Skip to main content

Full text of "Medieval Allegory"

See other formats


STOP 



Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 
purposes. 

Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early- 
journal-content . 



JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 
contact support@jstor.org. 



March, 1909.] 



MODERN LANGUAGE NOTES. 



91 



occasional failures in the past, while Sudermann's 
power is already well-nigh exhausted. Other 
dramatists, such as the North Germans Halbe, 
Hartleben, Hirschfeld, Wedekind, the Austrians 
Bohr, Schnitzler, Brunner, Schonherr, are tersely 
characterized in the eleventh lecture, which also 
analyzes the milieu and subject matter of the 
drama for the past decade or two. The chapter 
closes with an explanation of " Heimatkunst " as 
advocated by Bartels and Lienhard, and a brief sur- 
vey of the more or less successful dialectic drama. 

The twelfth lecture, finally, perhaps the most 
stimulating and helpful of all, may bear the head- 
ing "The New Komanticism." The lyrists, 
Bierbaum, Dehmel, Stefan George, and the his- 
toric drama, the themes of which are drawn under 
the influence of Nietzsche, from the Orient, Hel- 
las, the Kenaissance and Keformation, and the 
French Revolution, are considered as well as the 
Romantic Drama, introduced by Fulda's "Talis- 
man" and ably represented by the productions of 
Elsa Bernstein (pseud. Ernst Rosmer), Hofmanns- 
thal and Vollmoeller. Whatever may be the 
fate of the German drama in the twentieth cen- 
tury, says Professor Arnold, this much we make 
bold to assert : it is not facing another decline. 
It must be freed, however, from the trammels of 
pernicious newspaper criticism and from the 
desire, on the part of the playwright, for gain 
and popularity, before the great dramatist of the 
age can arise. Such a one will take as the 
measure of his efforts only the ideal hovering 
before him and its immanent laws. 

A word, in conclusion, regarding the thirty 
pages of bibliography. Although the author did 
not purpose compiling a complete list of reference 
books, yet he included all important works, even 
pamphlets and magazine articles, bearing on each 
chapter, with occasional comments to indicate 
their scope or value. Of especial interest is the 
rather full bibliography of nearly all the leading 
German theaters. This feature of the book will 
be appreciated not only by the general student 
but also the specialist. 

Because Doss Moderne Drama is so well organ- 
ized, it can be recommended without hesitation to 
those who are drifting compassless on the sea of 
the modern drama. 

Max Batt. 

North Dakota Agricultural College. 



MEDIEVAL ALLEGORY. 

The Four Daughters of Qod : A Study of the Ver- 
sions of this Allegory with especial reference to 
those in Latin, French, and English. A Dis- 
sertation Presented to the Faculty of Bryn 
Mawr College for the Degree of Doctor of 
Philosophy by Hope Tbavee, 1907. Phila- 
delphia : The John C. Winston Co., 1907. 165 
pp. , with bibliography and chart exhibiting the 
relationship of versions discust. 

This dissertation has first of all the merit of 
really entering new territory. The favorite plots 
of medieval narrators have been studied with great 
diligence by literary genealogists, with the curious 
omission of one group, — the religious allegories. 
The fables and the stories employed by Chaucer 
and Marie de France have been exhaustively 
inapt and charted ; but the great allegorical 
forms of the age of allegory, except for a few im- 
perfect and fragmentary comparative studies, have 
hitherto been neglected. Yet these plots were at 
least as popular with medieval narrators ; and 
they are capable, too, of receiving definition quite 
as precise and yielding genealogies quite as articu- 
late. The allegory here selected is one of the 
slightest, forming essentially but a single scene 
with the content of a single verse of the psalter ; 
and here if anywhere it might seem impossible to 
determine anything like a system of relationships. 
But the little scene proves, on the contrary, 
capable of remarkable expansion and modification 
— not only making itself at home in diverse lit- 
erary forms, both of prose and poetry, but also 
variously modifying its very spirit. Now it 
appears as a peg on which to hang endless wire- 
drawn theological argument, now as a feudal ro- 
mance, now as an elaborate medieval trial, now as 
a long allegorical epic, at one time a completed 
drama in itself, at another a framework supplying 
introduction, links, and conclusion for a dramatic 
cycle. Relationships are found to be comparatively 
easy to fix ; and only occasionally, when the version 
is exceedingly abbreviated or especially original, 
is Miss Traver compelled to confess inability to 
find at least an approximate source. 

In all over fifty different versions are compared, 
chiefly, as the title indicates, in Latin, French, 
and English, with a few closely involved versions 



92 



MODERN LANGUAGE NOTES. 



[Vol. xxiv, No. 3. 



in Dutch. They are found distributed over six 
centuries of extraordinary popularity, from the 
origin of the allegory in the Jewish Midrash, not 
later than the tenth century, down to its latest 
literary use by Giles Fletcher in the seventeenth. 
Landmarks in this history are found in the ver- 
sions of Hugo of St. Victor and Bernard of Clair- 
vaux in the twelfth century, Robert Grosseteste 
and Jacob van Maerlant in the thirteenth, and 
Cardinal Bonaventura of Padua and Guillaume 
de Deguilleville in the fourteenth. Taken by Hugo 
from its Jewish source and removed in setting 
from the heavenly council preceding the creation 
to the council preceding the redemption, the alle- 
gory was recast and more completely Christian, 
ized by Bernard. Grosseteste, in the Ghasteau 
d' Amour removed it from the heavenly to an 
earthly court and transformed it into a feudal 
romance. Bonaventura, in the influential Medi- 
tationes Vitae Christi, went back to Bernard, but 
supplied a new introduction and fresh arguments. 
The Dutch versions, beginning with Maerlant' s 
Merlijn, fused with the allegory of the four graces 
the equally ancient allegory of a struggle between 
good and evil powers for man's soul. This con- 
flict between good and evil was further expanded 
by Deguilleville, after the manner of the Roman 
de la Rose, in his three-fold romance of the soul's 
history, in which he twice inserted the allegory of 
the graces, once with an important modification. 
Almost all the other versions are found to be 
groupt around these six. The earliest in English, 
the Vices and Virtues (dated about 1200), is per- 
haps dependent on Bernard, as is certainly Lyd- 
gate's Life of Our Lady in the fifteenth century. 
From the Ghasteau d' Amour are traceable of 
course its English translation the Cursor Mundi, 
several versions in French romances of the thir- 
teenth century, the Gesta Romanorum, and indi- 
rectly thru the Gesta the French moralities. 
From the Meditationes of Bonaventura come its 
English translation by Nicholas Love in the 
Speculum Vitae Christi in 1410, the version in 
the contemporary Vita Christi of Ludolphus, 
which appears in paraphrase in the fifteenth cen- 
tury Passioun of Christ of Walter Kennedy, and 
indirectly the English moralities. The Devil 
motive, first appearing in the thirteenth century 
Merlijn (tho Miss Traver gives reasons to believe 



that Maerlant was following an older source now 
lost) appears again during the next hundred years 
in Italian, French, and Dutch poems, and receives 
its most popular form in the Processus Belial of 
Jacopo da Theramo in 1381. Upon Theramo 
depends the treatment as found in a Provencal 
mystery cycle. The novel form given the alle- 
gory by Deguilleville serves as model for the 
French Passion Play of Mercade' in the early 
fifteenth century, and fifty years later for that of 
Greban. From Greban's Mystbre de la Passion, 
with in some cases "contaminating" influence 
from Bonaventura, come the versions of the other 
French mysteries. Lastly, we consider certain 
versions handled with much originality and for 
that reason difficult or impossible to assign to any 
definite source : such are those found in Piers 
Ploivman, in the Court of Sapience, which Miss 
Traver pronounces one of the most charming ver- 
sions of the allegory, in the Marian morality 
Respublica, and in Giles Fletcher's Christ's 
Victory. 

It is interesting to find the allegory connected 
also with the names of Shakspere and Milton. 
Johnson reports two plans left by Milton for a 
"Tragedy or Mystery" on this theme, one of 
which suggests the original Midrash form, the 
other the traditional form. The connection with 
Shakspere is more doubtful. It consists in cer- 
tain similarities between the trial scene in the 
Merchant of Venice and the ' ' Proces ' ' in Gre- 
ban' s mystery. In both there is the same prob- 
lem at bottom — how to reconcile the claims of 
justice and mercy — and there are some striking 
special parallels in the development of the two 
scenes. Miss Traver concludes that, altho it is 
impossible in the present state of our knowledge 
of the sources of the Merchant of Venice to explain 
these similarities with the fifteenth century mys- 
tery, they are too striking to be disniist as mere 
coincidences. 

Perhaps the most valuable discoveries of the 
study are in connection with the English morali- 
ties. The two versions found in the Salutation 
and Conception play of the so-called Coventry 
cycle and in the Castle of Perseverance, tho inde- 
pendent of each other, are shown to offer special 
resemblances in structure, and often in phrasing, 
to a version in the fourteenth century prose treat- 



March, 1909.] 



MODERN LANGUAGE NOTES. 



93 



ise, The Charter of the Abbey of the Holy Ghost, 
ascribed to Richard Eolle of Hampole. As Miss 
Traver makes clear, however, it is improbable 
that either morality version is derived directly 
from the Charter, but likely instead that all three 
follow independently a lost common original dif- 
fering but slightly from the Meditationes of Bona- 
ventura. This lost original may have been dra- 
matic, perhaps a French mystery. 

This comparatively scanty showing made by 
the allegory in the English drama might have 
been bettered by one addition if we had the 
missing second part of the Pride of Life. So Miss 
Traver conjectures from the prolog, in opposition 
to Brandl, who suggests instead that the allegory 
there used was the Debate between Soul and Body. 1 
The wording is obscure, but a comparison with the 
corresponding part of the Castle of Perseverance 
prolog, 2 where the episode of the four graces is 
similarly advertised as the intervention of "our 
loflylady," supports Miss Traver' s view. If it 
were originally used in the Pride of Life, the alle- 
gory would seem to have been similar in type to 
that of the Dutch poems or of Deguilleville. In 
connection with Deguilleville, another of the Eng- 
lish moralities might have been cited for a prob- 
able reminiscence, altho it does not contain the 
allegory itself. Deguilleville' s introduction of the 
character of Sapience to take the role of Christ as 
arbitrator between the four daughters is called by 
Miss Traver his most important modification ; 
and the same identification runs thruout the 
morality Wisdom Who Is Christ. In the Castle 
of Perseverance, on the other hand, the influence 
from Deguilleville which she promises (in a note 
on page 94) to discuss in a later chapter, but 
which she has apparently overlookt, is not obvious. 

It is perhaps ungracious to criticise the study 
on the score of its omissions, since the author 
expressly disclaims completeness, even in the re- 
stricted field of Latin, French, and English. Still 
it is regrettable to find no word of two dramatic 
versions which are remarkable alike for their 
early use of the allegory and for their very early 
adaptation of the dramatic form to an allegorical 

1 A. Brandl, Quellen des weMichm Dramas in England, 
Quellen und Forschungen, lxxx, p. xviii. 

8 Compare the Pride of Life, 11. 97-112, with the Castle 
of Perseverance, 11. 118-130. 



theme — the two twelfth century Anglo-French 
moralities by Guillaume Herman and (possibly) 
Stephen Langton. Both are described by Ward 
and by Chambers. 8 They would seem antecedent 
to any of the versions cited except the two earliest, 
those of Hugo and Bernard ; and they precede 
by considerably over a century the Maestricht 
Plays, which Miss Traver cites (page 78) as the 
earliest appearance of the allegory in the drama. 
Their appearance is indeed probably to be re- 
garded as sporadic, and they could hardly have 
been influential ; but they certainly deserve at- 
tention. Another omission occurs in the treat- 
ment of the Gesta Romanorum. The allegory as 
it appears in the Latin version of the Gesta is 
summarized and its departures from its ancestor, 
the Chasteau d' Amour, and approaches to its 
descendants, the French moralities, admirably 
analyzed. But nothing is said of the striking 
differences between the Latin and the English 
version of the tale, altho Herrtage's edition* is 
cited. The omission, fortunately, does not in- 
validate Miss Traver' s conclusions, for the English 
version is even closer to Grosseteste than the Latin. 
As a link between the source in Grossteste, how- 
ever, and the diverging Continental version, it 
supplies an interesting confirmation of Oesterley's 
theory that England was the original home of the 
Gesta Romanorum and the English the earlier 
version. It was also perhaps not without influ- 
ence in the subsequent history of the allegory, for 
a comparison with the Court of Sapience suggests 
that it rather than Grosseteste and rather than 
the Continental version was the immediate model, 
at least of the first part. Finally, on page 158 
Miss Traver has cited a rather remote story from 
the fifteenth century example book Jacob's Well, 
but has overlookt a story in the same collection 
which is closer on the whole to our allegory. 6 

But some omissions, in tracing the history of so 
extraordinarily widespread a form thru a field 
hitherto so little explored, were inevitable. Miss 



'Ward, Hist of Eng. Dram. Lit., I, 25, 105; Cham- 
bers. The Medieval Stage, II, 152. 

4 S. Herrtage, The Early English Versions of the Gesta 
Romanorum, E. E. T. S., ext. ser. xxxin, pp. 132-135. 

6 Jacob's Well, ed. Arthur Brandeis, E. E. T. S., orig. 
ser. cxv, pp. 138-141 : " Angels and Fiends contending 
for the Rich Man's Soul." 



94 



MODEBN LANGUAGE NOTES. 



[Vol. xxiv, No. 3. 



Traver's dissertation certainly illuminates a terri- 
tory that has too long been left obscure by the 
students of medieval literature, and incidentally 
presents a number of valuable suggestions and 

discoveries. 

Robert L. Ramsay. 

University of Missouri. 



BEOWULF. 



Beowulf nebst dew, Finnsburg-Bruchstuek mit Ein- 
leitung, GlossarundAnmerkungen herausgegeben 
von F. Holthausen. I. Teil : Texte und 
Namenverzeichnis. [Alt- und mittelenglische 
Texte herausgegeben von L. Morsbach und F. 
Holthausen. Bd. 3.] Heidelberg : Carl Win- 
ter's Universitatsbuchhandlung ; New York : 
G. E. Stechert. (1905.) 112 pp. 

The appearance of this edition is an event in 
the annals of Beowulf bibliography. Coming from 
a distinguished Old English scholar and an ac- 
knowledged master of textual criticism, it is fully 
abreast of the progress of Beowulf studies and 
shows a marked advance over its predecessors. 
In contrast with the editions of Heyne-Socin and 
Wyatt, it recognizes to the fullest extent the met- 
rical principles established by Sievers, which call 
for a large number of slight changes. Also in 
other respects it is clearly seen to be absolutely 
free from what has been styled by the editor the 
'curse of conservatism.' Yet it contains much 
less of the provisional and speculative element 
than Trautmann's recension. For while the lat- 
ter apparently is not designed as a text-book and 
certainly is what it claims to be, a ' bearbeiteter 
Text,' Holthausen' s text is primarily meant for 
college use and follows strict business principles, 
which forbid unnecessary and individualistic alter- 
ations. 

Of course, opinions will be found to differ in 
many cases as to the necessity of an emendation. 
Personally I am in favor of a more cautious treat- 
ment of the -transmitted text. As a number of 
instances in which I am bound to disagree with 
Holthausen, have been discussed in my papers 
published within the past year in Mod. Phil., 
Mod. Lang. Notes, Anglia, JET. Arehiv, I trust I 
shall be excused from going over the same 



ground again. I should like, however, to express 
in this place a doubt as to the advisability of 
assuming a gap of (at least) two half-lines in so 
many places as Holthausen has done. 1 It is true, 
some words may very well have dropped out after 
11. 935, 1106, 1174, but most of the other pas- 
sages involved seem to me to admit of a reasonable 
interpretation without drastic measures. As an 
instance (of a debatable character) I mention 
1. 1981 : geond fxet side reced BTcereSes dohtor. 
There seems to me greater risk in assuming a 
lacuna than in regarding side (cf. geond fiost 
side sel, Andr. 762), which is added above the 
line ("in the same hand I think, but with 
another ink" Zupitza) as a wrong insertion in 
place of heal or hea (Sievers, Beitr., x, 313) ; 
cf. hand for mund 965, hild for Und 1073. 
Moreover, HcereHes dohtor / lufode 8a leode need 
not be taken as parenthetical, as lufian may de- 
note 'manifest one's love,' 'treat kindly' (IT. 
Arehiv, cix, 305). 

A good many emendations are original with the 
editor, the majority of them having been previously 
published in various journals, especially in Z. f. 
d. P., xxxvii, 113fF. Not a few are singularly 
ingenious, and several appear either positively 
convincing or distinctly probable. As a splendid 
specimen eame on eaxle 1117, may be cited. 

A few casual notes may be subjoined. Line 
1022 ff. Of the two possible punctuations the fol- 
lowing is to be preferred : . . . helm ond byrnan;/ 
mcere madfoumsweord manige gesawon j beforan 
beorn beran. Cf. Mod. Phil, in, 244. L. 1032 f. 
The simplest and most satisfactory solution of the 
difficulty would be to write (with Thorpe) meahte, 
with the understanding that the singular laf has 
collective force. L. 1302. Why should the ms. 
reading be changed ? under heolfre means ' cov- 
ered with blood ' (= blodge beadufolme 990) ; cf. 
H. Arehiv, crv, 291. L. 2586 ff. I cannot bring 
myself to believe that grundwong should not 
denote the same as eormengrund, ginne grand. 
LI. 25866-88 and 2589-90a express nearly the 
same idea, the former negatively, the latter posi- 
tively. Considering further the contrast between 
wolde and seeolde [o/er] willan, we may venture 
to translate literally : ' that was not a ready (will- 

'Also Trautmann, Bonner Beitr., xvn, 177, mentions 
this point.