Chansons sentence example
The cycle of twenty or more chansons which form the geste of Guillaume reposes on the traditions of the Arab invasions of the south of France, from the battle of Poitiers (732) under Charles Martel onwards, and on the French conquest of Catalonia from the Saracens.
The conclusions arrived at by earlier writers are combated by Joseph Bedier in the first volume, "Le Cycle de Guillaume d'Orange" (1908), of his Legendes epiques, in which he constructs a theory that the cycle of Guillaume d'Orange grew up round the various shrines on the pilgrim route to Saint Gilles of Provence and Saint James of Compostella - that the chansons de geste were, in fact, the product of 11th and 12th century trouveres, exploiting local ecclesiastical traditions, and were not developed from earlier poems dating back perhaps to the lifetime of Guillaume of Toulouse, the saint of Gellone.
In the earlier chansons de geste he is invariably a majestic figure and represents within limitations the grandeur of the historic Charles.
Historical tradition was already dim when the hypothetical and much discussed cantilenae, which may be taken to have formed the repository of the national legends from the 8th to the 10th century, were succeeded in the 11th and the early 12th centuries by the chansons de geste.
The account in the Chanson de Roland of the trial of Ganelon after the battle of Roncesvalles must have been adopted almost intact from earlier poets, and provides a striking example of the value of the chansons de geste to the historian of manners and customs.Advertisement
But it chanced to find as its exponent a poet whose genius established a model for his successors, and definitely fixed the type of later heroic poems. The other early chansons to which reference is made in Roland - Aspremont, Enfances Ogier, Guiteclin, Balan, relating to Charlemagne's wars in Italy and Saxony - are not preserved in their original form, and only the first in an early recension.
At the beginning of the r4th century Girard of Amiens made a dull compilation known as Charlemagne from the chansons de gests, authentic history and the pseudoTurpin.
The French and Norman-French chansons circulated as freely in England as in France, and it was therefore not until the period of decadence that English versions were made.
The third volume of the Epopees francaises contains an analysis and full particulars of the chansons de geste immediately connected with the history of Charlemagne.
For individual chansons see Anseis de Carthage, ed.Advertisement
Fauriel was biased in this work by his preconceived and somewhat fanciful theory that Provence was the cradle of the chansons de geste and even of the Round Table romances; but he gave a great stimulus to the scientific study of Old French and Provencal.
Both were men of courage and activity, and the two men are often confused in the chansons de geste.
Although the diffusion of epic poetry in England did not actually inspire any new chansons de geste, it developed the taste for this class of literature, and the epic style in which the tales of Horn, of Bovon de Hampton, of Guy of Warwick (still unpublished), of Waldef (still unpublished), and of Fulk Fitz Warine are treated, is certainly partly due to this circumstance.
The proofs of this which Schultz and Gautier adduce from the Chansons de Geste might be multiplied indefinitely.
It has long been conceded that the great French national epics of the 11th and 12th centuries must have been founded on a great fund of popular poetry, and that many of the episodes of the chansons de geste refer to historical events anterior to the Carolingian period.Advertisement
Flach gave them a solid basis by the wide range of his researches, utilizing charters and cartularies (published and unpublished), chronicles, lives of saints, and even those dangerous guides, the chansons de geste.
The most instructive, perhaps the only instructive, parallel is to be found in the French " chansons de geste," of which the Chanson de Roland is the earliest and best example.
It has been held that the chansons de geste were formed by joining together " bunches " of these earlier cantilenes, and this was the view taken by Leon Gautier in the first edition of Les Epopees frangaises (1865).
It forms part of the cycle of the chansons de geste dealing with the Crusade, and relates how Helyas, knight of the swan, is guided by the swan to the help of the duchess of Bouillon and marries her daughter Ida or Beatrix in circumstances exactly parallel to the adventures of Lohengrin and Elsa of Brabant, and with the like result.
Villehardouin does not in the least conceal the fact that the pope ("l'apostoilles de Rome," as he calls him, in the very phrase of the chansons) was very angry with this; for his own part he seems to think of little or nothing but the reparation due to the republic, which had loyally kept its bargain and been defrauded of the price, of the infamy of breaking company on the part of members of a joint association, and perhaps of the unknightliness of not taking up an adventure whenever it presents itself.Advertisement
But he joined the staff of the Revue des deux mondes, and for some years contributed to it numerous essays, the most remarkable of which was that on Les Epopees francaises du XIIeme siecle, an early, though not by any means the earliest, appreciation of the long-neglected chansons de geste.
In the same year Les Chansons des rues et des bois gave evidence of new power and fresh variety in the exercise and display of an unequalled skill and a subtle simplicity of metre and of style employed on the everlasting theme of lyric and idyllic fancy, and touched now and then with a fire more sublime than that of youth and love.