Sequence of holy Eulalie
The Séquence (or Cantilena ) of holy Eulalie is probably the first literary text written in French language, then named Romance (ancestor of the Former French and French).
This sequence tells the martyrdom of the Sainte Eulalie de Mérida and ends in a prayer. It takes as a starting point an anthem of the Latin poet Prudence which one can read in the Peristephanon . It is a poem of 29 worms decasyllables which end in an assonance, for example “inimi” and “to seruir”.
Since the discovery of the text in 1837 by Hoffmann von Fallersleben, the Sequence raised many debates, in particular on the enigmatic direction of its fifteenth worms. One agrees today to date the codex from the beginning of IXe century and to allot it to a workshop lotharingien.
One goes back it to 880 or 881 and it is included in a compilation of Latin speech in of Gregoire saint, in addition to four others poems, three in Latin and one in tudesque language (Germanic Langue), the Ludwigslied. Such a sequence, or rhythmic poetry, was sung at the time of the Gregorian liturgy; this one probably was it with the abbey of Saint-Amand-the-Water (close to Valencian). Swallow (see bibliography) confirms work of Bischoff which locates the drafting of work in a “area towards Liege and Aachen”, which brings the militant Walloons as for example the historian Léopold Genicot to consider that the French literature “pushed its first cry in Wallonia”.
Description of the manuscript
The text of the sequence occupies partially the back of layer 141 of manuscript 150 of the public library of Valencian. It belonged to the abbey of Saint-Amand-the-Water before the 12th century. It had with the departure contained only one copy of the Latin translation of works of Saint Gregoire de Nazianze provided, written Maurice Delbouille, by Rufin (hand has , dating from the beginning of the beginning from the Carolingian time and localisable on left bank of the the Rhine, in Basse Lorraine). It is a hand B which, as of the end of the 11th century, registered with the recto of layer 141, initially remained virgin, a Latin sequence dedicated to the worship of Holy-Eulalie of Mérida and inspired by the anthem devoted as of the 4th century by the poet Prudence, with the memory of holy martyrdom. The structure of this sequence is the same one as that of the Romance sequence registered then with the back of the same layer by a hand C . Neither in the Latin poem, nor in the Romance poem, this structure is however respected perfectly as for measurement of the worms, following negligence of transcription. The two texts were built to be sung on the same melody which is unknown for us. the back of the F 141 carries, of the same hand C (which copied the Romance sequence) the beginning of the Ludwigslied, sung at the time of the victory of king Louis over the Normands with the Bataille of Saucourt-in-Vimeu (August 881). The language of this text is the Francique practiced in the north of the field Gallo-novel, bilingual at the elites. The Romance text seems to be built for a more popular public for its construction. The passage of Latin to the French writes Delbouille implies an osmosis between erudite language and daily language through an individual bilingualism, by the fact of an internal and secret translation which one could say latent. . For Maurice Delbouille the whole of the features of Picard, Wallon and Champenois supposes the existence at the end of the 9th century of a poetic Scripta Romance commune with these three linguistic fields in formation (the dialects will be completely formed only at the 13th century), which corresponds to the intellectual vitality of those at that time (see Histoire of sciences in Wallonia (900-1800)
Study of the text
The Séquence comprises twenty-nine towards:
- les left between right hooks, in the original text, is indicated by a Tilde or another mark of Abréviation. Thus, the word dom is noted dõ ; Mireille Huchon, in its History of the French language , transcribed dõ by deo . It is also a possibility; some contracted words were separate to facilitate the reading; the original text is traced in Minuscule rather readable Caroline. The beginning of each towards is marked by a capital letter in Rustica ;
- on note the use of the old Digraph cz for /ts/ in czo /tso/, form pronominal, “that”, resulting from Latin ecc (E) hoc . Later, Z of the digraph will give rise to the Cédille: there would be thus then Co (to compare with modern French that );
- les towards is written two to two per line; for reasons of legibility, each one is followed of one return to the line;
- la translation wants to be literal, in order to better show the historical links between the Romance and French words; it is thus normal that it seems sometimes difficult access; it is enough to take for each word its etymological meaning ( coulpe : “sinned”, chief: “head”, century : “life in the world”, figure : “form”, ministry : “service”, thank you : “pity”, etc), to remember that the subject can not be expressed and that the word order is more flexible ( Want the century to leave : “She wants to leave the century”, etc).
He uses the articles ( Li inimi : “enemies”, lo name : “the name”, enl : Agglutination for “in lo”, domnizelle the : “young lady”, etc), unknown of Latin, show that some Voyelle S finales of Latin are now null and void (use of E or has to return: pulcella : “virgin (young girl)”, thimble : “thing”, arde : “arde (burns)”, etc) and that certain vowels have diphthong (Latin bona > Romance buona : “good”, Latin toti > Romance tuit , etc). It is as in this text as the first Conditionnel of the history of the French language ( sostendreiet is attested: “would support”), unknown mode to Latin, formed starting from the morphological Thème of the future (a Infinitif, in fact) and Désinence S of Imparfait.
Numérisation of parchment (ref. Public library of Valencians 150 (olim 143) fol.141v)
- the sequence of Holy is Eulalie a Picardy text? of Pierre Ivart (aka Alix Tassememouille)
- For the history of the Sequence of Yves Chartier
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