Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

men (and great little men) the recital | Here only art and learning began to have might be almost indefinitely prolonged. great scope and dimensions for them, just The lame, the deaf, the blind, the de. where there had already been a feebler formed, may well console themselves with beginning for the arts of the Gothic races the thought that they share their afflic. reaching these countries from the north. tions with the leaders of the world, the It may be doubted whether art ever men who have made history and contrib- really prospers - unless, indeed, it be lituted to the gaiety (or otherwise) of nations, erary art, which is a plant of deeper root and may derive a certain encouragement and stronger growth in the human soul from the fact that no physical peculiarity than others — where men are either too has ever prevented a great man from at- hot or too cold. Men paint, and carve, and taining greatness.

dance, and sing, only when they are W. H. DAVENPORT ADAMS. neither chilled by cold nor oppressed by

heat; and I am convinced no northern minstrel or minnesinger ever harped and sung to any good poetic purpose while his

fingers were frostbitten. He never acFrom The Fortnightly Review.

companied the lyre till he was warmed by SUMMER-TIME IN RURAL PORTUGAL.

the firelight and relaxed by the wine-cup; A THOUGHTFUL and agreeable acquaint- rare moments, as northern song too was ance of mine, and one, alas ! too early in rare snatches, compared at least with carried away from the serene paths of the human song-notes in all this southern literature and philosophy into the gusty land which are continuously heard in sumcloudland of politics, once told me of an mer-time, while the sun shines warm and idea that had occurred to him as he was the wind is from a pleasant quarter. sitting at an inn table in one of the cities For this same reason it may freely be of Sicily. It was early summer-time, the doubted whether any form of art will heavens fair, the earth clothed in loveli- ever, in our own hyperborean home lands, ness, the weather perfect. Meditating on be forced to take root further down in the the delight, under these circumstances, of social scale than among the occasional mere material existence, this thought, he æsthetes of our leisurely and opulent told me, suddenly came to him: "Now I classes. The wage-earners of Great Britknow why the barbarians from the dreary ain, taken as a whole, are the most unæsnorth always tended southward in their thetic body in the world. Here in Por. migrations, always travelled towards the tugal, on the other hand, the same class is sunnier portions of the earth.”

the most art-loving in the kingdom ; it is This eagerness to escape the fogs and the middle and upper classes that are the north winds and the snow and sleet of conspicuously unæsthetic. The poorer their respective fatherlands, no doubt also the people the oftener is the tinkle of the persuaded the Vandals and Visigoths to mandolin heard among them. It is among follow the autumn swallow-flights to this the poorest workers on the land – the day peninsula. Perhaps, too, it was the mo. laborers, men and girls - that the ancient tive of action in still earlier Aryan migra. ballad measures that once delighted the tions — that is, if certain profound savants dwellers in palaces are still heard; and be in the right, and others as profound the old rondels are sung now at none but quite in the wrong (as has been known to village festivals. In another branch of occur before now), and if these ances- art, jewellery, the only artistic objects in tors of us all had their first home in the this kind in Portugal are worn by the extreme north.

peasant women. The townswomen of the Furthermore, my friend might have car- middle classes – who love jewellery too, ried his argument a step farther, and ac-though in a less degree - do not soar counted not only for the north sending above cheap French and German ornaher children to sojourn in these genial ments, than which latter the mind of man lands, but also for the fact of the dwellers can conceive nothing of a more degraded in the arid, sun-vexed countries to the taste. While the townspeople are thus east and south doing the very same thing. demoralized by the low art presented to The Mohammedan hosts issuing from them by French and German bagmen, the Arabia found no true resting-place along peasant jewellery follows the good artistic the whole northern coast of Africa, and traditions left behind them by the Moors never abode in contentment or prospered four or five centuries ago. in material or spiritual things till they A stronger evidence still of the clinging reached Spain and Portugal and Sicily. I to a true love and true feeling for art

among the rural classes is to be found in but surely it is nothing of that kind. To the elaborate work in the ox-yokes used put it simply, is not decorative art in all in northern Portugal. I know nothing in its forms but the seizing of the idea that the whole domain of popular art so won comes to us from the outside, we know derful in its way as the carving on these not how; from afar, we know not whence; yokes. That the Andalusian majo should and the clothing it in form that is recog. adorn his own person with silks and vel. nizable by our senses ? - "die sinnliche vet and fringe, and chased studs and but. Erscheinung der Idee,” as Hegel, I think, tons of gold and silver ; that a Portuguese puts it, - its apparition to our senses. camponesa should wear round her neck To do this is surely no very grand or and on her breast thirty or forty pounds' ennobling achievement. It is not to make, worth of the above-mentioned jewellery, is only to take. A boy can catch the dragonintelligible ; but that a farmer owning ten fly as it emerges from the deeps of the or twenty acres of land, and of necessity pool and changes to the insect with the having to count and recount every testoon rainbow on its wings; but if he has not he pays or gets, should spend of his hard- the luck to find the fly he can never, for earned money the considerable sum nec. the life of him, make the larva himself, or essary to procure a carved yoke, seems to even dive below the surface and find one. me a wonderful thing; for every square That same dragon-fly seems to me typical inch of these yokes is exquisitely worked of the product of the artist. Unquestionupon, pierced and chiselled with designs ably we are the better for admiring its in endless variety - circles and squares, shapely body and radiant wings, and so crosses and crescents, Runic knots and getting sensuous intelligence of the idea loops, all combined with a most wonderful that underlies them, but don't let us go intricacy and fancifulness. Going along a and boast we have done a great ennobling country road on a fair-day, any one with thing in doing that. A higher intelligence an eye for this sort of thing is kept in per. than ours has gone to the building up of petual wonder at the changes which are this rare creature of the air and the waters rung on motifs which are nevertheless not a higher intelligence, even if scientific more than half a dozen in number, and all evolution be in the main a true thing. of which spring from one central design. As to this singularly beautiful artYet seldom is an ugly or tasteless pattern product, the carved ox-yoke of northern seen, and many are triumphs of decorative Portugal, that the rustic cuts and carves art.

with such infinite skill and loving paThe utilitarian may well ask how and tience, in the long summer evenings when how much a people is the better for this his toil is over, he has no more ownership intermingling of art in its daily life. Are in the underlying idea of it than the Enmen and women refined, elevated, and en- glish young lady who plays the music of nobled thereby, as according to the South- Beethoven is to be credited with the creKensington theory of life they should be? atorship of the “Missa Solemnis." Is a peasant from the Minho province a This wonderful artistic performance of better man on this account than a farm. the Portuguese peasant has perhaps come laborer from Kent or Sussex? Perhaps to be little more than an hereditary insuch fine words as “elevated" and "enno- stinctive act in him, like the making year bled” are rather preposterously used in after year of the goldfinch's nest. Perconnection with art, but one may still haps the goldfinch finds an æsthetic derationally consider that to think and feel light in weaving the delicate materials into rightly, or perhaps even wrongly, on art an artistic whole with its subtle color subjects, is very good for man or woman. harmonies. Certainly in the peasant's It belps to fill our lives; it is one other case there can be no doubt of his actual subject matter on which to confer with our pleasure as he sees the beauty of the de. fellow-pilgrims in this passage from the sign growing under his hand. cradle to the grave. It is a topic to talk Whence does the ruling design come? on beyond and better than the bare neces- Who was the maker, the first creator of sities of our existence, our clothes, our it? That is a mystery which can only be sleep, our daily bread, our daily business. approached diffidently.

We can guess It is at least a communion with ideas, a little of whence it comes, only that it comes contact with the spirit world, and a losing from afar and from a time very remote ; hold for the moment of the bare and ugly but it happens that there is something in material facts of life. Our over-estimate the way of evidence to go upon. In the of art may come in part from our suppos- sacristy of Braga Cathedral is preserved a ing it to be itself an idea-compelling thing, I small chalice which tradition says was

LIVING AGE. VOL. LXII, 3224

used at the christening of the first great | deed, as our own people, and there is no Portuguese king, who was born A.D. 1094. Portuguese South Kensington Museum to This chalice is contained in an elabo- teach them anything or remind them of rately carved ivory case whose date is cer- past-away art knowledge; or if any such tainly older even than the chalice itself, institution there be, it is a very little one for on it, and making part of its design, is as yet. The time however was, when the an inscription in Kufic lettering. Now, it Portuguese of the richer classes had gone is commonly asserted that the Kufic char. a long way in decorative art-work. In the acter ceased to be used in about the year last century, when we could not get be1000. Consequently this casket, which is yond the meagre elegancies of the French probably Arabian work, or possibly Chris- Louis Quinze style, the Portuguese cabtian work under Arabian influence, cannot inets, chairs, and tables were constructed be less than eight hundred years old, and with a fine, bold, massive ornamentation is perhaps older. It is carved with the of a very different kind; and while we very same design that is found on the were engaged in poor frivolous imitations Portuguese ox-yokes of to-day. There are in porcelain, at Chelsea and Derby, of the on this casket the same intricate conibina. vases of Meissen and Sèvres — surely the tions of circles, squares, and crescents, most paltry stuff that ever was called artand, what is stranger, the same twisted work — the Portuguese were making a Runic ornament, between leaf spray and thoroughly good, rough, artistic faïence. Rune knot, as are carved to-day on the The body and enamel, and at first the dePortuguese ox-yokes. This Runic orna- signs, were borrowed from the wares of ment cannot well be of Eastern origin, Delft in Holland; but in a very short time and in it to me is where lies the chief the Portuguese potters left the Dutch far mystery of the ox-yoke design. May it behind in design, adopting their motifs possibly represent the coming together of sometimes from Italy, sometimes from the art-influences of the north and of the China, and the very best from Persia.* east, of Christian Gothic with Moslem Sometimes the design is purely Portuart? Wherever and whenever the design guese. This ware is now seldom to be arose, it must have been born in one po- found except in the cottages of farmers tent and creative brain and heart; and it and peasants, always the last guardians in still lives. Through all these long centu- a country of its past-away fashions and ries, through invasions and conquests and traditions. rebellions and reconquests, through pesti. Another relic of bygone days that are lence and famine and dire convulsions of older still survives in the ballad. It is nature, has this ancient art-motif remained but rarely heard now, and only in remote unchanged amid so much of change ; find corners of the land and in the mouths of ing favor with all these many generations the peasantry, Only among this class, of men. They have handled and re-han. that learns so little and forgets so slowly, aled it almost day by day through all do these narrative songs linger, that for these long centuries. In their reproduc- the most part were an evolution of purely tion of it some copiers have slurred their chivalrous thought and feeling, and writ. work, but no man of them all has ever ten to be sung to the trouvère's lute in failed of reverence for the ancient design mediæval times, to audiences of high-born or dared to remodel or improve it. So lords and ladies. Now with the words mighty is the force and vitality of one half forgotten, the old ballads may still be single original conception.

heard, perhaps in some smoke-darkened The same conservative power in decora- wayside tavern among the remoter Portutive motifs is evidenced in the unglazed guese mountains, and the pauses where pottery to be found all over rural Portu- the stanzas do not come to the reciter's gal. The common water-jar is the Roman memory are filled by the twanging chords amphora quite unaltered in shape and of the wire-strung mandolin. So have I material; the water-cooler is pure Moor. heard the old rhythmic songs, chanted in ish. It may be seen in the bazaars of the plaintive, monotonous, nasal tone of north-African cities the same to this day

• I have christened this interesting ware " Portuas is to be found at the fairs and markets guese Delft." It is as yet unknown out of Portugal, of Portugal, though Portuguese and Moors and a loan collection of it has recently been sent by the have had no intercourse now for over four writer to the Bethnal Green Museum, whence it will

eventually be removed to South Kensington. It is

mostly blue and white, with, on the richer pieces, some I have said that the middle and upper admixture of what the Portuguese call cor de vinho, a

deep bluish claret. Its date is from about 1640 to 1790. classes among the Portuguese are A fuller account of this ware will be found in a forthlonger art-loving. Hardly so much so, incoming number of the Academy.

hundred years.

no

harsh-voiced peasants; yet still there comedy. Nevertheless, it is certainly of often lingers in the strain much of the old Portuguese origin; the Portuguese verring and music. It brings back the old sion is the more archaic of the two, and gone-away times of gallant deeds and no the poem is peculiarly the expression of ble endurance, and has power of stirring Portuguese, not of Spanish, thought and us still. Among such old-world poetry is feeling. There is a touch of romantic the ballad of " Donna Guimar," which I sentimentality too in it mingled with a will set before the reader beside a line-by- great deal that is strong and noble, which line rendering of it into English, which is peculiarly Portuguese, and not Spanish does no more than give the bare meaning, at all. Moreover, to those who have en. without the rhyme and with only a faint tered into the laws that govern the genesis echo of the rhythm of the original.* This of ancient ballads, the first two lines prove ballad exists in a Spanish version, and that it originated in some land far from oddly enough it is quoted in its Spanish any of the Spanish kingdoms. form in a sixteenth-century Portuguese

DONNA GUIMAR: A DONZELLA QUE FUI A GUERRA. Pregoadas sao as guerras

'Twas when war had been declared, Entre França e Aragao.

War 'twixt France and Aragon. " Ay de mim que já sou velho

“ Alas, that I am old and weary As guerras me accabarao,

Unfit to stand in battle rank! De sete filhas que eu tenho

Alas, that I have seven children Sem nenhuma ser barao.'

And not a son among them all!” Respondeu lhe Donna Guimar

Then did Donna Guimar answer, Com toda a resoluçao,

Youngest of his daughters she: “ Venham armas e cavallo

“Father, give me horse and armor, Que eu serei filho barao.

I will to the wars for thee.” "Filha, conhecer-vos-hao."

“Daughter, surely men will know thee." Quando eu passer pela armada

“From the ground," said Donna Guimar, Porei os olhos pelo chao.

“I will never lift my eyes.". “ Tende-los hombros mui miudos, Daughter, thou hast slender shoulders, Filha, conhecer-vos-hao.'

Men will know thee for a maid." “Venham armas bem pesadas

“Nay, for in panoply of armor, Escondidos ficarao.

I will hide my woman's shape. Tende-los peitos mui altos,

Daughter, men will ever know thee Filha, conhecer-vos-hao."

By thy bosom's rise and fall.” “ Incolherei os meus peitos

Nay, for cased in iron gorget Dentro do duro couraçao.

It will neither rise nor fall. “ Tende-los maos pequeninas,

“Child, thy little hands will show thee Filha, conhecer-vos-hao.

For a woman as thou art. · Calçal-as-hei numas luvas

“Gauntleted in gloves of steel, Dellas nunca sahirao.

They will tell no tale of me." * Tende-los pés mui delicados,

Daughter, thy little feet will show thee Filha, conhecer-vos-hao.”

For a maiden as thou art. Venham manapolas de ferro

“My feet shall be shod in boots of steel, Os pés bem grandes serao."

And none shall know me for a maid.”
Senhor pae,
senhora mae,

“ () father dear, O mother dear,
Grande dor de coraçao

Great pain of heart I suffer from,
Que os olhos do Conde Daros

For sure the County Daros' eyes
Sao de mulher, de homem nao,

Are eyes of woman, not of man. “ Convidae-o vós, meu filho,

My son, into the orchard take him : Para ir comvosco no pomar,

If indeed a maid he be, Que se elle mulher fór

He will pluck the apple dainty As maçaes se ha-de-pegar."

And leave the other fruit on tree." A donzella, por discreta,

But the maiden most discreetly A cidra se foi pegar :

Pulled a citron from the bough: "O que bella cidra esta!

“Suits a knight the citron's odor, Deixamos as maçaes ficar."

We will let the apples be."
Senhor pae, senhora mae,

“O father dear, () mother dear,
Grande dor de coraçao

Great pain of heart I still endure
Que os olhos do Conde Daros

For sure the County Daros' eyes,
Sao de mulher, de homem nao.

Are woman's eyes, not eyes of man.”

[ocr errors]

It will be observed that the rhythm is partly ac- is sounded as i in English: thus, velho is velio. The centual, and the rhymes are on the syllables ar and ao, line in the ballad is soinewhat irregular, but has always which latter has the sound, more or less, but more four beats; elisions of vowels are made as in Latin sonorous, of ont in French. H, coming after I and 1, verse.

[ocr errors]

SUMMER-TIME IN RURAL PORTUGAL.

[ocr errors]

820

SUMMER-TIME IN RURAL PORTUGAL. “Convidae-o vós, meu filho,

“ Bid him, my son, to common hall,
Para comvosco jantar,

There to dine in company;
Que se elle mulher fór

If he be a woman truly,
No estrado se-ha-d'incruzar."

With the women will he sit.”
A donzella, por discreta,

But the maiden most discreetly
Nos altos se foi sentar.

Took her place the knights among.
Senhor

pae,
senhora mae,

“O father dear, O mother dear,
Grande dór, etc.

Great pain of heart," etc. "Convidae-o vós, meu filho,

“ Bid him to the fair with thee:
Para comvosco feirar,

If a maiden he should be
Que se elle mulher fór

He will choose a woman's fairing,
As fitas se-ha-de pegar.

Lace, or rings, or finery."
A donzella, por discreta,

But the maiden most discreetly
Um'adaga fui comprar:

Took a dagger for her choice:
O que bell'adaga esta

“Oh the good and trusty dagger
Para com homems brigar!

Fit for use of men in fight!
Lindas finas para damas

Here be ribands too for maidens
Quem lh'as poderá levar."

Gauds they be for us too slight.”
Senhor pae, senhora mae,

O father dear, O mother dear,
Grande dór,” etc.

Great pain of heart," etc. " Convidae-o, meu filho,

“ Bid him to the stream with thee:
Para comvosco nadar,

Dare him to swim across the pool,
Que se ella mulher fór

If indeed he be a woman,
O convite ha-de-escusar.”

He will sure this test refuse."
A donzella, Donna Guimar,

Then at last did Donna Guimar
Já se-ha-d'acovardar.

Lose her courage and her wit.
* Olhe cá, o meu moço

“Stay!" she cries, “I see my foot-page Traz uma carta : " poz-se á chorar: Bearing letters.

Then she wept: “ Novas me chegam agora,

Alas! alas ! the tidings heavy
Novos de grande pezar,

From my home that I do read.
De que minha mae é morta

My mother dear is dead, my father
Meu pae se está á finar.

Failing lies, his death-bed near,
Os sinos da minha terra

And far off in my own country
Os estou a ouvir dobrar;

I hear the passing-bell that tolls.
E duas irmas que tenho

Alack! I hear my two sad sisters
D'aqui as oiço chorar.

Weep, and call me to their side:
Monta, monta, Cabalheiro,

Mount, mount thy horse now, Cabalheiro,
Se me quer accompanhar!

An' thou lov'st my company! ”
Chegam juntos do castello

Riding on, they reach a castle,
Foram-se logo apear.

At its gates they light them down :
“ Senhor pae, trago-lhe um genro

See father, here I bring a suitor,
Se o quizer acceitar.

Should'st thou deem him fit for me.
Fui me o capitao querido,

Under him I've served as soldier,
De amores me quiz contar.

And he would speak of love to me.
Se ainda me quer agora

An' he loves me still, he'll ask me
Com meu pae ha-de-sallar.

Of you, my father, for his bride.
Sete annos andei na guerra

Seven years I bore the sword and buckler,
E fiz de filho barao.

Fought as your true and trusty son,
Ninguem me conheceu nunca

No man knew me for a maiden
Senao o meu capitao.

Save he alone, my captain dear.
Conheceu-me pelos olhos,

He knew me by my woman's eyes,
Que por outra cousa nao.

By nothing else was I betrayed.” This ballad of the girl who was so prose. It is a patchwork made up of a splendide mendax is surely “in the great stanza picked up in one district, of a manner, and the nation where such couplet or a line still extant in another ; a strong and chivalrous sentiments were skeleton painfully articulated of what once sung so eloquently was for some centuries was a living idea and clothed with what of its life one of the rare heroic nations of must once have been singular literary the world. The ballad was perhaps never grace and force. Yet among doubtful sung quite as it is set down above, even lines, and lines that are too obviously the in the old times. In the present day it poor fillings in of the illiterate reciter, are probably does not survive as a perfect many that still have the weight, the color, whole ; there is many a hiatus valde de- and ihe ring of true gold. “Monta, monta, flendus, as the old scribes put it, which Cabalheiro!" a fine, romantic, most upthe reciter fills in with the strummings of translatable line, is one of them; and the his mandolin, or worse, with his own last six are certainly pure gold all through.

If the modern realistic theory of literary | postulate too obvious for argument work in fiction be applied to this ballad it ly, that a garden is a place for Ho will be found almost ludicrously wanting. a turnip-field is a place for turnips It is wholly deficient in any support from Portuguese gardener, to judge by “ documents." Can anything, for instance, sults here, considers, and I think be found more remote from it than the that flowers are indeed very pre elaborate and lengthy romances with the juncts and ornaments in a garden, dreary all-about-nothingness of them, of infinitely less importance than the the school who hold to the above view of the shade of branching trees, the g literary work? Again, a whole universe of leaf and spray, the cooling bre of purity, chivalry, nobility, and spiritual summer, the warmth of the sun in truth separates it from the soul-crushing and at all seasons the golden fr work of MM. Zola and De Maupassant. that the sunlight makes If, however, the true object of imaginative through overhanging boughs. literary art be more than to amuse, or to This is the ideal garden of Sp: instruct, or even to interest us, if it be to Portugal; this with some addition intensify and exalt the nobler emotions of almost everything in this country is our souls, then this old ballad has done its vival, so are Peninsular gardens su work. If to do this is not oniy an art but of the Moorish ideal of what a the greatest and noblest of all arts, and should be, modified by the require cne whereby can be touched chords in our of the country and climate. With a hearts that will never grow wholly mute, soil, an arid climate, and under a l - if this art is to be regarded as the in. sun, the Arab longed for shade, co terpretation to our own understandings of and moisture; and if the drip of noble ideal conceptions, the apparelling of mingled with the song of birds, a them in true eloquence, and the imparting air were full of flower-scent, he hat to them of life and movement by sugges of his wants fulfilled. If he desi tive dramatic touches, why then a good attain more he constructed hor deal may be said for the ballad of "Don- archways, through which vistas of s

upon the

na Guimar," the maiden who fought so could be seen through sunlight, or
stoutly, loved so well
, and lied with so power-glades through shaded air; a

built fountains, from whose marble
sweet and noble a grace.

the ever-flowing waters dripped co
The three summer months are so hot ously down upon the tile pavement:

The Arab's garden is still a t
and mostly so dry in Portugal that garden-
ing in the north of Europa fashion, with having a few open glades, with drc-
turf, and flower beds cut out therein, is fountains, and with water runlets p
possible, but not easy. Perhaps it is for through it; and to beget the pe
this reason that Portuguese gardeners are which his soul loves, his garden is
about the very worst and most ignorant set with creeping roses and ja
in the civilized world; bad and ignorant bushes.
as gardeners, knowing almost nothing of

Here so much shade is not wante
porting, and soils, and cuttings, and grafts, the Portuguese garden is more ope
and forcing, and the management of only the walks are overarched with
glass," but very good and pleasant peo- lises bearing vines and climbing fle
ple as servants; nothing of tyrants, as so The Oriental delights in the intrica
oiten are the admirable English and terlacing of flowing line, and arrang
Scotch gardeners of our native land, who box edgings in elaborate arabesque
yet, I am convinced, in their very omni terns. This fashion still prevails as
science and conscious dictatorial superi- vival in the Peninsular gardens of ti
ority, have perpetuated some very deplor. Those who know Spain know the Es
able gardening principles against the grain and must remember the exquisite tr
and conscience of weak-kneed masters, of the great box garden there, lik
in an age of growing æsthetic enlighten- gold wire rims in a rich cloisonné en

The gardening traditions of the Portu. has box edgings so designed. This
guese, in spite of their ignorance, are tiful fashion is, I fear, all but lost in

ment.

Every old-fashioned Portuguese g

good, and much of their gardening doc glish gardens, and it is a pity. Th trine sound. No Portuguese, either in very greensward of the modern Er practice or theory, would admit, for in- garden is beyond Portuguese reach, stance, that monstrous proposition which with enormous trouble and watering every English gardener insists upon as a worth the giving ; but in England

« ZurückWeiter »