Verse > Anthologies > St. John Lucas, comp. > The Oxford Book of French Verse
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
St. John Lucas, comp. (1879–1934).  The Oxford Book of French Verse.  1920.
 
Notes
 
Auteur inconnu.
1. Belle Érembor. I. 4. lez lo meis, before the house. 5. le chief drecier amont, to raise the head.
II. 2. paile, the tapestry that she was working.
III. 2. selon, near.
IV. I. escondirai, justify myself. 2, 3. aæavec. 5. prennez l’emmende, ‘take our word for it.’
V. 3. menu recercelé, finely curled.
VI. 3. dejoste, at his side.
2. Pastourelle. I. 4. touse, damsel.
III. 5. sens, except.
 
Guillaume de Machault.
3. Rondeau. 3. remirant, looking at again and again. 5. toudis, always.
 
Jean Froissart. The chronicler. He found time, in the course of a life full of other scarcely less interesting activities, to write a great quantity of verse. His poems have been edited by A. Scheler. (3 vols. Brussels: Acad. R. de Belgique, 1870.)
4. Ballade. I. 3. perselle, corn-cockle. 4. glay, gladiolus. 5. l’anquelie, columbine. 6. pyonier, peony. muget, lily of the valley.
II. 6. jà, jamais.
III. 7. creniel, battlement. garite, fortification.
 
Eustache Deschamps. Knight and Clerk; huissier d’armes to Charles V and Charles VI, châtelain of Fismes and bailli of Senlis. He lived for a long time at the Court, and his works are full of interesting detail concerning the morals and manners of the time. His rather harsh poems have usually his own grievances for subject; he is the first French realist. His works, in many volumes, have been published by the Société des Anciens Textes Français (1878–1894), and his life has been written by M. A. Sarradin.
5. Virelay. I. 3. viz, face.
II. 2. traitis, delicate.
VI. 2. biaux proffis, a good income.
VII. 2. bis, grey-brown.
X. I. plevis, promise.
XI. 2. apers, candid.
6. Balade amoureuse. II. 6. octroy, permission.
ENV. I. a point, aptly.
7. Balade. Or n’est il fleur … I. 5. crespe, curled.
II. 9. determiné, inexorable.
ENV. I. aé, age. 4. ‘thus both ages will be pleasant for him.’
8. Balade (Guesclin). I. 9, querre, lament.
II. 2. entierement, dial. form of enterrement. 3. or t’avence, come forward now. 4. quier lui son mouvement, grieve for his going (? monument). 7. Tragediens, tragic authors.
III. 5. Guesclin crioit, ‘Guesclin!’ was his battle-cry.
9. Balade (Chaucer). I. 7. Isle aux Geans: according to mediaeval notions, England was inhabited by giants until Brutus conquered it.
III. I. Helye, Helicon. 3. doys, fount. baillie, power. 9. Clifford, English knight, a lover of letters.
Chaucer went to France in 1377, probably on a diplomatic errand. The ballad was written in 1391.
10. Rondel. Venez à mon jubilé. Tarbé sees an allusion in this poem to the Papal jubilee celebrated by Boniface IX in 1400. An immense number of pilgrims went to Rome from every country but France, which supported Benedict XIII, then at Avignon.
 
Christine de Pisan. Daughter of Thomas de Pisan, astrologer to Charles V; married to Étienne de Castel; widow at 25. She was famous in France, England, and Italy. Her works have been printed by the Société des Anciens Textes Français.
11. Balade. Or est venu … I. 7. entroublie esmay, ‘forgets its grief.’
II. I. par degois, for joy. 7. mais mieulx cognois, … ‘but you will understand me better if you ever loved.’
III. 6. desvoye, ‘combines to change.’
12. Balade. Tant avez fait … I. 7. au fort, after all.
III. 2. faintise, deceit.
ENV. 2. j’oy, I hear.
13. Balade. Jadis par amours … I. 7. voir, true.
II. I. jus, down to earth. 6. mettoient en nonchaloir, thought nothing of.
III. 4. satirielz, little satyrs.
ENV. 3. adresces, wiles.
14. Rians vairs yeulx … I. vairs, changing, flashing.
15. Se souvent vais … I. moustier, church.
 
Alain Chartier. Born at Bayeux, studied at the University of Paris; secretary to Charles VII; went abroad on various political missions.
17. Balade. O folz des folz … II. 9. loz, renown.
III. 9. fors, except.
ENV. 3. et perdissiez, even if you lose.
Auteur inconnu.
18. Complainte populaire. v. 2. orée, edge.
19. Complainte Normande. 4. soulliés, were wont.
15. bon cueur fin, ‘right good will.’ Basselin lived in the Val de Vire, and wrote joyous ballads of love and war. We may presume that he died fighting against the English, though the word Engloys admits of another interpretation. This, in the interests of romance, we forbear from giving.
 
Charles d’Orleans. Father of Louis XII. Taken prisoner at Azincourt and remained in England for twenty-five years.
20. Balade. En regardant … I. 6. Combien, although.
III. 6. mais qu’ainsi soit, if it so happens.
ENV. 3. destourbé, hindered.
21. Balade. Nouvelles ont couru … II. 6. liesse, joy.
III. 6. hoir, heir.
ENV. 3. tiengne pour tout voir, hold for certain.
22. Balade. Priez pour paix … II. 3. clergie, science.
25. Les fourriers d’Esté … I. fourriers, servants who precede travellers in order to find lodging. 9. pieça, il y a pièce, for long. II. prenez pais, begone!
27. Allez-vous en … 3. cuidez, think (cogitare).
28. Laissez-moy penser … 9. rapaise, grow tranquil again.
29. Saluez moy … 2. chiere, mien. lie, happy. 7. or n’y suis je mye, I am not a whit there (i.e. with youth) now. 15. sanglé, girthed.
 
Villon. His real name was probably Montcorbier. He studied and took degrees at the University of Paris. In 1455, having killed a man in a quarrel, he had to disappear, and thenceforward he led a life more thrilling than reputable in the company of a select band of scoundrels. He possessed some influence in high places, which rescued him from the gallows; he was set free from the prison of Meung-sur-Loire in 1461. How and when he died is unknown.
  [Œuvres complètes de François Villon. Aug. Longnon, Paris, 1892. Étude biographique sur François Villon. Aug. Longnon, Paris, 1877.]
30. La Belle Hëaulmiere. I. 2. hëaulmiere, ’armouress,’ courtesan. Probably so called from a peculiar headdress worn by filles de joie. 7. fiere, strike.
II. 6. repentailles, remorse. 8. truandailles, filthy beggars.
IV. I. detrayner, drag about.
VII. 2. traictisses, delicate.
VIII. 8. peaussues, skinny.
IX. 8. grivelées, speckled.
X. 3. à crouppetons, squatting. 4. pelotes, faggots. 5. chenevotes, strips of hemp.
31. Grant Testament, xxxviii–xli. II. 5. rebrassez, retroussés. 7. bourrelez, part of the high coiffure worn by ladies.
32. Dames du Temps jadis. I. 2. Flora, Roman courtesan, v. Juvenal, ii. 9. 3. Archipiada, Arcippe? Thaïs, Egyptian courtesan who became a saint.
II. 4. essoyne, penalty. 5. la royne, the Queen Dowager of Burgundy, who lived in the Tour de Nesle. This is the first reference in mediaeval literature to her strange tradition. In 1471 a graduate of Leipzig wrote a pamphlet entitled Commentariolus historicus de adolescentibus Parisiensibus, per Buridanum, natione Picardum, ab illicitis cuiusdam reginae Franciae amoribus retractis. Robert Gaguin, in his Compendium de Francorum gestis, a work written in the latter half of the fifteenth century, says that Buridan, when a scholar in Paris, escaped from the assassins hired to murder him by a Queen of France.
III. I. La royne Blanche. Possibly Blanche of Castille, mother of St. Louis. 2. seraine, siren. 3. Berte au grant pié, legendary mother of Charlemagne. One of the Carlovingian epic cycles is devoted to her. Allis: perhaps Aelis, one of the characters of the Chansons de geste (Aliscans, geste de Guillaume d’Orange); wife, according to the troubadours, of Rainouard au Tinel. 4. Haremburgis, heiress of Maine. Married Foulques V, count of Anjou, in 1110; died in 1126.
33. Double Ballade. Pour ce, aimez … I. 7. lunetes, slang for ’eyes.’
III. 1. Sardana, Sardanapalus. 3. moullier, woman.
IV. 5. sornetes, jests, lies.
V. 2. ru, stream. 4. mascher ces groselles, ’chew such sour gooseberries.’ 7. mitaines à ces nopces telles. When a marriage ceremony was ended, the guests flicked each other with their mittens, saying, ‘Des noces vous souviengne!’ Cf. the bad old custom of boxing the ears of children when a royal procession passes.
VI. 4. chevaucheur d’escouvetes, a rider of broomsticks, a wizard.
34. Ballade des Femmes de Paris. II. 1. tiennent chayeres, are professors. 3. caquetieres, babblers.
35. Grant Testament, lxxiv–lxxix. III. 4. fain, hunger. 5. or luy soit, etc., ‘let my body be given to her (the Earth) immediately.’ a grand oirre or eirre, by the best possible road. The phrase is used by La Fontaine. erre, Lat. iter.
IV. 4. maillon, swaddling-clothes. 5. Degetém’a, ’has pulled me out of many a hole.’ 8. Qu’il n’en laisse … ‘that he will not be altogether unhappy for that reason.’
V. 2. le Rommant du Pet au Deable. The Pet au Deable was a large stone at the door of a certain Mlle de Bruyères, whose hôtel was in the University quarter. The students took away the stone in 1451, and every one quarrelled about it. Le Rommant was an account, now lost, written by Villon of this affair. 3. Guy Tabarie, one of Villon’s disreputable friends. Made himself useful in a burglary at the College of Navarre, Christmas, 1456. Caught and imprisoned in the Châtelet, 1458; was subjected to the question ordinaire and extraordinaire, confessed everything and was doubtless hanged (v. Œuvres complètes de F. Villon, publiées par A. Longnon; pièces justificatives, p. lxv). 4. Grossa, copied out.
36. Ballade. Dame des cieulx. I. 2 paluz, marshes. 9. jungleresse, liar.
II. 3. Egipcienne, St. Mary of Egypt. For many centuries there was a chapel in Paris dedicated to her. 4. Théophilus, of Cilicia. Sold his soul to the devil and was redeemed by St. Mary. The learned Saxon nun Hroswitha wrote his history in the tenth century.
III. 4. luz, lutes.
37. Ballade de bonne doctrine … I. 1. porteur de bulles, pardoner, bearer of a papal bull of indulgence. Infested Europe in the XIVth & XVth centuries; usually an impostor (cf. Chaucer, Cant. Ts.) 2. pipeur, swindler at dice. II. 2. fainctif, deceiver. 3. farce, play farces, broulle, practice sorcery. 6. berlanc, game of tables. glic, cardgame. quilles, skittles. Envoi, I. esguilletez, ornamented with points. 2. drappilles, clothes.
38. L’Epitaphe. II. 9. ame ne nous harie, let no one torment us.
III. 8. dez à couldre, ‘thimbles for sewing.’
40. Grant Testament, clxiii–clxv. I. 1. Saincte-Avoye, seat of a community of nuns in the Rue du Temple. 8 greveroit le plancher: M. Longnon explains this by saying that the chapel of the nuns was on the first floor.
III. 2. raillon, bolt of an arbalest.
41. Rondeau. Repos eternel… 3. escuelle, bowl. 5. rez, cropped.
 
Marguerite de Valois. Queen of Navarre, sister of François Ier. Born at Angoulême. Author of the Heptameron.
  [Les Marguerites de la Marguerite des Princesses, 1547. Derniè poèsies de la Reine de Navarre. A. Lefranc, Paris, 1896.]
 
Clément Marot. Born at Cahors; son of Jean Marot, Norman poet. Valet-de-chambre to Marguerite de Valois. Edited Villon. He was implicated in the Protestant movement and had to leave Paris. He stayed at Ferrara, and at Geneva, where he fell under the ban of Calvin’s displeasure. He died at Turin.
  [Œuvres de Clément Marot, ed. by Niort, 1596. Œuvres de Clément Marot, avec les ouvrages de Jean Marot, etc., 6 t., La Haye, 1731.]
49. Changeons propos. III. 5. bigne, a bruise.
50. Le Lieutenant criminel et Samblançay. Samblançay, superintendent of finances under Charles VIII, Louis X, and François Ier, was falsely accused by Louise de Savoie of having agreed with her to embezzle the pay of certain troops. He was condemned to death and executed during the king’s absence. His innocence was afterwards publicly recognized.
 
Mellin de Saint Gelais. Born in Angoulême. Resisted the influence of the Pléiade.
 
Ronsard. Born at La Poissonnière in the Vendômois. Page to the Dauphin François and to Charles Duc d’Orléans. At the age of twelve went with Madeleine of France to Scotland. Travelled in England, Flanders, Germany (with Lazare de Baïf), and Italy (with Guillaume du Bellay). His deafness made him turn from courtly to literary life. In 1548 he met Du Bellay at an inn in the Touraine. With certain friends they formed the famous brotherhood which was at first called la docte Brigade, and afterwards la Pléiade. It consisted originally of seven members—Ronsard, Du Bellay, Baïf, Belleau, Jodelle, Daurat, and Pontus de Tyard. Previously, Ronsard spent five years in the enthusiastic and incessant study of classical literature, his master being the great scholar Daurat, and his fellow pupil Antoine de Baïf. After the death of Charles IX he retired from the Court to his Priory of St. Cosme, near Tours. He died there in 1585.
  [Œuvres de Ronsard. I vol. in-fo. 1584. 6 vols., edit. by Marty-Laveaux in La Pléiade Française, Paris, 1887–1893.
On the Pléiade:—Claude Binet, La vie de Pierre de Ronsard. Bayle, Dictionnaire, art. Daurat and Ronsard. Moréri, Dictionnaire, 1750, art. Dorat. Sainte-Beuve, Tableau de la Poésie Française au XVIe siècle, 1828. Pieri, Pétrarque et Ronsard. Marseille, 1895. Émile Faguet, Seizième Siècle. Études littéraires. Paris, 1898. George Wyndham, Ronsard and La Pléiade. London, 1906. Hilaire Belloc, Avril. Essays on the French Renaissance. London, 1904.]
58. Sonnet. Marie, levez-vous … 2. ja, already. 5. sus debout, up! 9. harsoir, last night. 12. sillée, a falconer’s word, ‘hooded.’
 
Du Bellay. Born at Liré, in Anjou, of high lineage; cousin of Cardinal du Bellay, whom he accompanied on a diplomatic mission to Rome. In 1549 his Deffense et Illustration de la Langue Françoise—the formal manifesto of the Pléiade—was published. On his return from Rome the Bishop of Paris (Eustache du Bellay) made him a canon of Notre-Dame. He died at the age of thirty-five, in Paris. It is believed that he was buried in the chapel of St. Crespin, on the right of the choir of Notre-Dame.
  [Œuvres, ed. Marty-Laveaux, La Pléiade Française. Paris, 1866–1867, 2 vols.]
78. Sonnet. Heureux qui, comme Ulysse. 3. usage, experience.
85. D’un Vanneur de blé aux vents. This lyric is atranslation from the Latin of Navagero, a Venetian scholar and adventurer.
86. Villanelle. En ce moys … Cf. Ronsard, A Marguerite (Recueil des Odes):
    C’est donc par toy, Marguerite,
    Que j’ay pris ceste couleur.
88. Epitaphe d’un petit chien. I. motte, sward.
 
Remi Belleau. Born at Nogent-le-Rotrou. Wrote a commentary on the work of Ronsard and translated Anacreon.
 
Jodelle. Wrote some imitations of Greek tragedy.
 
Antoinè de Baïf. His work ‘représente éminemment ce qu’il y avait d’artificiel dans le mouvement de la Pléiade’ (F. Brunetière). Founded an academy which had for its chief aim the uniting of music and poetry.
  [The works of Belleau, Jodelle, Baïf, Pontus de Tyard, and Daurat are printed by Marty-Laveaux in La Pléiade Française.]
 
Olivier de Magny. His poems show a strong Italian influence.
  [Les Amours, ed. by E. Courbet. Paris, 1878.]
 
Louise Labé. Poet of the École Lyonnaise. Lyons was inhabited by a great number of Italian emigrants, and was one of the chief halting-places for travellers between France and Italy. The work of its poets is learned, obscure, and mystical. Maurice Scève and his sisters (or cousins), Jeanne Gaillarde and other wise ladies, were members of this group of writers. Louise Labé, accoutred in all points as a man—le Capitaine Loys—rode to the wars and perhaps fought at the siege of Perpignan.
  [Œuvres de Louise Labé, edited by Charles Boy. 2 vols., Paris, 1887.]
 
Jean Passerat. Latin scholar; one of the authors of the famous Satire Ménippée. Born at Troyes. Studied jurisprudence under Cujas. Professor of Latin in the Collège de France.
114. Sonnet. Thulène was the Court fool of Henri III. [Les poésies françaises de Jean Passerat. P. Blanchemain, 2 vols., Paris, 1880.]
 
Nicolas Rapin. Sénéchal de Fontenay. Wrote many Latin poems.
116. Sonnet. Courage, grand Achille … Achille de Harlay—first President of the Palace of Justice. Faithful to Henri III throughout his struggle with the League. After the day of the Barricades (May 12, 1588), and when the king had fled from Paris, Guise tried to persuade De Harlay to join the adherents of the League. De Harlay’s reply is historical: ‘C’est grand pitié, quand le valet chasse le maître; au reste, mon âme est à Dieu, mon cœur est au roi, et mon corps entre les mains des méchants; qu’on en fasse ce qu’on voudra.’ ‘Je me suis trouvé,’ said Guise afterwards, ‘à des batailles, à des assauts et à des rencontres les plus dangereuses du monde, mais jamais je n’ai été étonné comme à l’abord de ce personnage.’
 
Vauquelin de la Fresnaye. A magistrate of Caen. Wrote an interesting Art Poétique.
  [Les diverses poésies de Jean Vauquelin Sieur de la Fresnaie, publ. et annot. par Julien Travers, 3 vols., Caen, 1870.]
 
Amadis Jamyn. Born at Chaource, near Troyes. A later star in the Pléiade. Translated thirteen books of the Iliad.
  [Œuvres poétiques, 2 vols., Paris, 1584.]
 
Du Bartas. Seigneur de Salluste. Born at Montfort (Gers).
This ponderous and affected writer had a vast reputation in his day. His Création du Monde was reprinted many times. His neologisms are more amusing than poetical; his waves ‘floflottent,’ and his lark ascends ‘avec sa tirelire, tirant l’ire à lire,’ &c. Goethe admired him.
  [Œuvres du G. du Bartas. La Rochelle, 1591.]
 
Desportes. Born at Chartres. Travelled in Italy, and went to Poland with the Duc d’Anjou, afterwards Henri III. Court poet, rich and unimaginative.
 
D’ Aubigné. Born at Saintonge. Protestant.
  [Œuvres complètes, ed. by Reaume, Caussade, and Legouez. Paris.]
 
Malherbe. Born at Caen; educated at Paris, Bâle, and Heidelberg. Secretary of Henri d’Angoulême, governor of Provence. Was presented to the king in 1604, and thenceforward had supreme poetic authority. Il réduisit la muse aux règles du de voir. His life was written by Racan.
  In a dixain called Enfin Malherbe vint, Banville has summed up the state of affairs at the end of the sixteenth century:—
    Les bons rythmeurs, pris d’une frénésie,
    Comme des Dieux gaspillaient l’ambroisie;
    Si bien qu’enfin, pour mettre le holà
    Malherbe vint, et que la Poésie,
    En le voyant arriver, s’en alla.
125. Consolation à M. du Périer. Written in 1599. Du Périer was a native of Provence and had some renown as a bel esprit.
128. Sonnet sur la mort de son fils. Marc-Antoine de Malherbe, his last surviving child, was killed in a duel by the Seigneur de Piles in July, 1626. 5. The duel, however, seems to have been fairly fought.
  [Œuvres poétiques de Malherbe, ed. Louis Moland. Paris, 1874. Contains life of Malherbe by Racan. Poésies de F. Malherbe, ed. L. Becq de Fouquières, Paris, 1874, contains André Chénier’s commentary.]
 
Mathurin Régnier. Born at Chartres. Author of nineteen admirable satires.
  [Œuvres de Mathurin Régnier. E. Courbet. Paris, 1875.]
 
Maynard. Born at Toulouse. Disciple of Malherbe.
  [Œuvres poétiques. Notice par G. Garisson, 3 vols., Paris, Lemerre.]
 
Racan. Born at Roche-Racan in Touraine. Disciple of Malherbe; has left a short account of his master’s life.
  [Œuvres complètes. Ed. Tenant de Latour, 2 vols., Paris, 1857.]
 
Théophile de Viau. Born at Clairac. Wrote satires, and a treatise on the immortality of the soul, which made him many enemies, and resulted finally in a decree of perpetual exile (1625). The too famous couplet,
    Ah! voici le poignard qui du sang de son maître
    Fut souillé lâchement; il en rougit, le traître!
occurs in his tedious tragedy of Pyrame et Tisbé (1617).
  [Œuvres, ed. Alleaume. Bibliothèque Elzévirienne, Paris, 1856.]
 
Saint-Amant. Born in Normandy. Wrote elegies, mascarades, and a religious epic on Moses.
 
Voiture. Court versifier. Born at Amiens. An ornament of the Hôtel de Rambouillet, home of Les Précieuses.
  [Œuvres, avec le comm. de Tallement des Réaux, ed. A. Ubicini, 2 vols., Paris, 1855.]
 
Colletet, of the Académie Française.
 
Corneille. Born at Rouen. Mélite, his first play, was produced when he was twenty-three; it was followed by Clitandre, La Veuve, La Galerie du Palais, La Suivante, La Place Royale, L’Illusion Comique—all comedies; his first tragedy, Médée, appeared in 1635, and then came Le Cid, Horace, Cinna, Polyeucte, Pompée, Le Menteur, La Suite du Menteur, Théodore, Rodogune, Héraclius, Andromède, Don Sanche d’Aragon, Pentharite. The last play (1652) was a failure, and Corneille was so disgusted that he produced nothing for seven years, devoting himself to a translation in verse of the Imitatio Christi. In 1659 he regained his ancient glory with the rather unsatisfactory Œdipe, and wrote eight more plays, amongst them Sertorius and Attila. In his old age he was poor and neglected. His poems are printed in vol. x of the Marty-Laveaux edition of his works (Paris, 1862–8).
147. Stances de Don Rodrigue. Don Diégue, father of Don Rodrigue, has been struck by Don Gomés, Comte de Gormas. Diégue makes his son promise to avenge him. Don Rodrigue loves Chimène, daughter of Don Gomés.
148. Stances de Polyeucte. Polyeucte, an Armenian noble wedded to Pauline, daughter of the Roman governor of Armenia, has become a Christian and defiled the altars of the Roman gods.
 
Scarron. Born in Paris. Became paralysed at the age of seventeen. In 1652 married Mlle d’Aubigné, afterwards Mme de Maintenon. Wrote comedies under Spanish influence, and a travesty of the Aeneid in eight books.
  [Œuvres, 7 vols., Amsterdam, 1752.]
 
Benserade. Court versifier. The wretched sonnet about Job caused a vast deal of windy argument. Its rival was Voiture’s equally vapid Il faut finir mes jours.
 
Maucroix. Court versifier. Canon of Rheims and bon viveur.
 
La Fontaine. Born at Château-Thierry, in Champagne. Fouquet, superintendent of finance to Louis XIV, became his patron. Published the Ode au Roi in 1663; Contes et Nouvelles, 1664, 1671; six books of fables, 1668; Philémon et Baucis, 1685. Wrote comedies.
  [Contes et Fables, ed. Jouaust. Paris, Librairie des Bibliophiles (Flammarion). Œuvres, ed. Régnier, II vols., Paris, 1883–1892.]
 
Molière. Born in Paris, educated at Clermont. Tapissier valet du roi; resigned this position and became actor-manager, 1643. Ill-success at first; toured the provinces; appeared before the King Oct. 24, 1658. Les Précieuses ridicules, 1659; followed by twenty-eight plays. Le Malade Imaginaire (1673) was the last.
  [Poésies diverses, vol. ix, ed. Despois et Mesnard, 1873–1900.]
 
Chapelle. Born at the Chapelle-Saint-Denis. Part-author (with Bachaumont) of the celebrated Voyage en Provence et en Languedoc.
  [Œuvres, ed. T. de Latour. Bibl. Elzév., 1854.]
 
Madame Deshoulières. Born in Paris. The ’tenth muse’ of the Court. An opponent of Boileau.
 
Boileau. Born in Paris. Studied law and theology. The sworn enemy of the Précieuses and of Chapelain, and the ally of Racine, La Fontaine, and Molière. Satires (1666), Art poétique (1673), Épîtres (1669–1695); Le Lutrin (1674). Presented to the King by Mme de Montespan. Abandoned verse in order to write the King’s history (1677).
  [Œuvres, ed. Saint-Marc, 5 vols., Paris, 1747.]
 
Racine. Born at La Ferté-Milon, educated at Port-Royal. La Thébaïde, his first tragedy (1664), was violently attacked, and throughout his career he had to endure the enmity of the pedants. Boileau always faithful to him. Quarrelled with the authorities of Port-Royal and lost favour with the King. Andromaque (1667), Les Plaideurs (1668), Britannicus (1669), Bérénice (1670), Bajazet (1672), Mithridate (1673), Iphigénie (1674), Phèdre (1677), Esther (1689), Athalie (1691).
  [His poems are printed in vol. iv of the Œuvres, ed. Mesnard, Paris, 1865–1873.]
174. Le Clerc (1622–1691), a tedious tragic author.
175. L’ ‘Aspar’ de Fontenelle. Fontenelle was a nephew of Corneille, and none the less bitter against Racine and Boileau for that. Boyer: another dreary person (1618–1698).
176. Pradon (1632–1698). Beloved by the Précieuses. He wrote a Phèdre, which was voted superior to Racine’s. He is said to be quite unreadable.
 
Chaulieu. Born at Fontenay.
 
Regnard. Born in Paris. Wrote comedies. Le Joueur (1696), Le Distrait (1697), Démocrite, Le Retour imprévu (1700), Les Folies Amoureuses (1704), &c.
 
J. B. Rousseau. Born in Paris. Wrote comedies, then ‘sacred odes,’ in which the more imaginative critics have detected a lyrical quality.
  [Œuvres, ed. Amar, 5 vols., Paris, 1820.]
 
Voltaire. Born in Paris, educated at Clermont. His first satiric writings caused him to be exiled from Paris in 1716. On his return he was suspected of being the author of other satires, and was imprisoned in the Bastille (1717, 1718). In the latter year the production of Œdipe made him famous. L’Henriade appeared in 1723, Marianne, 1724. He was again in the Bastille in 1726, and was exiled to England after a few weeks’ imprisonment; he learnt English, met Bolingbroke and Pope, and studied the English philosophers. Zaïre appeared in 1732, and between that date and his death in 1778 he wrote more than twenty dramas in verse. After his return from England he lived for some time at Cirey with Mme du Châtelet; his famous quarrel with the luckless Desfontaines began in 1738 and lasted for some years. He went to the Court, where he had Madame de Pompadour for friend. In 1746 he was member of the Academy and gentleman-in-ordinary to the King. He retired to the hôtel of the Duchesse du Maine at Sceaux in 1747, and returned to Paris after Mme du Châtelet’s death in 1749. In 1750, Frederick II invited him to live at Berlin. He stayed three years, and quarrelled with many people, amongst them Lessing, and at last with Frederick. Settled at Ferney, where he lived in state till 1778, when he went to Paris. He had a final triumph there, and died in the same year.
  [His poems are printed in vols. 8, 9, and 10 of the edition of his works published in Paris in 1877–85.]
 
Écouchard-Lebrun. Born in Paris. His contemporaries called him ‘Pindare’.
 
Ducis. Born at Versailles. Imitated Shakespeare: Hamlet (1769), Roméo et Juliette (1772), Le Roi Lear (1783), Macbeth (1784), Othello (1792).
  [Œuvres complètes et posthumes, 4 vols., Paris, 1826.]
 
Gilbert. Born in Lorraine. Wrote a satire on his own time.
  [Poésies diverses, ed. Perret, Paris, 1882.]
 
Florian. Born at the Château de Florian, near Nîmes. Great-nephew of Voltaire; acted in the Ferney Theatre when a boy. Wrote comedies and prose romances.
  [Fables, Paris, 1799.]
 
Fontanes. Born at Niort. Grand Master of the University of Paris.
 
André Chénier. Born in Constantinople. Son of a French consul and a Greek mother. Educated at the Collège de Navarre. Entered the army: had to leave it owing to ill-health. Travelled in Italy and stayed for some months in Rome. Secretary to the French ambassador in England for three years. Became involved through his writings and his friends in the political troubles of the Revolution; arrested at Paris, March 7, 1794. Guillotined in the same year. His poems were published in 1822.
  [Œuvres poétiques, ed. E. Manuel. Édition Jouaust, Flammarion, Paris.]
 
Chateaubriand. Born at St. Malo. Lieutenant in the régiment de Navarre. Went to America, 1791. Served in Condé’s army, 1792–3. Obliged to emigrate to London, where he lived for some time in great poverty. Returned to France in 1800. Atala, 1801. Génie du Christianisme, 1802. Secretary of the Embassy in Rome: Minister in the Valais. Travelled in the East. Elected to the Académie, 1811; Napoleon disapproved of his Discours de réception. He published Les Natchez in 1826. He played a distinguished part in diplomatic and political life after the fall of the Empire. (Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe, 1849.)
  [Mélanges et poésies, vol. 22 of Œuvres, 28 vols., Brussels, 1835.]
 
Béranger. Born in Paris. His political songs had an immense popularity.
  [Œuvres, Paris, 1876; Mémoires, 1858.]
 
Millevoye. Born at Abbeville.
  [Poésies, annot. par Sainte-Beuve, Paris, 1872.]
 
Mme Desbordes-Valmore. Born at Douai.
 
Lamartine. Born at Mâcon. His early youth was passed in the country. One of the bodyguard of Louis XVIII. Méditations, 1819. Nouvelles Méditations, 1823. Travelled in Italy. Chargé d’Affaires at Florence. Harmonies poétiques et religieuses, 1830. Member of Academy, 1830. Travelled in the East. Jocelyn, 1835. La Chute d’un Ange, 1838. Recueillements poétiques, 1839. Took a prominent part in the troubles of 1848.
 
Émile Deschamps. Fervent romanticist. Founded La Muse française; his essay La Guerre en temps de paix is an interesting criticism of the strife between the classics and romantics.
  [Poésies complétes, 2 vols., Lemerre, Paris.]
 
Casimir Delavigne. Born at Havre. His first poems, Les Messéniennes, made him famous. He wrote many plays.
  [Œuvres, 8 vols., Paris, 1833–1845.]
 
Alfred de Vigny. Born at Loches. Soldier. Published Poèmes antiques et modernes, 1826. Took part in the feud against classicism, but was rather an Egyptian ally of the romanticists. Translated Othello and The Merchant of Venice, wrote plays (Chatterton, 1835) and novels (Cinq-Mars, 1826). His last and finest poems, Les Destinées, were published in 1863, though many of them were printed in the Revue des Deux Mondes, more than fifteen years before this book appeared. The interesting Journal d’un Poète was published in 1867.
  [Poésies, Delagrave, Paris.]
 
Hugo. Born at Besançon. His father was a general of the Empire. His early youth was passed in the house and garden of the Faubourg Saint-Jacques which he has written of in the Contemplations. The first Odes et Ballades appeared in 1822, when he was a fervent royalist of twenty; the second series followed in 1826, and the order of his volumes of lyric poetry is as follows:—Les Orientales, 1829; Les Feuilles d’Automne, 1831; Les Chants du Crépuscule, 1835; Les Voix intérieures, 1837; Les Rayons et les Ombres, 1840. In 1841 he became a member of the Academy, and in 1845 was made a peer of France. At this time he took an active interest in politics; he was made a member of the Constituent Assembly in 1848, and of the Legislative Assembly in 1849. He protested against the coup d’État of December 2, 1851, and subsequently was compelled to leave France. He went first to Brussels, then to Jersey, and finally settled in Guernsey. Les Châtiments appeared in 1853; Les Contemplations, 1856; La Légende des Siècles, first series, 1859; Les Chansons des Rues et des Bois, 1865; L’Année terrible, 1872; La Légende des Siècles, second series, 1879; third series, 1883; Les Quatre Vents de l’Esprit, 1883. He returned to France when the Second Empire fell in 1870, and served in the national guard during the siege of Paris.
 
Brizeux. Born at Lorient. His family came from Ireland after the revolution of 1688.
 
Sainte-Beuve. Born at Boulogne-sur-Mer. He published three volumes of verse: Confessions de Joseph Delorme, 1827; Consolations, 1831; Pensées d’Août, 1837.
 
Arvers. Mes Heures perdues, Paris, 1833. He wrote comedies and vaudevilles, but he will be remembered only as the author of this beautiful sonnet.
 
Barbier. Born in Paris. Ïambes (1830) brought him well-deserved fame. L’Adieu is from Il Pianto, 1833.
 
Nerval. Nerval wrote much prose: a record of travel in Germany and Holland; studies of Eastern life; several plays (Le Chariot d’Enfant, L’Imagier d’Harlem), and a collection of stories called Les Filles du feu. His translation of Faust is extremely fine. His life was unhappy; he committed suicide in 1855.
  [Poésies complètes, Paris, 1877.]
 
Alfred de Musset. Born in Paris, educated at the Collège de Bourbon. His first book of poems, Contes d’Espagne et d’Italie, appeared when he was twenty; during the next eleven years of his life he produced all his best work: the Nuits, the Lettre à Lamartine, Sances à la Malibran, Rolla, Une bonne Fortune, and most of the delightful prose Comédies et Proverbes, none of which were acted until Madame Allan produced Le Caprice in 1847, when they became extremely popular. La Confession d’un Enfant du Siècle appeared in 1836.
  [Œuvres complètes, 10 vols., Paris, 1865–86.]
271. Stances à la Malibran. Mme Malibran died in 1836.
272. Chanson de Fortunio. From Le Chandelier, act ii, sc. 3.
274. Chanson de Barberine. From Barberine, act iii, sc. 2.
 
Moreau. Born in Paris. Le Myositis, poems; stood apart from the Romantic movement. Died in the Hôpital de la Charité, aged twenty-eight.
 
Gautier. Born at Tarbes. Studied painting. His first poems appeared in 1830. Albertus, 1832; Comédie de la Mort, 1838. His finest work is contained in España and Emaux et Camées, published respectively in 1841 and 1852.
 
Laprade. Born in Montbrison. Avocat at Lyons and professor of French literature. Published eight volumes of verse, a tragedy, and some studies in aesthetic. 
Soulary. Born at Lyons.
  [Œuvres poétiques, 3 vols., Le Lemerre, Paris.]
 
Leconte de Lisle. Born at St. Paul, Île de Réunion. Came to Paris 1845. Poèmes antiques, 1852; Poèmes et Poé, 1853; Poèmes barbares, 1862; Poèmes tragiques, 1884; Derniers Poèmes, 1895. Translated Homer, Hesiod, and some of the Greek tragedies. Les Érinnyes is an adaptation of the Eumenides of Aeschylus.
  [The works of Leconte de Lisle are published by Lemerre, Paris.]
 
Baudelaire. Born in Paris. Translated the tales of Edgar Allan Poe. Les Fleurs du Mal appeared in 1857; its alleged immorality resulted in a procès against the author. Petits Poèmes en Prose is, after Les Fleurs du Mal, his most noteworthy work.
  [Les Fleurs du Mal. Calmann Lévy, 1900.]
 
Banville. Born at Moulins. Les Cariatides appeared when he was eighteen; Les Stalactites, 1846; Odelettes, 1846; Odes Funambulesques, 1857; Idylles Prussiennes, 1871, &c. He wrote a large quantity of verse, several comedies, and many Contes.
  [Lemerre, Paris. Charpentier-Fasquelle, Paris.]
 
Verlaine. Born at Metz. Poèmes saturniens, 1867; Fêtes Galantes, 1869; La bonne Chanson, 1870; Romances sans Paroles, 1874; Sagesse, 1881; Jadis et Naguère, 1884; Amour, 1888; Parallèlement, 1889; Chansons pour Elle, 1891.
  [Œuvres complètes, 5 vols., Librairie Léon Vanier, Paris, 1899–1900.]

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