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Before I give any more of these EXTRACTS, it will be better to resume a Narrative of Facts in perfect coincidence with them. There can be no doubt that this was the pocket-book of the Green Man. At this time the fashion and renown of the Troubadours was in full force; and had
penetrated from the South of France even into Germany; of whose Emperors more than one aspired to this sort of excellence. That the Green Man occasionally exercised the vocation of a Troubadour, is clear from the Extracts that I have transcribed.
In all the Courts that the Troubadours frequented, appeared at this time one, of a singular energy of voice, and fluency of
raptures with which he sung of Beauty, made him the grand favourite of all the Ladies : and a fire in his eye, and a graceful person, added to their admiration. He was supposed to be some distinguished person in disguise: but nobody could trace him to his haunts; nor discover his name, or alliances. He knew the history of every Court; its vanities; connexions; and intrigues: and this gave him an advantage in the allusions of bis songs, that produced an extraordinary effect.
He did not refuse the
that the Ladies showered upon him: but many of the artifices used to draw him into the snares of their charms were resisted with extraordinary caution. He was apparently fearful of some scheme to entrap or discover him: and shewed remarkable dexterity in evading every thing, that might possibly lead to these results. At the same time, he was the most remote from inaccessibility to female notice. His looks and his tones of voice declared his gallantry; and his vivid sense of women's charms.
It is well known that passionate Love was one of the chief subjects of these fiery Troubadours: which were so unlike the cold, prosaic, and tedious Narratives of more Northern Bards.
The following is an imperfect and unfavourable Specimen of one of his short Addresses.
Listen, Damsels, wbile the Lyre
Trembling tells, how strong the rapture
When your looks his bosom capture !
He has known a thousand pleasures;
Feast, and music; dance, and chase; He has hung o'er golden treasures,
But 'tis Beauty gives the grace! Fair ones smile; and ray the glory
On me of those lustrous eyes; While I strive to harp a story
That shall fill each breast with sighs. In the deep wood's dark recesses
Oft I hear the tempest groan: Yet if Beauty's bosom presses,
Fear, and Care, and Grief is flown! Still for me, who love the cheering
Of the mingled human voice, Curst be he, whose interfering
Drove me from my native choice! Sigh then for me, if my fingers
Well ring out the tuneful note: Even now my fancy lingers
On my first youth's joys remote. Sigh for one, whose blood meandring
In blue tides along his frame,
In Elysian fields of flame!
That these pleasures has pursued :
Saving life through streams of blood! In the lonely cave to languish,
While around the billows spread; In rude wilds to feel with anguish
Storms assail the houseless head! Wand'ring Outcast, do thine errors
Merit cruel pains like these?
Such were well the robber's terrors:
Such the villain's crimes might seize!
Damsels, answer by your sighs!
It is sufficiently apparent that the Minstrel in this Address alluded to his own Story; and that he had suffered, and become an outcast from his imprudences, if not from his debaucheries. How far his apology succeeded with the Ladies, the readers
be left to form their own opinions. If some of these Troubadours exposed themselves to perils and privations, by this wandering and adventurous life, there was much in it to gratify an ardent and accomplished spirit. The notice and fame enjoyed by those among them, who had genius and the other necessary qualities: the gratifications bestowed upon them by Sovereigns and great Nobles: the flattering encouragement they received from the Female
erery Court; the interesting and surprising scenes, that it often opened to them; the energetic manner, in which it called forth those faculties, that are never given us to sleep unnurtured and uncultivated in the bosom; all fostered this peculiar sort of ambition, and brought with them its rewards. Their effects upon
the revival of Literature were unquestionably great; and as that revival may be reckoned among the blessings of civilized society, these Troubadours were not pursuing a career of merely selfish gratification. Poetry was employed in its legitimate objects, when it aimed to refine the passions; to soften the heart; and to exalt the soul.
In truth it cannot be doubted that it was in this
way, that Poetry first took its origin. It was the vivid burst of passion: either Devotion, or Love, or Anger, or Admiration. Long, wearisome historical Narratives, the preludes to the Epic Poem, were the cold, inanimate productions of the Closet, by men, who wanted the fancy, the erudition, and the art to throw that life into their stories, which either actual sensation inspires, or cultivated imagination supplies. The Trouveurs were therefore far inferior in genius and liveliness to the Troubadours, not merely from their more