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body might return home unmolested before dark. The place of representation was almost uniformly an open court-yard, * at one end of which was a covered and sheltered stage ; and, on its sides, rows of seats, as in an amphitheatre; but, the best places were the rooms and windows of the houses, that opened into the area; and such was the passion for scenic representation, that the right to particular seats was often preserved and transmitted, as an inheritance, from generation to generation. When the audience was collected, the Author came forward, and, according to the technical phrase, threw out the Loa, (echò la Loa,) in which he, perhaps, complimented some of the persons present, or, perhaps, boasted how strong his company was, and how many new plays they had ready for representation. Then followed a dance, or a ballad. Afterwards, the first act of the play, with its Entremes; then the second, and the second Entremes; and finally the last, after which another farce was given, (the Saynete,) and the whole concluded with dancing, which was often interspersed in other parts of the entertainment, and accompanied with singing. The costume of the actors was always purely and richly Spanish, though they might represent Greek or Roman characters ; the women sat separate from the men, and were veiled; and officers of justice had seats on the stage to preserve order, one of whom was once so deluded by the representation of one of Calderon's most extravagant pieces, that he interfered, sword in hand, to prevent what he believed an outrage, and drove the actors from the boards. The audiences, when Lope began to write, seem to have been very quiet and orderly; but soon after 1600, they began to decide on the merits of the plays, and the acting, with little ceremony; and, before 1615, they took the character, which, in Madrid at least, they maintained to the end of the century, of being the most violent and rude audiences in Europe.
This, then, was the state of dramatic literature in Spain, from the appearance of Lope, to the time of Cañizares; and these were the means used for producing it to the nation, as a general amusement, when, under Philip IV., it was at the height of its success. It was, therefore, in all its forms, essentially a popular drama; and, in any other country, would, under similar circumstances, never have risen above the character it had, in the time of Lope de Rueda, when it was the amusement of the lowest portions of the populace. But, the Spanish is, and always has been, a poetical people. There is something romantic about the national genius, and something picturesque in the national manpers, habits, and feelings, which cannot be mistaken. A deep enthusiasm runs at the bottom of the Spanish character; and the
• The two theatres in Mackrid, are still called Corrales, court-yards.
workings of strong passion, and a powerful original imagination, are every where visible on its surface. The same power, the same fancy, the same excited popular feeling, which, in the thirteenth century, produced the most rich, various, and poetical ballads of modern times, was still active in the seventeenth ; and the same national character, which, under Alonso the wise, and Ferdinand, drove the Moorish crescent through the plains of Andalusia, and found utterance for its exultation, in a popular poetry of unrivalled sweetness and force, was no less active under the Philips, and called forth, controlled, and directed a drama, which grew out of the national genius and manners, and which, in all its forms and varieties, is essentially popular, Spanish, and poetical.
But the poetical drama, which grew out of a state of excitement in the whole nation, could be sustained in its original freshness and power, only by preserying, in the same degree, the enthusiasm of the popular character. This, however, in the latter part of the seventeenth century, was no longer possible. The romantic, the chivalrous, the poetical genius, which had been breathed into the whole body of the Spanish people, during their contest of seven centuries with the Moors, and which had been sustained by the vast ambition and magnificent projects of Charles V., had gradually faded away under the cold, close, and cheerless tyranny of his successors. The independence and dignity of the national feeling were broken down by an unrelenting despotism; and its poetical elevation was humbled by disasters abroad, and disgrace at home. The drama, therefore, which, in all its forms, and in every period of its history, had, in Spain, more than in any other country, depended on the general tone of feeling in the people, failed with the failing character of the nation; and when, at last, a French prince was placed on the throne of Saint Ferdinand, and the generous and poetical spirit of Spanish Independence was made to bow before the power of Louis XIV., then this popular drama, which had been to the Spanish character, what a costume is to an age, or a physiognomy to a nation, disappeared in the common overthrow, and, if not forgotten for ever, has never been effectually revived.
Art. IV.-Histoire des Expéditions Maritimes des Normands,
et de leur établissement en France au dixième siècle; par C. P. DEPPING. Ouvrage couronné en 1822 par l'Académie Royale des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris: 1826. History of the Maritime Expeditions of the Normans, and of their establishment in France in the tenth century; by C. P. DEPPING. A work which obtained the palm in 1822 from the Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres. Paris: 1826.
The science of history has recently been much improved as to the selection, arrangement, and critical examination of the materials used in composition. In respect to the external qualities of style, and all that belongs to historical painting, and perhaps, also, in acuteness and depth of reflection, the historical writers of antiquity, never have been, and probably never will be surpassed. Polybius in political wisdom, Tacitus in knowledge of the human heart, and Livy in splendid colouring, have had few rivals in modern times. But it must be confessed, the modern historians, with some exceptions, excel in patient investigation and the laborious comparison of authorities, and in that philosophical spirit of candour and impartiality by which the historical pen ought always to be guided. In France, particularly, historical studies have been recently revived with fresh ardour, and every thing which can throw light upon the early annals of the nation, has been diligently explored." The excellent work now before us, is, among others, the fruit of a laborious study of the antiquities of that famous race of pirates, who wrested from the successors of Charlemagne, one of the finest provinces of France,-subdued England, Naples, and Sicily, and established in those countries dynasties of their princes, who reigned for ages. The romantic story of the establishment of the Norman adventurers in the kingdom of the two Sicilies, has been told by Gibbon, with his usual felicity ;-the conquest of England, by William, has been recently illustrated in the valuable work of Mr. Thierry; and the present work relates to the successive incursions of the Normans into France, and the history of Normandy, from Rollo the first duke, to its reunion with the French monarchy, by Philippe Auguste, in 1204. The Royal Academy of Inscriptions and Belles Lettres at Paris, proposed, in the year 1820, as the subject of a prize essay, “ to develop, from historical monuments, and especially from those of the North, the causes of the numerous emigrations of the people known by the name of Normans, and to compose an abridged history of their establishment in France." The present work is an amplification of a Memoir on the subject thus suggested, which was crowned by the Academy in 1822. It contains a critical account of the original authorities from which it was written. Of the various monuments which might be supposed to illustrate the early history of the Normans, M. Depping makes but little account of the ancient mounds and tumuli—the huge blocks of stone marking the places of worship or of the public assemblies—and the numerous inscriptions in the Scandinavian language and Runic characters, which are to be found scattered all over the North. He attaches still less importance to the vestiges of the pagan and pirate race, which are to be found in Normandy itself. These are reducible to a few remains of forts and fortified camps, which are still to be traced in that province. That species of religious architecture which is distinguishable by the national appellation of Norman, and of which there are so many fine specimens in England, was not formed even in its rude elements, until long after their conversion to Christianity, and according to the opinion of some recent English writers, is but an improvement on the Saxon style, which they found already established in the conquered country. In the Dutchy itself, the style of architecture was mean and barbarous, until the beginning of the eleventh century, when from some unknown cause it suddenly rose to a high pitch of perfection. The Runic inscriptions which are still to be seen in such profusion, not only in the three kingdoms of the North, but in all the islands of the West, conquered and colonized by the Scandinavians, might have been expected to yield something to gratify curiosity respecting the transactions of the heroic age, before books were known, and when the national annals were preserved and transmitted by oral tradition. But these expectations have been constantly disappointed, and it is satisfactorily shown in a Memoir by Appelbad, a learned Swede, crowned by the Academy of Belles Lettres at Stockholm in 1781, that the eleven hundred Runic inscriptions which had then been copied and described, throw no light whatever upon the general history of the Northern nations. Those which have since been decyphered, are found to relate almost exclusively to private individuals and their transactions, unconnected even by dates with public events, and incapable of illustrating any of the dark passages in the history of those remote times. Saxo Grammaticus, indeed, asserts that the ancient Danes engraved upon rocks and stones, verses containing accounts of the exploits of their ancestors. But he does not pretend to give any Runic inscriptions of this sort; and though he speaks of the rock on which king Harald Hildetand had caused the achievements of his heroic father to be inscribed, he admits, that when Valdemar I. endeavoured to copy this lapidary inscription, it was found to be, for the most part,
be compiled, are then reduced to written documents, with few collateral aids from other sources of information. These consist-1. Of those written in the countries of the North, from which they emigrated. 2. Of those published in the countries conquered by them.
Among the former, are those very remarkable ancient compositions noticed in our sixth Number, art. viji., called the Eddas and Sagas. The first, are mythic, or mytho-historical books; the latter, are ancient traditionary histories, or romances in prose and verse, composed by the Sckalds, and collected and reduced to writing, after the introduction of Christianity. Each of the Sagas relates the story of some distinguished king or family of the heroic age, in a style of perfect simplicity, and frequently of great beauty, in which metrical passages are interspersed, to aid the memory of those who were to recite them while they remained in tradition only. The Edda contains a great body of fragmentary poetry, consisting of one hundred and fifty passages, selected from the ancient songs of eighty different Sckalds, and intended to illustrate the poetical use of figurative language and mythology. These fragments refer to many events purely historical ; and even where mythological persons figure in them -where the gods and the men of the heroic age are mingled together-they reflect the image of ancient manners, customs, and religious feelings and prejudices. So also the mythico-historical odes, which are published in the second volume of the ArnaMagnæan edition of the Edda Sæmundar, throw great light upon the general history of the North, though they have not a very close connexion with that of the Normans in particular. The Sckalds also composed pieces of verse in the form of ballads or romances, to celebrate the exploits of the illustrious families, under whose patronage and protection they lived, and adapted to interest and touch the feelings of their countrymen, by appealing to the great deeds of their heroic ancestors. When this race of Pagan bards began to disappear, with the progress of civilization and Christianity, and the art of writing on paper was introduced, various collections of these songs were made in Iceland, where the knowledge of the ancient Scandinavian language has been constantly preserved and cultivated. So that though the early ages of the North have no historians, properly so called, yet the place of the monkish chroniclers, by whom the history of the middle ages in other parts of Europe has been generally written, is well supplied by poets, who, instead of dwelling with tiresome minuteness upon dry and barren events, have presented a living picture of national character and manners. Professor P. E. Müller, of Copenhagen, has suggested, that the very poetical cast of the Sagas, is itself an additional guarantee of their authenticity as histories. They are written,