January 7, 2017

From Minstrels To Jugglers, The Fall Of A Line Of Poets

"Once attached to great houses, as trumpeters of family pride, [minstrels] had taken to wandering about to inns, fairs, and popular gatherings, as well as to castles; so their strains, at first addressed to "seigneurs" and "barons", became tuned to catch the ears of the vulgar."

Their once epic and sought-after poetic tales became stale, offering nothing new to the now jaded ears of their patrons. And so these jongleurs found themselves almost having to beg for food, money and clothes from those willing to listen to them.

"This title, from the Latin joculator, reflects he history of a brotherhood that in its wandering life had a ready chance to fall into bad ways. The jongleurs or gleemen became jugglers, mixed up with conjurors, tumblers, bear leaders, and other more or less disreputable vagrants, among whom they lost their character while increasing in numbers."

And thus, "[a]s minstrels went out of fashion, romance took a new lease of life in the form of prose."

Excerpts from Romance & Legend of Chivalry, by A.R. Hope Moncrieff.

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