Professor Marsh delivered his second lecture on the beginnings of modern poetry in Sever 11 last evening, A week ago, he spoke on the poetry of Provence; last evening. on the poetry of France proper. Both Provence and France had partaken of the civilizations of Greece and Rome, but France did not completely fall under their influence. Then, under Chalemagne, the interest in literature was once more awakened, the new culture showed itself independent of the old, and was so much the fresher and more original than the Provencial poetry.
The poets sang the tales of many heroes, especially of Rolland. They were, in a broad sense, historians, and their narratives have an air of truth that makes them seem real and alive. They always followed the line of thought closely; they were clear and precise; they thought of what they spoke, and not of how they spoke, Stern, rude, and unadorned their poetry was, but certainly it had vitality, significance, and grandeur.
Provence had had only a few stock themes, and, even in treating these, no room had been given for the play of individual traits. France on the other hand, drew the material of her poetry from the history of Rome, of Franks, and of Breton's alike, and was also considerably influenced by the satirical cast of mind the Crusaders found present in the Orient. All these civilizations, each with its distinct ideals made their influence felt in the formation of French poetry and have given it a breadth, variety, and richness that make it the first truly cosmopolitan literature.