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monstrous guardian, and her gallant knight summoning the gaoler at the gate of the castle, putting him to death, and carrying the lady away, the prize of his valor ; now a dying crusader, sending his squire from Syria, charged with the woful mission of conveying his heart to his mistress, - the loyal squire, roaming around the forbidden abode of the fair one, surprised - and stabbed by the watchful jealousy of a villanous husband, and the precious relics of the crusader cooked into a horrible dish, and eaten at supper by the unconscious lady.

It will be easily perceived how such stories must have contributed to give a peculiar attraction to the poetry of the troubadours ; but in proportion as the gay science spread among various nations, the peculiarities of the dialects, and the more important differences of national taste, gave chivalrous poetry a different turn. The Normans, a Scandinavian race, although at the period of their settlement in northern France they had lost their native language and poetry, still preserved some confused traditions of the heroic poems which had accompanied their forefathers, as well as every other German tribe, in their long peregrinations and cruises. The chivalrous spirit, or emanation of Norman feeling and manners, had no sooner been associated with poetry at the court of Provence, than the Normans of France and England strove to rival the southern troubadours. Successively abandoning, towards the beginning of the twelfth century, the Romance Provençal for the Romance Walloon, the dialect of Northern France, and substituting for the lyrical strains of the Provençals, what remained of the heroic poems of their ancestors, they gave origin to what is still called the chivalrous romance, or poetry of the trouvères.

Hence King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the wars of Alexander of Macedon, Lancelot and Geneve, Tristan de Leonois, and the hundred heroes of the Romance of the first age ; hence, - the taste for heroico-chivalrous poetry having been transmitted to the South, — the Spanish heroes Don Galaor, Don Florestan, the two Amadises, and all their noble mates; hence Charlemagne and his Paladins, and their children and their children's children, — all these fantastic creations soon cast into the shade the sweet but monotonous chanzos and sirventes of the troubadours.

But chivalrous poetry, having thus flourished only one century after the golden age of Provençal literature, was, of course, animated by the brilliant images and the lively colors which the troubadours had received from the Arabians; and, though the type of chivalrous romances was originally northern, yet their spirit was essentially eastern. Those ancient northern poems described other manners and feelings. The German imagination was gloomy; sad and awful, the rites of their religion. Their spectres and vampires, and other such supernatural beings, were of a bloody and mischievous race. Love had little part in their stories, and gallantry none. Women were for them more an object of veneration and deference, than of a warm, enthusiastic devotion. Moorish courtesy exerted a considerable influence in the refinement of chivalry. The wars of Spain, and the crusades, extended the field of chivalrous adventure. The unexplored regions of Cathay and India were laid open to the dreams of the poet, and the dreams of the poet fell short of human credulity. Turbaned heroes crowded the groves of England and France; fairies and genii became the household gods of all Christendom. Love, glowing with all the fire that consumes Southern bosoms, usurped the highest place in chivalrous romances. Fays and enchantresses, kind and benevolent creatures, inhabitants of golden palaces and enchanted gardens, endowed with immortal beauty and happiness, with no other sorceries than the irresistible spell of their loveliness, seduced the happy knight from the path of honor, bewildered by long draughts of blessed forgetfulness. Chivalrous poetry, lyric among the troubadours, epic among the trouvères, was then intrinsically a derivation from Arabia ; and it was thus from eastern sources, that Italian poetry was to receive its first impulse. Petrarch was the last of the troubadours, Ariosto the last of the trouvères.

Meanwhile Italy, absorbed in her classical studies, still believed herself at the head of all learning, when the harp of the troubadours came to awake her from her long error, and she felt impatient of having been outrun by her neighbours. The Lombard scholars and doctors perceived, that their Latin could not lead them very far, that no life could be drawn from the dead; they learned, that those vulgar dialects, which they had so long despised, could be the language of poetry, whenever they responded to the emotions of the heart. The first conviction was bitter. They felt humble and jealous, just as the modern Italians must feel, when they visit the rail

roads, the dock-yards, the gas-houses of England and France. With the vexation of disappointment, they threw aside their Aristotle and Augustine, their Pandects and Decretals, and, all turning minstrels and troubadours, they soon rivalled their masters. Their first attempts were in Provençal ; but, the court of Sicily having set the example, the national dialects were universally substituted, and Italian poetry arose. Frederic the Second, grandson of Frederic Barbarossa, having inherited the crown of the Two Sicilies after the extinction of the Norman dynasty, made his court the abode of the Muses. Frederic himself, and his sons, bis secretaries, his courtiers, were all cultivators of the gay science ; the noblemen of the Tuscan and Lombard republics answered their challenge ; an echo of harps and lyres sounded all over the land ; and the courteous knights from France hailed the first efforts of their young brethren of Italy.

But it was not difficult to perceive, that Italian poetry was soon to take a different course. The Middle Ages in Italy were at an end. The democratic governments in the north had given to the intellect a graver and steadier mood. Those love sonnets and songs could only be a pastime for the idle classes, whilst an active, vigorous nation wanted nobler and higher sources of entertainment. Ballads and tales long continued, indeed, to circulate from town to town, and from generation to generation, the inheritance of poor minstrels, who made their living by them. But Italy had no feudal castles to welcome these harmless killers of aristocratical ennui. The noble profession of troubadour was soon disgraced by the intrusion of minstrels of a base alloy ; and chivalrous poetry, the characteristic literature of feudalism, died away in Italy, to give place to a nobler class of productions, the literature of liberty. Thus, by a striking analogy, as the institutions of the ancient world had been combined with, and, as it were, fecundated by, the new religious and moral feelings of modern society; so the remains of ancient learning had been brought into a state of effervescence and ferment by the contact of those Eastern effusions, and by the example of Provence and France. And it is wonderful to observe, that the efforts of the Italian schools to raise up again the monuments of Greece and Rome would probably

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have failed, because, instead of adapting the treasures of the past to the wants of their age, they aimed to carry their age back to the past ; and the wild and warm poetry, which, from the remote regions of the East, found its way into Spain and France, and more lately into Italy, would have had no general result, because it was professedly intended as an idle, aërial pastime. Thus Italian learning only aimed to instruct, chivalrous poetry only tended to excite. The duty of literature is to do both. Italy, with all her ruins of ancient learning, had only laid the foundations, but could not raise a new edifice; France, with her sweet and fantastic poetry had raised a fair edifice, but had not laid a foundation. The Italian scholars would have withered like the last leaves of a decrepit autumn ; the French bards would have vanished like the first flowers of a premature spring. In fact, the Tartars and Turks in Asia and Africa, and the Inquisitors in Spain, extinguished the brilliant light which the Arabians bad kindled in two thirds of the old continent. The crusades against the Albigenses of Languedoc hushed the warbling of the Provençal nightingales, like the first roaring of a hurricane. The lays of the last trouvères were drowned in blood by the merciless wars between France and England, and by the feudal discords of both nations. Hence the Provençal is now a dead, though a modern, language. England did not produce her literature till two or three centuries later, and France has had, perhaps, no original literature at all.

Why then was Italian literature destined to survive alone ? Why was Italy able to derive from the faint sounds of poetry she had received from France and Languedoc, a voice of immortal fame, that was never to be silenced ? Italy too had wars and factions, - and factions and wars, — and she was busy in inflicting evils upon herself, in proportion as strangers lest her in repose. But, as we have repeatedly said, the disorders of the Middle Ages had ended in Italy with the Peace of Constance; a new existence commenced, a restless, a stormy, but a free existence. The Middle Ages were over in Italy several centuries earlier than in any other country; and, if they ever recommenced for her, it was, by a cruel fatality, only when, her influence having finally withdrawn her neighbours from the horrors of the ages of darkness, the same or like horrors were inflicted upon her by the gratitude of her newly emancipated neighbours. There was liberty in Italy; and where there is liberty, there is life. Where every spirit moves unconfined in his orbit, where, in the full enjoyment of free existence, every individual feels that there is no check to his aspirations but the natural limits of his powers, if the age produces only one man, that man will characterize his age. So it was with the literature of Italy at the beginning of the days of liberty. There were opposite elements at war. There was on the one hand ancient learning, a lifeless body, only half disinterred; there was on the other chivalrous poetry, a formless spirit, only imperfectly developed. A genius was waited for, to complete the work of creation. That genius was Dante AliGHIERI.

Art. IV.-1. Journal of an Exploring Tour beyond the

Rocky Mountains, under the Direction of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, performed in the Years 1835, 1836, and 1837; containing a Description of the Geography, Geology, Climate, and Productions, and the Number, Manners, and Customs of the Natives. With a Map of Oregon Territory. By the Rev. Samuel

PARKER, A. M. Ithaca, N. Y. : 1838. 12mo. pp. 371. 2. Narrative of a Journey across the Rocky Mountains to

the Columbia River, and a Visit to the Sandwich Islands, Chili, 8c. With a Scientific Appendix. By John K. TOWNSEND, Member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Philadelphia and Boston : 1839. Svo. pp. 352.

Referring the reader to an article on the subject of “Nautical Discovery in the Northwest,” in a former number of this Journal,* we now proceed to execute a purpose intimated therein, and to trace the history of discovery and exploration in the country of Oregon, by land expeditions across the Rocky Mountains.

We begin with the travels of Jonathan Carver, who, though he did not cross the Rocky Mountains, and though his journey was anterior in point of time to the actual discovery of

* North American Review, Vol. XLVIII, pp. 69, et seq.

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