Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic eBook

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Poetry, during this century, took also in Bohemia the same course as in Germany, and degenerated into loose works of fiction between prose and verse, mostly allegorical compositions, and the basis of the modern novel.  Such are Tristram, in 9000 verses, a translation from the German; the life of Alexander and the History of Troy from the Latin, both of them more novel than history; and a great number of similar works.[15] Some fragments of an heroic epic, entitled “The Bohemian Alexander,” have been recently found in the archives of Budweis by Professor Kaubek, and published in the Journal of the Museum.  All the other poetical productions of this century may be divided into fables, satires, and legends, or other allegorical pieces of an ecclesiastico-didactic tendency, as may be seen even from their titles; e.g. the Nine Joys of Mary, the Ten Commandments, the Five Sources of Sin, etc.  All are equally deficient in poetical merit.

With what thoughts the minds of reflecting men and of the reading class were at this time chiefly occupied, and how well they were prepared to receive, in the beginning of the following century, the doctrines of Huss, Jerome, and Jacobellus, those teachers of a purer system of divinity, is manifested in some measure in the theological literature of the day.  A treatise upon the great distress of the church, written by a clergyman called John Miliez, before 1370;[16] several others on the principal Christian virtues; a book of Christian instruction written by Shtitny, a Bohemian nobleman, for his own children; a translation of the Jewish Rabbi Samuel’s book on the coming of the Messiah; and several similar works,—­all these seem to indicate that the religious system of the day was no longer able to satisfy reflecting minds.  We find also that a great part of the Bible was already extant in the Bohemian language in the second half of the fourteenth century;[17] although not yet collected together.  Several translations of the Psalter from this period; also of the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel; and the Sunday lessons from the Gospels; are preserved in manuscript in the libraries of Prague, Vienna, and Oels in Silesia.  Many others have doubtless perished in the lapse of time.

SECOND PERIOD.

From John Huss, A.D. 1400, to the general diffusion of the art of printing, about A.D. 1500.

At the commencement of the fifteenth century, the university of Prague was in the zenith of its splendour.  Several celebrated German scholars occupied the professors’ chairs, and the average number of students was twenty thousand.  No department of science was neglected; each faculty had its distinguished teachers; but it was theology which excited decidedly the warmest national interest among the Bohemians themselves; it was theology in which the Bohemians maintained the first rank as teachers.  The interest in spiritual things was

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Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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