Northern France had long since witnessed a glorious development of narrative poetry, of warlike epic and courtly romance—songs of kings and feudal lords, adventures of knights (particularly those of the Round Table〖See Dr. Maynadier’s lecture on “Malory” in the course on Prose Fiction.〗) in distant lands and times. Out of liturgical service had grown the drama. Symbolism, long familiar in the interpretation of ancient poetry and of holy writ, had made its way into creative art, and had produced the “Romance of the Rose,” that wonder of the thirteenth century. Satire, which in this poem is combined with the allegorical theme of the quest of love, had found separate expression in the versified episodes called “fabliaux,” and in the tales of Reynard the Fox. Much of this literature had been carried to Italy, as to other countries of Europe. No less renowned than the North French epic,〖Cf. “The Song of Roland” in H. C., xlix, 95ff.〗 and hardly less influential abroad, was the great school of amatory lyric poetry that had sprung up in southern France—a poetry of restricted scope but of exquisite artistry, which in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries was sung and imitated at many an Italian court. Not until the time of Frederick II, however, do we find similar verse composed in an Italian tongue. About this great emperor clustered a band of clever, artificial love poets known as the Sicilian School. In Tuscany the vernacular was used for lyric purposes by a group of uninspired but ingenious rhymesters, for the most part close followers of Provençal models. At Bologna, too, the famous university town, the new art began to be cultivated in the middle of the thirteenth century. Here lived Guido Guinizelli, whom Dante calls his master, the first poet to formulate definitely that theory of love which was to govern the “sweet new style.”

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