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the queen's prose works, but also the poems gracefully entitled | commentaries and autobiographies. The well-known and very Les Margueriles de la Marguerile, are often attributed to the agreeable Histoire du gentil seigneur de Bayart (1524) is by literary men whom the sister of Francis I. gathered round an anonymous “ Loyal Serviteur.” Vincent Carloix (8. 1550), her. However this may be, some single influence of power the secretary of the marshal de Vielleville, composed some enough to give unity and distinctness of savour evidently memoirs abounding in detail and incident. The Lettres of The Hep
presided over the composition of the Heplameron. Cardinal d'Ossat (1536-1604) and the Négociations of Pierre Lambro Composed as it is on the model of Boccaccio, its tone Jeannin (1540-1622) have always had a high place among
and character are entirely different, and few works documents of their kind. But there are four collections of bave a more individual charm. The Tales of des Periers are memoirs concerning this time which far exceed all others in shorter, simpler and more homely; there is more wit in them interest and importance. The turbulent dispositions of the time, and less refinement. But both works breathe, more powerfully the loose dependence of the nobles and even the smaller gentry perhaps than any others, the peculiar mixture of cultivated on any single or central authority, the rapid changes of political and poetical voluptuousness with a certain religiosity and a situations, and the singularly active appetite, both for pleasure vigorous spirit of action which characterizes the French Renais- and for business, for learning and for war, which distinguished sance. Later in time, but too closely connected with Rabelais the French gentleman of the 16th century, place the memoirs in form and spirit to be here omitted, came the Moyen de parvenir of François de Lanoue (1531-1591), Blaise de Mon[tluc (1503of Béroalde de Verville (1558?-1612?), a singular fatrasie, uniting 1577), Agrippa d'Aubigné and Pierre de Bourdeille[s] Brantôme wit, wisdom, learning and indecency, and crammed with anec-(1540–1614) almost at the head of the literature of their class. dotes which are always amusing though rarely decorous. The name of Brantôme is known to all who have the least
At the same time a fresh vogue was given to the chivalric tincture of French literature, and the works of the others are not romance by Herberay's translation of Amadis de Gaula. French inferior in interest, and perhaps superior in spirit and conception,
writers have supposed a French original for the to the Dames Galantes, the Grands Capitaines and the Hommes Amadts of Gaul.
Amadis in some lost roman d'aventures. It is of course illustres. The commentaries of Montluc, which Henri Quatre is
impossible to say that this is not the case, but there said to have called the soldier's Bible, are exclusively military is not one tittle of evidence to show that it is. At any rate and deal with affairs only. Montluc was governor in Guienne, the adventures of Amadis were prolonged in Spanish through where he repressed the savage Huguenots of the south with a generation after generation of his descendants. This vast work savagery worse than their own. He was, however, a partisan Herberay des Essarts in 1540 undertook to translate or re- of order, not of Catholicism. He hung and shot both parties translate, but it was not without the assistance of several followers with perfect impartiality, and refused to have anything to do that the task was completed. Southey has charged Herberay with the massacre of St Bartholomew. Though he was a man with corrupting the simplicity of the original, a charge which of no learning, his style is excellent, being vivid, flexible and does not concern us here. It is sufficient to say that the French straightforward. Lanoue, who was a moderate in politics, has Amadis is an excellent piece of literary work, and that Herberay left his principles reflected in his memoirs. D'Aubigné, so often deserves no mean place among the fathers of French prose. to be mentioned, gives the extreme Huguenot side as opposed His book had an immense popularity; it was translated into to the royalist partisanship of Montluc and the via media of many foreign languages, and for some time it served as a favourite Lanoue. Brantôme, on the other hand, is quite free
Brantôme. reading book for foreigners studying French. Nor is it to be from any political or religious prepossessions, and, doubted that the romancers of the Scudéry and Calprenede indeed, troubles himself very little about any such matters. type in the next century were much more influenced both for He is the shrewd and somewhat cynical observer, moving good and harm by these Amadis romances than by any of the through the crowd and taking note of its ways, its outward earlier tales of chivalry.
appearance, its heroisms and its follies. It is really difficult 16th-Century Historians.-As in the case of the tale-tellers, to say whether the recital of a noble deed of arms or the telling so in that of the historians, the writers of the 16th century had of a scandalous story about a court lady gave him the most traditions to continue. It is doubtful indeed whether many of pleasure, and impossible to say which he did best. Certainly them can risk comparison as artists with the great names of he had ample material for both exercises in the history of his Villehardouin and Joinville, Froissart and Comines. The 16th time. century, however, set the example of dividing the functions The branches of literature of which we have just given an of the chronicler, setting those of the historian proper on one account may be fairly connected, from the historical point of side, and of the anecdote-monger and biographer on the other. view, with work of the same kind that went before as well as The efforts at regular history made in this century were not of with work of the same kind that followed them. It was not so the highest value. But on the other hand the practice of memoir- with the literature of theology, law, politics and erudition, which writing, in which the French were to excel every nation in the the 16th century also produced, and with which it for the first world, and of literary correspondence, in which they were to time enlarged the range of composition in the vulgar tongue. excel even their memoirs, was solidly founded.
Not only had Latin been invariably adopted as the language One of the earliest historical writers of the century was Claude of composition on such subjects, but the style of the treatises de Seyssel (1450-1520), whose history of Louis XII. aims not dealing with such matters had been traditional rather than unsuccessfully at style. De Thou (1553-1617) wrote in Latin, original. In speculative philosophy or metaphysics proper even but Bernard de Girard, sieur du Haillan (1537-1610), composed this century did not witness a great development; perhaps, a Histoire de France on Thucydidean principles as transmitted indeed, such a development was not to be expected until the through the successive mediums of Polybius, Guicciardini and minds of men had in some degree settled down from their agitation Paulus Aemilius. The instance invariably quoted, after Thierry, on more practical matters. It is not without significance that of du Haillan's method is his introduction, with appropriate Calvin (1509–1564) is the great figure in serious French prosc speeches, of two Merovingian statesmen who argue out the in the first half of the century, Montaigne the corresponding relative merits of monarchy and oligarchy on the occasion of figure in the second half. After Calvin and Montaigne we-expect the election of Pharamond. Besides du Haillan, la Popelinière Descartes. (c. 1540-1608), who less ambitiously attempted a history of 16th-Century Theologians.-In France, as in all other countries, Europe during his own time, and expended immense labour the Reformation was an essentially popular movement, though on the collection of information and materials, deserves mention. from special causes, such as the absence of political
There is no such poverty of writers of memoirs. Robert homogeneity, the nobles took a more active part both de la Mark, du Bellay, Marguerite de Valois (the youngest or with pen and sword in it than was the case in England. But the third Marguerite, first wife of Henri IV., 1553-1615), Villars, great textbook of the French Reformation was not the work Tavannes, La Tour d'Auvergne, and many others composed of any noble. Jean Calvin's Institution of the Christian Religion
is a book cqually remarkable in matter and in form, in circum- , were characteristic of the time. This doubt assumes the form stances and in result. It is the first really great composition of positive religious scepticism only in the Cymbalum mundi of in argumentative French prose. Its severe logic and careful Bonaventure des Periers, a remarkable series of dialogues which arrangement had as much influence on the manner of future excited a great storm, and ultimately drove the author to commit thought, both in France and the other regions whither its wide- suicide. The Cymbalum mundi is a curious anticipation of the spread popularity carried it, as its style had on the expression 18th century. The literature of doubt, however, was to receive of such thought. It was the work of a man of only seven-and-its principal accession in the famous essays of Michel Eyguem, twenty, and it is impossible to exaggerate the originality of its seigneur de Montaigne (1533-1592). It would be a mistake to manner when we remember that hardly any models of French imagine the existence of any sceptical propaganda in this charmprose then existed except tales and chronicles, which required ing and popular book. Its principle is not scepticism but egotism; and exhibited totally different qualities of style. It is indeed and as the author was profoundly sceptical, this quality necessarily probable that had not the Institution been first written by its rather than intentionally appears. Wehave here to dealonly very author in Latin, and afterwards translated by him, it might have superficially with this as with other famous books, but it cannot had less dignity and vigour; but it must at the same time be be doubted that it expresses the mental attitude of the latter remembered that this process of composition was at least equally part of the century as completely as Rabelais expresses the mental likely, in the hands of any but a great genius, to produce a heavy attitude of the early part. There is considerably less vigour and and pedantic style neither French nor Latin in character. Some life in this attitude. Inquiry and protest have given way to a thing like this result was actually produced in some of Calvin's placid conviction that there is not much to be found out, and minor works, and still more in the works of many of his followers, that it does not much matter; the erudition though abundant whose lumbering language gained for itself, in allusion to their is less indiscriminate, and is taken in and given out with less exile from France, the title of " style refugié.” Nevertheless, gusto; exuberant drollery has given way to quict irony; and the use of the vulgar tongue on the Protestant side, and the though neither business nor pleasure is decried, both are regarded possession of a work of such importance written therein, gave rather as useful pastimes incident to the life of man than with the Reformers an immense advantage which their adversaries the eager appetite of the Renaissance. From the purely literary were some time in neutralizing. Even before the Institution, point of view, the style is remarkable from its absence of pedantry Lefèvre d'Étaples (1455-1537) and Guillaume Farel (1489–1565) | in construction, and yet for its rich vocabulary and picturesque saw and utilized the importance of the vernacular. Calvin brilliancy. The follower and imitator of Montaigne, Pierre (1509–1564) was much helped by Pierre Viret (1511-1571), who Charron (1541-1603), carried his master's scepticism to a somewrote a large number of small theological and moral dialogues, what more positive degree. His principal book, De la sagesse, and of satirical pamphlets, destined to captivate as well as to scarcely deserves the comparative praise which Pope has given instruct the lower people. The more famous Beza (Théodore de it. On the other hand Guillaume du Vair (1556-1621), a lawyer Bèze) (1519-1605) wrote chiefly in Latin, but he composed in and orator, takes the positive rather than the negative side in French an ecclesiastical history of the Reformed churches and morality, and regards the vicissitudes in human affairs from the some translations of the Psalms. Marnix de Sainte Aldegonde religious and theological point of view in a series of works (1530-1593), a gentleman of Brabant, followed Viret as a satirical characterized by the special merit of the style of great orators. pamphleteer on the Protestant side. On the other hand, the The revolutionary and innovating instinct which showed itself Catholic champions at first affected to disdain the use of the in the 16th century with reference to church government and vulgar tongue, and their pamphleteers, when they did attempt doctrine spread naturally enough. to political matters. The it, were unequal to the task. Towards the end of the century intolerable disorder of the religious wars naturally set the a more decent war was waged with Philippe du Plessis Mornay thinkers of the age speculating on the doctrines of government (1549-1623) on the Protestant side, whose work is at least as in general. The favourite and general study of antiquity helped much directed against freethinkers and enemies of Christianity this tendency, and the great accession of royal power in all the in general as against the dogmas and discipline of Rome. His monarchies of Europe invited a speculative if not a practical roadversary, the redoubtable Cardinal du Perron (1556–1618), action. The persecutions of the Protestants naturally provoked who, originally a Calvinist, went over to the other side, employed a republican spirit among them, and the violent antipathy French most vigorously in controversial works, chiefly with of the League to the houses of Valois and Bourbon made its reference to the eucharist. Du Perron was celebrated as the first partisans adopt almost openly the principles of democracy and controversialist of the time, and obtained dialectical victories tyrannicide. over all comers. At the same time the bishop of Geneva, St The greatest political writer of the age is Jean Bodin (1530Francis of Sales (1567-1622), supported the Catholic side, partly 1596), whose République is founded partly on speculative con. by controversial works, but still more by his devotional writings. siderations like the political theories of the ancients, The Introduction to a Devout Life, which, though actually and partly on an extended historical inquiry. Bodin, published early in the next century, had been written some time like most lawyers who have taken the royalist side, is for unlimited previously, shares with Calvin's Institution the position of the monarchy, but notwithstanding this, he condemns religious most important theological work of the period, and is in remark- persecution and discourages slavery. In his speculations on the able contrast with it in style and sentiment as well as in principles connexion between forms of government and natural causes, and plan. It has indeed been accused of a certain effeminacy, he serves as a link between Aristotle and Montesquieu. On the the appearance of which is in all probability mainly due to this other hand, the causes which we have mentioned made a large very contrast. The 16th century does not, like the 17th, dis- number of writers adopt opposite conclusions. Étienne de la tinguish itself by literary exercises in the pulpit. The furious Boetie (1530-1563), the friend of Montaigne's youth, composed preachers of the League, and their equally violent opponents, the Contre un or Discours de la servitude volontaire, a protest have no literary value.
against the monarchical theory. The boldness of the protest 161k-Century Moralists and Political Writers. The religious and the affectionate admiration of Montaigne have given dissensions and political disturbances of the time could not fail la Boétie a much higher reputation than any extant work of his
to exert an influence on ethical and philosophical actually deserves. The Contre un is a kind of prize essay, full of Moo. talgoe. thought. Yet, as we have said, the century was empty declamation borrowed from the ancients, and showing no
not prolific of pure philosophical speculation. The grasp of the practical conditions of politics. Not much more scholastic tradition, though long sterile, still survived, and with historically based, but far more vigorous and original, is the it the habit of composing in Latin all works in any way connected Franco-Gallia of François Hotmann (1524-1590), a work which with philosophy. The Logic of Ramus in 1555 is cited as the appeared both in Latin and French, which extols the authority first departure from this rule. Other philosophical works are of the states-general, represents them as direct successors of the few, and chiefy express the doubt and the freethinking which I political institutions of Gauls and Franks, and maintains the
right of insurrection. In the last quarter of the century political Salel attempted the Iliod, Belleau the false Anacreon, Baif some animosity knew no bounds. The Protestants beheld a divine plays of Plautus and Terence. Besides these Lefèvre d'Etaples instrument in Poltrot de Méré, the Catholics in Jacques Clément. gave a version of the Bible, Saliat one of Herodotus, and Louis The Latin treatises of Hubert Languet (1518-1581) and Buchanan Leroi (1510-1577), not to be confounded with the part author formally vindicated—the first, like Hotmann, the right of re- of the Ménippée, many works of Plato, Aristotle and other Greek bellion based on an original contract between prince and people, writers. But while most if not all of these translators owed the the second the right of tyrannicide. Indeed, as Montaigne merits of their work to their originals, and deserved, much more confesses, divine authorization for political violence was claimed deserve, to be read only by those to whom those originals are and denied by both parties according as the possession or the sealed, Jacques Amyot (1513-1593), bishop of Auxerre,
Amyot, expectancy of power belonged to each, and the excesses of the takes rank as a French classic by his translations preachers and pamphleteers knew no bounds.
of Plutarch, Longus and Heliodorus. The admiration which Every one, however, was not carried away. The literary Amyot excited in his own time was immense. Montaigne merits of the chancellor Michel de l'Hôpital (1507–1573) are not declares that it was thanks to him that his contemporaries very great, but his efforts to promote peace and moderation were knew how to speak and to write, and the Academy in the next unceasing. On the other side Lanoue, with far greater literary age, though not too much inclined to honour its predecessors, gifts, pursued the same ends, and pointed out the ruinous ranked him as a model. His Plutarch, which had an enormous consequences of continued dissension. Du Plessis Mornay took influence at the time, and coloured perhaps more than any a part in political discussion even more important than that classic the thoughts and writings of the 16th century, both in which he bore in religious polemics, and was of the utmost service French and English, was then considered his masterpiece. Now. to Henri Quatre in defending his cause against the League, as adays perhaps, and from the purely literary standpoint, that was also Hurault, another author of state papers. Du Vair, position would be assigned to his exquisite version of the exalready mentioned, powerfully assisted the same cause by his quisite story of Daphnis and Chloe. It is needless to say successful defence of the Salic law, the disregard of which by the that absolute fidelity and exact scholarship are not the preLeaguer states-general was intended to lead to the admission of eminent merits of these versions. They are not philological the Spanish claim to the crown. But the foremost work against exercises, but works of art.
the League was the famous Satire Ménippée (1594), On the other hand, Claude Fauchet (1530-1601) in two antiSatire Mépippée. in a literary point of view one of the most remarkable quarian works, Antiquités gauloises et francoises and L'Origine de
of political books. The Ménippée was the work of no la langue et de la poésie française, displays a remarkable critical single author, but was due, it is said, to the collaboration of five, faculty in sweeping away the fables which had encumbered Pierre Leroi, who has the credit of the idea, Jacques Gillot, history. Fauchet had the (for his time) wonderful habit of Florent Chrétien, Nicolas Rapin (1541-1596) and Pierre Pithou consulting manuscripts, and we owe to him literary notices of (1539–1596), with some assistance in verse from Passerat and many of the trouvères. At the same time François Grudé, sieur Gilles Durand. The book is a kind of burlesque report of the de la Croix du Maine (1552–1592), and Antoine · Duverdier meeting of the states-general, called for the purpose of supporting (1544–1600) founded the study of bibliography in France. the views of the League in 1593. It gives an account of the Pasquier's Recherches, already alluded to, carries out the prinprocession of opening, and then we have the supposed speeches ciples of Fauchet independently, and besides treating the history of the principal characters--the duc de Mayenne, the papal of the past in a true critical spirit, supplies us with voluminous legate, the rector of the university (a ferocious Leaguer) and and invaluable information on contemporary politics and literaothers. But by far the most remarkable is that attributed to ture. He has, moreover, the merit which Fauchet had not, of Claude d'Aubray; the leader of the Tiers État, and said to be being an excellent writer. Henri Estienne (Stephanus) (1528written by Pithou, in which all the evils of the time and the 1598) also deserves notice in this place, both for certain treatises malpractices of the leaders of the League are exposed and on the French language, full of critical crotchets, and also for branded. The satire is extraordinarily bitter and yet perfectly his curious Apologie pour Hérodote, a remarkable book not good-humoured. It resembles in character rather that of particularly easy to class. It consists partly of a defence of its Butler, who unquestionably imitated it, than any other. The nominal subject, partly of satirical polemics on the Protestant style is perfectly suited to the purpose, having got rid of almost side, and is filled almost equally with erudition and with the all vestiges of the cumbrousness of the older tongue without buffoonery and fatrasie of the time. The book, indeed, was losing its picturesque quaintness. It is no wonder that, as we are much too Rabelaisian to suit the tastes of those in whose defence told by contemporaries, it did more for Henri Quatre than all it was composed. other writings in his cause. In connexion with politics some The 16th century is somewhat too early for us to speak of mention of legal orators and writers may be necessary. In 1539 science, and such science as was then composed falls for the the ordinance of Villers-Cotterets enjoined the exclusive use of most part outside French literature. The famous potter, the French language in legal procedure. The bar and bench of Bernard Palissy (1510-1590), however, was not much less France during the century produced, however, besides those skilful as a fashioner of words than as a fashioner of pots, and names already mentioned in other connexions, only one deserving his description of the difficulties of his experiments in enamelling, of special notice, that of Etienne Pasquier (1529-1615), author which lasted sixteen years, is well known. The great surgeon of a celebrated speech against the right of the Jesuits to take Ambrose Paré (c. 1510-1590) was also a writer, and his descrippart in public teaching. This he inserted in his great work, tions of his military experiences at Turin, Metz and elsewhere Recherches de la France, a work dealing with almost every have all the charm of the 16th-century memoir. The only other aspect of French history whether political, antiquarian or writers who require special mention are Olivier de Serres (1539literary.
1619), who composed, under the title of Théâtre d'agriculture, a 16th-Century Savants. ---One more division, and only one, complete treatise on the various operations of rural economy, that of scientific and learned writers pure and simple, remains and Jacques du Fouilloux (1521-1580), who wrote on hunting Much of the work of this kind during the period was naturally (La Vénerie). Both became extremely popular and were fredone in Latin, the vulgar tongue of the learned. But in France, quently reprinted. as in other countries, the study of the classics led to a vast 17th-Century Poetry. It is not always easy or possible to make number of translations, and it so happened that one of the the end or the beginning of a literary epoch synchronize exactly translators deserves as a prose writer a rank among the highest. with historical dates. It happens, however, that for
Malherbe. Many of the authors already mentioned contributed to the once the beginning of the 17th century coincides literature of translation. Des Periers translated the Platonic almost exactly with an entire revolution in French literature. dialogue Lysis, la Boétie some works of Xenophon and Plutarch, The change of direction and of critical standard given by François du Vair the De corong, the In Ctesiphoniem and the Pro Milone. I de Malherbe (1550-1628) to poetry was to last for two whole
centuries, and to determine, not merely the language and com- | was even an epic school of the most singular kind, in ridiculing plexion, but also the form of French verse during the whole of that and discrediting which Boileau for oncc did undoubtedly gox time. Accidentally, or as a matter of logical consequence (it service. The Pucelle of Jcan Chapelain (1595-1674), the unforwould not be proper here to attempt to decide the question), tunate author who was deliberately trained and educated for a poetry became almost synonymous with drama. It is true, poet, who enjoyed for some time a sort of dictatorship in French as we shall bave to point out, that there were, in the early part literature on the strength of his forthcoming work, and at whom of the 17th century at least, poets, properly so called, of no con- from the day of its publication every critic of French literature temptible merit. But their merit, in itself respectable, sank in has agreed to laugh, was the most famous and perhaps the worst comparison with the far greater merit of their dramatic rivals. of these. But Georges de Scudéry (1601-1667) wrote an Alaric, Théophile de Viau and Racan, Voiture and Saint-Amant cannot the Père le Moyne (1602-1671) a Saint Louis, Jean Desmarets for a moment be mentioned in the same rank with Corneille. de Saint-Sorlin (1595-1676), a dramatist and critic of some note, It is certainly curious, if it is not something more than curious, a Clovis, and Saint-Amant a Moïse, which were not much better, that this decline in poetry proper should have coincided with the though Théophile Gautier in his Grotesques has valiantly defended so-called reforms of Malherbe. The tradition of respect for this these and other contemporary versifiers. And indeed it cannot elder and more gifted Boileau was at one time all-powerful in be denied that even the epics, especially Saint Louis, contain France, and, notwithstanding the Romantic movement, is still flashes of finer poetry than France was to produce for more than strong. In rejecting a large number of the importations of the a century outside of the drama. Some of the lighter poets and Ronsardists, he certainly did good service. But it is difficult to classes of poetry just alluded to also produced some remarkable avoid ascribing in great measure to his influence the origin of verse. The Précicuses of the Hotel Rambouillet, with all their the chief faults of modern French poetry, and modern French absurdities, encouraged if they did not produce good literary in general, as compared with the older language. He pronounced work. In their society there is no doubt that a great reformation against “poetic diction” as such, forbade the overlapping of manners took place, if not of morals, and that the tendency (enjambement) of verse, insisted that the middle pause should be to literature elegant and polished, yet not destitute of vigour, of sense as well as sound, and that rhyme must satisfy eye as which marks the 17th century, was largely developed side by well as ear. Like Pope, he sacrificed everything to "correctness," side with much scandal-mongering and anecdotage. Many of the and, unluckily for French, tbe sacrifice was made at a time when authors whom these influences inspired, such as Voiture, Saintno writer of an absolutely supreme order had yet appeared in the Evremond and others, have been or will be noticed. But even language. With Shakespeare and Milton, not to mention scores such poets and wits as Antoine Baudouin de Sénecé (1643–1737), of writers only inferior to them, safely garnered, Pope and his Jean de Segrais (1624-1701), Charles Faulure de Ris, sieur de followers could do us little harm. Corneille and Molière unfortun- Charleval (1612–1693), Antoine Godeau (1605-1672), Jean Ogier ately came after Malherbe. Yet it would be unfair to this writer, de Gombaud (1590-1666), are not without interest in the history however badly we may think of his influence, to deny him talent, of literature; while if Charles Cotin (1604-1682) sinks below this and even a certain amount of poetical inspiration. He bad not level and deserves Molière's caricature of him as Trissotin in felt his own influence, and the very influences which he despised | Les Femmes savantes, Gilles de Ménage (1630–1692) certainly and proscribed produced in him much tolerable and some admir- rises above it, notwithstanding the companion satire of Vadius. able verse, though he is not to be named as a poet with Regnier, Ménage's name naturally suggests the Ana which arose at this who had the courage, the sense and the good taste to oppose time and werc long fashionable, stores of endless gossip, someand ridicule his innovations. Of Malherbe's school, Honorat de times providing instruction and often amusement. The Guir. Bueil, marquis de Racan (1589-1670), and François de Maynard lande de Julie, in which most of the poets of the time celebrated (1582–1646) were the most remarkable. The former was a true Julie d'Angennes, daughter of the marquise de Rambouillet, is poet, though not a very strong one. Like his master, he is best perhaps the best of all such albums, and Voiture, the typical poet when he follows the models whom that master contemned. of the coterie, was certainly the best writer of vers de société Perhaps more than any other poet, he set the example of the who is known to us. The poctical war which arose between the classical alexandrine, the smooth and melodious but monotonous Uranistes, the followers of Voiture, and the Jobistes, those of and rather effeminate measure which Racine was to bring to the Benserade, produced reams of sonnets, epigrams and similar highest perfection, and which his successors, while they could not verses. This habit of occasional versification continued long. improveits smoothness, were to make more and more monotonous It led as a less important consequence to the rhymed Gazettes of until the genius of Victor Hugo once more broke up its facile Jean Loret (d. 1665), which recount in octosyllabic verse of a polish, supplied its stiff uniformity, and introduced vigour, light and lively kind the festivals and court events of the early variety, colour and distinctness in the place of its feeble sameness years of Louis XIV. It led also to perhaps the most remarkable and its pale indecision. But the vigour, not to say the licence, non-dramatic poetry of the century, the Contes and Fables of of the 16th century could not thus dic all at once. In Théophile Jean de la Fontaine (1621–1695). No French writer is better de Viau (1591-1626) the early years of the 17th century had their known than la Fontaine, and there is no need to dilatc on his Villon. The later poet was almost as unfortunate as the earlier, merits. It has been well said that he completes Molière, and that and almost as disreputable, but he had a great sharc of poetical the two together give something to French literature which no and not a small one of critical power. The éloile enragée under other literature possesses. Yet la Fontaine is after all only a which he complains that he was born was at least kind to him writer of fabliaux, in the language and with the manners of his in this respect; and his readers, after he had been forgotten for own century. two centuries, have once more done him justice. Racan and All the writers we have mentioned belong more or less to the Théophile were followed in the second quarter of the century first half of the century, and so do Valentin Conrart (1603-1675), by two schools which sufficiently well represented the tendencies Antoine Furetière (1626-1688), Chapelle (Claude Emmanuel) of each. The first was that of Vincent Voiture (1598-1648), l'Huillier (1626–1686), and others not worth special mention. Isaac de Benserade (1612-1691), and other poets such as Claude The latter half of the century is far less productive, and the de Maleville (1597–1647), author of La Belle Matineuse, who were poetical quality of its production is even lower than the quantity. connected more or less with the famous literary coterie of the In it Boilcau (1636–1711) is the chief poetical figure. Next to Hôtel de Rambouillet. Théophile was less worthily succeeded by him can only be mentioned Madame Deshoulières (1638–1694), a class, it can hardly be called a school of poets, some of whom, Guillaume de Brébeuf (1618–1661), the translator of Lucan, like Gérard Saint-Amant (1594-1660), wrote drinking songs Philippe Quinault (1635–1688), the composer of opera libretti. of merit and other light pieces; others, like Paul Scarron (1610- Boileau's satire, where it has much merit, is usually borrowed 1660) and Sarrasin (1603? 4? 5?-1654), devoted themselves direct from Horace. He had a certain faculty as a critic of the rather to burlesque of scrious verse. Most of the great dramatic slashing order, and might have profitably used it if he had written authors of the time also wrote miscellaneous poetry, and there I in prose. But of his poetry it must be said, not so much that it is
bad, as that it is not, in strictness, poetry at all, and the same may be found elsewhere. It is sufficient to say here that his is generally true of all those who followed him.
importance in French literature is quite as great in the way of 17th-Century Drama.-We have already seen how the medieval influence and example as in the way of intellectual excellence. theatre was formed, and how in the second half of the 16th century The Cid and the Menteur are respectively the first examples of it met with a formidable rival in the classical drama of Jodelle French tragedy and comedy which can be called modern. But and Garnier. In 1588 mysteries had been prohibited, and with this influence and example did not at first find many imitators. the prohibition of the mysteries the Confraternity of the Passion Corneille was a member of Richelieu's band of five poets. Of lost the principal part of its reason for existence. The other the other four Rotrou alone deserves the title; the remaining bodies and societies of amateur actors had already perished, and three, the prolific abbé de Boisrobert, Guillaume Colletet (whose at length the Hôtel de Bourgogne itself, the home of the con most valuable work, a MS. Lives of Poets, was never printed, and fraternity, had been handed over to a regular troop of actors, burnt by the Communards in 1871), and Claude de Lestoile while companies of strollers, whose life has been vividly depicted (1597–1651), are as dramatists worthy of no notice, nor were they in the Roman comique of Scarron and the Capitaine Fracasse soon followed by others more worthy. Yet before many years of Théophile Gautier, wandered all about the provinces. The old had passed the examples which Corneille had set in tragedy and farce was for a time maintained or revived by Tabarin, a remark, in comedy were followed up by unquestionably the greatest comic able figure in dramatic history, of whom but little is known. writer, and by one who long held the position of the greatest The great dramatic author of the first quarter of the 17th century tragic writer of France. Beginning with mere farces of the was Alexandre Hardy (1560-1631), who surpassed even Heywood Italian type, and passing from these to comedies still of an Italian Handy.
in fecundity, and very nearly approached the por- character, it was in Les Précieuses ridicules, acted in 1659, that
tentous productiveness of Lope de Vega. Seven Molière (1622–1673), in the words of a spectator, hit hundred is put down as the modest total of Hardy's pieces, but at last on“ la bonne comédie.” The next fifteen years
Molière. not much more than a twentieth of these exist in print. From comprise the whole of his best known work, the finest expression these latter we can judge Hardy. They are hardly up to the beyond doubt of a certain class of comedy that any literature level of the worst specimens of the contemporary Elizabethan has produced. The tragic masterpieces of Racine theatre, to which, however, they bear a certain resemblance. (1639-1699) were not far from coinciding with the Marston's Insaliate Countess and the worst parts of Chapman's comic masterpieces of Molière, for, with the exception of the Bussy d'Ambois may give English readers some notion of them. remarkable aftergrowth of Esther and Alhalie, they were produced Yet Hardy was not totally devoid of merit. He imitated and chiefly between 1667 and 1677. Both Racine and Molière fall adapted Spanish literature, which was at this time to France into the class of wțiters who require separate mention. Here what Italian was in the century before and English in the century we can only remark that both to a certain extent committed after, in the most indiscriminate manner. But he had a consider- and encouraged a fault which distinguished much subsequent able command of grandiloquent and melodramatic expression, French dramatic literature. This was the too great individualiza sound theory if not a sound practice of tragic writing, and that ing of one point in a character, and the making the man or woman peculiar knowledge of theatrical art and of the taste of the nothing but a blunderer, a lover, a coxcomb, a tyrant and the theatrical public which since his time has been the special posses- like. The very titles of French plays show this influence-they sion of the French playwright. It is instructive to compare the are Le Grondeur, Le Joucur, &c. The complexity of human influence of his irregular and faulty genius with that of the regular character is ignored. This fault distinguishes both Molière and and precise Malherbe. From Hardy to Rotrou is, in point of Racine from writers of the very highest order; and in especial literary interest, a great step, and from Rotrou to Corneille as it distinguishes the comedy of Molière and the tragedy of Racine greater. Yet the theory of Hardy only wanted the genius of from the comedy and tragedy of Shakespeare. In all probability Rotrou 'and Corneille to produce the latter. Jean de Rotrou this and other defects of the French drama (which are not wholly (1610-1650) has been called the French Marlowe, and there is apparent in the work of Molière and Corneille, are shown in
a curious likeness and yet a curious contrast between their most favourable light in those of Racine, and appear in all
the two poets. The best parts of Rotrou's two best their deformity in the successors of the latter) arise from the plays, Venceslas and Si Genest, are quite beyond comparison rigid adoption of the Aristotelian theory of the drama with its in respect of anything that preceded them, and the central unities and other restrictions, especially as transmitted by Horace speech of the last-named play will rank with anything in through Boileau. This adoption was very much due to the in. French dramatic poetry. Contemporary with Rotrou were fluence of the French Academy, which was founded unofficially other dramatic writers of considerable dramatic importance, by Coniart in 1629, which received official standing six years later, most of them distinguished by the faults of the Spanish and which continued the tradition of Malherbe in school, its declamatory rodomontade, its conceits, and its attempting constantly to school and correct, as the
Academy occasionally preposterous action. Jean de Schélandre (d. phrase went, the somewhat disorderly instincts of 1635) has left us a remarkable work in Tyr el Sidon, which the early French stage. Even the Cid was formally censured exemplifies in practice, as its almost more remarkable preface by for irregularity by it. But it is fair to say that François Hédélin, François Ogier defends in principle, the English-Spanish model. abbé d'Aubignac (1604-1676), whose Pralique du Théâtre is the Théophile de Viau in Pyrame el Thisbe and in Pasiphae produced most wooden of the critical treatises of the time, was not a a singular mixture of the classicism of Garnier and the extra- academician. It is difficult to say whether the subordination vagancies of Hardy. Scudéry in L'Amour lyrannique and other of all other classes of composition to the drama, which has ever plays achieved a considerable success. The Marianne of Tristan since been characteristic of French literature, was or was not (1601-1655) and the Sophonisbe of Jean de Mairet (1604-1686) due to the predilection of Richelieu, the main protector if not are the chief pieces of their authors. Mairet resembles Marston exactly the founder of the Academy, for the theatre. Among in something more than his choice of subject. Another dramatic the immediate successors and later contemporaries of the three writer of some eminence is Pierre du Ryer (1606–1648). But great dramatists we do not find any who deserve high rank as the fertility of France at this moment in dramatic authors tragedians, though there are some whose comedies are more than was immense; nearly 100 are enumerated in the first quarter respectable. It is at least significant that the restrictions im.
of the century. The early plays of Pierre Corneille posed by the academic theory on the comic drama were far less Corpelile.
(1606-1684) showed all the faults of his contemporaries severe than those which tragedy had to undergo. The latter was combined with merits to which none of them except Rotrou, practically confined, in respect of sources of attraction, to the and Rotrou himself only in part, could lay claim. His first play dexterous manipulation of the unities; the interest of a plot was Mélite, a comedy, and in Clitandre, a tragedy, he soon pro- attenuated as much as possible, and intended to produce, instead duced what may perhaps be not inconveniently taken as the of pity a mild sympathy, and instead of terror a mild alarm typical piece of the school of Hardy. A full account of Corneille I (for the purişts decided against Corneille that "admiration was not