Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/397

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

Reviews. 381

who figures so largely in the remnants of old English heroic verse : a profession in which kings and princes were sometimes the amateurs. Very full evidence is given. There seems nothing to add, except that Mr. Chambers has said little of Scandinavia, doubtless because it lay apart from the main stream. I only notice a reference or two to the Northern court poet or skald, who perhaps represents the minstrel at his highest pitch of talent and status. Bragi and Egil and the other poets named in the sagas would have completed the picture (see Corp. Poet. £or., vol. ii. ad init., and Mogk in Paul's Grundriss on the Icelandic-Norwegian litera- ture, sec. 13). It is curious how little we hear about the position of the poet or reciter in the earlier " Eddie " as distinct from the court verse. An Appendix (G in vol. ii.) gives in full a leading passage from Thomas de Cabham, at the beginning of the fourteenth century, who justifies Mr. Chambers's distinctions, and probably alludes also to the more or less separate body of vagrant scholars or "goliardic" satirists. The formal distinction between the maker {trobaire) and the circulator (Joglar) of poetry seems (i. 63) to have begun in Provence. The flourishing of minstrelsy through the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries is told, and the story is thus brought down to the time when the liturgical drama, a wholly different growth and the subject of Mr. Chambers's third book, was becoming more articulate. Among the appendices of value to the chapters on the minstrel may be named the extracts from the pay-books, that show their cost and maintenance, and the dissertations on their various names and titles. Mr. Chambers sees the importance of defining historic terms, and his later elucidations of miraculum, tnysteriutn (ii. 104-5), and interludium (ii. 181) do needed service in antiquating some of the misnomers found in the histories of the drama.

The second book, which will at once attract the readers of Folk-Lore, defies any attempt at a proper compte-rendu here. It is on "Folk Drama," by which is meant the whole of the mediaeval festal custom that contains any scenic element at all. It is equal in bulk to the other three books