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the coup d'etat corroborates this con- try of his uncle, and from his own de. clusion. Nothing could be more just ficiency in strong moral principle. He or moderate than his foreign policy; will give due weight to altered circumand his speeches, so pat to the pre- stances in his attempt to apply the vailing ideas that every one hails them idee Napoleonienne to France or Euas the best expression of bis own no- rope ; and as it is an arrangement of tions, prove that he is sailing quietly Providence that the truly useful is, in in the strong current of human events. the main, the just and right, we may
These considerations to a consider- hope that the strong intellect of Napoable extent allay those misgivings leon III. will lead him to results which we might otherwise entertain which good men would wish to see acfrom Louis Napoleon's avowed idola- complished.
An exact chronological classification of logical and philosophical analysis was the Spanish ballads, according to the possible; which, however, could only periods in which they were coinposed, be satisfactorily made by a native schois impossible, as so many of them have lar, full of enthusiasm for his task, and descended to us by oral tradition (at- devoting a life to its completion-one tended with all the changes incidental to whom not only the broad distincto such a mode of transmission) from tions of age, of locality, and of dialect, an age which, as far as they are con- would be visible, but whose practised cerned, supplies us with no direct evi. eye and ear would be able to detect dence. Their surprising number, how- minute shades and half-audible différ. ever, surpassing not only the similar ences that must totally escape the most productions of any other people, but indefatigable foreign explorer. Such of all the European nations combined, an investigator, fortunately for Sparendered some arrangement necessary; nish letters, has been found in the person and this has been generally done by of Don Augustin Duran, who may not classifying them according to their inappropriately be called the Percy of subjects, and in the order of the events Spain. He, indeed, has not been the which they describe, when the events first to draw the attention of bis counthemselves can be arranged in any trymen and the world to the untold chronological sequence. In the histo- wealth of the old Romanceros. In point rical ballads this, of course, can be of fact and of time, he has been the done with comparative ease, and, in last ; but he has succeeded in identi. fact, is done with admirable effect, as fying his name with the ballad poetry far as Spanish bistory itself is concern- of his country more completely than ed. In the ballads relating to it, we any of his predecessors in Spain, in have an almost connected rhythmical consequence of his longer and more narrative of the principal public events persevering application to the subject. which occurred in Spain from the days He has supplied a desideratum long of King W'amba, down to the reign felt, not only in the Peninsula, but in of Philip IV. This mode of classifi. Germany, in France, in America, and cation has its advantages, and would in England in every country, in fact, be valuable, even if an absolutely cer- where a love of the old Castilian litetain distribution of another kind were rature was at all diffused, namely, a full possible. To the general reader it pre. but discriminating collection (or selecsents the most agreeable and the most tion from all available sources) of the instructive arrangement. But the best ballads, from the earliest times spirit of critical investigation was not down to the beginning of the eighso easily satisfied. If the exact truth teenth century, whether anonymous or was not attainable, some approxima- otherwise, accompanied by notes and tion to it by means of a careful philo. illustrations of an historical, a critical, and a philological character. After se- of the court of John II., or of the Caveral previous experiments of separate tholic kings. portions, this work was eventually Nothwithstanding this failure of hispublished in a complete form at Ma- torical evidence, it is only reasonable drid, in the years 1849 and 1851, in two to suppose that Castilian poetry, par well-printed volumes, imperial octavo, excellence, in the form of the ballad, with double columns. They contain up- ought to have preceded, among the wards of thirteen hundred pages, and people, that more erudite and learned nearly two thousand ballads, strictly so kind composed in long verses, which called, without the intermixture of any were imitated either from the Latins poems, whether of a devotional cha- or the Provençals, because nature preracter, or in a mere lyrical form--two cedes art- spontaniety comes before important classes which, being ex- effort-- and memory anticipates writtremely numerous, are reserved for se- ing when applied to the rude producparate collections, perhaps of a nearly tions of the vulgar. The measure of equal size. To the portions of his the redondilla or octosyllabic verse, is work previously published, Senor the first we would expect to meet Duran prefixed a discourse which will among the inartificial versifiers of be of much use to us in our subsequent Spain, because it derives its origin investigations; but to this completed more easily than any other from the peRomancero he has added an appendix, culiar construction and harmonious conwhich throws considerable light on the stitution of the Spanish language, and history of the ballad, regarded from a from the rotundity of its periods. The literary and philological point of view. metrical combination of the ballad is As this subject has not been treated likewise very favourable for improvisawith the fulness which we think it tion, because of its resemblance to the merits, even in the professed histories prose of common life, the simplicity of of Spanish literature, we have thought its metre, its pauses and musical moit right to devote some time to its in- notony, which facilitate a continuous vestigation, and to offer some obser- rhyme, and give leisure for the arrangevations upon it, derived from the ment of ideas, its natural aptitude for valuable essay of Senor Duran, which, the narration of historical events con we believe, has never appeared but in sidered objectively, and for preserving a Spanish dress.
them in the memory--all indicate that It is impossible to fix the precise the ballad was, or ought to have been, time at which Castilian poetry adopted the first musical and poetical breathing the form of the ballad, as the fact is exhaled by a people necessitated to unestablished by any historical docu. preserve their history, their records, ment. The oldest manuscripts that their impressions, by ineans of oral have been discovered, preserve com- tradition, whilst ignorant of the arts of positions (such as the Poema del Cid) reading and of writing; and having no of a complicated kind, which presup- resource but in memory, rendered more pose a certain degree of art and labour tenacious by the assistance of nieasure, in their production; but there has cadence, and song, but simple and innot been discovered among them one artificial, such as might be supplied by single genuinely popular ballad ante- a language so informal, and in an age rior to the discovery of printing ; in- so near to its primitive formation. deed, until the beginning of the second And what else, indeed, was it possible decade of the sixteenth century, no for a people to do, when the few among ballad of the genuinely primitive class them who could read or write disdained is to be found either in manuscript or to use, for literary purposes, the spoken in print, since those that remain from language of their illiterate countrythe latter years of the preceding cen- men? The popular songs did not petury belong to the poets by profession, netrate to the palace of the kings, or or to the courtly troubadours. In the to the cabinets of the learned, who, “ Cancionero General,” printed at doubtless, would have thought themValencia in 1511, appears for the first selves degraded if they cast even the time a very limited number of the old slightest glance of approval at the popular ballads, till then preserved by rude productions of nature. Instead tradition, but only intended to serve as of these, the proud and lettered cultitexts for the glosses or variations which vators of a borrowed and an affected were made of them by the artistic poets science would abandon the spontaneous inspirations of genius, flying preserved by tradition, the copy defrom them like the capricious florist parts with difficulty from the original, who, instead of cultivating perfumed at least to any very considerable denatural flowers, would prefer to pro- gree. duce artificial ones – beautiful if you If then, relying on these arguments, will, but wanting the sweet odour we admit the hypothesis, that the roand the attractive freshness of nature. mance or ballad was the first form in
The popular poetry was born solely which the popular Castilian poetry apof its own vigour, and by the necessity peared, it may be inferred that it is as that gave it birth. It grew up among ancient as the time in which the rude the illiterate vulgar, the child of their language of the people began to be intelligence, and adapted to them. It systematised, and to appear distinct preserved itself as if by instinct, with- from the corrupted Latin which proout art and in spite of art, until finally duced it. In the most ancient written it penetrated and invaded it in such a documents which exist in the Spanish manner that conquered Art at length idiom that is to say, in the Poem placed its indelible seal upon it, and of the Cid,” in the General Chroniwas compelled to work for it, to culti- ele of Spain," compiled by order of vate it, and to take it for its type. King Don Alphonso the Wise, in the Then it was that the artistic poets, old “Chronicle of the Cid,” and in having made themselves popular, re- some others - many and multiplied leased the people from the duty of pre- fragments of ballads are found interserving their own peculiar property, mixed; but in these there was an atwhich before was a matter of necessity, tempt to reduce them to another kind and the artificial and learned poetry of metre different from that in which was seen to descend from its throne, to they were composed, or to transform ally itself, and to be amalgamated with them into prose, breaking sometimes that which it previously despised. their rhythm, but more frequently
Although to the preservation of the writing them out in a continuous line, popular poetry, writing, for many ages, as if they were prose, careless about refused its assistance, memory, as we concealing the rhyme, which is still have already said, preserved it by preserved. If this were not acciden, transmitting it from mouth to mouth, tal, and it could scarcely be so froin if not in the primitive purity in which the frequency with which it is reit originated, at the worst with those peated, it must be admitted that the variations (more of form perhaps than ballads thus introduced are of a date of substance) which language under. anterior to the poems and chronicles goes when it is not reduced to writing. which contain them; and granting From which it follows, that the tradi- that the documents referred to are the tional ballads have suffered those yer- oldest that were written in the vulgar bal alterations which are inherent to language, the fragments of ballads such a mode of transmission, and that which they contain must belong to it may be affirmed that in no case have times long preceding those in which they descended to us in all their origi. these documents were compiled, or nal purity. As the strolling miņstrels may be perhaps cotemporaneous with and more modern ballad-singers pre- the historical events to which they served the traditional composition, it refer, or the offspring of other songs is reasonable to suppose that they still more ancient, which served them changed the old words, as they became as an original. In this last case they obsolete, for others that were more in- must necessarily have undergone some telligible to their cotemporaries. It changes, but to a less considerable exmay also be inferred that they intro- tent than those later ones which have duced into their songs some new ideas, been preserved by oral tradition alone. some thoughts and characteristic traits In every point of view, therefore, it appeculiar to their own epoch, but sepa- pears certain that these fragments are rated very slightly from the ancient anterior to the works in which they types -- in the first place, because appear, which, taking them from tra. ideas, thoughts, and customs alter dition, reduced them for the first time more slowly than the words of a lan- to writing an event which happened, guage which is still in process of for- according to the best authorities, bemation ; and secondly, because, in re- fore the middle of the twelfth century, producing works alrcady made and that is to say, when already there ex. isted a document written in the vulgar fragments, which have suffered no tongue, but whose versification was in change. a great degree imitated from the elas- The popular poesy being despised sical language that preceded it; and by the troubadours, it was entrusted as in this also are met vestiges of dis- only to memory, the people being neitinct romances, and as it is unreasona- ther rich enough to preserve it in ble to suppose that in the antecedent costly manuscripts, nor even if they ages the people were destitute both of were, would it have been of any use to poesy and poets, á new presumption them, since, rude and uncultivated, arises, that the ballad preceded the they were ignorant of the arts of read. other forms of songs which were more ing and of writing. They contented difficult and artificial, and which were themselves then by hearing their bereduced to writing in preference to loved ballads recited by their singers those of the vulgar.
and wandering minstrels in the market “ It is a subject of regret," says places and at the public festivals, in Senor Duran, in continuation, “that exchange for the trifling gratuity facts of such interest and importance which was presented to them by their can only be founded on conjecture; poor auditory. But as even in the but since no more can be effected, we sixteenth century printing had already must of necessity be content with that diminished to a considerable extent until indeed other investigators, more the cost of producing copies, and reindefatigable and more fortunate, may duced it to a sum little more or less be able, with documents at present un- than they were in the habit of giving known, either to confirm or to destroy the ballad-singer for his recitations, the hypothesis which is here put for. and as owing to the same cause a love ward."
of reading had been excited, the bookWe have already said that it is im- sellers made, as a subject of profit and possible to fix the time in which the of gain, the printing of everything that old traditional ballads of Spain com- could feed this new taste ; and it was menced, but we may be certain that no little matter to offer it multiplied they ceased to be produced about the editions of the ballads and other vulend of the first half of the sixteenth gar poesies which the people enjoyed century; until then we have no evi- and could procure at so small a price. dence of any having been written ex- Thus it may be observed that not only cept the few which, through accident, the broad sheets, those first essays of either as the text of glosses, or as printed popular poetry, but also the themes for imitation, were included in copious and cheap collections of the the "Cancionero General.” At the time same class which were published about stated collections of some of them the middle of the sixteenth century, began to be made on loose sheets or were speculations of the booksellers, flying leaves, which circulated among rather than works which had their orithe common people, as do now those gin in a disinterested love of the subof the blind ballad-singers, who have ject. It was not so in the preceding thus inherited the profession of the ages, and particularly in the fifteenth ancient juglares, or minstrels. Thus century, when kings, princes, and nowas there being formed and dissemi- blemen, through a genuine affection nated a treasury of poesy, in which for learning, caused expensive manuwas found a multitude of ballads col. scripts to be written, containing the lected from tradition, but not so pure most celebrated works of troubadours as to be free from the variations inci. and learned men, employing therein dental to the manner in which they the hands of the most skilful scribes. were preserved by the people and the It was not so much the excessive cost ballad-singers, but also from those of the productions just mentioned that which it pleased the editors to intro- alone kept them at a distance from the duee under the pretext of modernising people ; what also contributed to the and correcting them. It may, then, be estrangement was, that the poetry presumed and received as certain that which they contained was not adapted from the traditional epoch no ballads to their uncultivated intelligence have come down to us in the exact that it was, in fact, an exotic, whose fostate in which they were composed, reign fruit seemed strange and unatbut each one, nevertheless, preserves its tractive beside the indigenous producoriginality in an infinite number of tions of the country, being an importation of the affected style and meta- been recomposed, altered, and rephysical subtlety of the Provencal formed, by men who were occupied in troubadours. The “ Cancionero Ge- that pursuit, and who made a livelineral," when printed in 1511, as it hood of singing and reciting them to contained almost exclusively poems of the people; from which bave arisen an artificial kind, was only sought for the various readings that are to be met in the beginning by the more educated with in the different editions that have classes, although afterwards a great come down to us. number of the poems which it con- These introductory observations havtained became popular, and were re- ing been made, it remains for us to produced, along with others, in various classify the ballads conformably to their subsequent editions of the “ Cancio- essential and particular character, acnero,” expurgated of some coarseness cording to the epochs to which they that defiled the original, down to the belong or are supposed to belong, and year 1573, when it was printed for the to the different transformations which last time. This “Cancionero” pre- they experienced from their first epic serves the artificial poetry of the trou- and purely objective breathings to the badours of the fifteenth century, as the lyrical perfection which they acquired earlier one of Baena, which remained in passing from the rude and general in MS. down to the year 1851, when inspiration of the vulgar to that of the it was first published, does a consider- strolling minstrels who recited them, able portion of the age preceding. and then to the refined and artistic The latter ** Cancionero," or song. troubadours and poets, who received book, does not contain a single ballad, the ballad still rough and lowly, and and the former so small a number that who eventually raised it to its highest they occupy but a few pages - all point of elevation. which proves that not even the form The ballads, considered in this point of such compositions was accepted by of view, may be divided into the eight the affected troubadours down to the following classes :last quarter of the fifteenth century, The first, second, and third belong except perhaps in some of the cántigas to the traditional epoch, and compreof Alfonso the Wise, in which a ten- hend those ballads which
may dency to the ballad form is perceptible. sidered either as exact copies, or as The portion then of the popular and copies more or less approximating to traditional poetry which remains to their original construction. us, and which without them would The fourth, fifth, and sixth belong have been for ever lost, we owe to the to the literary or educated epoch. editors of those separate flying leaves, The seventh and eighth to a period or broad sheets, and to the collectors truly artistic and poetic. who compiled the “ Cancionero,” and We shall now treat of the qualities, the various “ Silvas," “ Florestas," and character, and essence of each of these other fancifully styled collections of classes in their turn; and first of the ballads: The booksellers then of Bur- primitive ballads belonging to the tragos, of Valladolid, of Seville, and of
ditional epoch. Granada, may be considered as the BALLADS OF THE First Class.--In preservers of the old Spanish popular this class are included the few romances poetry; but it is not to be supposed or ballads which may be considered, that all the poems contained in the though doubtfully, as primitive—that broad sheets and larger collections just is, such as belong to the category of referred to belong exclusively to the those which, many times decomposed, traditional poesy of the people, some in their complete forms have served of the more artistic and cultivated as the texts of other compositions as class, which had become popular, were well in prose as in verse. also introduced ; neither is it to be Ballads whose originals are lost presumed that the ballads themselves, may also be admitted into this class, which are published therein, and which since the professional ballad-singers, harmonised better with the national in spite of their alterations, have pretaste, have been preserved genuinely, served to us, in a great degree un. as in their original state, inartificial changed, the historical tradition of as they appear : since, as we have events, without clothing them in exsaid, all those that were transmitted otic ornaments or colours, which were by the professional ballad-singers have peculiar to manners and to a civilisa