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and one of the most violent preachers on the side of the
League. His actions and speeches had been latterly so
strange that he was believed to be out of his mind, and this
is the character assigned to him in the satire. He makes
a furious attack on Mayenne, exposing his selfish aims with
the licensed frankness of a madman. Then comes the Sieur
de Rieux as the representative of the nobles in the Estates.
His speech is that of a ruffian and bandit, a character which
he does not seem in real life to have deserved, though he had
the misfortune to be tried and hanged shortly before the Satire
Maiippce was printed 1 .

This speech concludes the satirical part of the work, and
one cannot speak too highly of the quality of the satire.
While the writers leave no doubt as to their meaning they
never become wearisome by iteration and are often content
to let their readers draw an inference for themselves. Appealing
to a fairly popular audience they do not write above their
heads, nor do they write down to them. They are neither
too subtle nor too obvious.

The last speech, that of Monsieur d'Aubray for the Third
Estate, which is longer than all the others put together, is of
a wholly different character. It is a model of serious eloquence.
D'Aubray, we have seen, was at this time the leader of the
politique party in Paris, but how far the speech put in his
mouth by Pierre Pithou corresponds to the speech actually
made by him at the meeting of the Estates it is impossible to
say. Nor can we say whether the popular tone and phraseology
of the speech in the Menippee represents his real manner of
speaking 2 .

Par nostre Dame, Messieurs, vous nous favez bailie belle*.
It is on this popular note that the speech begins. It is soon
raised to one of lofty eloquence :

Paris, qui n'es plus Paris, mais une spelonque de bestes farouches,

1 See S. Prioux, Communication sur le Sieur de Rieux, 1864. He was hanged

on March 11.

2 Palma Cayet's short summaries of speeches by him on other occasions do not
enable us to judge.

'■' In the primitive text.



une citadelle d'Espagnols, Wallons et Neapolitans, un asyle et seure
retraite de voleurs, meurtriers et assassinateurs, ne veux-tu jamais te
ressentir de ta dignite, et te souvenir qui tu as este, au prix de ce que tu
es ? Ne veux-tu jamais te guarir de ceste frenesie qui, pour un legitime et
gratieux Roy, t'a engendre cinquante Roytelets et cinquante tyrans? Te
voila aux fers ! Te voila en Flnquisition d'Espagne, plus intolerable
mille fois et plus dure a supporter aux esprits nez libres et francs, comme
sont les Francois, que les plus cruelles morts dont les Espagnols se
scauroient adviser!

Then after a while it drops again to the level of a historical
retrospect of affairs from " that miserable peace (Cateau-
Cambresis), sealed by the death of our good king Henry II."
This is skilfully turned into a direct attack on Mayenne,
whose policy and action from the day of the Barricades is
carefully investigated. His double-dealing, his ambition, and
above all his incapacity when opposed to Henry IV, are
exposed. The situation of Paris is then compared to that
of Jerusalem when besieged by Titus 1 . The same ruin and
desolation awaits the people of Paris, unless by a miracle they
recover their good sense :

Car il est impossible que puissions longuement durer ainsy, estant
desja si abattus et alangouris de longue maladie que les souspirs que
nous tirons ne sont plus que les sanglots de la mort. Nous sommes
serrez, pressez, envahis, bouclez de toutes parts, et ne prenons air que
Fair puant d'entre nos murailles, de nos boues et egouts ; car tout autre
air de la liberte des champs nous est deffendu.

Apprenez done, villes libres, apprenez, par nostre dommage, a vous
gouverner d'ores en avant d'autre facon, et ne vouslaissez plus enchevestrer,
comme avons faict, par les charmes et enchantements des prescheurs,
corrompus de l'argent et de l'esperance que leur donnent les princes, qui
n'aspirent qu'a. vous engager et rendresi foibles et si soupks qu'ils puissent
jouir de vous, et de vos biens, et de vostre liberte, a leur plaisir
ce qu'ils vous font entendre de la religion n'est qu'un masque dont ils
amusent les simples, comme les renards amusent les pics de leurs tongues
queues, pour les attraper et manger a leur ayse.

Then the speaker turns on the Cardinal Legate and exp
first the designs of Spain and next those of the Holy See,
Ha ! Monsieur le Legat, vous cstes descouvert, le voile est
II riy a plus de charmes qui nous empeschent de veoir clatri

1 This comparison is in the primitive text.



nostre necessity nous a ostela taye desyeux, comme vostre ambition
la met aux vostres. Finally comes the question of the choice
of king. Nous deviandons un Roy et chef naturel, 11011 artificiel;

mi Roy desja faict, et 11011 a /aire En un mot nous voulons

que Monsieur le Lieutenant scache que nous reconnoissons pour
nostre vray Roy legitime, naturel, et souverain seigneur, Henry
de Bourbon, cy-devant Roy de Navarre.

The speech is designedly popular in tone, and does not
shrink from familiar phrases. Compared with the other
specimens of eloquence noticed in this chapter, such as the
Tigre of Hotman and the Anti-Espagnol of Arnaud, or with
the speeches of Du Vair, which will be noticed in a later chapter,
it is much less closely modelled on classical examples. Pithou
has learnt from Demosthenes and Cicero the spirit of true
eloquence, but he expresses it in a thoroughly French fashion.
In this true reading of the lesson of classical literature, in this
penetration of its spirit without a touch of slavish imitation, he
is the forerunner of Boileau and Moliere. The historical part
of the speech is admirably done, being remarkable for the
accuracy with which the facts are stated and the impartiality
with which they are judged. The whole summary of events
is as able as that of Hurault in his two Discours, and is
presented in a more popular fashion. It is perhaps easy
to fall into exaggeration in speaking of Pithou's performance.
It is by no means all on the same high plane, but if the
emotion of the reader may be taken as a test of his eloquence,
there are certain passages in it which are worth)- to rank with
Demosthenes or Cicero, with Burke or Bossuet.

The first known edition of the Menippee concludes with
seventeen pieces of verse attributed to Passerat and Rapin 1
of which the following is a specimen :

Mon Dieu, qu'ils sont beaux et blonds

Vos doublons !
Faictes-en chercher encores,

Parmy vos jaunes sablons.

1 A manuscript note to a copy of the Menippee in the Arsenal library says
that Rapin wrote the Latin verses and Passerat the French ones (Read, p. 310).


Ou bien vous en retournez,

Bazannez :
Paris, qui n'est votre proye,

Vous renvoye
Avecques cent pieds de nez !

The number of pieces was afterwards increased to forty
and in a later edition they were followed by Gilles Durant's
A sue ligueur 1 . It was a worthy conclusion to a work compact
of humour.

If the Satire Menippee is essentially artistic both in
conception and execution the same cannot be said of the
only remaining pamphlet which it is necessary to notice, the
Tableau des differens de la religion of Philippe de Marnix de
Sainte Aldegonde 2 , the well-known friend of William the
Silent, whose surrender of Antwerp was so severely critu
// a mis la religion en rabelaiserie, ce qui est trcs vial fait, is
De Thou's apposite description and just censure of the book.
In none of the followers of Rabelais whom I have discussed
in a previous chapter do we find so close a reproduction of
the master's language*, though it is noticeable that the disciple
is especially attracted by that part of the Fifth Book of which
Rabelais's authorship is most doubtful. But his kinship to
Rabelais is purely on the surface. If like Rabelais he treats
of grave subjects in a tone of buffoonery, he does not like-
Rabelais respect the more solemn mysteries. If he mas-
querades in his master's clothes, he has caught nothing of his
spirit. We may allow him the merit of clear, forcible and
picturesque language, and the curious student may reap from
his book a harvest of popular expressions, but the work as a
whole is thoroughly bad art. It is in short a first-rate example
of a common defect of French Renaissance writers, their
inability to grasp the fact that each kind of literature has
its appropriate form and tone. Thus while Sainte Aldegonde's
book is in conception, arrangement, and extent a grave theo

1 Ante, p. 58.

- Horn at Brussels in 1538, died in 1598.
3 See A. Delboulle, M. Jc Sainte Aldegondt .
litt., in. (1896) 440 ff.

T. II. "'


logical treatise, the tone, though sometimes correspondingly
grave, perpetually drops into that of a satirical pamphlet.
Moreover the satire is too coarse and the polemic too bitter
to be really effective. It must be admitted however that it
suited the taste of the day, for the book for a time was highly
popular. But though it may be true, as Bayle says 1 , that " a
great number of persons were more strongly confirmed in
their belief by it than by Calvin's masterpiece," it can hardly
have converted a single individual.



Francois Hotman, Epistre envoiee au Tigre de la France, 1560;
ed. C. Read, 1875.

[Louis Regnier de la Planche,] Du grand et loyal devoir, fidelite
et obeissance de Messieurs de Paris envers ie Roy et Couronne de France,
1565; ed. J. Buchon in Choir de Chroniques et Me moires, 1836; ed.
E. Mennechet with Histoire de V Estat de France sous Francois II,
11. 211 ff., 1836.

Discours merveilleux de la vie et actions et deportemens de Catherine de
Mcdicis, 1575 (earliest known edition, 164 pp., Brit. Mus.) ; Seconde
edition plus correcte, 1576.

[Michel Hurault du Fay,] Libre discours sur I' estat present de
la France, 1588; Discours sur V estat de la France (second), Chartres,
1 591. ANTOINE Arnaud, Coppie dc VAnti-Espagnol faict a Paris, 1590
{Bib. Staid., no. 4807) ; La Fleur de Lys, 1593 {Bib. Sund., no. 4730);
Quaire Excellent Discours, 1593 (first collected edition of the four last

Dialogue d'entre le Maheustre et le Afanant, 1593 {Bib. Xat. ; Cat.
Ruble, no. 624; the only two known copies); 1594 (A — T 8 V C ; 158 11.
numbered ; this revised version is printed in the 1726 ed. of the Satire
Marippee, III. 367 ff.).

La vertu du Catholicon d'Espagne: Auec un Abrege' de la tenue des
Estats de Paris, 1594; Satyre Menippee de la vertu du Catholicon
dEspagne, with notes by Pierre Dupuy, Ratisbon, 1664 (printed at
Brussels by Foppens) ; ed. Le Duchat, 3 vols., Ratisbon, 1709 ; ed.
P. Marchand, 3 vols. ib. 1726 ; ed. Ch. Read, 1876 ; ed. J. Frank, Oppeln,

1 See Lenient, I. 262 — 266.



1884. Le texte primitif de la Satyre Menippe'e, ed. Ch. Read (from a MS.
in the Bib. Nat., no. 8933, fonds Bethune), 1878 ; F. Giroux, Le premier
texte manuscrit de la Satyre Menippe'e (no. 20153, fonds Saint-Martin\
an inferior text to that printed by Read), Laon [1897].

A pleasant Satyre or Poesie, wherein is discovered the Catholicon of
Spayne and the chief leaders of the League, 1595 (a copy in the Brit Mus.
with the autograph of Sir \V. Temple).

Philippe de Marnix de Sainte Aldegonde, Tableau des differens
de la religion, Leyden, 1599 ; 4 vols., Brussels, 1857 (with an introduction
by Edgar Quinet, a historical notice by A. Lacroix, and a very full


Ch. Labitte, La democratic chez les predicateurs de la Ligue, 1841.
Sainte-Beuve, Portraits litteraircs, III. 376 ff. (part of an article on
Labitte), 1846. C. Lenient, La satire en France, 2 vols. E. Armstrong,
The Political Theory of the Huguenots, in the English Hist. Review,
IV. [3 ff., 1889. A. Tilley, Some pamphlets of the French wars of religion,
ib. xiv. 451 ff., 1899.

R. Dareste, Essai sur Francois Hot man, 1850. A. Poirson, Histoire
du regtie de Henri IV, 444 ff. (for Hurault du Fay). T. Froment, Essai
sur I' histoire judiciaire avant le dix-septieme siecle, pp. 147-218, 1874
(for Arnaud).

Girard, Passerat et la Satire Menippee in Rev. Hist., xxix. 340 ff.,
1885. Zeitsch.fiir franz. Spr., III. 454 ff, iv. 199 ff, v. 81 ff. and 206 ff.,
1882-3 ( a controversy between J. Frank and F. Zverina). J. Frank,
ib. xx. 1898 (a review of Giroux — see above). A. Poirson, op. cit. iv .
460 ff. (an excellent account).



IF, leaving Rabelais out of account, the Satire Menippee
is the chief example of prose satire in the literature of the
French Renaissance, verse satire, or at any rate the classical
form of it, is best represented by DAubigne and Regnier.
It is true that Les is an epic rather than a satire in
intention, but the natural bent of DAubigne's genius was in
the direction of satire, and it is the satirical passages of Les
Tragiques which constitute its chief merit. It is also true
that this poem, like Regnier's satires, was not published till
after the close of the Renaissance period, not indeed till 1616,
three years after Regnier's death, when the older school of
literature was fast falling into discredit under the growing
influence of Malherbe. But Les Tragiques, though not pub-
lished till this late season, was circulated in manuscript as
early as 1593 1 . Moreover DAubigne in his versatility, his
imaginative fervour, and his careless workmanship is a typical
representative of the Renaissance. His versatility is amazing;
a lyric as well as an epic poet ; a contcur as well as a satirist ;
a memoir writer, a pamphleteer, and a historian, he might
have found a place in several chapters of this history. But
everything he wrote bears the impress of his remarkable
personality, and to deal with his writings piecemeal is to miss
the man himself.

Rather let us take as the starting-point for the consideration
of his work the autobiography which he wrote for his children
towards the close of his long life. In the preface he forbade
its publication, and the injunction was kept for a hundred

1 D'Aubigne, Hist. Univ., ed. Ruble, vm. 327.



years. But in 1729, after being modernised to suit the taste
of the eighteenth century, it was published at Brussels under
the title of Histoire Secrete. Then in 1851 M. Lalanne,
having found in the library of the Louvre a manuscript of the
text which had belonged to M me de Maintenon, D'Aubigne s
granddaughter, printed from it the first authentic edition 1 .

Theodore Agrippa d'Aubigne, generally known as Agrippa
d'Aubigne, was born near Pons in Saintonge in February,
1552. His father, who belonged to the lesser nobility, and
was an active leader of the Huguenot party, solemnly initiated
him, when still a boy, into the service of the cause. They
were riding together through the town of Amboise soon after
the 'Tumult,' in which the father had taken part, when they
suddenly came upon the suspended heads of some of the
conspirators. Placing his hand on the boy's head the elder
D'Aubigne said in solemn accents, " My child, to avenge th< >se
honourable men you must not spare your life, as I shall not
spare mine ; spare it and you will earn my curse." Agrippa
was then eight ; at eleven his father died from the effects of a
wound, and his mother having died in giving him birth he was
left alone in the world with only a slender fortune. There
was enough however to pay for his education, which according
to his own account had been going on ever since he was
four years old, when he began to learn Greek, Latin and
Hebrew concurrently. At six he could read in all those
languages as well as in French, and at seven with some
assistance from his tutor he had translated the Crito of Plato.

At his father's death he was at the University of Orleans,
having for his private tutor Matthieu Beroald, the father o\
the author of the Moyen de parvenir-. At the age of thirteen
he went to the University of Geneva and studied there for
two years. At sixteen he entered on his military career, and
in the following year (1569) shared in the Huguenol defeat
at Jarnac. Fighting was his element, and when he entered

1 The text in MM. Reaume and Caussade's edition of the Q nplitts
is printed from the original text in the Tronchin collection in thi Ateau de
Bessinges, near Geneva. The Louvre MS. was burnt during the « ommune.

2 See ante, p. [88.

246 d'aubign£ [ch.

the service of the King of Navarre in 1573 it was with the
recommendation that he was a man " who found nothing too

He spent the next three years at the French Court,
throwing himself into its dissipations with characteristic energy
and love of emulation. But in 1576 the King of Navarre
made his escape from Paris, and during the next seventeen
years of his adventurous life he had no more loyal or devoted
servant than D'Aubigne. The relations between the two men
were sometimes severely strained, partly from Henry's innate
levity of heart, partly from D'Aubigne's jealous and sensitive
temperament. But whenever there was any dangerous work
to do D'Aubigne was there to do it. In 1587 he took
part in the Protestant victory of Coutras. In the following
year, having captured the fortified town of Maillezais, he
remained there as governor, being, as he says, trop las de
courir. It was his first rest, he adds, for twenty years.

Henry's conversion was a great blow to him, and he ever
afterwards looked on him as a renegade to his party. For
though not wanting in political insight D'Aubigne was no
statesman ; the state in his eyes was of less importance than
the party. Thus though from time to time Henry shewed his
old adherent some mark of favour, D'Aubigne retired more and
more into the background. It was indeed almost impossible
to keep up friendly relations with so inveterate ^frondenr. who
had so high an estimate of his own merits and services and so
bitter a contempt for men more supple and less honest than
himself. He lived chiefly at Maillezais, then a place of some
importance, not only as one of the Protestant places of surety
but as commanding Lower Poitou and covering La Rochelle.
He may have reflected with pleasure that Rabelais had been
a nominal inmate of the Benedictine Abbey at Maillezais and
a close friend of the Bishop's. But he little dreamt that the
neighbouring bishop of Lucon, "the dirtiest and most dis-
agreeable see in France 1 ," would before long rule France with
almost absolute sway.

1 " Jay le plus vilain evesche de France, le plus crotti et le plus desagr cable."
Richelieu to M me de Bourges, April, 1609. {Lettres, ed. Avenel, I. 24.)

xxvi] d'aubigne 247

The King's death severed his last tie with the Court.
During the troubles of the regency he was in close com-
munication with the discontented nobles, with Bouillon and
Conde and Rohan. But it was not till 1620 that on a
summons from Rohan, the recognised chief of the Huguenot
party, he reluctantly joined the standard of revolt. On the
"Queen's peace" being made in the same year he fled to
Geneva, where he spent the last ten years of his life as an
honoured citizen, finding employment for his ceaseless energy
in constructing a new system of fortifications both for Geneva
and Berne. In 1623, being over seventy, he married as his
second wife a widow named Renee Burlamachi. Shortly
before this event he had heard of his condemnation to death
in France — it was for the fourth time — for having used for his
own house some stones of a ruined church.

In 1626 he published a new edition of his Histoire uni-
verselle, the first edition of which had been printed at his own
press at Maille, close to Maillezais, appearing in three parts,
from 1616 to 1620. At Maille too he had printed his long
poem Les Tragiques (1616), and the first three parts of a
satirical pamphlet entitled Les aventurcs du baron de Faneste.
It was a belated appearance in the field of authorship. For
not only was he between sixty and seventy years of age, but
the literary school in which he had been brought up and to
which he adhered as loyally as he did to his religious party
was passing rapidly out of fashion. His last literary labour
was the addition in 1630 of a fourth part to Fceinstc. causing
thereby great scandal to the grave city of Geneva. The Council
suppressed the book and ordered the author to be reprimanded,
but within a month he was beyond the reach of earthly
censure. He died on May 9, Ascension Day, 1630. at th
of seventy-eight 1 .

His autobiography, which is the main source for the
of his life, and which he began to write in 1623, is of all his

1 The date in the public records of Geneva is April 19 < >.S. 1 1>- widow in .1
letter printed in Bull. Prot. xlii. 32 f. (1893) gives the
April 21. But the 21st was a Wednesday, and D'Aubign "ill on

April 24.

248 d'aubign£ [ch.

writings the most free from defects. It is a well-told record,
and, making due allowance for the natural lapses in memory
of an old man and for a certain tendency to self-glorification,
it is on the whole a trustworthy record of a singularly active
and romantic life. It is also the revelation of an interesting
and noble character, though that character is somewhat
complex, and is chequered with many crossing lights and
shadows. If D'Aubigne was self-confident, vain-glorious,
obstinate, quarrelsome, rough in speech and manner, he was
also chivalrous, loyal, honourable, full of warm and tender
feeling. Finally, the Vie a ses enfant & has a merit which is
somewhat rare in sixteenth century literature ; it is short and
concise. This is partly due to D'Aubigne's compressed style,
to which I shall recur, but also to the fact that he had already
related in his History a good many incidents of his career
which can hardly be said to be of historical importance, and
which would more naturally have found a place in his auto-

In fact the critics of his day declared that the Histoire
Universelle was nothing but his personal memoirs 1 . There is
considerable truth in this, and from the historical point of
view it is no doubt a grave defect. But the chief literary
merit of his book lies in the vivid description of scenes of
which he was an eye-witness. If you look for the ordinary
qualities of a historian, for accuracy, a sense of proportion, or
the critical examination of conflicting reports, you will look
in vain, but you may see with D'Aubigne's eyes the stirring
scenes of a great drama, and you may breathe the very
atmosphere of the Huguenot camp.

It was Henry of Navarre who as far back as 1577 invited
D'Aubigne to become his historian. " Begin, sire, to act,"'
was his reply, "and I will begin to write." But though it was
not till thirty-five years afterwards that the work was finally
accomplished- he adhered to his intention. Henry IV

1 See D'Aubigne's answer to his critics in the letter from the printer to the
reader, Hist. Universelle, ed. Ruble, I. 19.

- In a letter undated, but evidently written in 161S, he says it had been
finished for six years (CEiivres, 1. 471).

xxvi] d'aubign£ 249

is the central figure of the Histoire Universelle, as he is of
Sully's memoirs ; the book opens with his birth, giving a
summary of events down to the outbreak of the Religious
Wars, and though it ends with the century his death is related
in an appendix 1 .

The plan of the work is a singular one. Each of the three
volumes is divided into five books, and each book concludes
with a treaty of peace, while the last four chapters but one of
each book deal respectively with the countries of the East,
the South, the West, and the North. It is needless to point
out that this regularity of plan is fatal to historical proportion.
Nor can it be said that the author's attempt to embrace the
history of other countries adds any real value to his work, or
justifies the title of Universal History. A more appropriate
title would be The Huguenot Apology for the Religious Wars
of France. But though D'Aubigne cannot help writing as a
Huguenot, he has a high sense of the historian's duty of
impartiality-. His work is in no sense a piece of special
pleading ; he lets the facts speak for themselves, and hardly
ever criticises or moralises ; he is scrupulously fair to his
opponents ; he has an evident liking and respect for the
Guises, while of Henry III he speaks in the following
terms :

Prince d'agreable conversation avec les siens, amateur des lettres,

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