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remove offences which otherwise the reader, nourished exclusively upon classical lore, might easily. take at many things which in this volume he will find; and may otherwise assist to put him in a fairer position for appreciating the compositions which it contains.

When, then, we attempt to trace the rise and growth of the Latin poetry of the Christian Church, and the manner in which, making use, in part and for a season, of what it found ready to its hand, it did yet detach itself more and more from the classical poetry of Rome, we take note of the going forward at the same time of two distinct processes. But these, distinct as they are, we observe also combining for the formation of the new, together giving to it its peculiar character, and constituting it something more than such a continuation of the old classical poetry, as should only differ from it in the subjects which supplied to it its theme, while in all things else it remained unchanged. These processes, as I have said, are entirely distinct from one another, have no absolutely necessary connexion, closely related as undoubtedly they were; the first being the disintegration of the old prosodical system of Latin verse, under the gradual substitution of accent for quantity; and the second, the employment of rhyme, within, or at the close of, the verse, as a means for marking rhythm, and a resource for the producing of melody. They have no absolutely necessary connexion. There might have been the first without the second-accent without rhyme-as in our own blank heroic verse, and occasional blank lyrics; nor are there wanting various and successful examples, in this very later Latin poetry, of the same kind. There was the second, rhyme with

out the displacing of quantity by accent, in the rhymed hexameters, pentameters, and sapphics wherein the monkish poets of the middle ages indulged, still preserving as far as they knew, and often altogether, the laws of metrical quantity, but adding rhyme as a further ornament to the verse.

Thus the results of the two processes, namely, an accentuated, and a rhymed, poetry, might have existed separately, as indeed occasionally they do; and growing up independently of one another, they ought to be traced independently also. Yet still, since only in the union of the two could results have been produced so satisfying, so perfect in their kind, as those which the Latin sacred poetry offers to us; since they did in fact essentially promote and sustain one another; the manner in which they mutually re-acted one on the other, in which the one change rendered almost imperative the other, the common spirit out of which both the transformations proceeded, should not be allowed to pass unobserved being rather a principal matter to which he who would explain and trace the change should direct his own and his reader's attention.

I propose to say something first on the substitution of accent for quantity, an accented for a prosodic verse; which, however, is a subject that will demand one or two preliminary remarks.

There is one very noticeable difference between the Christian literature of the Greek and Roman world on the one side, and all other and later Christian literatures on the other-namely, that those Greek and Latin are, so to speak, a new budding and blossoming out of

an old stock; and this a stock which, when the Church was founded, had already put forth, or was in the act of putting forth, all that in the natural order of things, and but for the quickening breath of a new and unexpected life, it could ever have unfolded. They are as a second and a later spring, coming in the rear of the timelier and the first. For that task which the word of the Gospel had to accomplish in all other regions of man's life, it had also to accomplish in this. It was not granted to it at first entirely to make or mould a society of its own. A harder task was assigned itbeing, as it was, superinduced on a society that had come into existence, and had gradually assumed the shape which now it wore, under very different conditions, and in obedience to very different influences from its own. Of this it had to make the best which it could; only to reject and to put under ban that which was absolutely incurable therein, and directly contradicted its own fundamental idea; but of the rest to assimilate to itself what was capable of assimilation; to transmute what was willing to be transmuted; to consecrate what was prepared to receive from it a higher consecration; and altogether to adjust, not always with perfect success, but as best it might, and often at the cost of much forbearance and self-sacrifice, its relations to the old, that had grown up under heathen auspices, and was therefore very different from what it would have been, had the leaven of the word of life mingled with and wrought in it from the first, instead of coming in, a later addition to it, at the end of time.

Thus was it in almost every sphere of man's life and of his moral and intellectual activity; yet we have

here to speak only of one-that, namely, of literature and language. All the modern literatures and languages of Europe Christianity has mainly made what they are; to it they owe all that characterizes them the most strongly. For although, as it needs not to say, the languages themselves reach back in their elemental rudiments to a time far anterior to the earliest in which the Gospel came, or could have come, in contact with them, or indeed had been proclaimed at all; yet it did thus mingle with them early enough to find them still in that wondrous and mysterious process of their first evolution. They were yet plastic and fluent, as all languages are at a certain period of their existence, though a period generally just out of the ken of the history. And the languages rose to a level with the claims which the new religion of the Spirit made upon them. Formed and fashioned under its influence, they dilated till they were equal to its needs, and adequate exponents, as far as language ever can become so, of the deepest things which it possessed.*

But it was otherwise in regard of the Latin language. That, when the Church arose, requiring of it to be the organ of her Divine Word, to tell out all the new, and as yet undreamt of, which was stirring in her bosom ; demanding of it that it should reach her needs, needs which had hardly or not at all existed, while the language was in process of formation-that was already full formed; it had reached its climacteric, and was

* See some beautiful remarks on the Christianizing of the German language in the Theol. Stud. und Krit., vol. xxii. p. 308, sqq.; and again in Rudolf von Raumer's Einwirkung d. Christenthums auf die Althochdeutsche Sprache, p. 168, sqq.

indeed verging, though as yet imperceptibly, toward decay, with all the stiffness of commencing age already upon it. Such the Church found it-something to which a new life might perhaps be imparted, but the first life of which it was well nigh overlived. She found it a garment narrower than she could wrap herself withal, and yet the only one within reach. But she did not forego the expectation of one day obtaining all which she wanted, nor even for the present did she sit down entirely contented with the inadequate and insufficient. Herself young and having the spirit of life, she knew that the future was her own-that she was set in the world for this very purpose of making all things new-that what she needed and did not find, there must lie in her the power of educing from herself -that, though it might not be all at once, yet little by little, she could weave whatever vestments were required by her for comeliness and beauty. And we do observe the language under the new influence, as at the breath of a second spring, putting itself forth anew, budding and blossoming afresh, the meaning of words enlarging and dilating, old words coming to be used in new and higher significations, obsolete words reviving, new words being coined*-with much in all this to offend the classical taste, which yet, being inevitable, ought not to offend, and of which the gains far more than compensated the losses. There was a new thing, and that being so, it was of necessity that there should be a new utterance as well. To be offended with this is, in

*See Funccius, De Vegetâ Latine Linguæ Senectute, p. 1139,


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