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What was de- The Romans, mindful of what Greece had done,
Gave us a taste, a zest, for what is rare.
Our lovely women's lips and raven hair ;
And those dark sparkling eyes, which seldom spare-
What fron the Saxons ?
Without our Saxon blood, had we been free 1 ?
"Twere hard to say, for there's a .copious spring,
With us, we thank the People and the King,
1 In matters of small importance amongst the ancient Germans, the chiefs alone would often deliberate, but all important affairs were referred to the whole community. Tacit. de Moribus German. cap. ii.
She e'er could have been scorn'd, where earliest rock'd;
The cradle ? where she smil'd, I grieve to sing, Has other destinies.— The goddess mock’d, Where, in her virgin prime, she was invok'd !
Without our Saxon blood, may I yet ask,
Had we been gallant', energetic , shrewd ?
To what, or whom, is due the gratitude ;
2 The ancient Germans held women in high estimation, and believed that there was something almost sacred in their nature; nay, Cæsar informs us that they were supposed by them to have the power of divination.Cæsar, Bel. Gal. lib. i. c. 50. And Tacitus mentions several German prophetesses, who were held in the greatest veneration.—Hist. iv. 61, 65.
3 Tacitus, in his admirable account of the manners of the ancient Ger. mans, gives a powerful picture of their firmness and energetic character.Tacit. de Mor. Germ. c. ii.
4 The same author observes, that no nation ever testified more liberality than the ancient Germans, in their convivial entertainments. To refuse admittance at their feasts to any human being was absolutely considered as a crime,-to known and unknown the law of hospitality was always the same.-- Tacit. idem, lib. xxi.
Where were good morals 2 earliest respected ?
Perhaps where sweeps the Danube's mighty flood.
gave us Naval Interprise ?
The Danes, of stately port, and manly mien,
Lords of the golden locks and azure eyes ;
The Danes !—why, fearless of tempestuous skies,
They show'd the way to naval enterprise ;
Of mighty waters.—So we sympathize
But there was wanted one ingredient more
To make Th’Amalgama supreme, complete ;
5 Herodotus informs us, that good morals had more influence amongst
Whence came our Chivalry?
"Twas Chivalry'_with gay
romantic ? lore, And somewhat more heroic, ardent heat, Than heretofore, or had been reckond meet !
the ancient Germans, than laws in other countries.--Herod. v. 19. See also Dr Adam's Account of the Manners and Customs of the Ancient Ger
1 The origin of chivalry has been attributed to several causes. It has been ascribed to the Council of Clermont of 1025, when some of the prelates, particularly the Bishop of Bourges, drew up a set of regulations for the maintenance of good order, and the protection of the weak and distressed. Bishop Hird, in his Letters on Chivalry and Romance, supposes that they may be ascribed to the Crusades having occasioned a boldness, liberality, and restlessness of mind, which gave birth to knight-errantry. Hallam, in his Middle Ages (vol. iii. p. 480-485.), observes, that chivalry may, generally speaking, be referred to the age of Charlemagne; but that the Crusades had a peculiar influence in changing its character. Now Charlemagne, we know, died A. D. 814, and the first crusade took place in 1097. Mills, in his excellent work on Chivalry, says (vol. i. p. 10.), “ It is impossible to mark the exact time when the various elements were framed into that system of thought and action, which we call Chivalry ; but certainly knighthood was a feature and distinction in society before the days of Charlemagne.” One thing certain is, that many of the elements of chivalry were brought into England by the Normans.”
? We are told that Taillefer, a Norman minstrel, recited a romance or song on the deeds of Roland, before the army of his countrymen, at the battle of Hastings, in 1066.-Hallam, 548. There was this difference betwixt the Trouveurs of the north (Normandy), and the Troubadours of the south (Provence), that the themes of the first were epic in their form and style, and turned chiefly to description; while those of the latter were always lyric, and distinguished by sentiment..Hallam, vol. iii.
God knows we had enough of it 1 at last,
And purchas'd, too, by a most dire defeat,
So much for crossing-pardon the trite word
For crossing ! Ay, thus fiercely, boldly crossid,
The Roman, Danish, Saxon, Norman host;
Making a charnel-house of our fair coast.
On that undaunted courage—never lost,
Though oft beneath some overpowering thrall Birth-right Repress'd and foil'd-Britannia, 'tis thy boast !
The reader is referred to much interesting and curious information regarding chivalry and romance, in an Italian work lately published at Milan, entitled History and Analysis of Ancient Romances and Chivalry, by Dr J. Ferrario : also to Mr James's erudite work on the same subject.
2 Chivalry became established as part of the national constitution, when William the Conqueror divided the country into about sixty thousand knights' fees, with the tenure of military service, and when the clergy, as well as laity, were compelled to furnish armed knights. In the reign of Henry I., A. D. 1100, the principles of chivalry appear to have been firmly established in England, and gave the tone and character to our foreign military warfare. -Mill's History of Chivalry, vol. i. p.