Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS

REFERRED TO IN

THE FOREGOING ESSAY.

(A) The Minstrels, &c.] The word Minstrel does not appear to have been in use here before the Norman Conquest; whereas it had long before that time been adopted in France.1 MENESTREL, so early as the eighth century, was a title given to the Maestro di Capella of K. Pepin, the father of Charlemagne; and afterwards to the Coryphæus, or leader of any band of musicians. [Vide Burney's Hist. of Music, ii. 268.] This term Menestrel, Menestrier, was thus expressed in Latin, Ministellus, Ministrellus, Ministrallus, Menesterellus, &c. [Vide Gloss. Du Cange, & Supplem.]

Menage derives the French words above mentioned from Ministerialis or Ministeriarius, barbarous Latin terms, used in the Middle Ages to express a workman or artificer (still called in Languedoc Ministral), as if these men were styled ARTIFICERS or PERFORMERS by way of excellence.-Vide Diction. Etym. But the origin of the name is given perhaps more truly by Du Cange: "MINISTELLI. . . . quos vulgo Menestreux vel Menestriers appellamus, quod minoribus aulæ Ministris accenserentur." [Gloss. iv. p. 769.] Accordingly, we are told, the word Minister is sometimes used pro Ministellus [ibid.], and an instance is produced which I shall insert at large in the next paragraph.

Minstrels sometimes assisted at divine service, as appears from the record of the 9th of Edward IV., quoted above in page xxxvii by which Haliday and others are erected into a perpetual Gild, &c.-See the original in Rymer, xi. 642. By part of this record it is recited to be their duty "to pray (exorare: which it is presumed they did by assisting in the chant, and musical accompaniment, &c.) in the King's chapel, and particularly for the departed souls of the King and Queen, when they shall die," &c. The same also appears from the passage in the Supplem. to Du Cange,

1 The Anglo-Saxon and primary English name for this character was Gleeman [see below, Note (1) sect. 1], so that, wherever the term Minstrel is in these pages applied to It before the Conquest, it must be understood to be only by anticipation. Another early name for this profession in English was Jogeler, or Jocular, Lat. Joculator. [See p. xxvii, as also note (v 2), and note ().] To prevent coufusion, we have chiefly used the more general word Minstrel: which (as the author of the Observ. on the Statutes hath suggested to the Editor) might have been originally derived from a diminutive of the Lat. Minister: scil. Ministerellus, Ministrellus.

alluded to above. "MINISTER.... pro Ministellus Joculator." 2—Vetus Ceremoniale MS. B. M. deauratæ Tolos. "Item, etiam congregabuntur Piscatores, qui debent interesse isto die in processione cum Ministris seu Joculatoribus: quia ipsi Piscatores tenentur habere isto die Joculatores, seu Mimos, ob honorem Crucis-et vadunt primi ante processionem cum Ministris seu Joculatoribus semper pulsantibus usque ad Ecclesiam S. Stephani." [Gloss. 773.] This may perhaps account for the clerical appearance of the Minstrels, who seem to have been distinguished by the Tonsure, which was one of the inferior marks of the clerical character.3 Thus Geoffrey of Monmouth, speaking of one who acted the part of a Minstrel, says, "Rasit capillos suos et barbam." (See note K.) Again, a writer in the reign of Elizabeth, describing the habit of an ancient Minstrel, speaks of his head as "rounded Tonster-wise" (which I venture to read Tonsure-wise), "his beard smugly shaven."-See above, p. xl.

It must, however, be observed, that notwithstanding such clerical appearance of the Minstrels, and though they might be sometimes countenanced by such of the clergy as were of more relaxed morals, their sportive talents rendered them generally obnoxious to the more rigid ecclesiastics, and to such of the religous orders as were of more severe discipline; whose writings commonly abound with heavy complaints of the great encouragement shown to those men by the princes and nobles, and who can seldom afford them a better name than that of Scurræ, Famelici, Nebulones, &c., of which innumerable instances may be seen in Du Cange. It was even an established order in some of the monasteries, that no Minstrel should ever be suffered to enter the gates.

4

We have, however, innumerable particulars of the good cheer and great rewards given to the Minstrels in many of the convents, which are collected by T. Warton (i. 91, &c.) and others. But one instance, quoted from Wood's Hist. Antiq. Univ. Ox. i. 67 (sub an. 1224), deserves particular mention. Two itinerant priests, on a supposition of their being Mimi or Minstrels, gained admittance. But the cellarer, sacrist, and others of the brethren, who had hoped to have been entertained by their diverting arts, &c., when they found them to be only two indigent ecclesiastics, who could only administer spiritual consolation, and were consequently disappointed of their mirth, beat them and turned them out of the monastery. (Ibid. p. 92.) The passage furnishes an additional

2 Ministers seems to be used for Minstrels in the Account of the Inthronization of Abp. Neville (An. 6 Edw. IV.). "Then all the Chaplyns must say grace, and the Ministers do sing."-Vide Lelandi Collectanea, by Hearne, vol. vi. p. 13.

3 It has however been suggested to the Editor by the learned and ingenious author of "Irish Antiquities," 4to, that the ancient Mimi among the Romans had their heads and beards shaven, as is shown by Salmasius in Notis ad Hist. August. Scriptores VI. Paris, 1620, fol. p. 385. So that this peculiarity had a classical origin, though it afterwards might make the Minstrels sometimes pass for Ecclesiastics, as appears from the instance given below. Dr. Burney tells us that Histriones and Mimi abounded in France in the time of Charlemagne (ii. 221), so that their profession was handed down in regular succession from the time of the Romans, and therewith some leading distinctions of their habit or appearance; yet with a change in their arts of pleasing, which latterly were most confined to singing and music.

4 Yet in St. Mary's church at Beverley, one of the columns hath this inscription:— "Thys Pillar made the Mynstrylls:" having its capital decorated with figures of five men in short coats, one of whom holds an instrument resembling a lute. See Sir J. Hawkins, Hist. ii. 298.

proof that a minstrel might, by his dress or appearance, be mistaken for an ecclesiastic.

(B) The Minstrels use mimickry and action, and other means of diverting, &c.] It is observable, that our old monkish historians do not use the words Cantator, Citharœdus, Muscius, or the like, to express a Minstrel in Latin, so frequently as Mimus, Histrio, Joculator, or some other word that implies gesture. Hence it might be inferred, that the Minstrels set off their songs with all the arts of gesticulation, &c.; or, according to the ingenious hypothesis of Dr. Brown, united the powers of melody, poem, and dance. See his History of the Rise of Poetry, &c.]

"Avec

But indeed all the old writers describe them as exercising various arts of this kind. Joinville, in his Life of St. Lewis, speaks of some Armenian Minstrels, who were very dexterous tumblers and posture-masters. le Prince vinrent trois Menestriers de la Grande Hyermenie (Armenia) et avoint trois cors.-Quand ils encommenceoient a corner, vous dissiez que ce sont les voix de cygnes, et fesoient les plus douces melodies. Ils fesoient trois marveilleus saus, car on leur metoit une touaille desous les piez, et tournoient tout debout.... Les Deux tournoient les testes arieres," &c.-See the extract at large, in the Hon. D. Barrington's Observations on the Anc. Statutes, 4to, 2d edit. p. 273, omitted in the last impression.

.....

This may also account for that remarkable clause in the press-warrant of Henry VI., "De Ministrallis propter solatium Regis providendis," by which it is required, that the boys, to be provided "in arte Ministrallatûs instructos," should also be "membris naturalibus elegantes."-See above page xxxvii. (Observ. on the Anc. Stat. 4th edit. p 337.)

Although by Minstrel was properly understood, in English, one who sung to the harp, or some other instrument of music, verses composed by himself or others, yet the term was also applied by our old writers to such as professed either music or singing separately, and perhaps to such as practised any of the sportive arts connected with these.5 Music, however, being the leading idea, was at length peculiarly called Minstrelsy, and the name of Minstrel at last confined to the musician only.

In the French language all these arts were included under the general name of Menestraudie, Menestraudise, Jonglerie, &c. [Med. Lat. Menestellorum Ars, Ars Joculatoria, &c." On peut comprendre sous le nom de Jonglerie tout ce qui appartient aux anciens chansonniers Provençaux, Normands, Picards, &c. Le corps de la Jonglerie etoit forme des Trouveres, ou Troubadours, qui composoient les chansons, et parmi lesquels y avoit des Improvisateurs, comme on en trouve en Italie; des Chanteurs, ou Chanteres, qui executoient ou chantoient ces compositions; des Conteurs qui faisoient en vers ou en prose les contes, les recits, les histoires; des Jongleurs ou Menestrels qui accompagnoient de leurs instruments.-L'art de ces Chantres ou Chansonniers, etoit nommé la Science Gaie, Gay Saber." (Pref. Anthologie Franç. 1765, 8vo, p. 17.)-See also the curious Fauchet (De l' Orig. de la Lang. Fr. p. 72, c.), "Bien tost apres la division de ce grand empire François en tant de petites royaumes, duchez, et comtez, au

5 Vide infra, note (AA).

lieu des Poetes commencerent a se faire cognoistre les Trouverres, et, Chan terres, Contëours, et Juglëours: qui sont Trouveurs, Chantres, Conteurs, Jongleurs, ou Jugleurs, c'est à dire, Menestriers chantans avec la viole." We see, then, that Jongleur, Jugleur (Lat. Joculator, Juglator), was a "Les Jongleurs ne faisoient peculiar name appropriated to the Minstrels. On les appelloit aussi que chanter les poesies sur leurs instruments. Menestrels:" says Fontenelle, in his Hist. du Théat. Franç., prefixed to his Life of Corneille.

That the Minstrels in many (c) Successors of the ancient Bards.] respects bore a strong resemblance both to the British Bards and to the Danish Scalds, appear from this, that the old monkish writers express them Thus Geoffrey of all, without distinction, by the same names in Latin. Monmouth, himself a Welshman, speaking of an old pagan British king, who excelled in singing and music so far as to be esteemed by his countrymen the patron deity of the Bards, uses the phrase Deus Joculatorum; which is the peculiar name given to the English and French Minstrels. In like manner, William Malmesbury, speaking of a Danish king's assuming the profession of a Scald, expresses it by Professus Mimum; which was another name given to the Minstrels in Middle Latinity. Indeed Du Cange, in his Glossary, quotes a writer, who positively asserts that the Minstrels I shall give of the Middle Ages were the same with the ancient Bards.

a large extract from this learned glossographer, as he relates many curious particulars concerning the profession and arts of the Minstrels; whom, after the monks, he stigmatizes by the name of Scurre; though he acknowledges their songs often tended to inspire virtue.

66

"Ejusmodi

Ministelli, dicti præsertim Scurræ, Mimi, Joculatores." Scurrarum munus erat principes non suis duntaxat ludicris oblectare, sed et eorum aures variis avorum, adeoque ipsorum principum laudibus, non sine assentatione, cum cantilenis et musicis instrumentis demulcere

[ocr errors]

"Interdum etiam virorum insignium et heroum gesta, aut explicata et jocunda narratione commemorabant, aut suavi vocis inflexione, fidibusque decantabant, quo sic dominorum, cæterorumque qui his intererant ludicris, nobilium animos ad virtutem capessendam, et summorum virorum imitationem accenderent: quod fuit olim apud Gallos Bardorum ministerium, ut auctor est Tacitus. Neque enim alios à Ministellis, veterum Gallorum Bardos fuisse pluribus probat Henricus Valesius ad 15 Ammiani.. Chronicon Bertrandi Guesclini.

[ocr errors]

'Qui veut avoir renom des bons et des vaillans

Il doit aler souvent a la pluie et au champs

Et estre en la bataille, ainsy que fu Rollans,

Les Quatre Fils Haimon, et Charlon li plus grans,
Li dus Lions de Bourges, et Guions de Connans,
Perceval li Galois, Lancelot, et Tristans,

Alexandres, Artus, Godfroi li Sachans,

De quoy cils MENESTRIERS font les nobles ROMANS."

"Nicolaus de Braia describens solenne convivum, quo post inaugurationem suam proceres excepit Lud. VIII. rex Francorum, ait inter ipsius

6 Vide notes (B) (K) (Q).

7 Vide note (N).

« FöregåendeFortsätt »