WINE, WOMEN, AND SONG
"Wer liebt nicht Weib Wein and Gesang Der bleibt ein Narr sein Lebenslang."
MEDIAEVAL LATIN STUDENTS' SONGS
Now First Translated into English Verse
WITH AN ESSAY
JOHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS
CHATTO AND WINDUS, PICCADILLY
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
To you, in memory of past symposia, when wit (your wit) flowed freer than our old Forzato, I dedicate this little book, my pastime through three anxious months.
JOHN ADDINGTON SYMONDS
Villa Emily, San Remo,
Wine, Women, and Song.
When we try to picture to ourselves the intellectual and moral state of Europe in the Middle Ages, some fixed and almost stereotyped ideas immediately suggest themselves. We think of the nations immersed in a gross mental lethargy; passively witnessing the gradual extinction of arts and sciences which Greece and Rome had splendidly inaugurated; allowing libraries and monuments of antique civilisation to crumble into dust; while they trembled under a dull and brooding terror of coming judgment, shrank from natural enjoyment as from deadly sin, or yielded themselves with brutal eagerness to the satisfaction of vulgar appetites. Preoccupation with the other world in this long period weakens man's hold upon the things that make his life desirable. Philosophy is sunk in the slough of ignorant, perversely subtle disputation upon subjects destitute of actuality. Theological fanaticism has extinguished liberal studies and the gropings of the reason after truth in positive experience. Society lies prostrate under the heel of tyrannous orthodoxy. We discern men in masses, aggregations, classes, guilds—everywhere the genus and the species of humanity, rarely and by luminous exception individuals and persons. Universal ideals of Church and Empire clog and confuse the nascent nationalities. Prolonged habits, of extra-mundane contemplation, combined with the decay of real knowledge, volatilise the thoughts and aspirations of the best and wisest into dreamy unrealities, giving a false air of mysticism to love, shrouding art in allegory, reducing the interpretation of texts to an exercise of idle ingenuity, and the study of Nature (in Bestiaries, Lapidaries, and the like) to an insane system of grotesque and pious quibbling. The conception of man's fall and of the incurable badness of this world bears poisonous fruit of cynicism and asceticism, that twofold bitter almond, hidden in the harsh monastic shell. The devil has become God upon this earth, and God's eternal jailer in the next world. Nature is regarded with suspicion and aversion; the flesh, with shame and loathing, broken by spasmodic outbursts of lawless self-indulgence. For human life there is one formula:—
"Of what is't fools make such vain keeping? Sin their conception, their birth weeping, Their life a general mist of error, Their death a hideous storm of terror."
The contempt of the world is the chief theme of edification. A charnel filled with festering corpses, snakes, and worms points the preacher's moral. Before the eyes of all, in terror-stricken vision or in nightmares of uneasy conscience, leap the inextinguishable flames of hell. Salvation, meanwhile, is being sought through amulets, relics, pilgrimages to holy places, fetishes of divers sorts and different degrees of potency. The faculties of the heart and head, defrauded of wholesome sustenance, have recourse to delirious debauches of the fancy, dreams of magic, compacts with the evil one, insanities of desire, ineptitudes of discipline. Sexual passion, ignoring the true place of woman in society, treats her on the one hand like a servile instrument, on the other exalts her to sainthood or execrates her as the chief impediment to holiness. Common sense, sanity of judgment, acceptance of things as they are, resolution to ameliorate the evils and to utilise the goods of life, seem everywhere deficient. Men are obstinate in misconception of their proper aims, wasting their energies upon shadows instead of holding fast by realities, waiting for a future whereof they know nothing, in lieu of mastering and economising the present. The largest and most serious undertakings of united Europe in this period—the Crusades—are based upon a radical mistake. "Why seek ye the living among the dead? Behold, He is not here, but risen!" With these words ringing in their ears, the nations flock to Palestine and pour their blood forth for an empty sepulchre. The one Emperor who attains the object of Christendom by rational means is excommunicated for his success. Frederick II. returns from the Holy Land a ruined man because he made a compact useful to his Christian subjects with the Chief of Islam.
Such are some of the stereotyped ideas which crowd our mind when we reflect upon the Middle Ages. They are certainly one-sided. Drawn for the most part from the study of monastic literature, exaggerated by that reaction against medievalism which the Renaissance initiated, they must be regarded as inadequate to represent the whole truth. At no one period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the close of the thirteenth century was the mental atmosphere of Europe so unnaturally clouded. Yet there is sufficient substance in them to justify their formulation. The earlier Middle Ages did, in fact, extinguish antique civility. The later Middle Ages did create, to use a phrase of Michelet, an army of dunces for the maintenance of orthodoxy. The intellect and the conscience became used to moving paralytically among visions, dreams, and mystic terrors, weighed down with torpor, abusing virile faculties for the suppression of truth and the perpetuation of revered error.
It is, therefore, with a sense of surprise, with something like a shock to preconceived opinions, that we first become acquainted with the medieval literature which it is my object in the present treatise to make better known to English readers. That so bold, so fresh, so natural, so pagan a view of human life as the Latin songs of the Wandering Students exhibit, should have found clear and artistic utterance in the epoch of the Crusades, is indeed enough to bid us pause and reconsider the justice of our stereotyped ideas about that period. This literature makes it manifest that the ineradicable appetites and natural instincts of men and women were no less vigorous in fact, though less articulate and self-assertive, than they had been in the age of Greece and Rome, and than they afterwards displayed themselves in what is known as the Renaissance.
With something of the same kind we have long been familiar in the Troubadour poetry of Provence. But Provencal literature has a strong chivalrous tincture, and every one is aware with what relentless fury the civilisation which produced it was stamped out by the Church. The literature of the Wandering Students, on the other hand, owes nothing to chivalry, and emanates from a class which formed a subordinate part of the ecclesiastical militia. It is almost vulgar in its presentment of common human impulses; it bears the mark of the proletariate, though adorned with flourishes betokening the neighbourhood of Church and University.
Much has recently been written upon the subject of an abortive Renaissance within the Middle Ages. The centre of it was France, and its period of brilliancy may be roughly defined as the middle and end of the twelfth century. Much, again, has been said about the religious movement in England, which spread to Eastern Europe, and anticipated the Reformation by two centuries before the date of Luther. The songs of the Wandering Students, composed for the most part in the twelfth century, illustrate both of these early efforts after self-emancipation. Uttering the unrestrained emotions of men attached by a slender tie to the dominant clerical class and diffused over all countries, they bring us face to face with a body of opinion which finds in studied chronicle or laboured dissertation of the period no echo. On the one side, they express that delight in life and physical enjoyment which was a main characteristic of the Renaissance; on the other, they proclaim that revolt against the corruption of Papal Rome which was the motive-force of the Reformation.
Our knowledge of this poetry is derived from two chief sources. One is a MS. of the thirteenth century, which was long preserved in the monastery of Benedictbeuern in Upper Bavaria, and is now at Munich. Richly illuminated with rare and curious illustrations of contemporary manners, it seems to have been compiled for the use of some ecclesiastical prince. This fine codex was edited in 1847 at Stuttgart. The title of the publication is Carmina Burana, and under that designation I shall refer to it. The other is a Harleian MS., written before 1264, which Mr. Thomas Wright collated with other English MSS., and published in 1841 under the name of Latin Poems commonly attributed to Walter Mapes.
These two sources have to some extent a common stock of poems, which proves the wide diffusion of the songs in question before the date assignable to the earlier of the two MS. authorities. But while this is so, it must be observed that the Carmina Burana are richer in compositions which form a prelude to the Renaissance; the English collections, on the other hand, contain a larger number of serious and satirical pieces anticipating the Reformation.
Another important set of documents for the study of the subject are the three large works of Edelstand du Meril upon popular Latin poetry; while the stores at our disposal have been otherwise augmented by occasional publications of German and English scholars, bringing to light numerous scattered specimens of a like description. Of late it has been the fashion in Germany to multiply anthologies of medieval student-songs, intended for companion volumes to the Commersbuch. Among these, one entitled Gaudeamus (Teubner, 2d edition, 1879) deserves honourable mention.
It is my purpose to give a short account of what is known about the authors of these verses, to analyse the general characteristics of their art, and to illustrate the theme by copious translations. So far as I am aware, the songs of Wandering Students offer almost absolutely untrodden ground to the English translator; and this fact may be pleaded in excuse for the large number which I have laid under contribution.
In carrying out my plan, I shall confine myself principally, but not strictly, to the Carmina Burana. I wish to keep in view the anticipation of the Renaissance rather than to dwell upon those elements which indicate an early desire for ecclesiastical reform.
We have reason to conjecture that the Romans, even during the classical period of their literature, used accentual rhythms for popular poetry, while quantitative metres formed upon Greek models were the artificial modes employed by cultivated writers. However this may be, there is no doubt that, together with the decline of antique civilisation, accent and rhythm began to displace quantity and metre in Latin versification. Quantitative measures, like the Sapphic and Hexameter, were composed accentually. The services and music of the Church introduced new systems of prosody. Rhymes, both single and double, were added to the verse; and the extraordinary flexibility of medieval Latin—that sonorous instrument of varied rhetoric used by Augustine in the prose of the Confessions, and gifted with poetic inspiration in such hymns as the Dies Irae or the Stabat Mater—rendered this new vehicle of literary utterance adequate to all the tasks imposed on it by piety and metaphysic. The language of the Confessions and the Dies Irae is not, in fact, a decadent form of Cicero's prose or Virgil's verse, but a development of the Roman speech in accordance with the new conditions introduced by Christianity. It remained comparatively sterile in the department of prose composition, but it attained to high qualities of art in the verse and rhythms of men like Thomas of Celano, Thomas of Aquino, Adam of St. Victor, Bernard of Morlais, and Bernard of Clairvaux. At the same time, classical Latin literature continued to be languidly studied in the cloisters and the schools of grammar. The metres of the ancients were practised with uncouth and patient assiduity, strenuous efforts being made to keep alive an art which was no longer rightly understood. Rhyme invaded the hexameter, and the best verses of the medieval period in that measure were leonine.
The hymns of the Church and the secular songs composed for music in this base Latin took a great variety of rhythmic forms. It is clear that vocal melody controlled their movement; and one fixed element in all these compositions was rhyme—rhyme often intricate and complex beyond hope of imitation in our language. Elision came to be disregarded; and even the accentual values, which may at first have formed a substitute for quantity, yielded to musical notation. The epithet of popular belongs to these songs in a very real sense, since they were intended for the people's use, and sprang from popular emotion. Poems of this class were technically known as moduli—a name which points significantly to the importance of music in their structure. Imitations of Ovid's elegiacs or of Virgil's hexameters obtained the name of versus. Thus Walter of Lille, the author of a regular epic poem on Alexander, one of the best medieval writers of versus, celebrates his skill in the other department of popular poetry thus—
"Perstrepuit modulis Gallia tota meis." (All France rang with my songs.)
We might compare the versus of the Middle Ages with the stiff sculptures on a Romanesque font, lifelessly reminiscent of decadent classical art; while the moduli, in their freshness, elasticity, and vigour of invention, resemble the floral scrolls, foliated cusps, and grotesque basreliefs of Gothic or Lombard architecture.
Even in the half-light of what used to be called emphatically the Dark Ages, there pierce gleams which may be reflections from the past evening of paganism, or may intimate the earliest dawn of modern times. One of these is a song, partly popular, partly scholastic, addressed to a beautiful boy. It begins thus—
"O admirabile veneris idolum"—
and continues in this strain, upon the same rhythm, blending reminiscences of classical mythology and medieval metaphysic, and winding up with a reference to the Horatian Vitas hinnuleo me similis Chloe. This poem was composed in the seventh century, probably at Verona, for mention is made in it of the river Adige. The metre can perhaps be regarded as a barbarous treatment of the long Asclepiad; but each line seems to work out into two bars, divided by a marked rest, with two accents to each bar, and shows by what sort of transition the modern French Alexandrine may have been developed.
The oddly archaic phraseology of this love-song rendered it unfit for translation; but I have tried my hand at a kind of hymn in praise of Rome, which is written in the same peculiar rhythm:—
"O Rome illustrious, of the world emperess! Over all cities thou queen in thy goodliness! Red with the roseate blood of the martyrs, and White with the lilies of virgins at God's right hand! Welcome we sing to thee; ever we bring to thee Blessings, and pay to thee praise for eternity.
"Peter, thou praepotent warder of Paradise, Hear thou with mildness the prayer of thy votaries; When thou art seated to judge the twelve tribes, O then Show thyself merciful; be thou benign to men; And when we call to thee now in the world's distress, Take thou our suffrages, master, with gentleness.
"Paul, to our litanies lend an indulgent ear, Who the philosophers vanquished with zeal severe: Thou that art steward now in the Lord's heavenly house, Give us to taste of the meat of grace bounteous; So that the wisdom which filled thee and nourished thee May be our sustenance through the truths taught by thee."
A curious secular piece of the tenth century deserves more than passing mention. It shows how wine, women, and song, even in an age which is supposed to have trembled for the coming destruction of the world, still formed the attraction of some natures. What is more, there is a certain modern, as distinguished from classical, tone of tenderness in the sentiment. It is the invitation of a young man to his mistress, bidding her to a little supper in his rooms:—
"Come therefore now, my gentle fere, Whom as my heart I hold full dear; Enter my little room, which is Adorned with quaintest rarities: There are the seats with cushions spread, The roof with curtains overhead; The house with flowers of sweetest scent And scattered herbs is redolent: A table there is deftly dight With meats and drinks of rare delight; There too the wine flows, sparkling, free; And all, my love, to pleasure thee. There sound enchanting symphonies; The clear high notes of flutes arise; A singing girl and artful boy Are chanting for thee strains of joy; He touches with his quill the wire, She tunes her note unto the lyre: The servants carry to and fro Dishes and cups of ruddy glow; But these delights, I will confess, Than pleasant converse charm me less; Nor is the feast so sweet to me As dear familiarity.
"Then come now, sister of my heart, That dearer than all others art, Unto mine eyes thou shining sun, Soul of my soul, thou only one! I dwelt alone in the wild woods, And loved all secret solitudes; Oft would I fly from tumults far, And shunned where crowds of people are. O dearest, do not longer stay! Seek we to live and love to-day! I cannot live without thee, sweet! Time bids us now our love complete. Why should we then defer, my own, What must be done or late or soon? Do quickly what thou canst not shun! I have no hesitation."
From Du Meril's collections further specimens of thoroughly secular poetry might be culled. Such is the panegyric of the nightingale, which contains the following impassioned lines:—
"Implet silvas atque cuncta modulis arbustula, Gloriosa valde facta veris prae laetitia; Volitando scandit alta arborum cacumina, Ac festiva satis gliscit sibilare carmina."
Such are the sapphics on the spring, which, though they date from the seventh century, have a truly modern sentiment of Nature. Such, too, is the medieval legend of the Snow-Child, treated comically in burlesque Latin verse, and meant to be sung to a German tune of love—
Modus Liebinc. To the same category may be referred the horrible, but singularly striking, series of Latin poems edited from a MS. at Berne, which set forth the miseries of monastic life with realistic passion bordering upon delirium, under titles like the following—Dissuasio Concubitus in in Uno tantum Sexu, or De Monachi Cruciata.
[Footnote 1: Du Meril, Poesies Populaires Latines Anterieures au Deuxieme: Siecle, p. 240.]
[Footnote 2: Du Meril, op. cit., p. 239.]
[Footnote 3: Du Meril, Poesies Populaires Latines du Moyen Age, p. 196.]
[Footnote 4: Du Meril, Poesies Pop. Lat. Ant., pp. 278, 241, 275.]
[Footnote 5: These extraordinary compositions will be found on pp. 174-182 of a closely-printed book entitled Carmina Med. Aev. Max. Part. Inedita. Ed. H. Hagenus. Bernae. Ap. G. Frobenium. MDCCCLXXVII. The editor, so far as I can discover, gives but scant indication of the poet who lurks, with so much style and so terrible emotions, under the veil of Cod. Bern., 702 s. Any student who desires to cut into the core of cloister life should read cvii. pp. 178-182, of this little book.]
There is little need to dwell upon these crepuscular stirrings of popular Latin poetry in the earlier Middle Ages. To indicate their existence was necessary; for they serve to link by a dim and fragile thread of evolution the decadent art of the base Empire with the renascence of paganism attempted in the twelfth century, and thus to connect that dawn of modern feeling with the orient splendours of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in Italy.
The first point to notice is the dominance of music in this verse, and the subjugation of the classic metres to its influence. A deeply significant transition has been effected from the versus to the modulus by the substitution of accent for quantity, and by the value given to purely melodic cadences. A long syllable and a short syllable have almost equal weight in this prosody, for the musical tone can be prolonged or shortened upon either. So now the cantilena, rather than the metron, rules the flow of verse; but, at the same time, antique forms are still conventionally used, though violated in the using. In other words, the modern metres of the modern European races—the Italian Hendecasyllable, the French Alexandrine, the English Iambic and Trochaic rhythms—have been indicated; and a moment has been prepared when these measures shall tune themselves by means of emphasis and accent to song, before they take their place as literary schemes appealing to the ear in rhetoric. This phase, whereby the metres of antiquity pass into the rhythms of the modern races, implies the use of medieval Latin, still not unmindful of classic art, but governed now by music often of Teutonic origin, and further modified by affinities of prosody imported from Teutonic sources.
The next point to note is that, in this process of transition, popular ecclesiastical poetry takes precedence of secular. The great rhyming structures of the Middle Ages, which exercised so wide an influence over early European literature, were invented for the service of the Church—voluminous systems of recurrent double rhymes, intricate rhythms moulded upon tunes for chanting, solid melodic fabrics, which, having once been formed, were used for lighter efforts of the fancy, or lent their ponderous effects to parody. Thus, in the first half of the centuries which intervene between the extinction of the genuine Roman Empire and the year 1300, ecclesiastical poetry took the lead in creating and popularising new established types of verse, and in rendering the spoken Latin pliable for various purposes of art.
A third point worthy of attention is, that a certain breath of paganism, wafting perfumes from the old mythology, whispering of gods in exile, encouraging men to accept their life on earth with genial enjoyment, was never wholly absent during the darkest periods of the Middle Ages. This inspiration uttered itself in Latin; for we have little reason to believe that the modern languages had yet attained plasticity enough for the expression of that specific note which belongs to the Renaissance—the note of humanity conscious of its Graeco-Roman pagan past. This Latin, meanwhile, which it employed was fabricated by the Church and used by men of learning.
The songs of the Wandering Students were in a strict sense moduli as distinguished from versus; popular and not scholastic. They were, however, composed by men of culture, imbued with classical learning of some sort, and prepared by scholarship for the deftest and most delicate manipulation of the Latin language.
Who were these Wandering Students, so often mentioned, and of whom nothing has been as yet related? As their name implies, they were men, and for the most part young men, travelling from university to university in search of knowledge. Far from their homes, without responsibilities, light of purse and light of heart, careless and pleasure-seeking, they ran a free, disreputable course, frequenting taverns at least as much as lecture-rooms, more capable of pronouncing judgment upon wine or women than upon a problem of divinity or logic. The conditions of medieval learning made it necessary to study different sciences in different parts of Europe; and a fixed habit of unrest, which seems to have pervaded society after the period of the Crusades, encouraged vagabondage in all classes. The extent to which travelling was carried in the Middle Ages for purposes of pilgrimage and commerce, out of pure curiosity or love of knowledge, for the bettering of trade in handicrafts or for self-improvement in the sciences, has only of late years been estimated at a just calculation. "The scholars," wrote a monk of Froidmont in the twelfth century, "are wont to roam around the world and visit all its cities, till much learning makes them mad; for in Paris they seek liberal arts, in Orleans authors, at Salerno gallipots, at Toledo demons, and in no place decent manners."
These pilgrims to the shrines of knowledge formed a class apart. They were distinguished from the secular and religious clergy, inasmuch as they had taken no orders, or only minor orders, held no benefice or cure, and had entered into no conventual community. They were still more sharply distinguished from the laity, whom they scorned as brutes, and with whom they seem to have lived on terms of mutual hostility. One of these vagabond gownsmen would scarcely condescend to drink with a townsman:—
"In aeterno igni Cruciantur rustici, qui non sunt tam digni Quod bibisse noverint bonum vinum vini."
"Aestimetur laicus ut brutus, Nam ad artem surdus est et mutus."
"Litteratos convocat decus virginale, Laicorum execrat pectus bestiale."
In a parody of the Mass, which is called Officium Lusorum, and in which the prayers are offered to Bacchus, we find this devout collect:—"Omnipotens sempiterne deus, qui inter rusticos et clericos magnam discordiam seminasti, praesta quaesumus de laboribus eorum vivere, de mulieribus ipsorum vero et de morte deciorum semper gaudere."
The English version of this ribald prayer is even more explicit. It runs thus:—"Deus qui multitudinem rusticorum ad servitium clericorum venire fecisti et militum et inter nos et ipsos discordiam seminasti."
It is open to doubt whether the milites or soldiers were included with the rustics in that laity, for which the students felt so bitter a contempt. But the tenor of some poems on love, especially the Dispute of Phyllis and Flora, shows that the student claimed a certain superiority over the soldier. This antagonism between clerk and rustic was heartily reciprocated. In a song on taverns the student is warned that he may meet with rough treatment from the clodhopper:—
"O clerici dilecti, Discite vitare Tabernam horribilem, Qui cupitis regnare; Nec audeant vos rustici Plagis verberare!
"Rusticus dum se Sentit ebriatum, Clericum non reputat Militem armatum. Vere plane consulo Ut abstineatis, Nec unquam cum rusticis Tabernam ineatis."
The affinities of the Wandering Students were rather with the Church than with laymen of any degree. They piqued themselves upon their title of Clerici, and added the epithet of Vagi. We shall see in the sequel that they stood in a peculiar relation of dependence upon ecclesiastical society.
According to tendencies prevalent in the Middle Ages, they became a sort of guild, and proclaimed themselves with pride an Order. Nothing is more clearly marked in their poetry than the esprit de corps, which animates them with a cordial sense of brotherhood. The same tendencies which prompted their association required that they should have a patron saint. But as the confraternity was anything but religious, this saint, or rather this eponymous hero, had to be a Rabelaisian character. He was called Golias, and his flock received the generic name of Goliardi. Golias was father and master; the Goliardi were his family, his sons, and pupils. Familia Goliae, Magister Golias, Pueri Goliae, Discipulus Goliae, are phrases to be culled from the rubrics of their literature.
Much has been conjectured regarding these names and titles. Was Golias a real person? Did he give his own name to the Goliardi; or was he invented after the Goliardi had already acquired their designation? In either case, ought we to connect both words with the Latin gula, and so regard the Goliardi as notable gluttons; or with the Provencal goliar, gualiar, gualiardor, which carry a significance of deceit? Had Golias anything to do with Goliath of the Bible, the great Philistine, who in the present day would more properly be chosen as the hero of those classes which the students held in horror?
It is not easy to answer these questions. All we know for certain is, that the term Goliardus was in common medieval use, and was employed as a synonym for Wandering Scholar in ecclesiastical documents. Vagi scholares aut Goliardi—joculatores, goliardi seu bufones—goliardia vel histrionatus—vagi scholares qui goliardi vel histriones alio nomine appellantur—clerici ribaudi, maxime qui dicuntur de familia Goliae: so run the acts of several Church Councils. The word passed into modern languages. The Grandes Chroniques de S. Denis speak of jugleor, enchanteor, goliardois, et autres manieres de menestrieux. Chaucer, in his description of the Miller, calls this merry narrator of fabliaux a jangler and a goliardeis. In Piers Ploughman the goliardeis is further explained to be a glutton of words, and talks in Latin rhyme.
Giraldus Cambrensis, during whose lifetime the name Golias first came into vogue, thought that this father of the Goliardic family was a real person. He writes of him thus:—"A certain parasite called Golias, who in our time obtained wide notoriety for his gluttony and lechery, and by addiction to gulosity and debauchery deserved his surname, being of excellent culture but of bad manners, and of no moral discipline, uttered oftentimes and in many forms, both of rhythm and metre, infamous libels against the Pope and Curia of Rome, with no less impudence than imprudence." This is perhaps the most outspoken utterance with regard to the eponymous hero of the Goliardic class which we possess, and it deserves a close inspection.
In the first place, Giraldus attributes the satiric poems which passed under the name of Golias to a single author famous in his days, and says of this poet that he used both modern rhythms and classical metres. The description would apply to Gualtherus de Insula, Walter of Lille, or, as he is also called, Walter of Chatillon; for some of this Walter's satires are composed in a curious mixture of the rhyming measures of the medieval hymns with classical hexameters. Yet had Giraldus been pointing at Walter of Lille, a notable personage in his times, there is no good reason to suppose that he would have suppressed his real name, or have taken for granted that Golias was a bona fide surname. On the theory that he knew Golias to be a mere nickname, and was aware that Walter of Lille was the actual satirist, we should have to explain his paragraph by the hypothesis that he chose to sneer at him under his nom de guerre instead of stigmatising him openly in person.
His remarks, at any rate, go far toward disposing of the old belief that the Goliardic satires were the work of Thomas Mapes. Giraldus was an intimate friend of that worthy, who deserves well of all lovers of medieval romance as a principal contributor to the Arthurian cycle. It is hardly possible that Giraldus should have gibbeted such a man under the sobriquet of Golias.
But what, it may be asked, if Walter of Lille, without the cognisance of our English annalist, had in France obtained the chief fame of these poems? what if they afterwards were attributed in England to another Walter, his contemporary, himself a satirist of the monastic orders? The fact that Walter of Lille was known in Latin as Gualtherus de Insula, or Walter of the Island, may have confirmed the misapprehension thus suggested. It should be added that the ascription of the Goliardic satires to Walter Mapes or Map first occurs in MSS. of the fourteenth century.
[Footnote 6: See the drinking song printed in Walter Mapes, p. xlv., and Carm. Bur., pp. 198, 179.]
[Footnote 7: Carm. Bur., p. 249, note. There is a variation in the parody printed by Wright, Rel. Antiq., ii.]
[Footnote 8: See A.P. von Baernstein's little volume, Ubi sunt qui ante nos, p. 46.]
[Footnote 9: See especially the songs Ordo Noster and Nos Vagabunduli, translated below in Section xiii.]
[Footnote 10: See Wright's introduction to Walter Mapes.]
[Footnote 11: Ibid.]
[Footnote 12: Ibid.]
[Footnote 13: See Mueldner, Die zehn Gedichte des Walther von Lille. 1859. Walter Mapes (ed. Wright) is credited with five of these satires, including two which close each stanza with a hexameter from Juvenal, Virgil, Ovid, Lucan, Horace.]
I do not think there is much probability of arriving at certainty with regard to the problems indicated in the foregoing section. We must be content to accept the names Golias and Goliardi as we find them, and to treat of this literature as the product of a class, from the midst of which, as it is clear to any critic, more than one poet rose to eminence.
One thing appears manifest from the references to the Goliardi which I have already quoted. That is, that the Wandering Students ranked in common estimation with jongleurs, buffoons, and minstrels. Both classes held a similar place in medieval society. Both were parasites devoted to the entertainment of their superiors in rank. Both were unattached, except by occasional engagements, to any fixed abode. But while the minstrels found their temporary homes in the castles of the nobility, we have reason to believe that the Goliardi haunted abbeys and amused the leisure of ecclesiastical lords.
The personality of the writer disappears in nearly all the Carmina Vagorum. Instead of a poet with a name, we find a type; and the verse is put into the mouth of Golias himself, or the Archipoeta, or the Primate of the order. This merging of the individual in the class of which he forms a part is eminently characteristic of popular literature, and separates the Goliardic songs from those of the Provencal Troubadours. The emotions to which popular poetry gives expression are generic rather than personal. They are such that all the world, granted common sympathies and common proclivities, can feel them and adopt the mode of utterance invented for them by the singer. If there be any bar to their universal acceptance, it is only such as may belong to the peculiar conditions of the social class from which they have emanated. The Rispetti of Tuscany imply a certain form of peasant life. The Carmina Vagorum are coloured to some extent by the prejudices and proclivities of vagabond existence.
Trenchantly true as the inspiration of a popular lyric may be, inevitable as may be the justice of its sentiment, unerring as may be its touch upon reality, still it lacks the note which marks it out for one man's utterance among a thousand. Composing it, the one has made himself the mouthpiece of the thousand. What the Volkslied gains in universality it loses in individuality of character. Its applicability to human nature at large is obtained at the sacrifice of that interest which belongs to special circumstances. It suits every one who grieves or loves or triumphs. It does not indicate the love, the grief, the triumph of this man and no other. It possesses the pathos and the beauty of countless human lives prolonged through inarticulate generations, finding utterance at last in it. It is deficient in that particular intonation which makes a Shelley's voice differ from a Leopardi's, Petrarch's sonnets for Laura differ from Sidney's sonnets for Stella. It has always less of perceptible artistic effect, more enduring human quality. Some few of its lines are so well found, so rightly said, that they possess the certainty of natural things—a quality rare in the works of all but the greatest known poets. But these phrases with the accent of truest truth are often embedded in mere generalities and repetitions.
These characteristics of popular poetry help to explain the frequent recurrence of the same ideas, the same expressions, the same stanzas even, in the lyrics of the Goliardi. A Volkslied, once created, becomes common property. It flies abroad like thistledown; settles and sows its seed; is maimed and mutilated; is improved or altered for the worse; is curtailed, expanded, adapted to divers purposes at different times and in very different relations.
We may dismiss the problem of authorship partly as insoluble, partly as of slight importance for a literature which is manifestly popular. With even greater brevity may the problem of nationality be disposed of. Some critics have claimed an Italian, some an English, some a French, and some a German origin for the Carmina Vagorum. The truth is that, just as the Clerici Vagi were themselves of all nations, so were their songs; and the use of a Latin common to all Europe in the Middle Ages renders it difficult even to conjecture the soil from which any particular lyric may have sprung. As is natural, a German codex contains more songs of Teutonic origin; an English displays greater abundance of English compositions. I have already observed that our two chief sources of Goliardic literature have many elements in common; but the treasures of the Benedictbeuern MS. differ in complexion from those of the Harleian in important minor details; and it is probable that if French and Italian stores were properly ransacked—which has not yet been done—we should note in them similar characteristic divergences.
The Carmina Burana, by their frequent references to linden-trees and nightingales, and their numerous German refrains, indicate a German home for the poems on spring and love, in which they are specially rich. The collections of our own land have an English turn of political thought; the names Anglia and Anglus not unfrequently occur; and the use of the word "Schellinck" in one of the Carmina Burana may point, perhaps, to an English origin. France claims her own, not only in the acknowledged pieces of Walter de Lille, but also in a few which exhibit old French refrains. To Italian conditions, if not to Italian poets, we may refer those that introduce spreading pines or olive-trees into their pictures, and one which yields the refrain Bela mia. The most important lyric of the series, Golias' Confession, was undoubtedly written at Pavia, but whether by an Italian or not we do not know. The probability is rather, perhaps, in favour of Teutonic authorship, since this Confession is addressed to a German prelate. Here it may be noticed that the proper names of places and people are frequently altered to suit different countries; while in some cases they are indicated by an N, sufficiently suggestive of their generality. Thus the Confession of Golias in the Carmina Burana mentions Electe Coloniae; in an English version, introduces Praesul Coventriae. The prayer for alms, which I have translated in Section xiii., is addressed to Decus N——, thou honour of Norwich town, or Wittenberg, or wherever the wandering scholar may have chanced to be.
With regard to the form and diction of the Carmina Vagorum, it is enough to say two things at the present time. First, a large portion of these pieces, including a majority of the satires and longer descriptive poems, are composed in measures borrowed from hymnology, follow the diction of the Church, and imitate the double-rhyming rhythms of her sequences. It is not unnatural, this being the case, that parodies of hymns should be comparatively common. Of these I shall produce some specimens in the course of this study. Secondly, those which do not exhibit popular hymn measures are clearly written for melodies, some of them very complicated in structure, suggesting part-songs and madrigals, with curious interlacing of long and short lines, double and single rhymes, recurrent ritournelles, and so forth.
The ingenuity with which these poets adapted their language to the exigencies of the tune, taxing the fertility of Latin rhymes, and setting off the long sonorous words to great advantage, deserves admiring comment. At their best, it is almost impossible to reproduce in English the peculiar effects of their melodic artifices. But there is another side to the matter. At their worst, these Latin lyrics, moulded on a tune, degenerate into disjointed verbiage, sound and adaptation to song prevailing over sense and satisfaction to the mind. It must, however, be remembered that such lyrics, sometimes now almost unintelligible, have come down to us with a very mutilated text, after suffering the degradations through frequent oral transmission to which popular poetry is peculiarly liable.
[Footnote 14: The more I study the songs of love and wine in this codex, the more convinced am I that they have their origin for the most part in South-Western Germany, Bavaria, the Bodensee, and Elsass.]
It is easier to say what the Goliardi wrote about than who the writers were, and what they felt and thought than by what names they were baptised. The mass of their literature, as it is at present known to us, divides into two broad classes. The one division includes poems on the themes of vagabond existence, the truant life of these capricious students; on spring-time and its rural pleasure; on love in many phases and for divers kinds of women; lastly, on wine and on the dice-box. The other division is devoted to graver topics; to satires on society, touching especially the Roman Court, and criticising eminent ecclesiastics in all countries; to moral dissertations, and to discourses on the brevity of life.
Of the two divisions, the former yields by far the livelier image of the men we have to deal with. It will therefore form the staple of my argument. The latter blends at so many points with medieval literature of the monastic kind, that it is chiefly distinguished by boldness of censure and sincerity of invective. In these qualities the serious poems of the Goliardi, emanating from a class of men who moved behind the scenes and yet were free to speak their thoughts, are unique. Written with the satirist's eye upon the object of his sarcasm, tinged with the license of his vagabondage, throbbing with the passionate and nonchalant afflatus of the wine-cup, they wing their flight like poisoned arrows or plumed serpents with unerring straightness at abuses in high places.
The wide space occupied by Nature in the secular poems of the Goliardi is remarkable. As a background to their love-songs we always find the woods and fields of May, abundant flowers and gushing rivulets, lime-trees and pines and olive-trees, through which soft winds are blowing. There are rose-bowers and nightingales; fauns, nymphs, and satyrs dancing on the sward. Choirs of mortal maidens emerge in the midst of this Claude-landscape. The scene, meanwhile, has been painted from experience, and felt with the enthusiasm of affection. It breathes of healthy open air, of life upon the road, of casual joys and wayside pleasure, snatched with careless heart by men whose tastes are natural. There is very little of the alcove or the closet in this verse; and the touch upon the world is so infantine, so tender, that we are indulgent to the generalities with which the poets deal.
What has been said about popular poetry applies also to popular painting. In the landscapes of Goliardic literature there is nothing specific to a single locality—no name like Vaucluse, no pregnant touch that indicates one scene selected from a thousand. The landscape is always a background, more northern or more southern as the case may be, but penetrated with the feeling of the man who has been happy or has suffered there. This feeling, broadly, sensuously diffused, as in a masterpiece of Titian, prepares us for the human element to be exhibited.
The foreground of these pictures is occupied by a pair of lovers meeting after the long winter's separation, a dance upon the village green, a young man gazing on the mistress he adores, a disconsolate exile from his home, the courtship of a student and a rustic beauty, or perhaps the grieved and melancholy figure of one whose sweetheart has proved faithless. Such actors in the comedy of life are defined with fervent intensity of touch against the leafy vistas of the scene. The lyrical cry emerges clear and sharp in all that concerns their humanity.
The quality of love expressed is far from being either platonic or chivalrous. It is love of the sensuous, impulsive, appetitive kind, to which we give the name of Pagan. The finest outbursts of passion are emanations from a potent sexual desire. Meanwhile, nothing indicates the character or moral quality of either man or woman. The student and the girl are always vis-a-vis, fixed characters in this lyrical love-drama. He calls her Phyllis, Flora, Lydia, Glycerion, Caecilia. He remains unnamed, his physical emotion sufficing for personal description. The divinity presiding over them is Venus. Jove and Danae, Cupid and the Graces, Paris and Helen, follow in her train. All the current classical mythology is laid under cheap contribution. Yet the central emotion, the young man's heart's desire, is so vividly portrayed, that we seem to be overhearing the triumphant ebullition or the melancholy love-lament of a real soul.
The sentiment of love is so important in the songs of the Wandering Students, that it may not be superfluous at this point to cull a few emphatic phrases which illustrate the core of their emotion, and to present these in the original Latin.
I may first observe to what a large extent the ideas of spring and of female society were connected at that epoch. Winter was a dreary period, during which a man bore his fate and suffered. He emerged from it into sunshine, brightened by the intercourse with women, which was then made possible. This is how the winter is described:—
"In omni loco congruo Sermonis oblectatio Cum sexu femineo Evanuit omni modo."
Of the true love-songs, only one refers expressly to the winter season. That, however, is the lyric upon Flora, which contains a detailed study of plastic form in the bold spirit of the Goliardic style.
The particularity with which the personal charms of women are described deserves attention. The portrait of Flora, to which I have just alluded, might be cited as one of the best specimens. But the slightest shades are discriminated, as in this touch:—
"Labellulis Castigate tumentibus."
One girl has long tawny tresses: Caesaries subrubea. Another is praised for the masses of her dark hair: Frons nimirum coronata, supercilium nigrata. Roses and lilies vie, of course, upon the cheeks of all; and sometimes their sweetness surpasses the lily of the valley. From time to time a touch of truer poetry occurs; as, for instance—
"O decora super ora Belli Absalonis!"
Or take again the outburst of passion in this stanza, where both the rhythm and the ponderous Latin words, together with the abrupt transition from the third to the fourth line, express a fine exaltation:—
"Frons et gula, labra, mentum Dant amoris alimentum; Crines ejus adamavi, Quoniam fuere flavi."
The same kind of enthusiasm is more elaborately worked out in the following comparisons:—
"Matutini sideris Jubar praeis, Et lilium Rosaque periere: Micat ebur dentium Per labium, Ut Sirium Credat quis enitere."
As might be expected, such lovers were not satisfied with contemplative pleasures:—
"Visu, colloquio, Contactu, basio, Frui virgo dederat; Sed aberat Linea posterior Et melior amori, Quam nisi transiero, De cetero Sunt quae dantur alia Materia furori."
The conclusion of this song, which, taken in its integrity, deserves to be regarded as typical of what is pagan in this erotic literature, may be studied in the Appendix to Carmina Burana.
Occasionally the lover's desire touches a higher point of spirituality:—
"Non tactu sanabor labiorum, Nisi cor unum fiat duorum Et idem velle. Vale, flos florum!"
Occasionally, the sensuous fervour assumes a passionate intensity:—
"Nocte cum ea si dormiero, Si sua labra semel suxero, Mortem subire, placenter obire, vitamque finire, Libens potero."
Very rarely there is a strong desire expressed for fidelity, as in a beautiful lyric of absence, which I hope to give translated in full in my 17th Section.
But the end to be attained is always such as is summed up in these brief words placed upon a girl's lips:—
"Dulcissime, Totam tibi subdo me."
And the motto of both sexes is this:—
"Quicquid agant alii, Juvenes amemus."
It may be added, in conclusion, that the sweethearts of our students seem to have been mostly girls of the working and rustic classes, sometimes women of bad fame, rarely married women. In no case that has come beneath my notice is there any hint that one of them aspired to such amours with noble ladies as distinguished the Troubadours. A democratic tone, a tone of the proletariate, is rather strangely blent with the display of learning, and with the more than common literary skill apparent in their work.
[Footnote 15: Carm. Bur., p. 174.]
[Footnote 16: Ibid., p. 149, translated below in Section xvii.]
[Footnote 17: Ibid., p. 130.]
[Footnote 18: Carm. Bur., p. 200.]
[Footnote 19: Ibid., p. 231.]
[Footnote 20: Ibid., p. 121.]
[Footnote 21: Ibid., p. 135.]
[Footnote 22: Carm. Bur., p. 145.]
[Footnote 23: Ibid., p. 230.]
The drinking-songs are equally spontaneous and fresh. Anacreon pales before the brilliancy of the Archipoeta when wine is in his veins, and the fountain of the Bacchic chant swells with gushes of strongly emphasised bold double rhymes, each throbbing like a man's firm stroke upon the strings of lyres. A fine audacity breathes through the praises of the wine-god, sometimes rising to lyric rapture, sometimes sinking to parody and innuendo, but always carrying the bard on rolling wheels along the paths of song. The reality of the inspiration is indubitable. These Bacchanalian choruses have been indited in the tavern, with a crowd of topers round the poet, with the rattle of the dice-box ringing in his ears, and with the facile maidens of his volatile amours draining the wine-cup at his elbow.
Wine is celebrated as the source of pleasure in social life, provocative of love, parent of poetry:—
"Bacchus forte superans Pectora virorum In amorem concitat Animos eorum.
"Bacchus saepe visitans Mulierum genus Facit eas subditas Tibi, O tu Venus!"
From his temple, the tavern, water-drinkers and fastidious persons are peremptorily warned:—
"Qui potare non potestis, Ite procul ab his festis; Non est hic locus modestis: Devitantur plus quam pestis."
The tavern is loved better than the church, and a bowl of wine than the sacramental chalice:—
"Magis quam ecclesiam Diligo tabernam."
"Mihi sapit dulcius Vinum de taberna, Quam quod aqua miscuit Praesulis pincerna."
As in the love-songs, so in these drinking-songs we find no lack of mythological allusions. Nor are the grammatical quibbles, which might also have been indicated as a defect of the erotic poetry, conspicuous by absence. But both alike are impotent to break the spell of evident sincerity. We discount them as belonging to the euphuism of a certain epoch, and are rather surprised than otherwise that they should not be more apparent. The real and serious defect of Goliardic literature is not affectation, but something very different, which I shall try to indicate in the last Section of this treatise. Venus and Helen, Liber and Lyaeus, are but the current coin of poetic diction common to the whole student class. These Olympian deities merge without a note of discord into the dim background of a medieval pothouse or the sylvan shades of some ephemeral amour, leaving the realism of natural appetite in either case untouched.
It is by no means the thin and conventional sprinkling of classical erudition which makes these poems of the Goliardi pagan, and reminds the student of Renaissance art. Conversely, the scholastic plays on words which they contain do not stamp them out as medieval. Both of these qualities are rococo and superficial rather than essential and distinctive in their style. After making due allowances for either element of oddity, a true connoisseur will gratefully appreciate the spontaneous note of enjoyment, the disengagement from ties and duties imposed by temporal respectability, the frank animalism, which connects these vivid hymns to Bacchus and Venus with past Aristophanes and future Rabelais. They celebrate the eternal presence of mirth-making powers in hearts of men, apart from time and place and varying dogmas which do not concern deities of Nature.
[Footnote 24: Carm. Bur., p. 133.]
[Footnote 25: Ibid., p. 251.]
[Footnote 26: Carm. Bur., p. 238.]
[Footnote 27: Ibid., p. 240.]
[Footnote 28: Wright's Walter Mapes, p. xlv.; Carm. Bur., p. 69.]
The time has now come for me to introduce my reader to the versions I have made from the songs of Wandering Students. I must remind him that, while the majority of these translations aim at literal exactness and close imitation of the originals in rhyme and structure, others are more paraphrastic. It has always been my creed that a good translation should resemble a plaster-cast; the English being plaque upon the original, so as to reproduce its exact form, although it cannot convey the effects of bronze or marble, which belong to the material of the work of art. But this method has not always seemed to me the most desirable for rendering poems, an eminent quality of which is facility and spontaneity. In order to obtain that quality in our language, the form has occasionally to be sacrificed.
What Coleridge has reported to have said of Southey may be applied to a translator. He too "is in some sort like an elegant setter of jewels; the stones are not his own: he gives them all the advantage of his art, but not their native brilliancy." I feel even more than this when I attempt translation, and reflect that, unlike the jeweller, it is my doom to reduce the lustre of the gems I handle, even if I do not substitute paste and pebbles. Yet I am frequently enticed to repeat experiments, which afterwards I regard in the light of failures. What allures me first is the pleasure of passing into that intimate familiarity with art which only a copyist or a translator enjoys. I am next impelled by the desire to fix the attention of readers on things which I admire, and which are possibly beyond their scope of view. Lastly comes that ignis fatuus of the hope, for ever renewed, if also for ever disappointed, that some addition may be made in this way to the wealth of English poetry. A few exquisite pieces in Latin literature, the Catullian Ille mi par, for example, a few in our own, such as Jonson's Drink to me only with thine eyes, are translations. Possibly the miracle of such poetic transmutation may be repeated for me; possibly an English song may come to birth by my means also. With this hope in view, the translator is strongly tempted to engraft upon his versions elegances in the spirit of his native language, or to use the motives of the original for improvisations in his own manner. I must plead guilty to having here and there yielded to this temptation, as may appear upon comparison of my English with the Latin. All translation is a compromise; and while being conscious of having to sacrifice much, the translator finds himself often seeking to add something as a makeweight.
I shall divide my specimens into nine Sections. The first will include those which deal with the Order of Wandering Students in general, winding up with the Confession ascribed to Golias, the father of the family. The second, third, fourth, and fifth are closely connected, since they contain spring-songs, pastorals, descriptive poems touching upon love, and erotic lyrics. The sixth Section will be devoted to a few songs of exile, doubt, and sorrow. In the seventh we shall reach anacreontics on the theme of wine, passing in the eighth to parodies and comic pieces. Four or five serious compositions will close the list in the ninth Section.
At the end of the book I mean to print a table containing detailed references to the originals of the songs I have chosen for translation, together with an index of the principal works that have been published on this subject.
The first song which concerns the Order of Wandering Students in general has been attributed to the Archipoeta or head-bard of the guild. Whoever this poet may have been, it is to him that we owe the Confession of Golias, by far the most spirited composition of the whole Goliardic species. I do not think the style of the poem on the Order, though it belongs to a good period, justifies our ascribing it to so inspired and genial a lyrist.
The argument runs as follows. Just as commission was given to the Apostles to go forth and preach in the whole world, so have the Wandering Students a vocation to travel, and to test the hearts of men wherever they may sojourn. A burlesque turn is given to this function of the Vagi. Yet their consciousness of a satiric mission, their willingness to pose as critics of society from the independent vantage-ground of vagabondage, seems seriously hinted at.
The chief part of the song is devoted to a description of the comprehensive nature of the Order, which receives all sorts and conditions of men, and makes no distinction of nationality. The habitual poverty of its members, their favourite pastimes and vices, their love of gaming and hatred of early rising, are set forth with some humour.
ON THE ORDER OF WANDERING STUDENTS.
At the mandate, Go ye forth, Through the whole world hurry! Priests tramp out toward south and north, Monks and hermits skurry, Levites smooth the gospel leave, Bent on ambulation; Each and all to our sect cleave, Which is life's salvation.
In this sect of ours 'tis writ: Prove all things in season; Weigh this life and judge of it By your riper reason; 'Gainst all evil clerks be you Steadfast in resistance, Who refuse large tithe and due Unto your subsistence.
Marquesses, Bavarians, Austrians and Saxons, Noblemen and chiefs of clans, Glorious by your actions! Listen, comrades all, I pray, To these new decretals: Misers they must meet decay, Niggardly gold-beetles.
We the laws of charity Found, nor let them crumble; For into our order we Take both high and humble; Rich and poor men we receive, In our bosom cherish; Welcome those the shavelings leave At their doors to perish.
We receive the tonsured monk, Let him take his pittance; And the parson with his punk, If he craves admittance; Masters with their bands of boys, Priests with high dominion; But the scholar who enjoys Just one coat's our minion!
This our sect doth entertain Just men and unjust ones; Halt, lame, weak of limb or brain, Strong men and robust ones; Those who flourish in their pride, Those whom age makes stupid; Frigid folk and hot folk fried In the fires of Cupid.
Tranquil souls and bellicose, Peacemaker and foeman; Czech and Hun, and mixed with those German, Slav, and Roman; Men of middling size and weight, Dwarfs and giants mighty; Men of modest heart and state, Vain men, proud and flighty.
Of the Wanderers' order I Tell the Legislature— They whose life is free and high, Gentle too their nature— They who'd rather scrape a fat Dish in gravy swimming, Than in sooth to marvel at Barns with barley brimming.
Now this order, as I ken, Is called sect or section, Since its sectaries are men Divers in complexion; Therefore hic and haec and hoc Suit it in declension, Since so multiform a flock Here finds comprehension.
This our order hath decried Matins with a warning; For that certain phantoms glide In the early morning, Whereby pass into man's brain Visions of vain folly; Early risers are insane, Racked by melancholy.
This our order doth proscribe All the year round matins; When they've left their beds, our tribe In the tap sing latins; There they call for wine for all, Roasted fowl and chicken; Hazard's threats no hearts appal, Though his strokes still thicken.
This our order doth forbid Double clothes with loathing: He whose nakedness is hid With one vest hath clothing: Soon one throws his cloak aside At the dice-box calling; Next his girdle is untied, While the cards are falling.
What I've said of upper clothes To the nether reaches; They who own a shirt, let those Think no more of breeches; If one boasts big boots to use, Let him leave his gaiters; They who this firm law refuse Shall be counted traitors.
No one, none shall wander forth Fasting from the table; If thou'rt poor, from south and north Beg as thou art able! Hath it not been often seen That one coin brings many, When a gamester on the green Stakes his lucky penny?
No one on the road should walk 'Gainst the wind—'tis madness; Nor in poverty shall stalk With a face of sadness; Let him bear him bravely then, Hope sustain his spirit; After heavy trials men Better luck inherit!
While throughout the world you rove, Thus uphold your banners; Give these reasons why you prove Hearts of men and manners: "To reprove the reprobate, Probity approving, Improbate from approbate To remove, I'm moving."
The next song is a lament for the decay of the Order and the suppression of its privileges. It was written, to all appearances, at a later date, and is inferior in style. The Goliardi had already, we learn from it, exchanged poverty for luxury. Instead of tramping on the hard hoof, they moved with a retinue of mounted servants. We seem to trace in the lament a change from habits of simple vagabondage to professional dependence, as minstrels and secretaries, upon men of rank in Church and State, which came over the Goliardic class. This poem, it may be mentioned, does not occur in the Carmina Burana, nor is it included among those which bear the name of Walter Mapes or Map.
ON THE DECAY OF THE ORDER.
Once (it was in days of yore) This our order flourished; Popes, whom Cardinals adore, It with honours nourished; Licences desirable They gave, nought desiring; While our prayers, the beads we tell, Served us for our hiring.
Now this order (so time runs) Is made tributary; With the ruck of Adam's sons We must draw and carry; Ground by common serfdom down, By our debts confounded, Debts to market-place and town With the Jews compounded.
Once ('twas when the simple state Of our order lasted) All men praised us, no man's hate Harried us or wasted; Rates and taxes on our crew There was none to levy; But the sect, douce men and true, Served God in a bevy.
Now some envious folks, who spy Sumptuous equipages, Horses, litters passing by, And a host of pages, Say, "Unless their purses were Quite with wealth o'erflowing, They could never thus, I swear, Round about be going!"
Such men do not think nor own How with toil we bend us, Not to feed ourselves alone, But the folk who tend us: On all comers, all who come, We our substance lavish, Therefore 'tis a trifling sum For ourselves we ravish.
On this subject, at this time, What we've said suffices: Let us leave it, lead the rhyme Back to our devices: We the miseries of this life Bear with cheerful spirit, That Heaven's bounty after strife We may duly merit.
'Tis a sign that God the Lord Will not let us perish, Since with scourge and rod and sword He our souls doth cherish; He amid this vale of woes Makes us bear the burden, That true joys in heaven's repose May be ours for guerdon.
Next in order to these poems, which display the Wandering Students as a class, I will produce two that exhibit their mode of life in detail. The first is a begging petition, addressed by a scholar on the tramp to the great man of the place where he is staying. The name of the place, as I have already noticed, is only indicated by an N. The nasal whine of a suppliant for alms, begging, as Erasmus begged, not in the name of charity, but of learning, makes itself heard both in the rhyme and rhythm of the original Latin. I have tried to follow the sing-song doggerel.
A WANDERING STUDENT'S PETITION.
I, a wandering scholar lad, Born for toil and sadness, Oftentimes am driven by Poverty to madness.
Literature and knowledge I Fain would still be earning, Were it not that want of pelf Makes me cease from learning.
These torn clothes that cover me Are too thin and rotten; Oft I have to suffer cold, By the warmth forgotten.
Scarce I can attend at church, Sing God's praises duly; Mass and vespers both I miss, Though I love them truly.
Oh, thou pride of N——, By thy worth I pray thee Give the suppliant help in need, Heaven will sure repay thee.
Take a mind unto thee now Like unto St. Martin; Clothe the pilgrim's nakedness, Wish him well at parting.
So may God translate your soul Into peace eternal, And the bliss of saints be yours In His realm supernal.
The second is a jovial Song of the Open Road, throbbing with the exhilaration of young life and madcap impudence. We must imagine that two vagabond students are drinking together before they part upon their several ways. One addresses the other as frater catholice, vir apostolice, vows to befriend him, and expounds the laws of loyalty which bind the brotherhood together. To the rest of the world they are a terror and a nuisance. Honest folk are jeeringly forbidden to beware of the quadrivium, which is apt to form a fourfold rogue instead of a scholar in four branches of knowledge.
The Latin metre is so light, careless, and airy, that I must admit an almost complete failure to do it justice in my English version. The refrain appears intended to imitate a bugle-call.
A SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD.
We in our wandering, Blithesome and squandering, Tara, tantara, teino!
Eat to satiety, Drink with propriety; Tara, tantara, teino!
Laugh till our sides we split, Rags on our hides we fit; Tara, tantara, teino!
Jesting eternally, Quaffing infernally: Tara, tantara, teino!
Craft's in the bone of us, Fear 'tis unknown of us: Tara, tantara, teino!
When we're in neediness, Thieve we with greediness: Tara, tantara, teino!
Brother catholical, Man apostolical, Tara, tantara, teino!
Say what you will have done, What you ask 'twill be done! Tara, tantara, teino!
Folk, fear the toss of the Horns of philosophy! Tara, tantara, teino!
Here comes a quadruple Spoiler and prodigal! Tara, tantara, teino!
License and vanity Pamper insanity: Tara, tantara, teino!
As the Pope bade us do, Brother to brother's true: Tara, tantara, teino!
Brother, best friend, adieu! Now, I must part from you! Tara, tantara, teino!
When will our meeting be? Glad shall our greeting be! Tara, tantara, teino!
Vows valedictory Now have the victory; Tara, tantara, teino!
Clasped on each other's breast, Brother to brother pressed, Tara, tantara, teino!
In the fourth place I insert the Confession of Golias. This important composition lays bare the inner nature of a Wandering Student, describing his vagrant habits, his volatile and indiscriminate amours, his passion for the dice-box, his devotion to wine, and the poetic inspiration he was wont to draw from it.
In England this Confession was attributed to Walter Map; and the famous drinking-song, on which the Archdeacon of Oxford's reputation principally rests in modern times, was extracted from the stanzas II et seq. But, though Wright is unwilling to refuse Map such honour as may accrue to his fame from the composition, we have little reason to regard it as his work. The song was clearly written at Pavia—a point inexplicably overlooked by Wright in the note appended to stanza 9—and the Archbishop-elect of Cologne, who is appealed to by name in stanza 24, was Reinald von Dassel, a minister of Frederick Barbarossa. This circumstance enables us to determine the date of the poem between 1162 and 1165. When the Confession was manipulated for English readers, Praesul Coventrensium, Praesul mibi cognite, and O pastor ecclesiae were in several MS. redactions substituted for Electe Coloniae. Instead of Papiae, in stanza 8, we read in mundo; but in stanza 9, where the rhyme required it, Papiae was left standing—a sufficient indication of literary rehandling by a clumsy scribe. In the text of the Carmina Burana, the Confession winds up with a petition that Reinald von Dassel should employ the poet as a secretary, or should bestow some mark of his bounty upon him.
[Footnote 29: Wright's Walter Mapes, p. xlv.]
THE CONFESSION OF GOLIAS.
Boiling in my spirit's veins With fierce indignation, From my bitterness of soul Springs self-revelation: Framed am I of flimsy stuff, Fit for levitation, Like a thin leaf which the wind Scatters from its station.
While it is the wise man's part With deliberation On a rock to base his heart's Permanent foundation, With a running river I Find my just equation, Which beneath the self-same sky Hath no habitation.
Carried am I like a ship Left without a sailor, Like a bird that through the air Flies where tempests hale her; Chains and fetters hold me not, Naught avails a jailer; Still I find my fellows out, Toper, gamester, railer.
To my mind all gravity Is a grave subjection; Sweeter far than honey are Jokes and free affection. All that Venus bids me do, Do I with erection, For she ne'er in heart of man Dwelt with dull dejection.
Down the broad road do I run, As the way of youth is; Snare myself in sin, and ne'er Think where faith and truth is; Eager far for pleasure more Than soul's health, the sooth is, For this flesh of mine I care, Seek not ruth where ruth is.
Prelate, most discreet of priests, Grant me absolution! Dear's the death whereof I die, Sweet my dissolution; For my heart is wounded by Beauty's soft suffusion; All the girls I come not nigh, Mine are in illusion.
'Tis most arduous to make Nature's self surrender; Seeing girls, to blush and be Purity's defender! We young men our longings ne'er Shall to stern law render, Or preserve our fancies from Bodies smooth and tender.
Who, when into fire he falls, Keeps himself from burning? Who within Pavia's walls Fame of chaste is earning? Venus with her finger calls Youths at every turning, Snares them with her eyes, and thralls With her amorous yearning.
If you brought Hippolitus To Pavia Sunday, He'd not be Hippolitus On the following Monday; Venus there keeps holiday Every day as one day; 'Mid these towers in no tower dwells Venus Verecunda.
In the second place I own To the vice of gaming: Cold indeed outside I seem, Yet my soul is flaming: But when once the dice-box hath Stripped me to my shaming, Make I songs and verses fit For the world's acclaiming.
In the third place, I will speak Of the tavern's pleasure; For I never found nor find There the least displeasure; Nor shall find it till I greet Angels without measure, Singing requiems for the souls In eternal leisure.
In the public-house to die Is my resolution; Let wine to my lips be nigh At life's dissolution: That will make the angels cry, With glad elocution, "Grant this toper, God on high, Grace and absolution!"
With the cup the soul lights up, Inspirations flicker; Nectar lifts the soul on high With its heavenly ichor: To my lips a sounder taste Hath the tavern's liquor Than the wine a village clerk Waters for the vicar.
Nature gives to every man Some gift serviceable; Write I never could nor can Hungry at the table; Fasting, any stripling to Vanquish me is able; Hunger, thirst, I liken to Death that ends the fable.
Nature gives to every man Gifts as she is willing; I compose my verses when Good wine I am swilling, Wine the best for jolly guest Jolly hosts are filling; From such wine rare fancies fine Flow like dews distilling.
Such my verse is wont to be As the wine I swallow; No ripe thoughts enliven me While my stomach's hollow; Hungry wits on hungry lips Like a shadow follow, But when once I'm in my cups, I can beat Apollo.
Never to my spirit yet Flew poetic vision Until first my belly had Plentiful provision; Let but Bacchus in the brain Take a strong position, Then comes Phoebus flowing in With a fine precision.
There are poets, worthy men, Shrink from public places, And in lurking-hole or den Hide their pallid faces; There they study, sweat, and woo Pallas and the Graces, But bring nothing forth to view Worth the girls' embraces.
Fasting, thirsting, toil the bards, Swift years flying o'er them; Shun the strife of open life, Tumults of the forum; They, to sing some deathless thing, Lest the world ignore them, Die the death, expend their breath, Drowned in dull decorum.
Lo! my frailties I've betrayed, Shown you every token, Told you what your servitors Have against me spoken; But of those men each and all Leave their sins unspoken, Though they play, enjoy to-day, Scorn their pledges broken.
Now within the audience-room Of this blessed prelate, Sent to hunt out vice, and from Hearts of men expel it; Let him rise, nor spare the bard, Cast at him a pellet; He whose heart knows not crime's smart, Show my sin and tell it!
I have uttered openly All I knew that shamed me, And have spued the poison forth That so long defamed me; Of my old ways I repent, New life hath reclaimed me; God beholds the heart—'twas man Viewed the face and blamed me.
Goodness now hath won my love, I am wroth with vices; Made a new man in my mind, Lo, my soul arises! Like a babe new milk I drink— Milk for me suffices, Lest my heart should longer be Filled with vain devices.
Thou Elect of fair Cologne, Listen to my pleading! Spurn not thou the penitent; See, his heart is bleeding! Give me penance! what is due For my faults exceeding I will bear with willing cheer, All thy precepts heeding.
Lo, the lion, king of beasts, Spares the meek and lowly; Toward submissive creatures he Tames his anger wholly. Do the like, ye powers of earth, Temporal and holy! Bitterness is more than's right When 'tis bitter solely.
Having been introduced to the worshipful order of vagrants both in their collective and in their personal capacity, we will now follow them to the woods and fields in spring. It was here that they sought love-adventures and took pastime after the restraints of winter.
The spring-songs are all, in the truest sense of the word, lieder—lyrics for music. Their affinities of form and rhythm are less with ecclesiastical verse than with the poetry of the Minnesinger and the Troubadour. Sometimes we are reminded of the French pastourelle, sometimes of the rustic ditty, with its monotonous refrain.
The exhilaration of the season which they breathe has something of the freshness of a lark's song, something at times of the richness of the nightingale's lament. The defect of the species may be indicated in a single phrase. It is a tedious reiteration of commonplaces in the opening stanzas. Here, however, is a lark-song.
WELCOME TO SPRING.
Spring is coming! longed-for spring Now his joy discloses; On his fair brow in a ring Bloom empurpled roses! Birds are gay; how sweet their lay! Tuneful is the measure; The wild wood grows green again, Songsters change our winter's pain To a mirthful pleasure.
Now let young men gather flowers, On their foreheads bind them, Maidens pluck them from the bowers, Then, when they have twined them, Breathe perfume from bud and bloom, Where young love reposes, And into the meadows so All together laughing go, Crowned with ruddy roses.
Here again the nightingale's song, contending with the young man's heart's lament of love, makes itself heard.
THE LOVER AND THE NIGHTINGALE.
These hours of spring are jolly; Maidens, be gay! Shake off dull melancholy, Ye lads, to-day! Oh! all abloom am I! It is a maiden love that makes me sigh, A new, new love it is wherewith I die!
The nightingale is singing So sweet a lay! Her glad voice heavenward flinging— No check, no stay.
Flower of girls love-laden Is my sweetheart; Of roses red the maiden For whom I smart.
The promise that she gives me Makes my heart bloom; If she denies, she drives me Forth to the gloom.
My maid, to me relenting, Is fain for play; Her pure heart, unconsenting, Saith, "Lover, stay!"
Hush, Philomel, thy singing, This little rest! Let the soul's song rise ringing Up from the breast!
In desolate Decembers Man bides his time: Spring stirs the slumbering embers; Love-juices climb.
Come, mistress, come, my maiden! Bring joy to me! Come, come, thou beauty-laden! I die for thee! O all abloom am I! It is a maiden love that makes me sigh, A new, new love it is wherewith I die!
There is a very pretty Invitation to Youth, the refrain of which, though partly undecipherable, seems to indicate an Italian origin. I have thought it well to omit this refrain; but it might be rendered thus, maintaining the strange and probably corrupt reading of the last line:—
"List, my fair, list, bela mia, To the thousand charms of Venus! Da hizevaleria."
THE INVITATION TO YOUTH.
Take your pleasure, dance and play, Each with other while ye may: Youth is nimble, full of grace; Age is lame, of tardy pace.
We the wars of love should wage, Who are yet of tender age; 'Neath the tents of Venus dwell All the joys that youth loves well.
Young men kindle heart's desire; You may liken them to fire: Old men frighten love away With cold frost and dry decay.
A roundelay, which might be styled the Praise of May or the exhortation to be liberal in love by The Example of the Rose, shall follow.
THE EXAMPLE OF THE ROSE.
Winter's untruth yields at last, Spring renews old mother earth; Angry storms are overpast, Sunbeams fill the air with mirth; Pregnant, ripening unto birth, All the world reposes.
Our delightful month of May, Not by birth, but by degree, Took the first place, poets say; Since the whole year's cycle he, Youngest, loveliest, leads with glee, And the cycle closes.
From the honours of the rose They decline, the rose abuse, Who, when roses red unclose, Seek not their own sweets to use; 'Tis with largess, liberal dues, That the rose discloses.
Taught to wanton, taught to play, By the young year's wanton flower, We will take no heed to-day, Have no thought for thrift this hour; Thrift, whose uncongenial power Laws on youth imposes.
Another song, blending the praises of spring with a little pagan vow to Cupid, has in the original Latin a distinction and purity of outline which might be almost called Horatian.
THE VOW TO CUPID.
Winter, now thy spite is spent, Frost and ice and branches bent! Fogs and furious storms are o'er, Sloth and torpor, sorrow frore, Pallid wrath, lean discontent.
Comes the graceful band of May! Cloudless shines the limpid day, Shine by night the Pleiades; While a grateful summer breeze Makes the season soft and gay.
Golden Love I shine forth to view! Souls of stubborn men subdue! See me bend! what is thy mind? Make the girl thou givest kind, And a leaping ram's thy due!
O the jocund face of earth, Breathing with young grassy birth! Every tree with foliage clad, Singing birds in greenwood glad, Flowering fields for lovers' mirth!
Nor is the next far below it in the same qualities of neatness and artistic brevity.
Now the fields are laughing; now the maids Take their pastime; laugh the leafy glades: Now the summer days are blooming, And the flowers their chaliced lamps for love illuming. Fruit-trees blossom; woods grow green again; Winter's rage is past: O ye young men, With the May-bloom shake off sadness! Love is luring you to join the maidens' gladness.
Let us then together sport and play; Cytherea bids the young be gay: Laughter soft and happy voices, Hope and love invite to mirth when May rejoices.
All the spring is in the lyric next upon my list.
THE RETURN OF SPRING:
Spring returns, the glad new-comer, Bringing pleasure, banning pain: Meadows bloom with early summer, And the sun shines out again: All sad thoughts and passions vanish; Plenteous Summer comes to banish Winter with his starveling train.
Hails and snows and frosts together Melt and thaw like dews away; While the spring in cloudless weather Sucks the breast of jocund May; Sad's the man and born for sorrow Who can live not, dares not borrow Gladness from a summer's day.
Full of joy and jubilation, Drunk with honey of delight, Are the lads whose aspiration Is the palm of Cupid's fight! Youths, we'll keep the laws of Venus, And with joy and mirth between us Live and love like Paris wight!
The next has the same accent of gladness, though it is tuned to a somewhat softer and more meditative note of feeling.
THE SWEETNESS OF THE SPRING.
Vernal hours are sweet as clover, With love's honey running over; Every heart on this earth burning Finds new birth with spring's returning.
In the spring-time blossoms flourish, Fields drink moisture, heaven's dews nourish; Now the griefs of maidens, after Dark days, turn to love and laughter.
Whoso love, are loved, together Seek their pastime in spring weather; And, with time and place agreeing, Clasp, kiss, frolic, far from seeing.
Gradually the form of the one girl whom the lyrist loves emerges from this wealth of description.
THE SUIT TO PHYLLIS.
Hail! thou longed-for month of May, Dear to lovers every day! Thou that kindlest hour by hour Life in man and bloom in bower! O ye crowds of flowers and hues That with joy the sense confuse, Hail! and to our bosom bring Bliss and every jocund thing! Sweet the concert of the birds; Lovers listen to their words: For sad winter hath gone by, And a soft wind blows on high.
Earth hath donned her purple vest, Fields with laughing flowers are dressed, Shade upon the wild wood spreads, Trees lift up their leafy heads; Nature in her joy to-day Bids all living things be gay; Glad her face and fair her grace Underneath the sun's embrace! Venus stirs the lover's brain, With life's nectar fills his vein, Pouring through his limbs the heat Which makes pulse and passion beat.
O how happy was the birth When the loveliest soul on earth Took the form and life of thee, Shaped in all felicity! O how yellow is thy hair! There is nothing wrong, I swear, In the whole of thee; thou art Framed to fill a loving heart! Lo, thy forehead queenly crowned, And the eyebrows dark and round, Curved like Iris at the tips, Down the dark heavens when she slips!
Red as rose and white as snow Are thy cheeks that pale and glow; 'Mid a thousand maidens thou Hast no paragon, I vow. Round thy lips and red as be Apples on the apple-tree; Bright thy teeth as any star; Soft and low thy speeches are; Long thy hand, and long thy side, And the throat thy breasts divide; All thy form beyond compare Was of God's own art the care.
Sparks of passion sent from thee Set on fire the heart of me; Thee beyond all whom I know I must love for ever so. Lo, my heart to dust will burn Unless thou this flame return; Still the fire will last, and I, Living now, at length shall die! Therefore, Phyllis, hear me pray, Let us twain together play, Joining lip to lip and breast Unto, breast in perfect rest!
The lover is occasionally bashful, sighing at a distance.
Summer sweet is coming in; Now the pleasant days begin; Phoebus rules the earth at last; For sad winter's reign is past.
Wounded with the love alone Of one girl, I make my moan: Grief pursues me till she bend Unto me and condescend.
Take thou pity on my plight! With my heart thy heart unite! In my love thy own love blending, Finding thus of life the ending!
Occasionally his passion assumes a romantic tone, as is the case with the following Serenade to a girl called Flos-de-spina in the Latin. Whether that was her real name, or was only used for poetical purposes, does not admit of debate now. Anyhow, Flos-de-spina, Fior-di-spina, Fleur-d'epine, and English Flower-o'-the-thorn are all of them pretty names for a girl.
THE SERENADE TO FLOWER-O'-THE-THORN.
The blithe young year is upward steering. Wild winter dwindles, disappearing; The short, short days are growing longer, Rough weather yields and warmth is stronger. Since January dawned, my mind Waves hither, thither, love-inclined For one whose will can loose or bind.
Prudent and very fair the maiden, Than rose or lily more love-laden; Stately of stature, lithe and slender, There's naught so exquisite and tender. The Queen of France is not so dear; Death to my life comes very near If Flower-o'-the-thorn be not my cheer.
The Queen of Love my heart is killing With her gold arrow pain-distilling; The God of Love with torches burning Lights pyre on pyre of ardent yearning. She is the girl for whom I'd die; I want none dearer, far or nigh, Though grief on grief upon me lie.
I with her love am thralled and taken, Whose flower doth flower, bud, bloom, and waken; Sweet were the labour, light the burden, Could mouth kiss mouth for wage and guerdon. No touch of lips my wound can still, Unless two hearts grow one, one will, One longing! Flower of flowers, farewell!
Once at least we find him writing in absence to his mistress, and imploring her fidelity. This ranks among the most delicate in sentiment of the whole series.
THE LOVE-LETTER IN SPRING.
Now the sun is streaming, Clear and pure his ray; April's glad face beaming On our earth to-day. Unto love returneth Every gentle mind; And the boy-god burneth Jocund hearts to bind.
All this budding beauty, Festival array, Lays on us the duty To be blithe and gay. Trodden ways are known, love! And in this thy youth, To retain thy own love Were but faith and truth.
In faith love me solely, Mark the faith of me, From thy whole heart wholly, From the soul of thee. At this time of bliss, dear, I am far away; Those who love like this, dear, Suffer every day!
At one time he seems upon the point of clasping his felicity.
A SPRING DITTY.
In the spring, ah happy day! Underneath a leafy spray With her sister stands my may. O sweet love! He who now is reft of thee Poor is he!
Ah, the trees, how fair they flower Birds are singing in the bower; Maidens feel of love the power. O sweet love!
See the lilies, how they blow! And the maidens row by row Praise the best of gods below. O sweet love!
If I held my sweetheart now, In the wood beneath the bough, I would kiss her, lip and brow. O sweet love! He who now is reft of thee, Poor is he!
At another time he has clasped it, but he trembles lest it should escape him.
With so sweet a promise given All my bosom burneth; Hope uplifts my heart to heaven, Yet the doubt returneth, Lest perchance that hope should be Crushed and shattered suddenly.
On one girl my fancy so, On one star, reposes; Her sweet lips with honey flow And the scent of roses: In her smile I laugh, and fire Fills me with her love's desire.
Love in measure over-much Strikes man's soul with anguish; Anxious love's too eager touch Makes man fret and languish: Thus in doubt and grief I pine; Pain more sure was none than mine.
Burning in love's fiery flood, Lo, my life is wasted! Such the fever of my blood That I scarce have tasted Mortal bread and wine, but sup Like a god love's nectar-cup.
The village dance forms an important element in the pleasures of the season. Here is a pretty picture in two stanzas of a linden sheltering some Suabian meadow.
THE VILLAGE DANCE.
Wide the lime-tree to the air Spreads her boughs and foliage fair; Thyme beneath is growing On the verdant meadow-where Dancers' feet are going.
Through the grass a little spring Runs with jocund murmuring; All the place rejoices; Cooling zephyrs breathe and sing With their summer voices.
I have freely translated a second, which presents a more elaborate picture of a similar scene.
LOVE AMONG THE MAIDENS.
Yonder choir of virgins see Through the spring advancing, Where the sun's warmth, fair and free, From the green leaves glancing, Weaves a lattice of light gloom And soft sunbeams o'er us, 'Neath the linden-trees in bloom, For the Cyprian chorus.
In this vale where blossoms blow, Blooming, summer-scented, 'Mid the lilies row by row, Spreads a field flower-painted. Here the blackbirds through the dale Each to each are singing, And the jocund nightingale Her fresh voice is flinging.
See the maidens crowned with rose Sauntering through the grasses! Who could tell the mirth of those Laughing, singing lasses? Or with what a winning grace They their charms discover, Charms of form and blushing face, To the gazing lover?
Down the flowery greenwood glade As I chanced to wander, From bright eyes a serving-maid Shot Love's arrows yonder; I for her, 'mid all the crew Of the girls of Venus, Wait and yearn until I view Love spring up between us.
Another lyric of complicated rhyming structure introduces a not dissimilar motive, with touches that seem, in like manner, to indicate its German origin. It may be remarked that the lover's emotion has here unusual depth, a strain of sehnsucht; and the picture of the mother followed by her daughter in the country-dance suggests the domesticity of Northern races.
AT THE VILLAGE DANCE.
Meadows bloom, in Winter's room Reign the Loves and Graces, With their gift of buds that lift Bright and laughing faces; 'Neath the ray of genial May, Shining, glowing, blushing, growing, They the joys of spring are showing In their manifold array.
Song-birds sweet the season greet, Tune their merry voices; Sound the ways with hymns of praise, Every lane rejoices. On the bough in greenwood now Flowers are springing, perfumes flinging, While young men and maids are clinging To the loves they scarce avow.
O'er the grass together pass Bands of lads love-laden: Row by row in bevies go Bride and blushing maiden. See with glee 'neath linden-tree, Where the dancing girls are glancing, How the matron is advancing! At her side her daughter see!
She's my own, for whom alone, If fate wills, I'll tarry; Young May-moon, or late or soon, 'Tis with her I'd marry! Now with sighs I watch her rise, She the purely loved, the surely Chosen, who my heart securely Turns from grief to Paradise.
In her sight with heaven's own light Like the gods I blossom; Care for nought till she be brought Yielding to my bosom. Thirst divine my soul doth pine To behold her and enfold her, With clasped arms alone to hold her In Love's holy hidden shrine.
But the theme of the dance is worked up with even greater elaboration and a more studied ingenuity of rhyme and rhythm in the following characteristic song. This has the true accent of what may be called the Musa Vagabundula, and is one of the best lyrics of the series:—
INVITATION TO THE DANCE.
Cast aside dull books and thought; Sweet is folly, sweet is play: Take the pleasure Spring hath brought In youth's opening holiday! Right it is old age should ponder On grave matters fraught with care; Tender youth is free to wander, Free to frolic light as air. Like a dream our prime is flown, Prisoned in a study: Sport and folly are youth's own, Tender youth and ruddy.
Lo, the Spring of life slips by, Frozen Winter comes apace; Strength is 'minished silently, Care writes wrinkles on our face: Blood dries up and courage fails us, Pleasures dwindle, joys decrease, Till old age at length assails us With his troop of illnesses. Like a dream our prime is flown, Prisoned in a study; Sport and folly are youth's own, Tender youth and ruddy.