the twelve volumes of Bouterwek, on the elegant literature of modern Europe. That of Spain occupies one of these volumes.

Wherever we are to look for the reasons, the fact will hardly be disputed, that, since Warton's learned fragment, no general literary history has been produced in England, which is likely to It is written with acuteness, perspicuity, and endure, with the exception of Hallam's late work, candor. Notwithstanding the writer is perhaps that, under the modest title of an "Introduction," too much under the influence of certain German gives a general survey of the scientific and literary theories then fashionable, his judgments, in the culture of Europe during three centuries. If the main, are temperate and sound, and he is entitled English have done so little in this way for their to great credit as the earliest pioneer in this unown literature, it can hardly be expected that they trodden field of letters. The great defect in the should do much for that of their neighbors. If book is the want of proper materials on which to they had extended their researches to the Conti- rest these judgments. Of this the writer more nent, it might probably have been in the direction than once complains. It is a capital defect, not to of Spain; for no country has been made with be compensated by any talent or diligence in the them the subject of so large historical investiga- author. For in this kind of writing, as we have tion. One or two good histories devoted to Italy said, books are facts, the very stuff, out of which and Germany, as many to the revolutionary period the history is to be made. of France-the country with which they are most Bouterwek had command of the great library nearly brought into contact-make up the sum of Göttingen. But it would not be safe to rely of what is of positive value in this way. But on any one library, however large, for supplying for Spain, a series of writers-Robertson, Wat- all the materials for an extended literary history. son, Dunlop, Lord Mahon, Coxe, some of the Above all, this is true of Spanish literature. The highest order, all respectable-have exhibited the difficulty of making a literary collection in Spain political annals of the monarchy under the Aus- is far greater than in most other parts of Europe. trian and Bourbon dynasties. Even at the present The booksellers' trade there is a very different moment, a still livelier interest seems to be affair from what it is in more favored regions. awakened to the condition of this romantic land. The taste for reading is not, or, rather, has not Two excellent works, by Head and by Stirling-been, sufficiently active to create a demand for the the latter of especial value-have made the world republication always of even the best authors, the acquainted for the first time with the rich treasures of art in the Peninsula. And last, not least, Ford, in his Hand-Book and other works, has joined to a curious erudition that knowledge of the Spanish character and domestic institutions that can be obtained only from singular acuteness of observation combined with a long residence in the country he describes.

Spain, too, has been the favorite theme of more than one of our own writers, in history and romance; and now the long list is concluded by the attempt of the work before us to trace the progress of intellectual culture in the Peninsula.

ancient editions of whose works have become scarce and most difficult to be procured. The impediment to a free expression of opinion has condemned many more works to the silence of manuscript. And these manuscripts are preserved, or, to say truth, buried, in the collections of old families, or of public institutions, where it requires no ordinary interest with the proprietors, private or public, to be allowed to disinter them. Some of the living Spanish scholars are now busily at work in these useful explorations, the result of which they are giving from time to time to the world, in the form of livraisons, or numNo work on a similar extended plan is to be bers, which seem likely to form an important confound in Spain itself. Their own literary histo-tribution to historical science. For the impulse ries have been chiefly limited to the provinces, or thus given to these patriotic labors the world is to particular departments of letters. We may mainly indebted to the late venerable Navarrete, except, indeed, the great work of Father Andres, who, in his own person, led the way by the pubwhich, comprehending the whole circle of Eu-lication of a series of important historical docuropean science and literature, left but a compara-ments. It is only from these obscure and uncertively small portion to his own country. name may also be added that of Lampillas, whose work, however, from its rambling and its controversial character, throws but a very partial and unsatisfactory glance on the topics which he touches.

To his tain repositories, and from booksellers' stalls, that the more rare and recondite works, in which Spain is so rich, can be procured; and it is only under great advantages that the knowledge of their places of deposit can be obtained, and that, having obtained it, the works can be had, at a price proportioned to their rarity. The embarrassments caused by this circumstance have been greatly diminished under the more liberal spirit of the present day, which, on a few occasions, has even unlocked the jealous archives of Simancas, that Robertson, backed by the personal authority of the British ambassador, strove in vain to penetrate.

The only books on a similar plan, which cover the same ground with the one before us, are the histories of Bouterwek and Sismondi. The former was written as part of a great plan for the illustration of European art and science since the revival of learning-projected by a literary association in Göttingen. The plan, as is too often the case in such copartnerships, was very imperfectly executed. The best fruits of it were

Spanish literature occupies also one volume of

On his return home, Mr. Ticknor entered at once on his academic labors, and delivered a series of lectures on the Castilian and French literatures, as well as on some portions of the English, before successive classes, which he continued to repeat, with the occasional variation of oral instruction, during the fifteen years he remained at the University.

Sismondi's popular work on the culture of South- modern Europe attracted the notice of Sir Walter ern Europe. But Sismondi was far less instructed Scott, who, in a letter to Southey, printed in in literary criticism than his German predecessor, Lockhart's Life, speaks of his young guest (Mr. of whose services he has freely availed himself in Ticknor was then at Abbotsford) as a wonderful the course of his work. Indeed, he borrows from fellow for romantic lore." him not merely thoughts, but language, translating from the German page after page, and incorporating it with his own eloquent commentary. He does not hesitate to avow his obligations; but they prove at once his own deficiencies in the performance of his critical labors, as well as in the possession of the requisite materials. Sismondi's ground was civil history, whose great lessons no one had meditated more deeply; and it is in the application of these lessons to the character of the Spaniards, and in tracing the influence of that character on their literature, that a great merit of his work consists. He was, moreover, a Frenchman-or, at least, a Frenchman in language and education; and he was prepared, therefore, to correct some of the extravagant theories of the German critics, and to rectify some of their judgments by a moral standard, which they had entirely overlooked in their passion for the beautiful.

With all his merits, however, and the additional grace of a warm and picturesque style, his work, like that of Bouterwek, must be admitted to afford only the outlines of the great picture, which they have left to other hands to fill up in detail, and on a far more extended plan. To accomplish this great task is the purpose of the volumes before us; we are now to inquire, with what result. But, before entering on the inquiry, we will give some account of the preparatory training of the writer, and the materials which he has brought together.

Mr. Ticknor, who now comes before the world in the avowed character of an author, has long enjoyed a literary reputation which few authors who have closed their career might not envy. While quite a young man, he was appointed to fill the chair of modern literature in Harvard College, on the foundation of the late Samuel Eliot, a name to be honored by the scholar, not only for its generous patronage, but for the important services it has rendered, and still renders, to the cause of letters. To prepare himself for this post, Mr. Ticknor visited Europe, and passed several years there, to study the languages and literatures of the different countries on their own soil. A long time was passed in diligent study at Göttingen. In Paris, he explored, under able teachers, the difficult romance dialects, the medium of the beautiful Provençal.

During his residence in Spain, he perfected himself in the Castilian, and established an intimacy with her most eminent scholars, who aided him in the collection of rare books and manuscripts, to which he assiduously devoted himself. It is a proof of the literary consideration which, even at that early age, he had obtained in the society of Madrid, that he was elected a corresponding member of the Royal Academy of History. His acquisitions in the early literature of

We well remember the sensation produced on the first delivery of these lectures, which served to break down the barrier which had so long confined the student to a converse with antiquity; they opened to him a free range among those great masters of modern literature who had hitherto been veiled in the obscurity of a foreign idiom. The influence of this instruction was soon visible in the higher education, as well as the literary ardor shown by the graduates. So decided was the impulse thus given to the popular sentiment, that considerable apprehension was felt lest modern literature was to receive a disproportionate share of attention in the scheme of collegiate education.

After the lapse of fifteen years so usefully employed, Mr. Ticknor resigned his office, and, thus released from his academic labors, paid a second visit to Europe, where, in a second residence of three years, he much enlarged the amount and the value of his literary collection. In the more perfect completion of this he was greatly assisted by the professor of Arabic in the University of Madrid, Don Pascual de Gayangos, a scholar to whose literary sympathy and assistance more than one American writer has been indebted, and who, to a profound knowledge of Oriental literature, unites one equally extensive in the European.

With these aids, and his own untiring efforts, Mr. Ticknor succeeded in bringing together a body of materials in print and manuscript, for the illustration of the Castilian, such as, probably, has no rival either in public or private collections. This will be the more readily believed, when we find that nearly every author employed in the composition of this great work-with the exception of a few for which he has made ample acknowledgments-is to be found on his own shelves. We are now to consider in what manner he has availed himself of this inestimable collection of materials.

The title of the book-the "History of Spanish Literature"-is intended to comprehend all that relates to the poetry of the country, its romances, and works of imagination of every sort, its criticism and eloquence-in short, whatever can be brought under the head of elegant literature. Even its chronicles and regular histories are included; for, though scientific in their import, they are still, in respect to their style and their execution as works of art, brought into the department of ornamental writing. In Spain, freedom of

thought, or, at least, the free expression of it, has been so closely fettered, that science, in its strictest sense, has made little progress in that unhappy country, and a history of its elegant literature is, more than in any other land, a general history of its intellectual progress.

and exhibiting all the characteristics of an unformed idiom, but, with its rough melody, well suited to the expression of the warlike and stirring incidents in which it abounds. It is impossible to peruse it without finding ourselves carried back to the heroic age of Castile; and we feel that, in its simple and cordial portraiture of existing man

period than is to be gathered from the more forma pages of the chronicler. Heeren has pronounced that the poems of Homer were one of the principal bonds which held the Grecian states together. The assertion may seem extravagant; but we can well understand that a poem like that of the Cid, with all its defects as a work of art, by its proud historic recollections of an heroic age, should do much to nourish the principle of patriotism in the bosoms of the people.

The work is divided into three great periods, having reference to time rather than to any philo-ners, we get a more vivid impression of the feudal sophical arrangement. Indeed, Spanish literature affords less facilities for such an arrangement than the literature of many other countries, as that of England and Italy, for example, where, from different causes, there have been periods exhibiting literary characteristics that stamp them with a peculiar physiognomy. For example, in England we have the age of Elizabeth, the age of Queen Anne, our own age. In Italy, the philosophical arrangement seems to correspond well enough with the chronological. Thus, the Trecentisti, the Seicentisti, convey ideas as distinct and as independent of each other as the different schools of Italian art. But, in Spain, literature is too deeply tinctured at its fountain-head, not to retain somewhat of the primitive coloring through the whole course of its descent. Patriotism, chivalrous loyalty, religious zeal, under whatever modification, and under whatever change of circumstances, have constituted, as Mr. Ticknor has well insisted, the enduring elements of the national literature. And it is this obvious preponderance of these elements throughout, which makes the distribution into separate masses, on any philosophical principle, extremely difficult. A proof of this is afforded by the arrangement now adopted by Mr. Ticknor himself, in the limit assigned to his first period, which is considerably shorter than that assigned to it in his original Lectures. The alteration, as we shall take occasion to notice hereafter, is, in our judgment, a decided improvement.

The first great division embraces the whole time from the earliest appearance of a written document in the Castilian to the commencement of the

sixteenth century, the reign of Charles the Fifth, a period of nearly four centuries.

From the "Cid" Mr. Ticknor passes to the review of several other poems of the thirteenth, and some of the fourteenth century. They are usually of considerable length. The Castilian muse, at the outset, seems to have delighted in works of longue haleine. Some of them are of a satirical character, directing their shafts against the clergy, with an independence which seems to have marked also the contemporaneous productions of other nations, but which, in Spain at least, was rarely found at a later period. Others of these venerable productions are tinged with the religious bigotry which enters so largely into the best portions of the Castilian literature.

One of the most remarkable poems of the period is the Danza General-the "Dance of Death." The subject is not original with the Spaniards, and has been treated by the bards of other nations in the elder time. It represents the ghastly revels of the dread monarch, to which all are summoned, of every degree, from the potentate to the peasant.

society, from the Pope to the young child, appear dancing with the skeleton form of Death. In this Spanish version it is striking and picturesquemore so, perhaps, than in any other the ghastly nature of the subject being brought into a very lively contrast with the festive tone of the verses, which frequently recalls some of the better parts of those flowing stories that now and then occur in the " Mirror for Magistrates."

It is founded on the well-known fiction, so often illustrated both in painting and in verse during the Middle Ages, that all men, of all conditions, are summoned to the Dance of Death; a kind of spirAt the very outset, we are met by the remark-itual masquerade, in which the different ranks of able Poem of the Cid, that primitive epic, which, like the Nieblungenlied or the Iliad, stands as the traditional legend of an heroic age, exhibiting all the freshness and glow which belong to the morning of a nation's existence. The name of the author, as is often the case with those memorials of the olden time, when the writer thought less of himself than of his work, has not come down to us. Even the date of its composition is uncertain-probably before the year 1200; a century earlier than the poem of Dante; a century and a half before Petrarch and Chaucer. The subject of it, as its name imports, is, the achievements of the renowned Ruy Diaz de Bivar-the Cid, the Campeador," the lord, the champion," as he was fondly styled by his countrymen, as well as by his Moorish foes, in commemoration of his prowess, chiefly displayed against the infidel. The versification is the fourteen-syllable measure, artless,

The first seven stanzas of the Spanish poem constitute a prologue, in which Death issues his summons partly in his own person, and partly in that of a preaching friar, ending thus :—

Come to the Dance of Death, all ye whose fate
By birth is mortal, be ye great or small:
And willing come, nor loitering, nor late,
Else force shall bring you struggling to my thrall:
For since yon friar hath uttered loud his call
To penitence and godliness sincere,
He that delays must hope no waiting here;
For still the cry is, Haste! and, Haste to all!

Death now proceeds, as in the old pictures and its verses by Mr. Ticknor, with his few prefatory poems, to summon, first, the Pope, then cardi- remarks :nals, kings, bishops, and so on, down to day-laborers; all of whom are forced to join his mortal dance, though each first makes some remonstrance, that indicates surprise, horror, or reluctance. The call to youth and beauty is spirited :—

Bring to my dance, and bring without delay,
Those damsels twain, you see so bright and fair;
They came, but came not in a willing way,

To list my chants of mortal grief and care:
Nor shall the flowers and roses fresh they wear,
Nor rich attire, avail their forms to save.
They strive in vain who strive against the grave;
It may not be; my wedded brides they are.


Another poem, of still higher pretensions, but, like the last, still in manuscript, is the Poema de José-The "Poem of Joseph." It is, probably, the work of one of those Spanish Arabs who remained under the Castilian domination after the great body of their countrymen had retreated. is written in the Castilian dialect, but in Arabic characters, as was not very uncommon with the writings of the Moriscoes. The story of Joseph is told, moreover, conformably to the version of the Koran, instead of that of the Hebrew Scrip


The manner in which the Spanish and the Arabic races were mingled together after the great invasion produced a strange confusion in their languages. The Christians who were content to dwell in their old places under the Moslem rule, while they retained their own language, not unfrequently adopted the alphabetical characters of their conquerors. Even the coins struck by some of the ancient Castilian princes, as they recovered their territory from the invaders, were stamped with Arabic letters. Not unfrequently, the archives and municipal records of the Spanish cities, for a considerable time after their restoration to their own princes, were also written in Arabic characters. On the other hand, as the great inundation gradually receded, the Moors who lingered behind under the Spanish sway often adopted the language of their conquerors, but retained their own written alphabet. In other words, the Christians kept their language and abandoned their alphabetical characters; while the Moslems kept their alphabetical characters and abandoned their language. The contrast is curious, and may, perhaps, be accounted for by the fact, that the superiority conceded by the Spaniards to the Arabic literature in this early period led the few scholars among them to adopt, for their own compositions, the characters in which that literature was written, The Moriscoes, on the other hand, did what was natural, when they retained their peculiar writing, to which they had been accustomed in the works of their countrymen, while they conformed to the Castilian language, to which they had become accustomed in daily intercourse with the Spaniard. However explained, the fact is curious. But it is time we should return to the Spanish Arab poem.

We give the following translation of some of

On the first night after the outrage, Jusuf, as he is called in the poem, when travelling along in charge of a negro, passes a cemetery on a hill-side where his mother lies buried.

And when the negro heeded not,
That guarded him behind,
From off the camel Jusuf sprang,
On which he rode confined,
And hastened, with all speed
His mother's grave to find,
Where he knelt and pardon sought,
To relieve his troubled mind."

He cried, "God's grace be with thee still,
O Lady mother dear!

O mother, you would sorrow,

If you looked upon me here;
For my neck is bound with chains,
And I live in grief and fear,

Like a traitor by my brethren sold,
Like a captive to the spear.

"They have sold me! they have sold me!
Though I never did them harm;
They have torn me from my father,
From his strong and living arm,
By art and cunning they enticed me,
And by falsehood's guilty charm,
And I go a base-bought captive,
Full of sorrow and alarm."
But now the negro looked about,
And knew that he was gone,
For no man could be seen,

And the camel came alone :
So he turned his sharpened ear,
And caught the wailing tone,
Where Jusuf, by his mother's grave,
Lay making heavy moan.

And the negro hurried up,

And gave him there a blow;
So quick and cruel was it,

That it instant laid him low:
"A base-born wretch," he cried aloud,
"A base-born thief art thou:
Thy masters, when we purchased thee,
They told us it was so."
But Jusuf answered straight,
"Nor thief nor wretch am I;
My mother's grave is this,
And for pardon here I cry ;
I cry to Allah's power,

And send my prayer on high,
That, since I never wronged thee,
His curse may on thee lie."

And then all night they travelled on,
Till dawned the coming day,
When the land was sore tormented
With a whirlwind's furious sway;
The sun grew dark at noon,
Their hearts sunk in dismay,

And they knew not, with their merchandise,
To seek or make their way.

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The manuscript of the piece, containing about 1200 verses, though not entirely perfect, is in Mr. Ticknor's hands, with its original Arabic characters converted into the Castilian. He has saved it from the chances of time by printing it at length in his appendix, accompanied by the following commendations, which, to one practised in the old Castilian literature, will probably not be thought beyond its deserts.

There is little, as it seems to me, in the early narrative poetry of any modern nation better worth reading than this old Morisco version of the story of Joseph. Parts of it overflow with the tenderest

I am acquainted with nothing in the form of the old metrical romance that is more attractive

nothing that is so peculiar, original, and separate from everything else of the same class.

natural affection; other parts are deeply pathetic; | every science but that which would have been of and everywhere it bears the impress of the extraor-more worth to him than all the rest-the science dinary state of manners and society that gave it of government. He died in exile, leaving behind birth. From several passages, it may be inferred that it was publicly recited; and even now, as we him the reputation of being the wisest fool in read it, we fall unconsciously into a long-drawn Christendom. chant, and seem to hear the voices of Arabian In glancing over the list of works which, from camel-drivers, or of Spanish muleteers, as the their anomalous character as well as their antiqOriental or the romantic tone happens to prevail.uity, are arranged by Mr. Ticknor in one class, introductory to his history, we are struck with the compared with that of an age of civilization, but great wealth of the period-not great, certainly, as compared with the productions of most other With these anonymous productions, Mr. Tick-countries in this portion of the Middle Ages. nor enters into the consideration of others from an Much of this ancient lore, which may be said to acknowledged source, among which are those of constitute the foundations of the national literathe Prince Don Juan Manuel and Alfonso the ture, has been but imperfectly known to the Tenth, or Alfonso the Wise, as he is usually Spaniards themselves; and we have to acknowltermed. He was one of those rare men who edge our obligations to Mr. Ticknor, not only for seemed to be possessed of an almost universal the diligence with which he has brought it to genius. His tastes would have been better suited light, but for the valuable commentaries, in text to a more refined period. He was, unfortunately, and notes, which supply all that could reasonably so far in advance of his age that his age could be demanded, both in a critical and bibliographical not fully profit by his knowledge. He was raised point of view. To estimate the extent of this so far above the general level of his time, that the information, we must compare it with what we light of his genius, though it reached to distant have derived on the same subject from his predegenerations, left his own in a comparative obscu-cessors; where the poverty of original materials, rity. His great work was the code of the Sicte Partidas-little heeded in his own day, though destined to become the basis of Spanish jurisprudence both in the Old World and in the New.

as well as of means for illustrating those actually possessed, is apparent at a glance. Sismondi, with some art, conceals this poverty, by making the most of the little finery at his command. Alfonso caused the Bible, for the first time, to Thus his analysis of the Poem of the Cid, which be translated into the Castilian. He was an his- he had carefully read, together with his prose torian, and led the way in the long line of Cas- translation of no inconsiderable amount, covers a tilian writers in that department, by his Cronica fifth of what he has to say on the whole period, General. He aspired also to the laurel of the embracing more than four centuries. He has one Muses. His poetry is still extant in the Galli- fine bit of gold in his possession, and he makes cian dialect, which, the monarch thought, might the most of it, by hammering it out into a superin the end be the cultivated dialect of his king-ficial extent altogether disproportionate to its real dom. The want of a settled capital, or, to speak more correctly, the want of civilization, had left the different elements of the language contending as it were for the mastery. The result was still uncertain at the close of the thirteenth century. Alfonso himself did, probably, more than any other to settle it, by his prose compositions-by the Siete Partidas and his Chronicle, as well as by the vernacular version of the Scriptures. The Gallician became the basis of the language of the sister kingdom of Portugal, and the generous dialect of Castile became, in Spain, the language

of the court and of literature.


Our author distributes the productions which occupy the greater part of the remainder of his first period into four great classes:-Ballads, Chronicles, Romances of Chivalry, and the Drama. The mere enumeration suggests the idea of that rude, romantic age, when the imagination, impatient to find utterance, breaks through the impediments of an unformed dialect, or, rather, converts it into an instrument for its purposes. Before looking at the results, we must briefly notice the circumstances under which they were effected.

Alfonso directed his attention also to matheThe first occupants of the Peninsula who left matical science. His astronomical observations abiding traces of their peculiar civilization were are held in respect at the present day. But, as the Romans. Six tenths of the language now Mariana sarcastically intimates, while he was spoken are computed to be derived from them. gazing at the stars he forgot the earth, and lost Then came the Visigoths, bringing with them the his kingdom. His studious temper was ill accom- peculiar institutions of the Teutonic races. And modated to the stirring character of the times. lastly, after the lapse of three centuries, came the He was driven from his throne by his factious great Saracen inundation, which covered the whole nobles; and in a letter written not long before land up to the northern mountains, and, as it slowly his death, of which Mr. Ticknor gives a transla-receded, left a fertilizing principle, that gave life tion, the unhappy monarch pathetically deplores to much that was good as well as evil in the charhis fate and the ingratitude of his subjects.acter and literature of the Spaniards. It was near Alfonso the Tenth seemed to have at command the commencement of the eighth century that the

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