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example in the language of mixed rhymes, that is, of the alternation of masculine and feminine rhymes, now an established rule of French poetry. A romance history of the Passion of Christ, in 126 strophes, and in the same style with the Distichs, which is found along with the Latin work in a manuscript belonging to the Royal Society, is also in all probability by Evrard. The French language appears to have been almost as generally used in Scotland at this time as in England. Pinkerton, in his 'Essay on the Origin of Scotish Poetry,' prefixed to his 'Ancient Scotish Poems,' 2 vols. 8vo. Lond. 1786, after observing that the chief English poets wrote solely in French for three centuries after the Conquest-that French was the only language used at court or by the nobility, nay even by the middle ranks of people-that Saxon was left merely to the mob-that the apophthegms, expressions, &c., preserved by historians of the time, are all in old French-and that probably upwards of a hundred names of English writers who wrote in French during that interval might yet be recovered-proceeds to mention some facts which illustrate the prevalence of the same language in the northern kingdom. "Upon the murder of Duncan by Macbeth," he remarks, "in 1039, Malcolm, the heir of the crown, fled into England, where he remained for seventeen years before he was enabled to resume his kingdom. Edward the Confessor was king of England from 1041 till 1065, and in his reign we know that French was the court language in England. Malcolm surely used this speech, and his court also. Many Saxons came to Scotland with him in 1056, and also at the Conquest (1066); but in 1093 they were all very prudently ordered to leave the kingdom by Dovenald Ban, his suc
cessor. They were chiefly men of rank; and, had they introduced any language, it would have been the French.
1165, the coin of that
. . But yet another point requires our attention. In 945, Edmund King of England gave Cumberland to Malcolm I., King of Scotland, on condition of homage for it. From this period the heir of the Scottish crown was always Prince of Cumberland, and resided as a king in that country. . . . . Now the Prince, it be supposed, did not use the Gaelic in a country where it was never spoken; but, remaining there from early youth, adopted French, the court tongue of England, in which country his principality was, and to the king of which he was bound to do homage." * He then mentions that under William of Scotland, in country bears a French inscription; and that Alexander III., in 1249, is stated to have taken the coronation oath Latine et Gallice, in Latin and in French: it was read in Latin (probably after the ancient formula), and then expounded in French.† And he concludes:French being the language of the polite, and Latin of the learned, who could use the vulgar tongue in writing? . . . . I suspect that no Scotish poet, before Thomas of Ersildon, ventured beyond a ballad when using his native tongue. Perhaps one or two may have written a romance in French rhyme, though now lost or unknown. The poor bards who entertained the mob might recite ballads and short romances in the vulgar tongue; but the minstrels who appeared in the king's or in the baron's hall would use French only, as in England; for had they tried the common language they would have been sent
Essay, p. lxiv.
† Hailes, Annals, i. 195.
into the kitchen."* By the common language, Pinkerton means the Pictish, which he conceives to have been a Gothic dialect nearly allied to the Saxon. In this notion he is probably wrong: there is every reason to believe that the Picts spoke a Celtic dialect; but it is true, nevertheless, that the popular speech of the south-eastern half of Scotland at this period was, as he assumes, a Gothic or Saxon dialect, though derived not from the Picts, but from the Saxon and Danish settlers, who had occupied the whole of that region partially, and a great part of it exclusively, ever since the seventh century.
LUC DE LA BARRE.-GUICHARD DE BEAULIEU.
Another early trouvère whose history connects him with England is Luc de la Barre, famous for the satirical rhymes which he composed against Henry I., and for the terrible punishment (the extinction of his sight) which he drew down upon himself from the exasperated king. It appears, however, that it was not till after repeated and extreme provocation, and the abuse of much clemency, that Henry took this savage revenge. De la Barre, who was a distinguished Norman baron and warrior as well as a poet, had espoused the cause of Duke Robert in the quarrel between the two brothers; but, although, in the course of the contest of arms for the possession of the duchy, he had been several times taken prisoner, he had always been dismissed without ransom by the English king, perhaps out of respect to his poetical talents or reputation, till he at last, in a fatal hour for himself, turned against his benefactor with his pen as well
* Essay, p. lxvi.
as with his sword. Henry was perhaps stung more by the ingratitude of the poet than by the sharpness of his sarcasms; or, at any rate, as De la Rue insinuates, if it was an acute feeling of the wit and the poetry which actuated him, there was still something generous and high-minded even in an excess of such sensibility.
Guichard de Beaulieu describes himself as a monk of the priory of that name, which was a dependency of the abbey of St. Albans. His principal work is a sort of sermon, in French verse, on the vices of the age, consisting of nearly 2000 Alexandrine lines. It appears to have been intended for a popular audience. The poetical preacher begins by telling his hearers that he is not going to speak to them in Latin, but in Romance, in order that all may understand him. "The mention of sermons in verse," observes De la Rue, may perhaps surprise the reader; but it is certain that at this epoch, at least among the Normans and the Anglo-Normans, it was customary to read to the people the lives of the Saints in French verse, on Sundays and holidays."* Guichard's poetry is described as often naive and graceful in expression, and sweet in its flow; and he is the first writer who is known to have introduced into the romance poetry the practice of preserving the same rhyme throughout each stanza or paragraph, extending sometimes to thirty, sixty, or even eighty lines or more t-a fashion followed
Essais, ii. 138.
The commencing stanza of Parise la Duchesse' (considered as one of the parts of the Roman des Douze Paires de France'), which has lately been published under the care of M. G. F. de Martonne, 12mo. Paris, 1836, consists of 119 lines, all ending with the same rhyme.
by many succeeding writers in ten and twelve syllabled verse, and which De la Rue conceives Guichard must have borrowed from the Welsh, or their kindred the Armoricans.
ARTHURIAN ROMANCE. THE SAINT GREAL.
We cannot here attempt to take up the intricate and obscure question of the origin of the Arthurian body of Romance, including the romances of the Round Table and those of the quest of the St. Greal, about which so much has been written, in great part to little purpose except to be refuted by the next inquirer. In addition to the earlier speculations of Warburton, Tyrwhitt, Warton, Percy, and Ritson, and to what has been more recently advanced by Ellis, Southey, Scott, Dunlop, and other writers among ourselves, the Preface of the late Mr. Price to his edition of Warton's History of English Poetry (pp. 68, &c.), and the Introduction to Britannia after the Romans' (pp. vi. &c.), may be pointed out to the reader's attention. The theory of the author of the last-mentioned treatise is in some respects new and curious. "The great work," he observes, "and, as I may say, the Alcoran, of Arthurian romance was the Book of the Saint Greal. In truth, it is no romance, but a blasphemous imposture, more extravagant and daring than any other on record, in which it is endeavoured to pass off the mysteries of bardism for direct inspirations of the Holy Ghost." The original work, this writer holds, was actually composed in Welsh, as it professes to have been, in the year 717. “Greal,” he says, " is a Welsh word, signifying an aggregate of principles, a magazine; and the elementary world, or world of spi