Page images

Nostradamus gives some account of eleven of these, but mentions no particulars of importance. Of one of them, Pystoueta by name, he preserves only the following conceit:

“Most cruel lady, yet most fair!

I would. I had a Syrian dove,
Like that of Mahomet, to bear

My hourly messages of love:
Then should'st thou hear of ceaseless sighs

Of nights in wakeful anguish past-
Of secret tears that stain my eyes

And thou should'st pity me at last."--p. 200. In the mean time, William of Amalrics, another troubadour at the court of the count, was exemplifying the advantage which the practical man has over the mere man of theory and speculation. Instead of wishing for the pigeon of Mahomet, a wish that of course could not be realized--he contented him. self with employing a young damsel, of the name of Arondelle, to carry messages to his mistress, “who awakened her every morning and would not let her sleep." Notwithstanding this diligence in his assiduities towards the lady of his heart, and the continual composition of verses in her praise, he found time, as we are told by Nostradamus, to address a love song to the pretty Arondelle herself, and even to indite several on spiritual subjects.

The rewards, which the troubadours received for the occasional exhibition of their talent, often throw curious light upon the manners of the age. Peter of Auvergne was in the habit of exacting and receiving, as the price of his recitations, a kiss from the fairest lady in the company. Bertrand de Pezars and his wife, both troubadours, having recited certain poems, full of agreeable flatteries, in the presence of Joanna, queen of Naples, and Louis of Tarento her husband, the king gave the poet one of his beautiful silk mantles, and the queen presented his wife with one of her petticoats of crimson velvet. Peter of Ruer was driven to an odd expedient, to provide himself with coin.

“ After having loved his mistress a long time, without being able to obtain audience of her, because he lacked both money and horses, he borrowed the habit of a pilgrim, which the people at that day had in great veneration, by reason of the sanctity that was therein, and came, during Holy Week, when all the world were at their devotions, to a castle near Aix in Provence, named Mount: St. Reparade.' And having spoken to the curate and vicar of the church there, and shown them cer


papers folded, in his hand, which he said contained a permission from the bishop, he went into the pulpit on Good Fri. day, for want of a better preacher and explainer of the word of God, and began to say some little prayers for the dead. And then, with a bold front and an unabashed countenance, be sung this song of love, for other things he knew not.

Alas, to preach or pray avails me not,

Nor flower of Eglantine, nor linnet's lay,
Nor gladness on the softening breezes brought,

When God restores to earth the gentle May,
When the gay fields in early green are clad,
And even the unfenced wilderness is glad.
Ah! little these avail-my vacant eyes

Wander on scenes that bring me no delight,
For deep within my aching bosom lies

A sorrow that consumes it day and night.
Full gladly would I change this cureless pain,

For the dark dungeon, and the clanking chain." “And having finished his song, he went on with some exhortation to the people, who, being greatly moved, wept and sighed bitterly, thinking that what they had heard was a prayer to the Virgin Mary, or some other saint. And then he sung the seven penitential psalms in rhyme, with which they were greatly delighted, and having given them his benediction, he came down from the pulpit, with a downcast countenance, and all in rags as he was, placed himself at the gate of the church to ask alms. Before going thence, his hat was full of money. And this being done, he returned well clad, according to the fashion of those times, to his lady at Aix, who, seeing him so handsome apparelled, received him with great favour."--pp. 182 -184.

This Peter of Ruer seems to have been a kind of mocker; but Bernard of Rascas, a contemporary, had more respect for the religion of his country. The death of a beautiful girl whom he loved, weaned him from the vanities of the world in

* Pauc m’anvalgut mos precs, ny mos prezics,

Ny jauzimen d'Ausel ny flour d’Eglay
Ny lou plazer que Dieu transmet en May

Quand on vey verds lous prats, ny lous garrycs.
E pauc my val (segon so qu'yeu vey aras)

Lou Dol qu’yeu ay, que m'aucy, et m'accor;
Ou qu'yeu fussa reclus soubta un gran tor,

Que sufertar tant greus doulours amaras.

early youth. He first applied himself to the profession of law, in which he became eminent, and for some years was a judge at Marseilles, distinguished alike for his sagacity and equity.. The prevailing inclination of his mind, however, was to religious speculations, in which he became even more celebrated than in his profession. He resigned his office, and withdrew to the court of the Pope at Avignon, where he passed his life among learned and holy men, single, chaste, and hating the estate of marriage." Here he built and richly endowed a magnificent hospital “ for the poor of Jesus Christ.” In the following lines, given by Nostradamus as a specimen of his poetry, the reader will perceive an uncommon greatness and sublimity of thought, unless we have sadly marred them in the translation:

“ All things that are on earth shall wholly pass away,
Except the love of God, which shall live and last for aye.
The forms of men shall be as they had never been;
The blasted groves shall lose their fresh and tender green;
The birds of the thicket shall end their pleasant song,
And the nightingale shall cease to chant the evening long.

The kine of the pasture shall feel the dart that kills,
And all the fair white flocks shall perish from the hills.
The goat and antlered stag, the wolf, and the fox,
The wild boar of the wood, and the chamois of the rocks,
And the strong and fearless bear, in the trodden dust shall lie;
And the dolphin of the sea, and the mighty whale, shall die.
And realms shall be dissolved, ånd empires be no more,
And they shall bow to death, who ruled from shore to shore ;
And the great globe itself, (so the holy writings tell,)
With the rolling firmament, where the starry armies dwell,
Shall melt with fervent heat-they shall all pass away,
Except the love of God, which shall live and last for aye.

pp. 220, 221.

[ocr errors]

* Touta kausa mortala una fes perirá,

Fors que l'amour de Dieu, que tousiours durará.
Tous nostres cors vendran essuchs, coma fa l’Eska,
Lous Aubres leyssaran lour vendour tendra e fresca,
Lous Ausselets del bosc perdran lour kaut subtyeu,
E non s’auzira plus lou Rossignol gentyeu.
Lous Buols al Pastourgage, e las blankas fedettas
Seutran lous agulhons de las mortals Sagettas,
Lous crestas d'Arles fiers, Renards, e loups espars,
Kabrols, Cervys, Chamous, Senglars de toutes pars,
Lous Ours hardys e forts, seran poudra, e Arena,
Lou Daulphin en la Mar, lou Ton, e la Balena,
Moostres impetuous, Ryaumes, e Comtas,
Lous Princes, e lous Reys, seran per mort domtas.

We dismiss the work of Nostradamus, with quoting from it a single passage of unconscious satire, which escaped the good man, while writing the life of the Monk of the Golden Isles, his predecessor in the biography of the Provensal poets, and one whose character he seems to have regarded with great veneration. The instance of the monk of the Golden Isles is not the last, in which old attachments have been suddenly forgotten amid the splendor of new fortunes.

“His father, being burdened with many children, and unable to provide for them all, caused him to apply himself to learning. He became in love with a young lady of the house of Serente of Seyne, to the praise of whom he made many ballads, being a good Provensal poet. And seeing himself greatly esteemed and caressed by the great, he fell in love with another lady of Provence, of the house of Castillon, to whom he also addressed many learned and beautiful poems.”—p. 254.

Art. XI.-Address delivered before the American Academy of

Fine Arts. By William Beach LAWRENCE. New-York. James V. Seaman. 1825. We are great friends to the prevailing practice of delivering addresses on all public or anniversary occasions. We see no reason, indeed, why these orations may not become as prominent, as attractive, and as useful a department of our literature, as some others of far loftier pretensions. It has been well observed, that our peculiar form of government provides both the occasion and the means of every species and variety of popular discourse. Our numerous legislatures, our countless courts of justice, our churches, our colleges, our academies, our political and literary societies, are perpetually furnishing the subjects of interesting and instructive discussion and debate. The readiness with which an audience is obtained to these discourses, is at once a proof of their interest and their utility. He who has curious or valuable knowledge to impart, need never despair of finding many who will be eager to acquire it. We are not in the number of those who so pathetically deplore the neglect into which certain studies are apt to

E nota ben eysso káscun: la Terra granda,
(Ou l’Escritura ment) lou firmament que branda,
Prendra autra figura. Enfins tout perirá,

Fors que l'Amour de Dieu, que touiour durará


fall, if not forcibly sustained. On the contrary, we are so wicked as to rejoice at the disappearance of a science, which cannot flourish in a free country on the natural demand for it.

These remarks will apply, with equal force, to the subject of Mr. Lawrence's address as to the expediency of the general practice of delivering addresses. The discourse before us contains a brief but comprehensive notice of the progress of the Fine Arts, with some remarks upon their tendency, and the means of their improvement. Egypt is, of course, first noticed by Mr. Lawrence; and his observation, that the monuments of her arts show rather a criminal waste of national resource, than a sincere love of the works of genius, is a proof of his good sense. To those who reflect for a moment, the magnificence of tyranny seems as odious as its cruelty, and certainly more dangerous, because it throws a treacherous lustre around its other hateful attributes. The quotation from Volney is beautiful and apposite,* but no republican, we hope, yet remains to be convinced.-Mr. Lawrence next dilates on the condition of the Arts in Greece, and shows much discrimination in his analysis of their modifying causes. The necessity of determining how much was done by the voluntary exercise of genius, supported by the patronage of public taste, and how much was the effect of arbitrary power; or, in other words, how much was natural and salutary, and how much extorted and unjust, has never, we think, been sufficiently attended to. The same remark applies, with great additional force, to the combined effects of power and taste in modern Italy and France. We are much disposed to think, that we have borrowed from foreign writers, an inordinate admiration of these wonderful effects of tyrannical munificence. We pay too little regard to the oppressions, the exactions, the violation of private rights, and the prostration of sacred privileges, which were the unjust purchase-money of these splendid fruits of human genius. When we look upon the “ monuments of the magnificence” of Leo, and Nicholas, and Julius, and Louis, we either do not know, or will not recollect, the sweat, the groans, the tears, the

* We are grieved at the reflection, that it was necessary to harass an entire nation for twenty years, in order to construct a vain tomb. We lament the injustice and vexation which must have attended the forced labour, the transportation, the preparing and putting together of so many materials, and are irritated at the extravagance of the despots who coinmanded the execution of these barbarous works.-Voyage en Egypta, Vol. I. p. 231.

« PreviousContinue »