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the story of Margaret of Scolland's Kiss, was a writer of a some. I be claimed as a poet of the lighter order, and the patriotic what similar character. In both Christine and Chartier there is diatribes against the English to which we have alluded easily a great deal of rather heavy moralizing, and a great deal of rather passed into satire. The political quarrels of the latter part of pedantic erudition. But it is only fair to remember that the the century also provoked much satirical composition. The intolerable political and social evils of the day called for a good disputes of the Bien Public and those between Louis XI. and deal of moralizing, and that it was the function of the writers Charles of Burgundy employed many pens. The most remarkof this time to fill up as well as they could the scantily filled able piece of the light literature of the first is “Les Ånes Volants," vessels of medieval science and learning. A very different a ballad on some of the early favourites of Louis. The battles
person is Charles d'Orléans (1391-1465), one of the of France and Burgundy were waged on paper between Gilles Gorlicens. greatest of grands seigneurs, for he was the father des Ormes and the above-named Georges Chastelain, typical
of a king of France, and heir to the duchies of Orléans representatives of the two styles of 15th-century poetry already and Milan. Charles, indeed, if not a Roland or a Bayard, was an alluded to-Des Ormes being the lighter and more graceful admirable poet. He is the best-known and perhaps the best writer, Chastelain a pompous and learned allegorist. The most writer of the graceful poems in which an artificial versification remarkable representative of purely light poetry outside the is strictly observed, and helps by its recurrent lines and modulated theatre is Guillaume Coquillart (1421-1510), a lawyer
Coquito rhymes to give to poetry something of a musical accompaniment of Champagne, who resided for the greater part of his even without the addition of music properly so called. His ballades life in Reims. This city, like others, suffered from the are certainly inferior to those of Villon, but his rondels are un pitiless tyranny of Louis XI. The beginnings of the standing equalled. For fully a century and a half these forms engrossed army which Charles VII, had started were extremely unpopular, the attention of French lyrical poets. Exercises in them were and the use to which his son put them by no means removed produced in enormous numbers, and of an excellence which has this unpopularity. Coquillart described the military man of the only recently obtained full recognition even in France. Charles period in his Monologue du gendarme cassé. Again, when the d'Orléans is himself sufficient proof of what can be done in them king entertained the idea of unifying the taxes and laws of the in the way of elegance, sweetness, and grace which some have different provinces, Coquillart, who was named commissioner for unjustly called effeminacy. But that this effeminacy was no this purpose, wrote on the occasion a satire called Les Droils natural or inevitable fault of the ballades and the rondeaux nouveaux. A certain kind of satire, much less good-tempered was fully proved by the most remarkable literary figure of the than the earlier forms, became indeed common at this epoch. 15th century in France. To François Villon (1431-1463 ?), M. Lenient has well pointed out that a new satirical personifica. Villon.
as to other great single writers, no attempt can be tion dominates this literature. It is no longer Renart with his
made to do justice in this place. His remarkable cynical gaiety, or the curiously travesties and almost amiable life and character especially lie outside our subject. But he is Devil of the Middle Ages. Now it is Death as an incident ever universally recognized as the most important single figure of present to the imagination, celebrated in the thousand repetitions French literature before the Renaissance. His work is very of the Danse Macabre, sculptured all over the buildings of the strange in form, the undoubtedly genuine part of it consisting time, even frequently performed on holidays and in public. With merely of two compositions, known as the great and little the usual tendency to follow pattern, the idea of the “ dance" Testament, written in stanzas of eight lines of eight syllables seems to have been extended, and we have a Dansé aux arcugles each, with lyrical compositions in ballade and rondeau form (1464) from Pierre Michaut, where the teachers are fortune, interspersed. Nothing in old French literature can compare love and death, all blind. All through the century, too, anony. with the best of these, such as the “ Ballade des dames du mous verse of the lighter kind was written, some of it of great temps jadis,” the “Ballade pour sa mère," "La Grosse Margot," merit.. The folk-songs already alluded to, published by Gaston “Les Regrets de la belle Heaulmière," and others; while the Paris, show one side of this composition, and many of the pieces whole composition is full of poetical traits of the most extra-contained in M. de Montaiglon's extensive Recueil des anciennes ordinary vigour, picturesqueness and pathos. Towards the end poésies françaises exhibit others. of the century the poetical production of the time became very The 15th century was perhaps more remarkable for its achieve. large. The artificial measures already alluded to, and others ments in prose than in poetry. It produced, indeed, no prose far more artificial and infinitely less beautiful, were largely writer of great distinction, except Comines; but it witnessed practised. The typical poet of the end of the 15th century is serious, if not extremely successful, efforts at prose composition. Guillaume Crétin (d. 1525), who distinguished himself by writing The invention of printing finally substituted the reader for the verses with punning rhymes, verses ending with double or treble listener, and when this substitution has been effected, the main repetitions of thesamesound, and many other tasteless absurdities, inducement to treat unsuitable subjects in verse is gone. The in which, as Pasquier remarks,“ il perdit toute la grâce et la study of the classics at first hand contributed to the same end.
liberté de la composition." The other favourite As early as 1458 the university of Paris had a Greek professor.
direction of the poetry of the time was a vein of But long before this time translations in prose had been made. allegorical moralizing drawn from the Roman de la rose through Pierre Bercheure (Bersuire) (1290-1352) had already translated the medium of Chartier and Christine, which produced“ Castles Livy. Nicholas Oresme (c. 1334-1382), the tutor of Charles V., of Love,"" Temples of Honour,"and such like. The combination gave a version of certain Aristotelian works, which enriched of these drifts in verse-writing produced a school known in the language with a large number of terms, then strange enough, literary history, from a happy phrase of the satirist Coquillart now familiar. Raoul de Presles (1316-1383) turned into French (v.inf.),as the “Grands Rhétoriqueurs." Thechief of these besides the De civitate Dei of St Augustine. These writers or others Crétin were Jean Molinet (d. 1507); Jean Meschinot (c. 1420-composed Le Songe du vergier, an elaborate discussion of the 1491), author of the Lunelles des princes; Florimond Robertet power of the pope. The famous chancellor, Jean Charlier or (d. 1522); Georges Chastellain (1404-1475), to be mentioned Gerson (1363-1429), to whom the Imilation has among so many again; and Octavien de Saint-Gelais (1466-1502), father of a others been attributed, spoke constantly and wrote often in the better poet than himself. Yet some of the minor poets of the vulgar tongue, though he attacked the most famous and popular time are not to be despised. Such are Henri Baude (1430-1490), a work in that tongue, the Roman de la rose. Christine de Pisan less pedantic writer than most, Martial d'Auvergne (1440-1508), and Alain Chartier were at least as much prose writers as pocts; whose principal work is L'Amant rendu cordelier au service de and the latter, while he, like Gerson, dealt much with the reform l'amour, and others, many of whom formed part of the poetical of the church, used in his Quadriloge invectif really forcible court which Charles d'Orléans kept up at Blois after his release. language for the purpose of spurring on the nobles of France
While the serious poetry of the age took this turn, there was to put an end to her sufferings and evils. These moral and ro lack of lighter and satirical verse. Villon, indeed, were it didactic treatises were but continuations of others, which for Dot for the depth and pathos of his poetical sentiment, might l convenience sake we have hitherto left unnoticed. Though
Antoine de la Salle
verse was in the centuries prior to the 15th the favourite medium | It had already long possessed a respectable position as a vehicle for literary composition, it was by no means the only one; and of romance, and the end of the 14th and the beginning of the moral and educational treatises-some referred to above-already 15th centuries were pre-eminently the time when existed in pedestrian phrase. Certain household books (Livres de the epics of chivalry were re-edited and extended in The Ceat raison) have been preserved, some of which date as far back prose. Few, however, of these extensions offer much
Nouvelles. as the 13th century. These contain not merely accounts, but literary interest. On the other hand, the best prose of family chronicles, receipts and the like. Accounts of travel, the century, and almost the earliest which deserves the title of especially to the Holy Land, culminated in the famous Voyage a satisfactory literary medium, was employed for the telling of Mandeville which, though it has never been of so much import- of romances in miniature. The Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles is ance in French as in English, perhaps first took vernacular undoubtedly the first work of prose belles-lettres in French, form in the French tongue. Of the 14th century, we have a and the first, moreover, of a long and most remarkable class Menagier de Paris, intended for the instruction of a young wife, of literary work in which French writers may challenge all and a large number of miscellaneous treatises of art, science comers with the certainty of victory—the short prose tale and morality, while private letters, mostly as yet unpublished, of a comic character. This remarkable work has usually been exist in considerable numbers, and are generally of the moralizing attributed, like the somewhat similar but later Heplameron, character; books of devotion, too, are naturally frequent. to a knot of literary courtiers gathered round a royal personage,
But the most important divisions of medieval energy in prose in this case the dauphin Louis, afterwards Louis XI. Some composition are the spoken exercises of the pulpit and the bar. evidence has recently been produced which seems to show that
The beginnings of French sermons have been much this tradition, which attributed some of the tales to Louis Earty
discussed, especially the question whether St Bernard, himself, is erroneous, but the question is still undecided. The whose discourses we possess in ancient, but doubtfully subjects of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles are by no means new.
contemporary French, pronounced them in that They are simply the old themes of the fabliaux treated in the language or in Latin. Towards the end of the 12th century, old way. The novelty is in the application of prose to such a however, the sermons of Maurice de Sully (1160–1196) present purpose, and in the crispness, the fluency and the elegance of the first undoubted examples of homiletics in the vernacular, the prose used. The fortunate author or editor to whom these and they are followed by many others--so many indeed that the admirable tales have of late been attributed is Antoine de la 13th century alone counts 261 sermon-writers, besides a large Salle (1398–1461), who, if this attribution and certain body of anonymous work. These sermons were, as might indeed others be correct, must be allowed to be one of the be expected, chiefly cast in a somewhat scholastic form-theme, most original and fertile authors of early French literaexordium, development, example and peroration following ture. La Salle's one acknowledged work is the story in regular order. The 14th-century sermons, on the other hand, of Petil Jehan de Saintré, a short romance exhibiting great comhave as yet been little investigated. It must, however, be mand of character and abundance of delicate draughtsmanship. romembered that this age was the most famous of all for its To this not only the authorship, part-authorship or editorship scholastic illustrations, and for the early vigour of the Dominican of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles has been added; but the stiil and Franciscan orders. With the end of the century and the more famous and important work of L'Avocat Patdin has been beginning of the 15th, the importance of the pulpit begins to assigned by respectable, though of course conjecturing, authority revive. The early years of the new age have Gerson for their to the same paternity. The generosity of critics towards La representative, while the end of the century sees the still more Salle has not even stopped here. A fourth masterpiece of the famous names of Michel Menot (1450–1518), Olivier Maillard period, Les Quinze Joies de mariage, has also been assigned (c. 1430-1502), and Jean Rauhn (1443-1514), all remarkable to him. This last work, like the other three, is satirical in subject, for the practice of a vigorous and homely style of oratory, recoil and shows for the time a wonderful mastery of the language. ing before no aid of what we should nowadays style buffoonery, of the fifteen joys of marriage, or, in other words, the fifteen and manifesting a creditable indifference to the indignation of miseries of husbands, each bas a chapter assigned to it, and each principalities and powers. Louis XI. is said to have threatened is treated with the peculiar mixture of gravity and ridicule which to throw Maillard into the Seine, and many instances of the bold-it requires. All who have read the book confess its infinite wit ness of these preachers and the rough vigour of their oratory and the grace of its style. It is true that it has been reproached have been preserved. Froissart had been followed as a chronicler with cruelty and with a lack of the moral sentiment. But by Enguerrand de Monstrelet (c. 1390-1453) and by the historio humanity and morality were not the strong point of the 15th graphers of the Burgundian court, Chastelain, already mentioned, century. There is, it must be admitted, about most of its whole interesting Chronique de Jacques de Lalaing is much the productions a lack of poetry and a lack of imagination, produced, most attractive part of his work, and Olivier de la Marche. The it may be, partly by political and other conditions outside literamemoir and chronicle writers, who were to be of so much import- ture, but very observable in it. The old forms of literature ance in French literature, also begin to be numerous at this itself had lost their interest, and new ones possessing period. Juvenal des Ursins (1388–1473), an anonymous bourgeois strength to last and power to develop themselves of the de Paris (two such indeed), and the author of the Chronique had not yet appeared. It was impossible, even if the Renaisscandaleuse, may be mentioned as presenting the character of taste for it had survived, to spin out the old themes sance. minute observation and record which has distinguished the any longer. But the new forces required some time to set to class ever since. Jean le maire de (not des) Belges (1473-C. 1525) work, and to avail themselves of the tremendous weapon which was historiographer to Louis XII. and wrote Illustrations des the press had put into their hands. When these things had Gaules. But Comines (1445-1509) is no imitator of Froissart adjusted themselves, literature of a varied and vigorous kind
or of any one else. The last of the quartette of great became once more possible and indeed necessary, nor did it Conlocs
French medieval historians, he does not yield to any take long to make its appearance. of his three predecessors in originality or merit, but he is very 16th Century.-In no country was the literary result of the different from them. He fully represents the mania of the time Renaissance more striking and more manifold than in France. for statecraft, and his book has long ranked with that of Machia- The double effect of the study of antiquity and the religious velli as a manual of the art, though he has not the osolutely movement produced an outburst of literary developments of the non-moral character of the Italian. His memoirs, considered most diverse kinds, which even the fierce and sanguinary civil merely as literature, show a style well suited to their purport, dissensions of the Reformation did not succeed in checking. not, indeed, brilliant or picturesque, but clear, terse and While the Renaissance in Italy had mainly exhausted its effects thoroughly well suited to the expression of the acuteness, observa- by the middle of the 16th century, while in Germany those effects tion and common sense of their author.
only paved the way for a national literature, and did not themBut prose was not content with the domain of serious literature. I selves greatly contribute thereto, while in England it was not
till the extreme end of the period that a great literature was | Italian humanists had not been far from it in some of their forthcoming-in France almost the whole century was marked Latin compositions. Around Marot arose a whole school of by the production of capital works in every branch of literary disciples and imitators, such as Victor Brodeau (1470 ?-1540), effort. Not even the 17th century, and certainly not the 18th, the great authority on rorideaux, Maurice Scève, a fertile author can show such a group of prose writers and poets as is formed of blasons, Salel, Marguerite herself (1492–1549), of whom more by Calvin, St Francis de Sales, Montaigne, du Vair, Bodin, hereafter, and Mellin de Saint Gelais (1491-1558). The last, d'Aubigné, the authors of the Satire Ménippée, Monluc, son of the bishop named above, is a courtly writer of occasional Brantôme, Pasquier, Rabelais, des Periers, Herberay des Essarts, pieces, who sustained as well as he could the style marolique Amyot, Garnier, Marot, Ronsard and the rest of the “ Pléiade," against Ronsard, and who has the credit of introducing the and finally Regnier. These great writers are not merely remark. regular sonnet into French. But the inventive vigour of the age able for the vigour and originality of their thoughts, the freshness, was so great that one school had hardly become popular before variety and grace of their fancy, the abundance their learning another pushed it from its stool, and even of the Marotists and the solidity of their arguments in the cases where argument just mentioned Scève and Salel are ofton regarded as chief and is required. Their great merit is the creation of a language and member respectively of a Lyonnese coterie, intermediate between a style able to give expression to these good gifts. The foregoing the schools of Marot and of Ronsard, containing other members account of the medieval literature of France will have shown of repute such as Antoine Heroët and Charles Fontaine and sufficiently that it is not lawful to despise the literary capacities claiming Louise Labé (v. inf:) herself. Pierre de and achievements of the older French. But the old language, Ronsard (1524-1585) was the chief of this latter. At with all its merits, was ill-suited to be a vehicle for any but first a courtier and a diplomatist, physical disqualification made the simpler forms of literary composition. Pleasant or affecting him change his career. He began to study the classics under tales could be told in it with interest and pathos. Songs of charm- Jean Daurat (1508-1588), and with his master and five other ing naïveté and grace could be sung; the requirements of the writers, Etienne Jodelle (1532-1573), Rémy Belleau (1528-1577), epic and the chronicle were suitably furnished. But it was barren Joachim du Bellay (1525-1560), Jean Antoine de Baif (1532of the terms of art and science; it did not readily lend itself to 1589), and Pontus de Tyard (d. 1605, bishop of Chalons-sur: sustained eloquence, to impassioned poetry or to logical discus-Saône), composed the famous “ Pléiade.” The object of this sion. It had been too long accustomed to leave these things to band was to bring the French language, in vocabulary, Latin as their natural and legitimate exponent, and it bore constructions and application, on a level with the
Pléiade marks of its original character as a lingua rustica, a tongue suited classical tongues by borrowings from the latter. They for homely conversation, for folk-lore and for ballads, rather than would have imported the Greek licence of compound words, for the business of the forum and the court, the speculations of though the genius of the French language is but little adapted the study, and the declamation of the theatre. Efforts had indeed thereto; and they wished to reproduce in French the regular been made, culminating in the heavy and tasteless erudition of tragedy, the Pindaric and Horatian ode, the Virgilian epic, &c. the schools of Chartier and Crétin, to supply the defect; but But it is an error (though one which until recently was very it was reserved for the 16th century completely to efface it. common, and which perhaps requires pretty thorough study of The series of prose writers from Calvin to Montaigne, of poets their work completely to extirpate it) to suppose that they from Marot to Regnier, elaborated a language yielding to no advocated or practised indiscriminate borrowing. On the conmodern tongue in beauty, richness, flexibility and strength, trary both in du Bellay's famous manifesto, the Defense et illustraa language which the reactionary purism of succeeding genera- tion de la langue française, and in Ronsard's own work, caution tions defaced rather than improved, and the merits of which have and attention to the genius and the tradition of French are in still later days been triumphantly vindicated by the confession insisted upon. Being all men of the highest talent, and not a and the practice of all the greatest writers of modern France. few of them men of great genius, they achieved much that they
16lh-Century Poetry: --The first few years of the 16th century designed, and even where they failed exactly to achieve it, they were naturally occupied rather with the last developments of very often indirectly produced results as important and more the medieval forms than with the production of the new model. beneficial than those which they intended. Their ideal of a The clerks of the Bazoche and the Confraternity of the Passion separate poetical language distinct from that intended for prose still produced and acted mysteries, moralities and farces. The use was indeed a doubtful if not a dangerous one. poets of the “Grands Rhétoriqueurs "school still wrote elaborate certain that Marot, while setting an example of elegance and allegorical poetry. Chansons de geste, rhymed romances and grace not easily to be imitated, set also an example of trivial and, fabliaux had long ceased to be written. But the press was so to speak, pedestrian language which was only too imitable. multiplying the contents of the former in the prose form which If France was ever to possess a literature containing something they had finally assumed, and in the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles besides fabliayx and farces, the tongue must be enriched and there already existed admirable specimens of the short prose tale. strengthened. This accession of wealth and vigour it received There even were signs, as in some writers already mentioned and from Ronsard and the Ronsardists. Doubtless they went too far in Roger de Collérye, a lackpenny but light-hearted singer of and provoked to some extent the reaction which Malherbe led. the early part of the century, of definite enfranchisement in Their importations were sometimes unnecessary.
It is almost verse. But the first note of the new literature was sounded by impossible to read the Franciade of Ronsard, and not too easy
Clément Marot (1496/7-1544). The son of an elder to read the tragedies of Jodelle and Garnier, fine as the latter are
poet, Jehan des Mares called Marot (1463-1523), in parts. But the best of Ronsard's sonnets and odes, the finest Clément at first wrote, like his father's contemporaries, allegorical of du Bellay's Antiquités de Rome (translated into English by and mythological poetry, afterwards collected in a volume with Spenser), the exquisite Vanneur of the same author, and the a charming title, L'Adolescence clémentine. "It was not till he was Avril of Belleau, even the finer passages of d'Aubigné and du nearly thirty years old that his work became really remarkable. Bartas, are not only admirable in themselves, and of a kind not From that time forward till his death, about twenty years after previously found in French literature, but are also such things wards, he was much involved in the troubles and persecutions as could not have been previously found, for the simple reason of the Huguenot party to which he belonged; nor was the pro- that the medium of expression was wanting. They constructed tection of Marguerite d'Angoulême, the chief patroness of that medium for themselves, and no force of the reaction which Huguenots and men of letters, always efficient. But his troubles, they provoked was able to undo their work. Adverse criticism so far from harming, helped his literary faculties; and his epistles, and the natural course of time rejected much that they had added. epigrams, blasons (descendants of the medieval dils), and coq-d-The charming diminutives they loved so much went out of l'âne became remarkable for their easy and polished style, their fashion; their compounds (sometimes it must be confessed, light and graceful wit, and a certain elegance which had not as justly) had their letters of naturalization promptly cancelled; yet been even attempted in any modern tongue, though the I many a gorgeous adjective, including some which could trace
But it is
their pedigree to the earliest ages of French literature, but I lost none of its native vigour and force, and had not yet subwhich bore an unfortunate likeness to the new-comers, was mitted to the cramping and numbing rules and restrictions which proscribed. But for all that no language has ever had its destiny the next century introduced. The satirical poems of Regnier, and influenced more powerfully and more beneficially by a small especially the admirable epistle to Rapin, in which he denounces literary clique than the language of France was influenced by the and rebuts the critical dogmas of Malherbe, are models of nervous example and disciples of that Ronsard whom for two centuries strength, while some of the elegies and odes contain expression it was the fashion to deride and decry.
not easily to be surpassed of the softer feelings of affection and In a sketch such as the present it is impossible to give a regret. No poet has had more influence on the revival of French separate account of individual writers, the more important of poetry in the last century than Regnier, and he had imitators
whom will be found treated under their own names. in his own time, the chief of whom was Courval-Sonnet (Thomas The effort of the “ Pléiade " proper was continued and Sonrret, sieur de Courval) (1577-1635), author of satires of some
shared by a considerable number of minor poets, value for the history of manners. some of them, as has been already noted, belonging to different 10th-Century Dramo. -The change which dramatic poetry groups and schools. Olivier de Magny (d. 1500) and Louise underwent during the 16th century was at least as remarkable Labė (b. 1526) were poets and loyers, the lady deserving far the as that undergone by poetry proper. The first half of the period higher rank in literature. There is more depth of passion in the saw the end of the religious mysteries, the licence of which had writings of " La Belle Cordière," as this Lyonnese poetess irritated both the parliament and the clergy. Louis XII., at was called, than in almost any of her contemporaries. Jacques the beginning of the century, was far from discouraging the disTahureau (1527-1555) scarcely deserves to be called a minor poet. orderly but popular and powerful theatre in which the ConfraThere is less than the usual hyperbole in the contemporary ternity of the Passion, the clerks of the Bazoche, and the Enfans comparison of him to Catullus, and he reminds an Englishman sans souci enacted mysteries, moralities, soties and farces. of the school represented nearly a century later by Carew, He made them, indeed, an instrument in his quarrel with the Randolph and Suckling. The title of a part of his poem- papacy, just as Philippe le Bel had made use of the allegorical Mignardises amoureuses de l'admirée-is characteristic both of poems of Jeban de Meung and his fellows. Under his patronage the style and of the time. Jean Doublet (c. 1528–c.1580), Amadis were produced the chief works of Gringore or Gringoire (c. 1480Jamyn (c. 1530–1585), and Jean de la Taille (1540-1608) deserve 1547), by far the most remarkable writer of this class of composimention at least as poets, but two other writers require a longer tion. His Prince des sots and his Mystère de St Louis are among allusion. Guillaume de Salluste, seigneur du Bartas (1544–1590), the best of their kind. An enormous volume of composition of
whom Sylvester's translation, Milton's imitation, and this class was produced between 1500 and 1550. One morality
the copious citations of Southey's Doctor, have by itself, L'Homme juste et l'homme mondain, contains some made known if not familiar in England, was partly a disciple 36,000 lines. But in 1548, when the Confraternity was formally and partly a rival of Ronsard. His poem of Judith was eclipsed established at the Hotel de Bourgogne, leave to play sacred by his better-known La Divine Sepmaine or epic of the Creation. subjects was expressly refused it. Moralities and soties dragged Du Bartas was a great user and abuser of the double compounds on under difficulties till the end of the century, and the farce, alluded to above, but his style possesses much stateliness, and has which is immortal, continually affected comedy. But the effect a peculiar solemn eloquence which he shared with the other of the Renaissance was to sweep away all other vestiges of the French Calvinists, and which was derived from the study partly medieval drama, at least in the capital. An entirely new class of Calvin and partly of the Bible. Théodore Agrippa d'Aubigné | of subjects, entirely new modes of treatment, and a different
(1552–1630), like du Bartas, was a Calvinist. His kind of performers were introduced. The change naturally D'AN Digné,
genius was of a more varied character. He wrote sonnets came from Italy. In the close relationship with that country
and odes as became a Ronsardist, but his chief poetical which France had during the early years of the century, Italian work is the satirical poem of Les Tragiques, in which the author translations of the classical masterpieces were easily imported. brands the factions, corruptions and persecutions of the time, Soon French translations were made afresh of the Electra, the and in which there are to be found alexandrines of a strength, Hecuba, the Iphigenia in Aulis, and the French humanists vigour and original cadence hardly to be discovered elsewhere, hastened to compose original tragedies on the classical model, save in Corneille and Victor Hugo. Towards the end of the especially as exhibited in the Latin tragedian Seneca. It was century, Philippe Desportes (1546-1606) and Jean Bertaut impossible that the Pléiade " should not eagerly seize such an (1552-1611), with much enfeebled strength, but with a certain opportunity of carrying out its principles, and one of its members, grace, continue the Ronsardizing tradition. Among their con- Jodelle (1532-1573), devoting himself mainly to dramatic temporaries must be noticed Jean Passerat (1534-1602), a writer composition, fashioned at once the first tragedy,
Regular of much wit and vigour and rather resembling Marot than Cléopatre, and the first.comedy, Eugène, thus setting tragedy Ronsard, and Vauquelin de la Fresnaye (1536–1607), the author the example of the style of composition which for two of a valuable Ars poëtica and of the first French satires which centuries and a half Frenchmen were to regard as the
comedy, actually bear that title. Jean le Houx (fl. c. 1600) continued, highest effort of literary ambition. The amateur performance rewrote or invented the vaux de vire, commonly known as the of these dramas by Jodelle and his friends was followed by a work of Olivier Basselin, and already alluded to, while a still | Bacchic procession after the manner of the ancients, which caused lighter and more eccentric verse style was cultivated by Etienne a great deal of scandal, and was represented by both Catholics Tabourot des Accords (1549-1590), whose epigrams and other and Protestants as a pagan orgy. The Cléopâtre is remarkable pieces were collected under odd titles, Les Bigarrures, Les Touches, as being the first French tragedy, nor is it destitute of merit. &c. A curious pair are Guy du Faur de Pibrac (1529–1584) and it is curious that in this first instance the curt antithetic Pierre Mathieu (b. 1563), authors of moral quatrains, which were orixouvbia, which was so long characteristic of French plays and learnt by heart in the schools of the time, replacing the distichs plays imitated from them, and which Butler ridicules in his of the grammarian Cato, which, translated into French, bad Dialogue of Cat and Puss, already appears. There appears also served the same purpose in the middle ages.
the grandiose and smooth but stilted declamation wbich came The nephew of Desportes, Mathurin Regnier (1573-1613), rather from the imitation of Seneca than of Sophocles, and the marks the end, and at the same time perhaps the climax, of the tradition of which was never to be lost. Cleopatre was followed Regnker.
poetry of the century. A descendant at once of the by Didon, which, unlike its predecessor, is entirely in alexandrines,
older Gallic spirit of Villon and Marot, in virtue of his and observes the regular alternation of masculine and feminine consummate acuteness, terseness and wit, of the school of Ronsard rhymes. Jodelle was followed by Jacques Grévin (1540 2-1570) by his erudition, his command of language, and his scholarship, with a Mort de César, which shows an improvement in tragic art, Regnier is perhaps the best representative of French poetry at and two still better comedies, Les Ébahis and Le Trésorière by the critical time when it had got together all its materials, had | Jean de la Taille (1540-1608), who made still further progress
towards the accepted French dramatic pattern in his Saul | and serves as a natural transition from poetry and the drama furieux and his Corrivaux, Jacques, his brother (1541-1562), and to history and science. Among the prose writers, thcrefore, Jean de la Péruse (1529-1554), who wrote a Médée. A very of the 16th century we shall give the first place to the novelists
different poet from all these is Robert Garnier (1545- and romantic writers.
1601). Garnier is the first tragedian who deserves a Among these there can be no doubt of the precedence, in place not too far below Rotrou, Corneille, Racine, Voltaire and every sense of the word, of François Rabelais (c. 1490-1553). Hugo, and who may be placed in the same class with them. He the one French writer (or with Molière one of the two chose his subjects indifferently from classical, sacred and medieval whom critics the least inclined to appreciate the literature. Sedécie, a play dealing with the capture of Jerusalem characteristics of French literature have agreed to place among by Nebuchadnezzar, is held to be his masterpiece, and Bradamante. the few greatest of the world. With an immense erudition deserves notice because it is the first tragi-comedy of merit in representing almost the whole of the knowledge of his time, French, and because the famous confidant here makes his first with an untiring faculty of invention, with the judgment of a appearance. Garnier's successor, Antoine de Monchrétien or philosopher, and the common sense of a man of the world, with Montchrestien (c. 1576-1621), set the example of dramatizing an observation that let no characteristic of the time pass ancontemporary subjects. His masterpiece is L'Écossaise, the observed, and with a tenfold portion of the special Gallic gift first of many dramas on the fate of Mary, queen of Scots. While of good-humoured satire, Rabelais united a height of speculation tragedy thus clings closely to antique models, comedy, as might and depth of insight and a vein of poetical imagination rarely be expected in the country of the fabliaux, is more independent. found in any writer, but altogether portentous when taken in Italy had already a comic school of some originality, and the conjunction with his other characteristics. His great work has French sarce was too vigorous and lively a production to permit been taken for an exercise of transcendental philosophy, for a of its being entirely overlooked. The first comic writer of great concealed theological polemic, for an allegorical history of this Lartvey.
merit was Pierre Larivey (c. 1550-C. 1612), an Italian and that personage of his time, for a merely literary utterance,
by descent. Most if not all of his plays are founded for an attempt to tickle the popular ear and taste. It is all of on Italian originals, but the translations or adaptations are made these, and it is none-all of them in parts, none of them in with the greatest freedom, and almost deserve the title of original deliberate and exclusive intention. It may perhaps be called works. The style is admirable, and the skilful management the exposition and commentary of all the thoughts, feelings, of the action contrasts strongly with the languor, the awkward aspirations and knowledge of a particular time and nation put adjustment, and the lack of dramatic interest found in con- forth in attractive literary form by a man who for once combined temporary tragedians. Even Molière found something to use in the practical and the literary spirit, the power of knowledge and Larivey.
the power of expression. The work of Rabelais is the mirror 161h-Century Prose Fiction.—Great as is the importance of of the 16th century in France, reflecting at once its comeliness the 16th century in the history of French poetry, its import and its uncomeliness, its high aspirations, its voluptuous tastes. ance in the history of French prose is greater still. In poetry its political and religious dissensions, its keen criticism, its the middle ages could fairly hold their own with any of the ages cager appetite and hasťy digestion of learning, its gleams of poetry, that have succeeded them. The epics of chivalry, whether of the and its ferocity of manners. In Rabelais we can divine the cycles of Charlemagne, Arthur, or the classic heroes, not to " Pléiade ” and Marot, the Cymbalum mundi and Montaigne, mention the miscellaneous romans d'aventures, have indeed | Amyot and the Amadis, even Calvin and Duperron. more than held their own. Both relatively and absolutely the It was inevitable that such extraordinary works as Gargantus Franciade of the 16th century, the Pucelle of the 17th, the and Pantagruel should attract special imitators in the direction Henriade of the 18th, cut a very poor figure beside Roland and of their outward form. It was also inevitable that this imitation Percivale, Gerard de Roussillon, and Parthenopex de Blois. The should frequently fix upon these Rabelaisian characteristics romances, ballads and pastourelles, signed and unsigned, of which are least deserving of imitation, and most likely to be medieval France were not merely the origin, but in some respects depraved in the hands of imitators. It fell within the plan of the superiors, of the lyric poetry which succeeded them. Thibaut the master to indulge in what has been called falrasie, the de Champagne, Charles d'Orléans and Villon need not veil huddling together, that is to say, of a medley of language and their crests in any society of bards. The charming forms of the images which is best known to English readers in the not always rondel, the rondeau and the ballade have won admiration from successful following of Sterne. It pleased him also to disguise every competent poet and critic who has known them. The his naturally terse, strong and nervous style in a burlesque fabliaux give something more than promise of La Fontaine, envelope of redundant language, partly ironical, partly the result and the two great compositions of the Roman du Renart and of superfluous erudition, and partly that of a certain childish the Roman de la rose, despite their faults and their alloy, will wantonness and exuberance, which is one of his raciest and always command the admiration of all persons of taste and pleasantest characteristics. In both these points he was somejudgment who take the trouble to study them. But while what corruptly followed. But fortunately the romancical poetry had in the middle ages no reason to blush for her French writers of the 16th century had not Rabelais for their sole model
, representatives, prose (always the younger and less forward but were also influenced by the simple and straightforward sister) had far less to boast of. With the exception of chronicles style of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles. The joint influence gives and prose romances, no prose works of any real importance can us some admirable work. Nicholas of Troyes, a saddler of be quoted before the end of the 15th century, and even then the Champagne, came too early (his Grand Parangon des nouvelles chief if not the only place of importance must be assigned to the nouvelles appeared in 1536) to copy Rabelais. But Noël du Cent Vouvelles Nouvelles, a work of admirable prose, but neces- Fail (d. c. 1585?), a judge at Rennes, shows the double influence sarily light in character, and not yet demonstrating the efficacy in his Propos rustiques and Contes d'Eulrapel, both of which, of the French language as a medium of expression for serious and especially the former, are lively and well-written pictures of weighty thought. Up to the time of the Renaissance and the contemporary life and thought, as the country magistrate consequent reformation, Latin had, as we have already remarked, actually saw and dealt with them. In 1558, however; appeared been considered the sufficient and natural organ for this expres- two works of far higher literary and social interest. These are sion. In France as in other countries the disturbance in religious the Heplaméron of the queen of Navarre, and the Contes el thought may undoubtedly claim the glory of having repaired joycux devis of Bonaventure des Periers (c. 1500-1544). this disgrace of the vulgar tongue, and of having fitted and Des Periers, who was a courtier of Marguerite's, has taught it to express whatever thoughts the theologian, the sometimes been thought to have had a good deal historian, the philosopher, the politician and the savant had to do with the first-named work as well as with the second, occasion to utter. But the use of prose as a vehicle for lighter and was also the author of a curious Lucianic satire, strongly themes was more continuous with the literature that preceded, I sceptical in cast, the Cymbalum mundi. Indeed, not merely