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Antwerp, 1594.



XIX] THE RENAISSANCE DRAMA 119

Bibliographies of Plays.

[P. F. Godard] de Beauchamps, Recherches sur les theatres de France,
*735- [F- et C. Parfaict], Histoire du theatre francois, in. 1745 (dates not
to be relied on). [Due de la Valliere], Bibliotheque du theatre francois, I.
2 3 J — 332, Dresden [Paris], 1768. Bibliotheque dramatique de M. de
Soleinne, Catalogue redige par P. L. Jacob (P. Lacroix), I. 1843.

G. Lanson, Etudes sur les origines de la Tragedie classique en France
in Rev. d'hist. litt. X. 177 ff., 413 ff., 1903 important).

Also the manuscript catalogue of plays in the Arsenal library, which
comprises the library of the Due de la Valliere.

The MS. Journal du theatre francois by the Chevalier de Mouhy in
the Bid. Nat. is quite untrustworthy (see E. Rigal, Le theatre francais
avant la periode classique, p. yj).



TO BE CONSULTED.

The best and most complete account of the whole Renaissance drama
is that by E. Rigal in Petit de Julleville, III. 261 ff., 1897. See also the
same writer's De Vetablissement de la tragedie en France in Rev. dart
dramatique, XXV. 65 ff., 1892, and Le theatre francais avant la periode
classique (with a full bibliography), 1901, which embodies his earlier
Esquisse cfune histoire des theatres de Paris, 1887, and the general part
of his Alexandre Hardy, 1889. H. Tivier, Histoire de la littirature
dramatique en France depuis scs origines jusqu'aic Cid, pp. 460 — 563, 1873.
Darmesteter and Hatzfeld, Le seizieme siecle en France (a good sketch).
W. Creizenach, Geschichte des 7ieueren Dramas, II. Halle, 1901-3.

For Tragedy — A. Ebert, Entwicklungsgeschichte der franzbsischen
Tragbdie vomehmlich im xvi Jahrhundert, Gotha, 1856, is excellent, but
has some omissions, which are supplied in E. Faguet, La tragidie francaise
au xvi e siecle, 1883, another excellent and thorough piece of work, which
however by its reliance on Mouhy's Journal gives a false impression as to
the general character of Renaissance tragedy.

Edelstand du Meril, Du de'veloppemenl de la tragedie en France in
Etudes sur quelques points d'archeologie et d histoire litter aire, pp. 144 ff-j
1862.

For Comedy— E. Chasles, La comedie en France au xvi 1 siecle, 1862 ;
Lenient, La satire en France au xvi e siecle, II. 265 ff., 2nd ed. 1877 ; and
especially P. Toldo, La comedie francaise de la Renaissance in Rev. d'hist.
litt. IV. (1897), 366 ff. ; v. 220 ff. and 544 ff.

The following works deal with special writers or with special points :
L. Pinvert, Jacques Grevin, 1899; E. E. Haag, La France Protestante,
for Jean and Jacques de la Taille, and (2nd ed.) Des Masures; ('.. I'.
nault de Puchesse, Jean et Jacques de la Taille, Orleans, 1
M. S. Bernage, Etude sur Robert Gamier, 1880; G. Lanson, Antoine de



120 THE RENAISSANCE DRAMA [CH. XIX

Montchrestien in Hommes et livres, 1895 ; J- Macgillivray, Life and
works of P. Larivey, Leipsic, 1889; G. Wenzel, Pierre de Larivefs
Komodien und ihr Einfluss auf Moliere in Archiv fiir neueren Spr.
und Litt. LXXXII. pp. 63 ff., 1889; J. Lemaitre, Les Contents in Revue
des cours et conferences for May 20, 1893; R. Doumic, Les Esprits, ib.
May 27, 1893.

E. Lintilhac, De f. C. Scaligeri poetice, 1887. C. Arnaud, Les theories
dramatiques an xvii 6 siecle, pp. 115— 135, 1888. R. Otto, introduction to
J. de Mairet's Silvanire, Bamberg, 1890. H. Breitinger, Les unites
d'Aristote avant le Cid de Corneille, 2nd ed. Geneva, 1895. J- Ebner,
Beitrag zu einer Geschichte der dramatischen Einheiten in Italien
{Munchener Beitrdge, xv.), Erlangen and Leipsic, 1898. J. E. Spingarn,
A history of literary criticism in the Renaissance, New York, 1899.
P. Kahnt, Gedankenkreis der Senteuzen in fodelle und Carnier's
Trag'odien und Seneca's Eiufuss auf denselben, Ausg. und Abhatid. no. 66,
1887. F. Klein, Der Chor in den wichtigsten Trag'odien der franzbsischen
Renaissance (Miinch. Beitrdge, XII.), 1897. 0. Fest, Der miles gloriosus
in der franzbsischen Kombdie {Miinch. Beitrdge, xm.), 1897. K. Bohm,
Beitrdge zur Kenntnis des Einflu sses Seneca 's auf die in der Zeit von
1552 bis 1562 erschienenen franzbsischen Trag'odien {Miinch. Beitrdge,
xxv.), 1902. For other German dissertations bearing on minor points
see Morf, pp. 243 — 5.



PART III

i 5 So- i 605
MONTAIGNE



CHAPTER XX

THE RETURN TO NATURE

The peace of Fleix, which was ratified at the close of the
year 1580, gave France rest from war, except for a few
sporadic disturbances, for more than four years. But the
manifesto issued by the recently constituted League on the
last day of March, 1585, had the effect of plunging the
country into a fresh war, which lasted for more than thirteen
years. In this new war there was at first (until the death of
Henry III) an additional element of disorder in the fact that
it was a three-cornered contest, Leaguers, Royalists, and
Huguenots being all opposed to one another. Moreover the
extreme weakness of the Crown, and the personal unpopularity
of Henry III, arising chiefly from the power which he ac-
cumulated in the hands of his favourites, but partly also from
the contempt into which he had brought the royal dignity by
his mummings and masqueradings, contributed largely to
the disorder. Finally the fact that Paris was the head-
quarters of the League, and that from the day of the Barricades
(May 12, 1588) to the entry of Henry IV (March 22, 1594)
the capital of the kingdom was subject to a tyranny as
stringent, though not as bloody, as that of the Reign of Terror,
helped to paralyse the vital powers of the whole kingdom.

As we have seen, this condition of things, working with
other more natural causes, was fatal to the production of
poetry and drama, of which, in the words of Dryden, "the
Muses ever follow peace." But on the other hand it was not
fatal to the production of prose; indeed it may be said even
to have stimulated it. For men weary of the long struggle
turned to literature not as a source of livelihood, but as an



I24 THE RETURN TO NATURE [CH.

anodyne for the unhappy condition of their country, or as
a means of beguiling long hours of inactivity to which they
were condemned by wounds or imprisonment. So it came to
pass that French prose, which during the first period of our
survey had to fight its way in the face of great difficulties
(partly from the transitional condition of the language, partly
from the rivalry of Latin), and which during the second period
(except for the last two books of Pantagruel) produced only
one work of first-rate importance, namely, Amyot's Plutarch,
now in this period of general unrest and disorder put forth
vigorous and varied blossoms. Montaigne in his solitary
chateau, La Noue in his prison at Limbourg, Monluc and
Brantome under the physical inactivity to which their restless
bodies had been condemned, Pasquier upholding the royalist
cause at Tours, the writers of the Satire Mcnippee under
the gloomy shadow of the League at Paris, all these men
were in their different way shaping and moulding the great
French language.

It is to be noted too that, unlike the majority of the poets
of the former period, all these prose writers, except Brantome,
shew a seriousness of purpose and a sustained sense of
the grave issues of life. It appears alike in the Catholic
Monluc and the Protestant La Noue, beneath the mask of
Montaigne's artistic scepticism and behind the comedy of
the Satire Mcnippee. It was indeed a time which called for
seriousness if France was to be saved from anarchy or subjec-
tion to a foreign power, and her ultimate salvation was in fact
in no little measure due, as DAubigne says, to the plumes
bien taillees of the patriotic party, to the manly, sensible, and
hopeful tone of their writings.

Moreover this literature was not only patriotic in feeling,
but it was far more national in character and style than the
poetry of the Pleiad. The reaction against Italian influence
which had begun in politics now extended to literature. The
mere fact that poetry was overshadowed by prose accorded no
less with the genius of the nation than the return that was
made in poetry itself to the lighter and more familiar style of
the Marotic Muse. The increased interest in the study of



XX] THE RETURN TO NATURE



125



human nature, awakened by Amyot's translation of Plutarch,
and stimulated by Montaigne's Essays, turned literature into
a channel peculiarly suited to the French spirit of delicate
analysis. Though the form of the literature was still that of
the sixteenth century, in substance it was already beginning
to foreshadow the great masterpieces of the age of Louis XIV.

Before dealing with the more important and more typical
prose writers of this period, there are two writers who demand
our attention, Ambroise Pare, the surgeon, and Bernard
Palissy, the potter. They are generally classed together in
histories of literature as scientific writers, but it will emphasize
better their special position in the literature of the French
Renaissance, if they are described negatively as not being
humanists.

During the whole of our preceding survey we have been
concerned almost exclusively with men who were either
classical scholars of some distinction, or at any rate had
been nurtured on classical literature. Even if, as in Marot's
case, their classical learning was slender, they had at least
some familiarity with the best available substitute, the
literature of Italy. On the other hand the study of nature
at first hand, the appeal from tradition to experience, had
begun to manifest itself only in a few isolated cases. It is as
the embodiment of the scientific spirit even more than by his
multifarious learning and attainments that Leonardo da Vinci
stands forth as, on the whole, the most remarkable, though
not the most typical, figure of the Renaissance. Some measure
of this spirit had descended too upon Rabelais, but it was
mingled in his case with a veneration for antiquity which was
hardly less superstitious than that of his contemporaries.
But as a rule the adherence to classical authority was un-
qualified and unquestioned, and it was hardly less so in
science than in literature. The Renaissance pioneers in
science contented themselves with translating Greek writers,
and made the interpretation of Greek texts the groundwork
of their teaching.

The importance therefore of Pare and Palissy lies in the
fact that here at last we have two men who were ignorant



I 2 6 THE RETURN TO NATURE [CH.

alike of Greek and Latin and Italian, two men who made
experience and not tradition the starting-point of their know-
ledge. " Test it by experiment " was Pare's method of solving
every controversial point in practice. It is Theory who is
invariably worsted in the argument with Practice in Palissy's
Discours admirable*. Thus a chapter dealing with these men,
who made common-sense and experience the basis of their
respective studies in surgery and natural philosophy, is a
fitting ante-chamber to one on the great writer who applied
the same tests to the study of man in general.

In fact Ambroise Pare 1 , with his shrewd common-sense
and eager curiosity, reminds one of Montaigne, though he
directed experiment and experience to a different end, the
practice of his profession. Born, probably in 1 5 16, in a village
which now forms part of the episcopal town of Laval in
Maine, he came to Paris in 1532 or 1533, to serve his
apprenticeship to a barber-surgeon 2 . In 1534 he obtained an
appointment as a sort of house-surgeon in the Hotel-Dieu,
and in 1537 he accompanied the French army to Turin as
surgeon to M. de Montejan, who was in command of the
infantry. It was on this occasion that he made his first
important discovery. Through the accident of his supply of
boiling oil running short he learnt that the cauterisation of
gunshot wounds, universally practised at this time, was a
mistake. Voila comme fappris a traiter les playes faites par
harquebuses, 11011 par les livres.

For the next thirty years there was hardly an important
French war in which he did not take part. He was at
Boulogne when Francois de Guise received his terrible wound

1 b. 1516 (?)— d. 1590.

- The best available evidence for the date of his birth, namely the statement of
his age beneath the portraits prefixed to his various works, varies considerably.
Up till 1564 he adhered to the date of 1516, but from 1573 he began to be
uncertain, and under his portrait by Delanne, engraved in 1582, he is described
as 72. (See Le Paulmier, pp. 135 f.) The statement of Pierre de 1'Estoile that he
was 80 at the time of his death in Dec. 1590 is not likely to have come from any
better authority than Pare himself. In favour of the later date are (1) his arrival
at Paris in 1532 or 1533, and the special emphasis laid on his youth when he was
at Turin in 1538; (2) the known fact that old men are apt to overstate their age.



XX] THE RETURN TO NATURE



127



in the face from a lance 1 ; he attended the King of Navarre
after his mortal wound before Rouen, and the Constable de
Montmorency after the battle of Saint-Denis ; he was in Metz
during its famous siege by Charles V, having been smuggled
into the town by order of Henry II ; and in the following
year (1553) he became a prisoner by the surrender of Hesdin,
but before long was released without ransom by a grateful
patient. Meanwhile his fame had been steadily increasing.
In 1552 he was appointed one of the king's surgeons in
ordinary, and in that capacity stood in consultation round
the death-bed of Henry II after his fatal wound 2 . Seventeen
months later he was summoned to attend his successor
Francis II, who died on Dec. 5, 1560. On the first day of
the year 1562 he was appointed chief surgeon to Charles IX,
a post which he retained under his successor. It was he who
amputated Coligny's two fingers after he had been wounded
by Maurevel, and he was watching by his bed on the fatal
morning of St Bartholomew.

In 1575 he published the first collected edition of his
works, which included, besides a general account of anatomy
and surgery, the famous Methode de traicter les playes f aides
par hacquebutes et aultres bastons a feu z , a little treatise of
68 leaves first published in 1545 and notable as the first
scientific work ever written in French, another on wounds in
the head (1561), and a third on the plague (1568). The
publication of this edition involved him in a long warfare
with the faculty of Physicians. The last edition of his works
that was published in his lifetime (1585) concluded with the
Apologie et traite con tenant les voyages faits en divers licux,
written in 1584. This treatise, which is Pare's chief claim to
recognition as a man of letters, is an account of his experiences

1 Qluvres, II. 25. Malgaigne points out that Pare nowhere tells us who the
surgeon was who extracted the broken lance, and that the well-known story ol his
doing it himself first appears in the untrustworthy Vie de Coligny by Sandras de
Courtils, 1686.

2 CEuvres, 11. 25.

3 Pare afterwards adopted the spelling harquebuse, which should really be
arquebuse from the Italian archibuso. Hacquebute is from the German haken-
biichse.



I2 8 THE RETURN TO NATURE [CH.

as an army-surgeon, and thus introduces the personal element,
necessarily absent from his purely scientific writings, which
wins the interest of the reader and makes for literature. We
learn from it that he possessed all the qualities which go to
make a great surgeon in all ages, common-sense, deftness of
hand, care for small details, tenderness, and sympathy. The
literary merit of his writing is chiefly owing to two qualities,
clearness of thought which is reflected in clearness of ex-
pression, and a strong visualising faculty which enables him
to give life and picturesqueness to his narrative. Occasionally
he indulges in a vein of rather grim irony as in the close of
his account of the siege of Metz :

Ie veux encore retourner a la cause de leur mortalite, qui estoit
principalement de la faim, peste, et du froid : car la neige estoit sur la
terre plus de hauteur de deux pieds, et estoient loges en des cauernes
sous terre, couuertes d'vn peu de chaume seulement. Neantmoins que
chacun soldat auoit son lit de camp et une couuerture toute semee
d'estoiles luisantes et brillantes, plus claires que fin or : et tous les iours
auoient draps blancs, et loges a l'enseigne de la Lune, et faisoient bonne
chere, quand ils auoient de quoy : et payoient si bien leur hoste des le
soir, que le matin s'en alloient quittes, secoiiant les oreilles. Et ne leur
falloit nul peigne pour destacher le duuet et la plume de contre leurs
barbes et cheueux : et trouuoient tousiours happe blanche, perdans de
bons repas par faute de viandes. Aussi la plus grande part n'auoit
bottes, ny bottines, pantoufles, chausses, ny souliers : et plusieurs aimoient
mieux n'en avoir point que d'en auoir, pource qu'ils estoient tousiours en
la fange iusques a my-iambes : et a cause qu'ils alloient nuds pieds,
nous les appellions les Apostres de VEmpereur\

This story of Metz is the best-known of his Voyages, but
the account of the siege of Hesdin is of equal interest, while
there is a special charm in the Voyage de Flandres, in which
he tells us how he cured the young Marquis d'Auret, a brother
of the Due d'Arschot, of a wound in his leg from which he
had been suffering for seven months.

Je le pansais, Dieu le guerit. That is the usual phrase in
which he speaks of his cures. For nothing is more character-
istic of the man than his deep piety. It appears strongly in
the chapter of his work entitled Des causes divines de la peste

1 CEuvres, in. joS.



XX] THE RETURN TO NATURE 129

(book XXIV. c. ii) and in the concluding chapter of the same
book. These together with the penultimate chapter, which
draws a moving picture of the misery caused by the plague,
and with the curious account of the tricks of beggars 1 in the
book on monsters, may be added to the Apologie et voyages as
being of interest to the general reader. Pare ended his long
and active life on December 20, 1590, when Paris was in the
hands of the League, hated by the Leaguers, but beloved by all
good citizens as a fearless advocate of peace and toleration-'.

In the same year as Pare there died also at Paris, but in
the prison of the Bastille, Bernard Palissy, the potter 3 . The
services of this great man to art and science are so remark-
able, his personal character stands so high, that in a country
like France, which knows how to honour art and science, it is
no wonder that his name should be honoured almost beyond
that of any other writer of the sixteenth century. This

1 Book XIX. cc. xxi-xxiv; part of this is evidently taken from Noel du Fail's
Propos rustiques c. vii.

2 P. de l'Estoile, Journal, v. 65. It is by no means certain whether he was a
Huguenot or a Catholic. The common tradition that he was a Huguenot and
that he was saved from the massacre of St Bartholomew by the special inter-
vention of Charles IX, rests on somewhat slender evidence, the untrustworthy
Vie de Coligny, an unlikely story told by Sully who was only a boy at the
time of the massacre, and two passages of Brantome. Against Brantome's testi-
mony, which alone counts, has been set the fact that Pare was married, his
children baptized, and he and his wife buried in a Catholic Church. But Henri
Bordier, whose opinion is of great weight, says that this proves nothing, for the
Protestants at this time had no official places of their own where such ceremonie
could be celebrated. Further Pare in a passage which appears in the 157 s
edition of his works, but which was subsequently omitted, speaks of Quelques
tins qui me hayoyent a mort pour la Religion (CEuvres, in. 662), a remark which
certainly implies that he had, at any rate, once been a Protestant. Malgaigne
(CEuvres, I. cclxxvii ff. and v. xiv) believes that at least after St Bartholomew
he was a professed Catholic. S. Paget, Pare and his limes, A. Jal, Diet, critique,
and J. Trevedy, A. Pare, Est-il mort Catholiquc ? (Laval and Rennes, 1890), all
take a similar view. The view that he was a Protestant is upheld by II. Bordier
in Bull. prot. franc, for 1868, pp. 173 ff. and Dr Le Panlmier, A. I'm;', p. 70. Ii
requires more knowledge than I possess of the social conditions of Parens timi
come to any positive conclusion, but the evidence on the whole seems to b
favour of the view that he was a Protestant.

3 b. 1515 to 1520— d. 1500. I see no reason to doubt tin- po temenl
of P. de l'Estoile (Journal, v. 67) who knew Palissy and was in Paris in 1590.
D'Aubigne puts his death a year earlier.

T. II. 9



!30 THE RETURN TO NATURE [CH.

admiration for the man has, however, led to a somewhat
exaggerated estimate of his literary merits.

We have little positive information about his early life,
but such evidence as is forthcoming seems to shew that he
was born in the Agenais between 15 15 and 1520 1 ; and that
before the year 1540 he went to live at Saintes' 2 and there
carried on his two professions of land-surveyor and painter
on glass*. It is with Saintes that Palissy's name is most
intimately connected, so that Olivier de Serres not unnaturally
speaks of him as le paysan de Xaintonge; it was at Saintes that
his heroic struggles in the endeavour to make white enamel
took place ; and it was at Saintes that he became a Protestant
and bore his part in the tribulations of the infant church. But
he did not live there continuously. Not to speak of shorter
absences, for the most part connected with his business of
land-surveying, he spent, he tells us, some years at Tarbes in
the kingdom of Navarre, and in 1563 we find him at La
Rochelle, where his first work was printed. Its title is worth
giving in full. Recepte veritable, par laqnelle tons les homines de
la France pourront apprendre a multiplier et angmenter leurs
thresors. Item, cenx qui n out jamais en cognoissance des lettres
pourront apprendre tine pJiilosophie necessaire a tons les habit an s
de la terre. Item en ce livre est contenu le dessein d'unjardin,
■an taut delectable et d' utile invention qu'il en fut oncqucs veu.

1 P. de l'Estoile says he was 80 at the time of his death, D'Aubigne who puts
his death in 1589 that he was 90. On the other hand Lacroix du Maine, writing
in 1584, says that he was at that time 'sixty and more.' L'Estoile's date has been
generally adopted on the ground that it is an intermediate one. But surely on the
point of age L'Estoile is not so good an authority as a professed biographer and
bibliographer like Lacroix du Maine. The latter writer also says that Palissy
was a native of the diocese of Agen, and Palissy himself speaks of Saintonge, which
some writers regard as his native province, merely as pays de son habitation.

- In the dedication of the Discours admirables to Antoine de Pons, Palissy
■says, Combien quefeusse bon tesmoignage de V excellence de votre esprit, des le temps
■que retournastes de Ferrare, en vostre chateau de Fonts. The ch&teau was close to
Saintes and its lord returned from Ferrara in 1539. Palissy's language, says
Audiat (p. 10), shews that he must have migrated to Saintonge in early youth,
but see Dupuy, p. 234.

3 M. Dupuy thinks that his work as a peintre-vei-rier or vitrier was confined to
the sale and repair of stained glass (pp. 65-71). It is evident that he was occupied
in some rather humble branch of the art.






XX] THE RETURN TO NATURE 131

Item, le dessein et ordonnance d'une Ville de forteresse, la plus
imprenable qrihomme ouyt jamais parley, Compose par Maistre
Bernard Palissy, onvrier de tcrre, et inventeur des rustiques
figulines du Roy et de Monseigneur le due de Montmorency, pair
et connestable de France, demeurant en la ville de Xaintes.

Even this comprehensive title by no means fully indicates
the various entertainment that awaits us. As M. Dupuy says,
the book " contains at once a fragment of agricultural chem-
istry, a dissertation on stones and their formation, a theory of
the origin of metals, the description of a delightful garden, a
moral satire on the follies of mankind, a history of the Refor-
mation in Saintonge, and an account of the persecution of the
Reformers." But from the literary point of view perhaps the
main interest lies in the fact that here we have in the full
flood-time of the Renaissance a work by a man who not only,
like Pare, knew no Greek or Latin, but who had little book-
learning of any kind. In the first place it should be noticed
that the treatise is in the form of a dialogue, a form which
the writings of Viret had made familiar to Protestants. In-



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