The Golden Verses of Pythagoras, by Fabre d'Olivet, , at sacred-texts.com
Now, summing up what I have said, it will be found that poetry, entirely intellectual in its origin and destined only to be the language of the gods, owed its first
developments in Greece to Orpheus, its second to Homer, and its last to Æschylus. These three creative men, seizing the different germs of this science still shrouded in their formless rudiments, warmed them with the fire of their genius and according to the particular inspiration of each, led them to the perfection of which they were susceptible. All three of them were the object of a first inspiration, although influenced one by the other, and were able to communicate the magnetic power to new disciples. Orpheus possessor of intellectual and rational poetry, constituted that which I call Eumolpia, which, being divided into theosophy and philosophy, produces all the works which treat of the Divinity, of the Universe, of Nature, and of Man in general. * Homer, in joining to this spiritual poetry the enthusiasm of the passions, created Epopia, whose magnificent genus envelops a multitude of specie, where the intellectual faculty and passion dominate with more or less energy under the influence of imagination. Homer rendered sentient that which was intelligible and particularized that which Orpheus had left universal: Æschylus, trying to bring into action what these two divine men had left with potentiality, formed the idea of dramatic or active poetry, in which he claimed to include whatever Eumolpia and Epopia had in common, that was moral, allegorical, and passionate. He would have succeeded, perhaps, and then would have produced the most perfect work of thought, passion, and action possible for men, conceived by genius and executed by talent; but Greece, exhausted by the abundant harvest obtained by Orpheus and Homer, lacked the sap to give nourishment to this new plant. Corrupted in its germ, this plant degenerated rapidly, deteriorated, and put forth only a vain show of branches without elevation and without virtue. The heroes of Thermopylæ succumbed under the burden of their laurels. Given over to a foolish
arrogance, they covered with an unjust contempt their preceptors and their fathers; they persecuted, they assassinated their defenders and their sages and, base tyrants of the theatre, they prepared themselves to bow the head beneath the yoke of the king of Macedonia.
This king, victor at Chæronea, became arbiter of Greece, and his son, providential instrument of the ascendancy which Europe was to have over Asia, crossing the Hellespont at the head of an army that his genius alone rendered formidable, overthrew the empire of Cyrus and stood for a moment upon its débris: I say for a moment, because it was not here that the new empire was to be established: Europe had still obeyed; she was one day to command. Rome was already, in the thought of the future, the culminating point of the earth. A few centuries sufficed for this city, then unknown, * to attain to the height of glory. Emerging from her obscurity, conquering Pyrrhus, dominating Italy, combating and overthrowing Carthage, conquering Greece, and trampling under foot twenty diadems borne by the successors of Alexander, was for this ambitious Republic the work of a few centuries. But it is not true, although certain men whose virtue was not enlightened by the torch of experience may have been able to say it; it is not true that a republic, already perplexed in governing itself, can govern the world. It requires an empire, and this empire is created.
Cæsar laid its foundation, Augustus strengthened it. The sciences and arts, brought to Rome from the heart of Greece, came out then from their lethargy and flourished
with a new éclat. Poetry, especially, found numberless admirers. Vergil, strongly attracted by the magnetic flame of Homer, dared to tread in his light, overthrew all the obstacles that time had raised, and drawing near to this divine model, received from him the second inspiration without intermediary and without rival. Ovid, less determined, hovering between Orpheus and Homer, succeeded, however, in uniting the second inspiration of the one to the third inspiration of the other, and left in his book of Metamorphoses a monument not less brilliant and more inimitable than the Æneid. Horace, little satisfied with succeeding Pindar, sought and found the means of uniting to the enthusiasm of the passions the calm of rational poetry, and, establishing himself a legislator of Parnassus, dictated laws to the poets, or jeered at the absurdities of men.
This poetry of reason had long since fallen into desuetude. The false movement that dramatic poetry had taken in Greece, the contempt that it had come to inspire for gods and men, had reacted upon it. The philosophers, disdaining a science which, by its own admission, was founded upon falsehood, had driven it from their writings. As much as they searched for it, when they believed it an emanation of the Divinity, so much had they fled from it since they had come to see in it only the vain production of an insensate delirium. Here is an observation, Messieurs, somewhat new, with which I may engage your attention: the first comedies appeared five hundred and eighty years before our era, which was about twenty years after Pherecydes wrote the first work in prose. 1 This philosopher doubtless, did not believe that a language prostituted to the burlesque parodies of Susarion should be useful further to the meditations of the sages. It is not, however, that at long intervals certain philosophers such as Empedocles, Parmenides, and many others of their disciples, have not
written in verse 1; but the remains of the ancient usage soon gave way, especially when Plato had embellished prose with the charm of his captivating eloquence. Before this philosopher, Herodotus had read in the assembly of the Olympic games an history of Greece connected with that of the greater part of the neighbouring nations. 2 This work, written in a fluent style, clear and persuasive, had so enchanted the Greeks, that they had given to the nine books which he composed, the names of the nine Muses. Nevertheless, an observation which will not be wholly foreign here, is, that the admission of prose in philosophy, instead of rational poetry, produced a style of work hitherto unknown, and of which the moderns made much; I am speaking of positive history. Before this epoch, history written in verse was, as I have said, allegorical and figurative, and was occupied only with the masses without respect to individuals. Thus the evil which resulted on the one side, from the degradation experienced by poetry in one of its branches, was balanced by the good which was promised on the other, from the purification of prose for the advancement of exact knowledge.
But returning to what I said just now on the subject of rational poetry, joined by the Romans to the passionate part of that science, I will say that this union created a new style, of which Horace was the originator: this was the didactic style. This style ought not to be confused with rational poetry, of which Hesiod has made use in his poem of Works and Days, and which pertains to Eumolpia; nor with pure rational poetry, such as one finds in the writings of Parmenides and Empedocles: it is a sort of poetry which, attaching itself to form alone, depends much upon dramatic art. The didactic, satirical, or simply descriptive poet is similar to an actor on the stage declaiming a long monologue. Rational poetry was welcomed at Rome, and drawn from the long oblivion into which it had fallen, by
[paragraph continues] Lucretius who, being inspired by the works of Leucippus and of Epicurus 1 wrote a book upon the nature of things, which has never been as yet well comprehended or well translated, the language not being understood.
Comedy, reformed by Menander, was again improved by Plautus and by Terence who acquired much reputation in this style; as to dramatic art in itself, it remained in its inertia. The Romans having the same gods and nearly the same mythology as the Greeks, were neither sufficiently elevated in intelligence to reinstate this art and make of it the masterpiece of the human mind; nor sufficiently advanced in exact knowledge to change wholly its forms and make of it, as we have, a new art, whence allegory and the moral part of Eumolpia have been completely banished. But what the Romans were unable to do for dramatic art, they unfortunately were able to do for Epopia. Certain writers, able versifiers, but absolutely deprived of intellectual inspiration, incapable of distinguishing in poetry the essence from the form, following what the degenerated theatre and the inspired declamations of Euhemerus 2 had taught them, imagined foolishly that the gods and heroes of antiquity having been only men stronger and more powerful than the others, mythology was only a crude collection of historic facts disfigured, and Epopia only an emphatic discourse upon these same facts. 3 Thereupon they believed that it was only a question of taking any historic subject whatever, and relating it in verse with certain embellishments,
to create an epic poem. Lucan and Silius Italicus, in choosing, the one the misfortunes of Pompey, and the other the victories of Hannibal, considered themselves superior to Homer or Vergil, as much as they supposed Rome or Carthage superior to Ilium. But a just posterity, notwithstanding the prejudices of their panegyrists, has put them in their place. It has considered them merely the inventors of a kind of bastard poetry, which might be called historic poetry. This poetry, entirely separated from Eumolpia, whose moral essence it is unable to realize, preserves only the material and physical forms of true Epopia. It is a body without soul, which is moved by a mechanical mainspring applied by a skilful workman.
As to the poetic form in itself, its only point of variance with the Greeks and Romans was that of elegance. The verses written in the same manner, depended likewise upon a fixed number of time or of feet regulated by musical rhythm. If rhyme had been admitted there in the first ages, it had been excluded early enough so that there remained no longer the least trace of it. The Latin tongue, very far from the Greek in flexibility, variety, and harmony, for a long time treated with contempt by the Greeks who, regarding it as a barbarous dialect, only learned it with repugnance 1; the Latin tongue, I say, unpleasing, obscure, not even supporting the mediocrity of ordinary elocution, became, through the laborious efforts of its writers, a tongue which in the works of Vergil, for example, attained such a perfection,
that it came to be doubted, owing to the grace, the justice, and the force of its expression, whether the author of the Æneid did not surpass the author of the Iliad. Such is the empire of forms. They alone make problematical that which, in its essence, should not be subject to the least discussion.
But at last the Roman Eagle, after having soared some time in the universe and covered with his extended wings the most beautiful countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa, fatigued by its own triumphs, sank down again, allowed its power to be divided, and from the summit of this same Capitol, whence it had for such a long time hurled its thunderbolts, saw the vultures of the North divide among them its spoils. The mythological religion, misunderstood in its principles, attacked in its forms, given over to the corruption of things and men, had disappeared to give place to a new religion, which born in obscurity, was raised imperceptibly from the ranks of the humblest citizens to the imperial throne. Constantine, who in embracing the Christian cult had consolidated that religious revolution, believed himself able to bring about another in politics, by transferring the seat of his empire to the Bosphorus. Historians have often blamed this last movement; but they have not seen that Providence, in inspiring this division of the empire, foresaw that the darkness of ignorance rolling with the waves of the barbarians was about to extend as far as Rome, and that it would be necessary to concentrate at one point a part of the learning, in order to save it from the general ruin. Whereas the Empire of the Occident, assailed on all sides by the hordes from the North, was overthrown, torn, divided into numberless small sovereignties whose extent was often limited to the donjon where the sovereign resided; the Empire of the Orient sustained the weight of the hordes from the South, nourished continually in its midst certain men, guardians of the sacred fire of science, and did not fall until more than nine centuries later; and learning, commencing its
revival in the Occident, put minds in condition there, to appreciate the models which were about to be presented to them and rendered them capable of receiving their inspiration.
It was a very remarkable epoch, Messieurs, which saw grouped about it in the space of less than a half century and coincident with the downfall of the Empire of the Orient, the use of gunpowder, of the compass, of the telescope in the Occident; the invention of engraving upon copper, that of movable characters for printing, the extension of commerce and navigation by the passage around the cape of Storms, and finally the discovery of America. It was a very extraordinary century, in which were born Mohammed II. and Lorenzo de Medici, Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus, Theodoros Gaza and Pico della Mirandola, Leonardo da Vinci and Bojardo, Leo X. and Luther. After the invasion of the barbarians, Christian Europe had lost its political unity: it was as a great republic whose divided members, struggling continuously one against the other, tearing by turn a shadow of supremacy, were the realms, the pontifical or laic principalities, the republics, the free and commercial cities. The two chiefs of this gigantic and badly organized body, the German Emperor and the Pope, bishop of Rome, were vested only with a grandeur of opinion; their real power was void: they were nothing more, in fact, than that which they appeared in form. Since Charlemagne, who, in a century of darkness enlightened with his own genius, had had the force to grasp the débris of the empire, uniting them in his hand and giving them a momentary existence, it had not had an emperor. The vain efforts of Hildebrand and of Charles V. had served only at different times and under different conditions to demonstrate their impotence. It was reserved for a much greater man to dominate Europe regenerated by violent shocks, and to show to the universe the legitimate successor of Augustus wreathed with the imperial crown.
But without in any way anticipating time, without even leaving our subject which is poetry, let us continue to follow the developments of this science.
The original poets of Greece and Rome, brought into Italy by the savants whom the taking of Constantinople forced to go back towards the Occident of Europe, brought there an unexpected brilliancy, which, with the ancient germs deeply buried in its midst, soon awakened certain new germs that the peculiar circumstances had also brought there. In explaining what these germs were, I am giving occasion for thinkers to make certain reflections, and critics to form certain singular conjectures upon works hitherto badly judged.
It is necessary at first, that I repeat a truth which I have already said: that intellectual nature is always one and the same, whereas physical nature varies, changes unceasingly with time and place, and is modified in a thousand ways according to circumstances. Now, it is this latter nature which gives the form, that is to say, which renders sentient and particular that which the former gives to it as universal and intelligible; so that its aptitude more or less great, in receiving and in working upon the intelligence, can make the things which are more homogeneous in their principle appear more dissimilar in their effect. I will give a proof. Whilst the most profound obscurity covered Europe, whilst ignorance spread on all sides its baleful veils, there were found, however, at long intervals, certain privileged men, who, raising themselves above these thick vapours, came to grasp certain faint glimmerings of the light shining always above them. These men possessors of such rare gifts, would have indeed wished to communicate them to their contemporaries, but if they imprudently opened their mouths, the blind and fanatic horde which surrounded them cried out forthwith against the heretic, the magician, the sorcerer, and conducted them to torture as the price of their
lessons. 1 After several sorry examples, these men, having become prudent, assumed the part of silence by retiring into monasteries or hermitages, studying Nature there in quietude, and profiting alone by their discoveries. If certain ones still dared to speak, it was by borrowing the style of religion, or history, diverting from the ordinary sense certain ideas received, explaining themselves by enigmas, or by figures, which, when necessary, they were able to explain as they wished.
Among this number was a man of strong imagination and of a genius really poetic, who, having grasped certain truths of nature, and judging it proper not to divulge them, took the expedient of enclosing them in a book which he entitled: Les Faits et Gestes de Charles-Magne. This extraordinary man who has, in these modern times, obtained an ascendancy greater than one could ever have imagined, since he is the vital source whence have come all the orders, all the institutions of chivalry with which Europe has been inundated; this man, I say, was a monk of Saint-André de Vienne, living from the tenth to the eleventh century and perhaps a little before. 2 The book that he composed had a success as much the more prodigious as it was misunderstood, and such was the ignorance not only of the people, but even of the clergy, that the most palpable fictions were taken for realities. There are historians even who pretend that the council of Rheims, celebrated in 1119, declared this work authentic 3; and thence came the habit of attributing it to Archbishop Turpin. However that may be, it is to the allegorical history of Charlemagne, to that of his twelve paladins, called peers of France, to that of the four sons of Aymon and of Chevalier Bayard, to that of Renaud, Roland, Richard, and the other heroes of the bibliothèque bleue, for
a long time our only bibliotheca, that we owe a new style of poetry, called Romanesque, on account of the Romance tongue in which it had birth. 1 This style is to the eumolpique style, as a wild offshoot, growing laboriously in an arid and bramble-covered land, is to a cultivated tree which rises majestically in the heart of a fertile country.
It was with the chivalrous ideas, inspired by the book of the monk of Saint André, that the first poetic ideas were brought forth in France. The Oscan troubadours seizing these first glimmerings of genius, threw themselves with enthusiasm into a career which offered at the same time pleasures, glory, and the gifts of fortune. 2 They sang of the fair, of gallants and of kings; but their verses, monotonous enough when a real passion did not animate them, hardly reached above eulogy or satire. But little capable of feeling the moral beauties of poetry, they stopped at form. The rhyme for them was everything. For them the supreme talent was only rhyming much and with difficulty. One could not imagine to what lengths they went in this style. Not content with restricting themselves to follow the same rhyme throughout the entire course of the poem, they sometimes doubled it at the end of each verse, rhyming by echo, or else they made an initial rhyme. 3 These obstacles becoming multiplied stifled their muse in its cradle. All that art owed to these first modern poets was limited to a sort
of song, gay and sprightly, ordinarily a parody upon a more serious subject, and which, because it was quite frequently sung with an air of the dance accompanied by the vielle or hurdy-gurdy, their favourite instrument, was called vau-de-vielle, or as is pronounced today, vaudeville. 1
The Italians and Spaniards, who received from the Oscan troubadours their first impulse toward poetry, would have been perhaps as limited as they, to composing amorous sonnets, madrigals or, at the most, certain vehement sylves, 2 if the Greeks, driven from their country by the conquests of Mohammed II., had not brought them the works of the ancients as I have already said. These works, explained in the chaire publique, due to the munificence of the Medicis, struck particularly the Italians: not however by exciting their poets to take them as models; the turn of their mind and the form of their poetry, similar in everything to that of the troubadours, were opposed too obviously here; but by giving them that sort of emulation which, without copying the others, makes one strive to equal them. At this epoch the book of the monk of St. André, attributed as I have said to Archbishop Turpin, already more than four centuries old, was known by all Europe, whether by itself, or whether by the numberless imitations of which it had been the subject. Not only France, Spain, Italy, but also
[paragraph continues] England and Germany were inundated with a mass of romances and ballads, wherein were pictured the knights of the court of Charlemagne and those of the Round Table. 1 All these works were written in verse, and the greater part, particularly those composed by the troubadours or their disciples, intended to be sung, were cut into strophes. Those of the imitator poets, who had had the force to go back to the allegorical sense of their model, had only developed and enriched it with their own knowledge; the others, following their various methods of considering it, had chosen subjects real and historical, or indeed had followed ingenuously without aim or plan, the impulse of their vagabond imagination. In France could be seen represented by the side of the stories of Tristan, of Lancelot, of the Grail, and of Ogier-le-Danois, that of Alexander the Great and of the Bible, that of the Seven Sages and of Judas Maccabeus, that of the History of the Normands and the Bretons, and finally that of the Rose, the most famous of all. A certain Guilhaume had published a philosophical romance upon the nature of beasts. 2
Already the Italian poets, after having received from the troubadours the form of their verses and that of their works, had surpassed their masters and had caused them to be forgotten. Petrarch in the sonnet and Dante in the sirvente assumed all the glory of their models, and left not any for the successors 3; already even Bojardo and some
others had attempted, with the example of Homer, to bring back to the unity of epopia, the incongruous and fantastic scenes of the romance, when Ariosto appeared. This man, gifted with a keen and brilliant imagination, and possessor of a matchless talent, executed what no one else had been able to do before him; he was neither inspired by Homer, nor by Vergil; he copied no one. He learned from them only to raise himself to the poetic source, to see it where it was and to draw from it his genius. Then he received a first inspiration and became the creator of a particular style of poetry which may be called romantic. Undoubtedly this style is greatly inferior to epopia; but after all it is original: its beauties as well as its faults belong to him.
Almost the same moment when Ariosto enriched Europe with his new poetry, Camoëns wished to naturalize it in Portugal; but the mélange of Vergil and Lucan that he essayed to make, betrayed his lack of understanding and he did not succeed. I mention it only that you may observe, Messieurs, that the form adopted by the Portuguese poet is exactly the same as the one which Ariosto, his predecessors and his successors, have followed in Italy: it is that of the troubadours. The poems of each are long ballads, intersected by strophes of eight lines of alternate rhymes which, succeeding one another with the same measure, can be sung from one end to the other, with an appropriate air, and which in fact, as J. J. Rousseau has very well remarked, were sung frequently. In these poems, the essence is in accord with the form, and it is this that makes their regularity. It is not the epopia of Homer drawn from the Orphic source, it is the romantic poetry of Ariosto, an issue of the fictions attributed to Archbishop Turpin, which is associated with the verses of the troubadours. These
verses subjected to rhyme are incapable in any tongue of attaining the sublime heights of Eumolpia or of Epopia.
The French poets soon proved it, when coming to understand the works of Homer and Vergil, they thought themselves able to imitate them by making use of the same poetic forms by which the authors of Perceval or Berthe-au-grand-pied had profited. It was all to no purpose that they worked these forms, striking them upon the anvil, polishing them, they remained inflexible. Ronsard was the first who made the fatal experiment; and after him a crowd of careless persons came to run aground upon the same reef. These forms always called up the spirit with which they were born; the melancholy and unceasing sound, sonorous with their rhymes in couplets or alternate, had something soporific which caused the soul to dream and which allured it in spite of itself, not into the sublime regions of allegory where the genius of Eumolpia was nourished, but into vague spaces of fictions, where, under a thousand whimsical forms the romantic mind evaporates. Doubtless one would have been able, in France, to limit the Italian poets, as had been done in Spain and Portugal; but besides, as it would have been necessary to confine itself to the second inspiration in a style already secondary, the spirit of the nation, sufficiently well represented by that of Ronsard, foreseeing from afar its high destinies, wished to command the summit of Parnassus, before having discovered the first paths.
The disasters of the first epic poets did not discourage their successors; vying with each other they sought to make amends; but instead of seeing the obstacle where it really was, that is to say, in the incompatible alliance of the essence of Epopia with the form of romance, they imagined that lack of talent alone had been prejudicial to the success of their predecessors. Consequently they devoted themselves to work with an indefatigable ardour, polishing and repolishing the rhyme, tearing to pieces and revising twenty times their works, and finally bringing the form to
the highest perfection that they were able to attain. The century of Louis XIV., so fertile in able versifiers, in profound rhymers, saw, however, the dawn of Epic poems only as a signal of their failure. Chapelain had, nevertheless, shown talent before his catastrophe; wishing to interest the French nation, he had chosen in its history the sole epic subject which he found there. Why had he not succeeded? This point was considered, and the truth still lacking, they went on to imagine that the fault was inherent in the French tongue, and that it was no longer capable of rising to the heights of Epopia: deplorable error, which for a long time has been harmful to the development of a tongue destined to become universal and to carry to future centuries the discoveries of past ones.
Ronsard had felt the difficulty most. Accustomed as he was to read Greek and Latin works in the original, he had seen clearly that what prevented the French tongue from following their poetic movement was particularly the restraint of the rhyme; he had even sought to free it from this servitude, endeavouring to make the French verses scan according to the ancient rhythm; but, in another way he had not appreciated the genius of that tongue which refused to follow this rhythm. Jodelle, Baïf, Passerat, Desportes, Henri-Etienne, and certain other savants, have made at different times the same attempt, and always without results. 1 Each tongue has its own character which it is necessary to know; ours has not at all the musical prosody of the Greek and Latin; its syllables are not determined, long and short, by the simple duration of time, but by the different accentuation and inflection of the voice. Among our writers the one who has best understood the nature of this prosody is certainly the abbé dOlivet: he declared firstly that he did not believe it possible to make French verses
measured by rhythm; and secondly, that even in the case where this might be possible, he did not see how this rhythm could be conformable to that of the Greeks and Latins. 1
I am absolutely of his opinion on these two points; I am furthermore, en partie, on what he says of the rhyme. I know as he, that it is not an invention of the barbarous ages; I know even more, that it is the luxurious production of a very enlightened age; I must say that it has brought forth thousands of beautiful verses, that it is often to the poet like a strange genius which comes to the assistance of his own. 2 God forbid that I pretend to separate it from French verse of which it is a charm. Rhyme is necessary, even indispensable, to romantic poetry and to all that is derived from it; and songs, ballads, vaudevilles, sylves of whatever sort they may be, whatever form, whatever length they may have, cannot pass away. It adds an infinite grace to all that is sung or recited with the chivalrous sentiment. Even the lyric style receives from it a romantic harmony which accords with it. All the secondary styles admit of this. It can, up to a certain point, embellish descriptive verse, soften didactic verse, add to the melancholy of the elegy, to the grace of the idyl; it can at last become the ornament of dramatic art such as we possessthat is to say, chivalrous and impassioned; but as to real Eumolpia and Epopiathat is to say, as to what concerns intellectual and rational poetry, pure or mingled with the enthusiasm of the passions; prophetic verses or hymns, emanated from the Divinity or destined to be raised to it; philosophical verse adapted to the nature of things and developing the diverse moral and physical systems; epic verses uniting talent to allegorical genius and joining together the intelligible world to the sentient world; with all these, rhyme is incompatible. As much as it delights in works of the mind just so much is it rejected by genius. Fiction harmonizes with it, allegory is opposed to it. It is chivalrous and not
heroic; agreeable, brilliant, clever, melancholy, sentimental, but it could never be either profound or sublime.
Let us clear this up with the light of experience, and now that we can do it to good purpose, let us make a rapid survey of the poetic condition of the principal nations of the earth.
58:* Thence arises the epithet of Eumolpique that I give to the verses which form the subject of this work.
59:* The proof that Rome was scarcely known in Greece, at the epoch of Alexander, is that the historian Theopompus, accused by all critics of too much prolixity, has said only a single word concerning this city, to announce that she had been taken by the Gauls (Pliny, l. iii., c. 5). Bayle observes with much sagacity, that however little Rome had been known at that time, she would not have failed to furnish the subject of a long digression for this historian, who would have delighted much in it. (Dict. crit., art. THEOPOMPUS, rem. E.)
60:1 Diogen. Laërt., l. i., § 116. Pliny, l. v., c. 29. Suidas, In φερεχύδς.
61:1 Degerando, Hist. des Systêm. de Phil., t. i., p. 128, à la note.
61:2 Dionys. Halic., De Thucid. Judic.
62:1 The real founder of the Atomic system such as has been adopted by Lucretius (De Rerum Natura, l. i.), was Moschus, Phnician philosopher whose works threw light upon those of Leucippus (Posidonius cité par Strabon, l. xvi., Sext. Empiric., Adv. mathem., p. 367). This system well understood, does not differ from that of the monads, of which Leibnitz was the inventor.
62:2 Fréret, Mytholog. ou Religion des Grecs.
62:3 Voltaire, who has adopted this error, has founded it upon the signification of the word Epos, which he has connected with that of Discourse (Dictionn. philos. au mot EPOPÉE). But he is mistaken. The Greek word ἔπος is translated accurately by versus. Thence the verb επεῖν, to follow in the tracks, to turn, to go, in the same sense.
63:1 The Greeks looked upon the Latin authors and artists as paupers enriched by their spoils; also they learned their language only when forced to do so. The most celebrated writers by whom Rome was glorified, were rarely cited by them. Longinus, who took an example of the sublime in Moses, did not seek a single one either in Horace or in Vergil; he did not even mention their names. It was the same with other critics. Plutarch spoke of Cicero as a statesman; he quoted many of his clever sayings, but he refrained from comparing him with Demosthenes as an orator. He excuses himself on account of having so little knowledge of the Latin tongue, he who had lived so long in Rome! Emperor Julian, who has written only in Greek, cites only Greek authors and not one Latin.
67:1 Voyez louvrage de Naudé, intitulé: Apologie des hommes accusés de magie. Le nombre de ces hommes est très-considérable.
67:2 Allard, Bibl. du Dauphiné, à la fin.
67:3 Duplessis-Mornai, Mystère diniquité., p. 279.
68:1 This Ballad tongue, or rather Romance, was a mixture of corrupt Latin, Teutonic, and ancient Gallic. It was called thus, in order to distinguish it from the pure Latin and French. The principal dialects of the Romance tongue were the langue doc, spoken in the south of France, and the langue doïl, spoken in the north. It is from the langue doïl that the French descend. The langue doc, prevailing with the troubadours who cultivated it, disappeared with them in the fourteenth century and was lost in numberless obscure provincial dialects. Voyez Le Troubadour, poésies occitaniques, à la Dissert., vol. i.
68:2 Fontenelle, Hist. du Théâtre Français.
68:3 Voyez Sainte-Palaye, Mém. sur lancienne Cheval.; Millot, Hist. des Troubad. Disc. prélim., on ce que jai dit moi-même dans le Troubadour, comme ci-dessus.
69:1 It is necessary to observe that vau or val, bau or bal, according to the dialect, signifies equally a dance, a ball, and a folly, a fool. The Phnician, root על (whal) expresses all that is elevated, exalted. The French words bal, vol, fol, are here derived.
69:2 The sonnets are of Oscan origin. The word son signifies a song in the ancient langue doc. The word sonnet is applied to a little song, pleasing and of an affected form.
The madrigals are of Spanish origin as their name sufficiently proves. The word gala signifies in Spanish a kind of favour, an honour rendered, a gallantry, a present. Thus Madrid-gala arises from a gallantry in the Madrid fashion.
The sylves, called sirves or sirventes by the troubadours, were kinds of serious poems, ordinarily satirical. These words come from the Latin sylva which, according to Quintilius, is said of a piece of verse recited ex-tempore (l. x., c. 3).
70:1 Voyez Laborde, Essai sur la Musique, t. i., p. 112, et t. ii., p. 168. On trouve, de la page 149 à la page 232 de ce même volume, un catalogue de tous les anciens romanciers français. On peut voir, pour les Italiens, Crescembini, Della Volgar Poësia.
70:2 See Laborde. It is believed that this Guilhaume, bishop of Paris, is the author of the hieroglyphic figures which adorn the portal of Notre-Dame, and that they have some connection with the hermetic science. (Biblioth. des Phil. Chim., t. iv. Saint-Foix, Essai sur Paris.)
70:3 Perhaps one is astonished to see that I give the name of sirventes, or sylves, to that which is commonly called the poems of Dante; but in order to understand me, it is necessary to consider that these poems, composed of stanzas of three verses joined in couplets, are properly only long songs on a p. 71 serious subject, which agrees with the sirvente. The poems of Bojardo, of Ariosto, of Tasso, are, as to form, only long ballads. They are poems because of the unity which, notwithstanding the innumerable episodes with which they are filled, constitutes the principal subject.
73:1 Pasquier, Hist. et Recherch. des Antiq., l. vii., ch. 12. Henri-Etienne, Précellence du Lang. Franç., p. 12. DOlivet, Prosod., art. i., § 2. Delisle-de-Salles, Hist. de la Trag., t. i., p. 154, à la note.
74:1 DOlivet, Prosod., art. V., § 1.