En el lenguaje lascivo de los perros (Spanish Edition)
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The Portuguese was spoken both by the court and the people of Portugal. Arragon, the language in general use was the Catalonian, a dialect nearly the same as the Provencal or Limosin of the south of France, but differing greatly both from the Castilian and the Portuguese. This language also ex- tended to the little kingdom of Navarre, but it was there spoken only by the nobles, who were of French or Hispano-Gothic origin. In these questions the Biscayan language is of no consideration, as it has only an acci- dental and unimportant connexion with the other Spanish dialects, and, besides, bears not the most remote resemblance to them.
Of all y the tongues spoken in modern Europe, this language of the coasts was the first culti- vated. In it the Troubadours sang, and their lays had all the same character, whether addressed to the Italians, the French, or the Spaniards. This language, with the poetry to which it may have given birth, has had no in- fluence on literature beyond its own territory, and appears to have had very little even there.
The kingdom of Arragon became, after the resto- ration of the Spanish romance in that quarter, its second country; for there both it and the poetry of the Troubadours were particularly favoured by the princes and the nobles. But at the very period of the decline of this poetry, the kingdom of Arragon was united to the Castilian dominions. Another kind of poetry, in the Castilian language, then obtained encouragement, and the seat of the government of the united kingdoms was per- manently fixed in Castffe. The energetic development of literary talent among the Castilians, the bold romantic character of that people, and that ardent spirit of national pride which prompted them to make the most of all their advantages, soon banished the ancient and in other respects highly esteemed dialect of Arragon, Catalonia, Valencia, and Murcia, from literature, law, and the conversation of the superior classes of society.
Finally, towards the middle of the sixteenth century the Castilian became, in the strictest sense of the word, the reigning language of the whole Spanish monarchy. But the pleasing language of the Troubadours was doubtless very defective. It would otherwise have been difficult to have made the Catalonian poets so soon proselytes to the Castilian dialect, especially as, besides the difference of language, the natural jealousy between the Arragonian and Castilian provinces was strong enough to manifest itself by political effects even in the eighteenth century.
The imperfection of the Troubadour phrase- ology may have been partly owing to its fluctuations, and the various forms it assumed, in. The dialect of the Provensal Trouba- dours may, without much difficulty, be translated by conjecture, if the reader be acquainted with French and Italian; but the meaning of the Valencian cannot be so easily guessed at, even with the addi- tional knowledge of Castilian.
As a proof of this, it will be sufficient to peruse a passage of the Libre de los Dones, of Mosen, [that is, Monsieur, instead of the Castilian Don] Jaume [James] Roig, reprinted in Valencia, , in 4to. How far it had originally spread towards the south. It first resumed its sway in the kingdoms of Leon and old Castile, where it is still spoken in the greatest purity. Owing to the difference of the dialects, a foreigner might, by a short residence in Madrid, learn to express himself in Castilian with more fluency than it is spoken by a great part of the inhabitants of the Arragonian provinces.
The abbreviation of the latin words which gave the Catalonian language a striking resemblance to the French, was not agreeable to the genius of the Castilian, which, in con- sequence of its clear sonorous vowels and the beautiful articulation of its syllables, had, of all the idioms of the Peninsula, the greatest affinity to the Italian. Amidst the euphony of the Castilian syllables, the ear is however struck with the sound of the German and Arabic guttural, which is rejected by all the other nations that speak languages in which the latin predominates.
This prejudice is pardonable in the Spaniards, who are not aware of the influence which the German guttural must have had over their language; but the Germans, who know the nature of their mother tongue, ought to recollect that the same Arabic words which are strongly aspirated by the Spaniards, are pronounced by the Portuguese, though equally naturalized among them, with a hissing sound. Besides, how does it happen that the G before E and i, which is a guttural with the Germans, has nearly the same sound with the Castilians, though it is never so pronounced by any other people whose language appears to have risen on the ruins of that of ancient Rome?
Hispania. Volume 77, Number 1, March | Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes
The romance, out of which the present Portuguese language has grown, was pro- bably spoken along the coast of the Atlantic long before a kingdom of Portugal was founded. Though far more nearly allied to the Castilian dialect than to the Catalonian, it resembles the latter in the remarkable abbreviation of words, both in the gramma- tical structure and in the pronunciation. At the same time it is strikingly distinguished from the Castilian by the total rejection of the guttural, by the great abundance of its hissing sounds, and by a nasal pronunciation common to no people in Europe except the French and the Portuguese.
In the Spanish province of Galicia, only politically separated from Portugal, this dialect known under the name of Lingoa Gallega is still as indigenous as in Portugal itself, and was at an early period, so highly esteemed, that Alphonso X. But the Galician modification of this dialect of the western doubtless preserved in the mountains of Castile, would afterwards be easily confounded with the Arabic.
On the contrary, the Portuguese think the Castilian language inflated, and at the same time rough and also affected. The Swedes admit that the Danish language exceeds their own in softness, though they consider that softness disagreeable, and the harsher Swedish more sonorous on account of the greater abundance and fulness of its vowel sounds; thus, precisely in the same manner, do the Spaniards condemn the softness of the Portuguese tongue. The elision of the letter L in a great number of Portuguese words, as in COR, PA9O, for color, palacio, and the remarkable change of L into B, as in branco, brando, for bianco, blando, are peculiarities of that language to which foreigners do not easily reconcile themselves.
Castile, and during the sixty years of her union with Spain, from to , zealously maintained her particular national character. Duarte Nunez de Liao, the author of both works, was a statesman and magistrate. Desetnbargador da Camara da Supplicaqao. It is dedicated to Philip III. In the preface the author states his other, but older work, Orthographia da Lingoa Por- tugueza, Lisb. The Portuguese have, however, for two centuries laboured with as little success as the Germans, to introduce uniformity of ortho- graphy into their language.
The convertible M and AO appear to have been so early selected to denote the French nasal tone which occurs in numerous final syllables, that Nunez de Lia5 found it necessary to acquiesce in the custom, according to which the same word might be very differently written, as nacao or nayam, nao or nam, pronounced nearly as nassaong and naong, with the French sound of on, bon. But it surely could not have been very difficult to dispossess the totally unnecessary and barbarous H in hum and huma from the latin unus and unaj of the place it had assumed, as it is now banished from elegant Portuguese orthography.
Trifles of this kind present more materials for reflection than a first view gives reason to expect. When the orthography of a country con- tinues to be an object of reform, that nation is deficient in a certain degree of refinement, the attainment of which has either been missed, or the right pursuit of which is but just commenced.
Indeed what necessity is there for the French, Italians, Spaniards and Portuguese, writing the same sound, occurring in the same word, in four different ways, as for example, bataille, battaglia, batalla, batalha? The Catalonian poetry was, from its origin, inseparably united with the language of the Troubadours, throughout its territories, from the Italian to the Castilian frontiers. While the Cours d' Amour, the festal meet- ings, and various other gallant exhibitions prevailed, in which the GAYA CIENCIA, or Joyous Art, of these bards of love and chivalry flourished, and in which the bards themselves bore a brilliant part as masters of the cere- monies, the language and the poetry gave reciprocal importance to each other.
This literary phenomenon, which has its epoch only in the sixteenth century, cannot be attributed to political dependence alone; for hitherto the ancient national poetry of the Castilians had continued foreign to the inhabitants of the Arragonian provinces, individual imitators excepted, even after these provinces were united with the Castiles. But when the Arragonese, in their zeal to vie with the Castilians in the reform of their ancient poetry, began to write verses in the Castilian language, their success was facilitated by the relationship which had long subsisted between the old Provencal poetry, the sister of the Limosin, and the Italian, which in the sixteenth century became the model of the Spanish and Portuguese.
The Troubadours had, it is true, chaunted their lays at the courts of Castile and Por- tugal, but the national taste in both king- doms preferred different accents, other metrical combinations, and was accustomed to quite another kind of poetry of its own creation. No Troubadours were needed in these countries ; for the common national poetry, which was unknown to the Arragonian provinces, formed a connecting tie for the Castilians, Portuguese, and Galicians, as it was the faithful mirror of their genius and character. However much the Castilians might dislike the Portuguese tongue, and the Portuguese, in their turn, the Castilian, their poetry continued essentially the same ; and the languages of both countries deviated, at all times, far more from the Limosin romance, than ever they differed from each other.
Besides, the old Galician idiom, which was scarcely distinguishable from the poetry. It ought to be treated as the last part of the chivalrous poetry of the middle ages. See the notices in Velasquez and Dieze, p. The Castilians, indeed, constantly maintained the opinion, that the Portuguese language was incapable of giving appropriate expression to heroic sentiments ; but the Por- tuguese contradicted this assertion, not merely by words, but by deeds, f The old Castilian, Portuguese, and Galician poetry was, under its own peculiar forms, still more popular and strictly national than was the Provencal, or than the Italian after it has ever been.
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It arose amidst the clang of arms, and was fostered by constantly reiterated rela- tions of warlike feats and love adventures, transmitted from mouth to mouth; while almost every one who either witnessed or participated in those feats and adventures, wished to give them traditional circulation in the vehicle of easy verse. So common was the practice among all ranks of composing verses, parti- cularly in Portugal, that the historian, Manuel de Faria y Sousa, thought himself, at a later period, justified in calling every mountain in that country a Parnassus, and every fountain a Hippocrene.
Father Sarmiento, a Spanish author, whom national prejudice does not prevent from doing justice to the Portuguese, mentions this observation in his instructive Me- morias para la Poesia Espanola. Authors are far from being agreed respecting the origin of the term redondillas, according to the Portuguese orthography redondilhas.
But is not the word more naturally derived from redondo round , than from a small town called Redondo? Instead of redondillas, these compositions are sometimes named redondillos, the word versos being understood. In German they might be called rijigelverse circular verses. Let Burger's Nachtfeier der Venus be considered, be- fore this be determined. Even the Esthonian Serfs, on the coast of the Baltic, chaunt their simple ballads in the same measure.
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Proof of this may be seen on reference to Petri's Nachrichten von den Esthen, vol. These verses have, it is true, eight syllables, but not four trochaic feet. When one of the poetic narratives, distin- guished by the name of Romances, was sung, line followed line "without constraint, the expression flowing with careless freedom, as feeling gave it birth. When, however, ro- mantic sentiments were to be clothed in a popular lyric dress, to exhibit the playful turns of the ideas under still more pleasing forms, it was found advantageous to introduce divisions and periods, which gave rise to re- gular strophes estancias and coplas.
Lines were, for the sake of variety, shortened by halving them; and thus the tender and im- pressive melody of the rhythm was some- times considerably heightened. Seduced by the example of the Arabs, something excellent was supposed to be accomplished when a single sonorous and unvarying rhyme was taken notice of the ancient songs sung by the Roman soldiers, though they are evidently redondillas?
Suetonius has pre- served some remarkable examples of these songs; and the same measure occurs after the decline of latin poetry, particularly in some pious verses of Prudentius, which are quoted by Sarmiento. At length, at a later period, it was observed, that in point of elegance, the redondilla was improved, rather than injured by the change which was produced ; when, instead of perfect rhymes, imperfect ones, or sounds echoing vowels but not con- sonants, were heard in the terminating sylla- bles.
See, for example, the following passage of the Koran : Va sciamsi, va dhohaha, Val Kamari eda talaha, Van nahari, eda giallaha, Val La'ili eda jagsciaha. But the Spanish ear required some variety, and accordingly pre- ferred a predominant to a single unchanging rhyme.
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It has even become the prevailing measure of dramatic poetry. The period of the invention of the re- dondillas was also nearly that of the dactylic stanzas, called versos de arte mayor, because their composition was considered an art of a superior order. They had their origin, according to some authorities, in Galicia and Portugal. They contented themselves with dealing out eleven or twelve syllables, and.
This may account for these verses falling into disuse, as the progressive improvement of taste, which allowed the redondillas to maintain their original con- sideration, was not reconcilable with the half dancing, half hobbling rhymed lines of the versos de arte mayor.
Pudding head Wilson (with Spanish translation)
There is, however, in the rudest of the Spanish and Portuguese strophes of this kind, more real rhythmus, than even in the modern popular songs of the English. But the character of the sonnet was not sufficiently popular for the old Spaniards and Portuguese, and they were never fond of that kind of poetic com- position.
Not less adverse to the taste of the country was the long protracted alexan- drine. Monkish rhymesters, who forced their imitations of latin doggrels on the nation, introduced this kind of verse into the Spanish language, in the thirteenth or perhaps even in the twelfth century, but certainly at a period anterior to its appearance in any other modern tongue.
It soon, however, sunk into disesteem, and was neglected. Thus, during the progress of their civili- zation, the Spaniards and the Portuguese co- operated in cultivating the same spirit and form of poetry.