Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 20, 1909.djvu/425
many gaps in his bibliography ; and most readers will probably come to the conclusion that he has attempted, within the limits assigned to him, to cover too much ground. He promises a treatise on the origin of nobility, slavery, and the relations of the various classes. He would, I venture to think, be well advised either to limit the sphere of his investigation, or to do more justice to himself by treating his subject on a wider scale.
Maltesische Volkslieder im Urtext MIT Deutscher Uber- SETZUNG. Von B. Ilg und H. Stumme. Leipzig, 1909. Pp. 77.
This is the sixth number of the Leipziger Semitistische Studien edited by Profs. A. Fischer and H. Zimmern. To many lay readers accustomed to think of Malta as a British possession, for nearly a thousand years under Christian rule, the connection with a Semitic series of texts, hitherto mainly concerned with things Babylonian, may not be obvious. The songs are, however, in language, and to a great degree in character, distinctly Arabic. The feast days celebrated are Christian, the " humorous situations " which form one group among the poems are humours of the con- fessional, the priests, and the churches, but the morality, such as it is, the references to intrigue, the fashion of the songs themselves, strike one who knows the Arabs as being distinctly Arabic, — the Arabic of the towns that is to say, — though, were they in another language, one might be content to call them Levantine.
The lady to whose industry we owe the collection had some- what exceptional opportunities of coming into relation with people of all classes and all occupations, from being a guest in the house of the German Consul in Malta. Professor Stumme, in his pre- face, tells us that the Maltese are a people who have songs for every occasion, and, when these fail, they improvise, answering each other in rhyming couplets from housetop to housetop, from boat to boat, often, like the Arabs, singing nonsense so long as it rhymes and has a tune. The English occupation has put a stop to the old customs of nightly serenading, and indeed love-making