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guage was in process of formation—that was already
1 See Funccius, De Vegetá Latinæ Lingue Senectute, p. 1139 seq.
needed that there should be a new utterance as well. To be offended with this is, in truth, to be offended with Christianity, which made this to be inevitable.
We may make application of all which has been here said to the metrical forms of the classical poetry of Rome. These the Church found ready made to her hand, and in their kind having reached a very high perfection. A true instinct must have told her at once, or after a very few trials, that these were not the metrical forms which she required ; yet it was not to be supposed that she should have the courage immediately to cast them aside, and to begin the world, as it were, afresh or should have been enabled at once to foresee the more adequate forms which she should one day develop out of her own bosom. But these which she thus inherited, while she was content of necessity to use, yet could not satisfy her'. The Gospel had
? Dans le monde grec d'abord, puis, dans le monde romain, les chrétiens éprouvèrent le besoin de se servir des formes de la poésie antique et de les appliquer aux idées nouvelles. Les IVe et Ve sièc virent naître un assez grand no bre d'efforts en ce genre, surtout en Italie et en Espagne. Evidemment, ces tentatives souvent renouvelées étaient sans portée, sans avenir; les sentiments chrétiens les traditions chrétiennes ne pouvaient s'accommoder des formes créées pour un autre emploi, vieillies au service d'une autre Muse; évidemment, la littérature chrétienne devait produire sa propre forme, et c'est ce qu'elle a fait plus tard. Ce n'est pas quand elle a cherché à traduire ses inspirations dans le langage de Virgile, qu'elle a enfanté des ouvrages de quelque valeur ; c'est quand elle a inventé son épopée, avec Dante et Milton, et son drame dans les mystères du moyen âge, ou les actes sacramentaux de Calderon, qui ne sont qu'une résurrection et un raffinement des mystères ; c'est quand elle a inspiré ces beaux chants qui, depuis
brought into men's hearts longings after the infinite and the eternal, which were strange to it, at least in their present intensity, until now. Beauty of outline, beauty of form—and what a flood of light does that one word forma, as equivalent to beauty, pour on the difference between the heathen and the Christian ideal of beauty! ---this was all which the old poetry yearned after and strove to embody; this was all which its metrical frameworks were perfectly fitted for embodying. But now heaven had been opened, and henceforward the mystical element of modern poetry demanded its rights; vaguer but vaster thoughts were craving to find the harmonies to which they might be married for ever. The boundless could not be content to find its organ in that, of which the very perfection lay in its limitations and its bounds. The Christian poets were in holy earnest; a versification therefore could no longer be endured attached with no living bonds to the thoughts, in which sense and sound had no real correspondence with one another. The versification henceforth must have an intellectual value, which should associate it with the
Luther, n'ont cessé de retentir sous les voûtes des églises d'Allemagne. Alors la poésie chrétienne a fait son ouvre; jusque lá elle n'était qu'un calque pâle et un écho affaibli de la poésie païenne. (Ampère, Hist. Litt. de la France, t. 2, p. 196.) And again : Il faut que le chant chrétien dépouille entièrement ces lambeaux de métrique ancienne, qu'il se fasse complétement moderne par la rime comme par le sentiment; alors, on aura cette prose rimée empreinte d'une sombre harmonie, qui par la tristesse des sons et des images et le retour manaçant de la terminaison lugubre fait pressentir le Dante, on aura le Dies Ire. (t. 2, p. 412.)
onward movement of the thoughts and feelings; whereof it professed to be, and thus indeed should be, the expression. A struggle therefore commenced from the first, between the form and spirit-between the old heathen form and the new Christian spirit—the latter seeking to release itself from the shackles and restraints which the former imposed upon it; and which were to it, not a help and a support, as the form ought to be, but a hindrance and a weakness—not liberty, but now rather a most galling bondagel. The new wine went on fer
"We see already in Prudentius the process of emancipation effectually at work, the disintegration of the old prosodic system already beginning. He still affects to write, and in the main does write, prosodically; yet with largest licences. Now it is not for a moment to be supposed that he was more ignorant than most schoolboys of fourteen would be now, of the quantitative value which the old classical poets of Italy, with whose writings he was evidently familiar, had attributed to words'; yet we continually find him attributing another, postponing quantity to accent, or rather allowing accent to determine quantity, as cýāneus, Sardinia, énigma. As his latest editor has observed: Metrum haud rarò negligitur, quia poeta in arsi vv, majorem vim accentui quàm quantitati tribuit. (Obbarii Prudentius, p. 19.) The whole scheme of Latin prosody must have greatly loosened and let go its hold, before he could have used the freedom which he does use, in the shifting and altering the value of syllables. We mark in him especially a determination not to be deprived altogether of the use words through a metrical notation which excluded them in toto from a place in the hexameter. This technical hindrance shall not hold good, where the word is really required by him. Thus he writes těmulentus, delībutus, idololatrix, calceămentum, margāritum ; though as regards this last word, in an iambic verse, where there was no motive, but the contrary, for producing the antepenultima, he restores to that syllable its true quantity, and writes margărita. In the same way it was not ignorance nor caprice, but the feeling that they must have the word ecclesia at command, while yet, if
menting in the old bottles, till it burst them asunder, though not itself to be spilt and lost in the process, but
they left it with the antepenultima long, it could never find place
Verba si non obvia