ages, and from times and nently popular in their origin, and in countries completely feudal, created their connexion with the epoch in the third class of ballads, which are which they appeared, since they flat- also contained in the traditional epoch. tered the national instincts of the peo- Rude still, but more polished than ple, by giving them pictures of the those of the first class, they advanced, manners of a race, which, though in a gradually widening the circle of popu, state of warfare, were living together lar poetry, but never going outside with them on the same soil, and of of certain boundaries that prevented whose valour and culture they were their being confounded with the learned not wholly ignorant. In their essence or erudite class, properly so called, these ballads differed from those of the and still less with the artistic. This first and third class by their tone, class of ballads being accepted by the which was more lyrical, fanciful, and people, and gradually received into sentimental, and by the better and favour, produced the effect that might more brilliant colouring which ani. have been anticipated - namely, the mated them. In their external forms commencement at this period of an they differed from them also in the alteration not only in the form, but more highly finished versification which even in the essence of the indigenous they exhibit. None of them appear to poesy, by admitting a foreign ideal be anterior to the fifteenth century. which falsified its primitive charac.
Contemporaneous, if not more an. ter - painting national events, and cient than those of the first, are The even characters, with an exotic colour, BALLADE OF THE THIRD CLASS. They ing, which blending soon with the habits of the people, greatly facilitated of creating a new kind of poesy, they the changes which were experienced imitated the ancient ballads, and rein some of the subsequent gyrations of produced them under the same forms, society.
but stripping them of that fabulous The present class of ballads differs portion which they believed disfigured from those of the first in this respect, them and kept them aloof from rational that, being the work of professional criticism. But, in acting thus, they balladists — a circumstance which pre- did not remember that they deprived supposes in their authors some degree ancient poesy of its interest, and that, of cultivation-a greater degree of skill in uniting it to real events, they deis employed in their versification and prived it of the vivifying spirit which in the arrangement of their subjects. was proper to it, and which animates Thus it is seen, that in these the poet the existence of peoples, and distinsupports his narration by argument- guishes them froin each other. For that be takes a personal and subjective national faith and credulity, and even part in the story, and ventures to make superstition, are they not an essential retleetions, and to express some opi- part of history? Do they not consti. nions of his own, but deduced from the tute its very truth ? Have they not an épie object which he and his brethren influence on events ? Do they not exproposed to themselves in their songs. plain them, by making the mind ascend It is true that, from the limited num- to the causes of actions which, taken ber of such digressions, they are not in their isolated condition, are not hisnumerous enough to give this class of tory, but a dry catalogue of events, ballads a character distinct from those without animation or life? Fortuof the first. They, however, guided nately those who, in imitating the old popular poetry a step or two in the ballads, expurgated them, were good subjective, lyrical, and descriptive di. believers, even as those who compiled rection, which ultimately led to the the chronicles, which served them as literary and the artistic. With respect a guide in this attempt to free their to the tanguage, the phraseology, and models from the portion of their con. the mode in which thought is expressed, tents supposed to be fabulous; and, as the ballads of this class identify them- the old ballads themselves had supplied selves with those of the first, since, this very guide, with its authorities, notwithstanding their being taken from the pretended reform could do them foreign models, the poets could not little injury. prevent them from being assimilated If the early ballads, reduced to prose, in some degree to the habits and cus- or at least apparently so, served as the toms of the country which they shared, text of the most ancient chronicles, and in whose element they lived. It or were cited in them, the ballads of is thus that “ Bernardo del Carpio the literary period, on the contrary, is not exactly a French “ Roland," were formed out of those very chronibut an imitation of him, sufficiently cles themselves, by the addition of free, and adapted to the peculiar cha- metre and of rhythm. A little before racter of Spanish feudalism, such as the middle of the sixteenth century then began to exist.
appeared the poets of this school, who THE LITERARY EPOCH.-- When tra- attempted to reproduce the old ballads ditional poetry came to be reduced to by imitating them with indiscriminatwriting, the strolling ballad minstrels ing judgment; and by versifying, but who preserved it began to disappear ; not poetising, the chronicles, they ånd with them the creation of new adapted to their language the tradimatter, wbich had fed the curiosity tions preserved in the popular songs, and kept alive the interest that the first divesting them of those portions people took in ancient things. In such which were believed to be fabulous. circumstances, poesy directly popular, LORENZO DE SEPULVEDA, who, it must being reduced to the condition of pro- be confessed, was neither a good poet ducing nothing original or new, would nor a good versifier, was the first who have died away, if some persons, weary published a collection of ballads of this of the learned style of the fifteenth cen- class; partly written by himself, and tury, and lovers of the national glory, partly by another author, whose name had not possessed themselves of the he has not made public, under the title old ballads, in order to give them back of “Romances newly taken from the to the people, and to revive in them ancient Histories, from the Chronicles the love of national things. In place of Spain," &c. Ballads of a somewhat similar class and character, but with fulness in those who imitated it, mo. more freedom, breadth, and art, were dern words and phrases are frequently produced by various other poets, and, found in their works side by side with among them, Juan SIMONEDA, who in- the more ancient ones; thus creating termingled some of his own in those a continued anachronism both of lananthologies published under the title guage and of style. Although these of “The Rose of Love,” “The Spanish ballads generally preserve the objective Rosa," “ The Gentile Rose,” so called form of the epic element, their authors, from the poems which it contains being more frequently than the older poets, on heathen subjects, and " The Royal introduce the subjective, and appear Rose,” which is on the fates and for in the action as commentators and tunes of princes; all of which would teachers, blending their own individu. have been lost to literature but for ality with the events they narrate. their fortunate discovery in the Royal The BALLADS OF THE FIFTH CLASS Library of Vienna, and for the scru- are very siunilar to the preceding, Leing pulous care with which a number of only distinguished by a greater freethose compositions (of which no other dom of treatment, and by the more copies are known to exist) have been frequent prevalence of the subjective reprinted by Ferdinand Joseph Wolf, element. The poets who cultivated the eminent German critic, whose la- this division stamped it with the seal bours in connexion with the ballad of reality, by abandoning the imitation literature of Spain are inappreciable. of the language of the chronicles, and
We have already described what the construction of the old romances. principally characterises and distin- Being dedicated to the people, and guishes the literary epoch from the specially created for them, it had of traditional. We shall now briefly re- necessity to vulgarise its mode of exfer to the fourth and fifth classes of pression, and to adopt the language ballads, of which the literary epoch which was then in general use. consists.
THE BALLADS OF THE SIXTH CLASS BALLADS OF THE Fourth Class. being dedicated to contemporaneous The compositions of which the fourth historical events, being expressed acclass consists were composed, not by cording to the existing condition of the the rude and illiterate people, nor by civilisation of the people, the language the rustic minstrels, but by persons employed in them was appropriate to skilled, to a certain extent, in the the time in which they were composed. literary dexterity of the period, who They are for their epoch something artificially imitated the popular pri- like what those of the first period were mitive poesy, and affected its sans for it; but being founded on official guage. Moulded according to an un- documents in prose, or upon floating deviating model, their ballads were news, they participate a good deal in prose narratives, badly versified - a the spirit of those of the fourth class. servile copy of the thoughts of others, They are, however, akin to those of which dispensed with and even prohi. the first, because, referring to events bited all'invention, and which, as it contemporaneous with, or proximate denied to genius its full liberty, re- to, the age in which they were comstrained its ambition and its flight. posed, they may be considered as hav.
The ballads of this class preserve ing an original inspiration, being to a the external forms of the traditional certain extent primitive, and of the ones, but not the living spirit which first workmanship; and, in consespontaneously produced them, nor their quence of their being written and direct imitation of nature. They en- printed at the time of their being comable us to perceive how vainly art posed, they have descended to us with. struggles to rival the unconscious per- out the alterations incidental to those fection of inspiration, and how art that were transmitted by oral tradition itself inconsistently retrogrades even alone. Their tone, and the prosaic to the point of adopting as its model material out of which they were formed, the imitation of a language and of a connect them, however, more directly vocabulary belonging to another time, with the fourth class, they being invery remote and widely separated from tended, like those, to popularise histhat in which the attempt is made. tory. Taking into view also the subBut this very affectation of ancient jective and lyrical forms which they phraseology betrays the artifice, since affect, the ballads of this sixth class for want of a constant critical watch- may be considered as the link of the chain which unites the literary epoch abundant materials for tracing their with the artistic, since they participate progress in this direction from their of both elements.
first feeble step to their maturity and · The prosaic defect which they la- decline. We have said that until the boured under from their very origin latter portion of the fifteenth century, especially characterises them; but they the refined courtly poets (that is to are favourably distinguished also by say, the troubadours) did not adopt the exhibition of a more elaborate and the form of the ballad in the composiskilful versification and metre - ac- tion of their works. Until then no licomplishments, indeed, that were ren- terary production, purely popular, had dered necessary by the progressive im- been reduced to writing. But ultiprovement of the people, as they ad- mately, JUAN DEL Encina, and some vanced gradually into a more refined other artistic versifiers, ventured to and civilised condition of society. compose them, or rather to mould aeThey display also a foreshadowing of cording to their shape, the affected the lyrical and epic elevation of the poesy which they imitated from the artistic epoch which was about being Provençals and the Italians. The meborn, and an attempt to restore the taphysical subtlety, the philosophical ancient marvellous ingredient which a pretensions, the artificial ideas and more advanced civilisation had elimi- thoughts which such models suggested nated from the faith and credulity of to the troubadours, were unintelligible the people. Wanting these, the poets to the people; and it was impossible who aspired to be emphatically popu- that those ballads could be popular lar, and to win immediate applause from which were made under the influence their bearers or readers, mistook their of a poetic ideal, the offspring of fo. way, and substituted for the rough, reign imitation and of elaborate art, but antique simplicity, the extrava- applied to what was essentially opgance of a proud and pedantic erudi. posed to native character and taste. tion, the exaggerated colours of a worse Sometimes they descended from their taste, and, lastly, the emptiness of elevation, and were accepted by the ideas and thoughts, disguised under people, probably because their authors the appearance of knowledge, which bad that object in view, and therefore itself was incomplete, undigested, und concealed their learning and their art; untrue. The ancient balladists were or because they imitated, or amplified, honestly and openly ignorant, and or abridged the old romances, or were never thought of concealing it ; but the impregnated with those chivalrous modern, aspiring to be considered ideas which were ever grateful to the learned, became fastidious and affect
generous spirit of the nation. The ed. To an age of ignorance ever fol- greatest number of the compositions lows an epoch of false knowledge and of this class are devotional, mystical, pedantic pretensions: such is the pro- doctrinal, allegorical, and amatory. gress of society in its march to ci- In all of them the artificial nature of vilisation. It is thus that these indif- their structure, their style, and their ferent compositions which point versification is clearly visible. They out the way that knowledge has are generally distinguished by an ar: walked, are useful for the light which gumentative spirit which overrules they cast upon the history of literature them, by an exquisite subtlety and reand of society. The ballads of this finement of thought, and by a paraclass are to be found in all the antho- doxical and indetinable affectation in logies published posterior to the latter the expression of ideas as fantastical half of the sixteenth century, some of as the language in which they were them appearing in the first editions, conveyed. The lyrical element preothers added in those that subsequently ponderates in all of them over the appeared - soine in collections made epic, and the poet bimself, or his inexpressly for themselves, while many most thoughts, are the subjects upon of them were circulated among the which in general they turn. people in the loose leaves of the bal- The time of perfection at length arlad-singers, who thus inherited the rived, when the poets, inspired by office of the ancient minstrels.
genius, by employing the assistance of THE SEVENTH AND Eighth CLASSES art, and by drinking from the founOF SPANISH BALLADS are included in tains of nationality, and by availing the Artistic Epoch, and they supply themselves of all the aids that an ad104 VOL. XLVI. __NO. CCLXXI.