« السابقةمتابعة »
without any such, we might confidently affirm that a people could never have been without a poetry, which existed under circumstances so favourable for its production as the Italian peasantry; and, if possessing a poetry, that it would be such as should find its expression in the old Italian numbers, and not in the Greek exotic metres. It is true that verses composed in these old and native numbers, on rhythmic, and not on metrical, principles, do not openly re-appear, that is, with any claims to be considered as literature, until the foreign domination began to relax its hold; but that no sooner was this the case, than at once they witness for their presence, putting themselves forth anew.
160, in which, having spoken of the ruder verses of an earlier day he goes on to say:
sed in longum tamen ævum Manserunt, hodieque manent vestigia ruris.
All that he is here affirming is, that there were yet marks of rusticity (vestigia ruris) which had not been quite got rid of, cleaving to the cultivated poetry of his country, to that which in the main was formed upon Greek models. Muratori falls into the same error, who explains the words of Horace in this way: Hoc est, quamvis a Græcis didicerimus metri regulas, et pro rudibus rusticorum rhythmis castigatos nunc politosque versus conficiamus, attamen rhythmica poësis perduravit semper et adhuc apud vulgus viget.
* There is much instructive on this subject in a little article by Niebuhr, in the Rhein. Museum, 1829, p. 1–8. On the reappearance of the supprest popular poetry of Italy, he says: Es ist auch wohl sehr begreiflich wie damals, als das eigentliche Latein, und die Formen der Litteratur nur mühselig durch die Schulen erhalten wurden, manches, volksmässige sich frey machte, wieder empor kam, und einen Platz unter dem einnahm, was die verblödete Schule seit Jahrhunderten geweiht hatte. Der neugriechische politische Vers, welcher dem Tact des Tanzes ent
As something of an analogous case, we know that many words which Attius and Nævius used, and which during the Augustan period seemed to have been entirely lost, do begin to emerge and present themselves afresh in Appuleius, Prudentius, and Tertullian. The number of words which are thus not Augustan, and yet are at once ante- and post-Augustan, must have struck every attentive observer of the growth and progress of the Latin tongue. The reappearance of these in writers of the silver age, is often explained as an affected seeking of archaisms on their parts; yet much more probably, the words were under literary ban for a time, but had lived on in popular speech, and when that ban was removed, or was unable any more to give effect to its decrees, shewed themselves anew in books, as they had always continued alive in the common language of the people.
By thus going back toward the origins of the Latin literature, we can better understand how it came to pass, that when there arose up in the Christian Church a desire to escape from the confinement of the classical metres, and to exchange metrical for rhythmical laws, the genius of the language lent, instead of opposing, itself to the change. It was instinctively conscious, that this new which was aimed at was also the old, indeed, the oldest of all; the recovering of a natural position from an unnatural and strained one:-to which therefore it reverted the more easily.
spricht, ist ja der nämliche wonach König Philippus siegstrunken
Δημοσθένης Δημοσθένους Παιανιεὺς τάδ ̓ εἶπε
nur dass Accent, nicht Sylbenmaass, dabey beachtet wird.
And other motives, having their origin no less in the same fact, that quantity was not indigenous to the Latin soil, and therefore had struck no deep root, and obtained no wide recognition, in the universal sense of the people, were not wanting to induce the poet of these later times to abandon the ancient metres, and expatiate in the freer region of accented verse. Such a consummation was helped on and hastened by that gradual ignorance of the quantity of words, which, with the waning and fading away of classical learning under the barbarian invasions, became every day wider spread. Even where the poet himself was sufficiently acquainted with the quantitative value of words, the number of readers or hearers who still kept this knowledge was every day growing less in the Roman world; the majority being incapable of appreciating his skill, or finding any satisfying melody in his versification, the principles of which they did not understand; while the accentual value of words, as something self-evident, would be recognized by every ear.
And this fact that it was so, wrought effectually in another way. For perhaps the most important step of all, for the freeing of verse from the fetters of prosody, and that which was most fatal to the maintenance of the old metrical system, was the introduction of liturgic chanting into the services of the Church-although this indeed was only the working out, in a particular direction, of that new spirit which was animating it in every part. The Christian hymns were composed to be sung, and to be sung at first by the whole congregation of the faithful, who were only little by little thrust out from their share in this part of the service. But the
classical or prosodical valuation of words would have been clearly inappreciable by the greater number of those whom it was desired thus to draw in to take part in the worship. If the voices of the assembled multitudes were indeed claimed for this, it could only be upon some scheme which should commend itself to all by its simplicity-which should appeal to some principle intelligible to every man, whether he had received an education of the schools, or not. Quantity, with its values so often merely fictitious, and so often inconsistent one with another, could no longer be main tained as the basis of harmony. The Church naturally fell back on accent, which is essentially popular, appealing to the common sense of every ear, and in its broader features, in its simple rise and fall, appreciable by all ;-which had also in its union with music this advantage, that it allowed to those, who were much more concerned about what they said, than how they said it, and could ill brook to be crossed and turned out of their way by rules and restraints, the necessity of which they did not acknowledge, far greater liberty than quantity would have allowed them; inasmuch as the music, in its choral harmonies, was ever ready to throw its broad mantle over the verse, to conceal its weakness, and, where needful, to cover its multitude of sins.*
*See F. Wolf, Ueber die Lais, p. 82-84.
ON RHYME IN LATIN VERSE.
HIS much on the substitution of accent for quantity. But hand in hand with the process of exchanging metre for a merely accentuated rhythm went another movement, I mean the tendency to rhyme. Of this it might doubtless be affirmed no less than of the other, that it was only a recovery of the lost; having its first origin, or at all events its very clear anticipation, in the early national poetry of Rome. This too, except for that event which gave to the Latin language a second lease of life, and evoked from it capacities which had been dormant in it hitherto, might not and probably would not now have ever unfolded itself there, the first and apparently more natural opportunity having long since past away. Such an opportunity it had once enjoyed. There is quite enough in the remains of early Latin poetry which we possess, to shew that rhyme was not a new element, altogether alien to the language, which was forced upon it by the Christian poets in the days of its decline. There were early preludings of that which should indeed only fully and systematically unfold itself at the last. The tendencies of the Saturnian, and of such other fragments of ancient Latin verse as have reached us, to terminations of a like sound, have been often noticed*, as this from the Andromache of Ennius:
* Lange however goes much too far, when he affirms (see Jahn, Jahrbuch der Philologie, 1830, p. 256) that it systema