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pulpit oratory, Du Vair practically says nothing. The latter,
when he wrote his treatise, had sunk very low in the hands of
the League preachers, who had made it a school of vulgar
abuse and buffoonery. The only preacher at this time who
had a reputation for serious eloquence was Pierre Charron,
but none of his sermons have come down to us. After the
final defeat of the League, pulpit oratory, which for nearly two
centuries had been almost entirely neglected by the Catholic
Church in France, began to be carefully cultivated. It was
one of the signs of the approaching Catholic revival, and
Du Perron, whose controversial powers we have seen exercised
so actively on behalf of his Church, was also conspicuous as a
preacher. Only two specimens of his actual sermons have
survived 3 , but the funeral panegyric on Ronsard already
mentioned and a Spiritual discourse delivered before tin-
King 4 may be classed under the same head. Though
Du Perron's rhetorical merit is considerable his lack <>f
genuine moral fervour prevents him from being really
eloquent 3 .

But this was the dawn of the greatest school of pulpit < oratory
that France, or even modern Europe, has ever seen. I m the

1 See ante, p. 232.

2 Plaidoye de M. Antoine Arnanld, 1594. See Douan he, op. 'it. \<y- 1 10 1 19,
and for Arnauld generally, Fiomem, ].]>. 1 47 : 1 >> : >. nV. I. 64 ff.

3 CEuvres, 1633, 681 ff., and 694 II.

4 ib. 651 ff. and 553 ff.

5 Bertaut was also of >oine repute


other hand political oratory in France was declining to a long
night. In this branch of the art the two most distinguished
names of the century were Michel de l'Hospital and Du Vair
himself. The best speech of L'Hospital, so far as one can
judge from somewhat imperfect reports, was his opening address
as Chancellor at the Estates of St Germain in August, 1561,
which contains the celebrated utterance that a man may be
a citizen without being a Christian 1 . That with which he
opened the Estates at Orleans in December, 1560, is longer
and more ambitious, but on the whole inferior 2 . His faults
are much the same as those of the forensic speakers of his day,
display of classical learning, and a tendency to wander off
into vague generalities instead of sticking to the argument.
Du Vair is certainly a more effective speaker. If the speech
which he delivered after the barricades of 1588 has the same
fault of vagueness, and suffers also from over-elaboration,
especially in the use of metaphor, his later speeches shew a
marked improvement. The short one in which he protested
against the admission of a Spanish garrison into Paris is
excellent, and so is the longer and more famous one in defence
of the Salic law. Du Vair has something of the breadth of
tone, the largeness of utterance, and the fervent glow of his
model Demosthenes, qualities which spring in both cases from
a lofty and whole-hearted patriotism 3 .

Henry IV recognised Du Vair's services by appointing
him a Master of Requests and sending him, in the spring of
1 596, on a mission to England, while later in the same year
he entrusted him with the difficult task of pacifying Provence.
Having done this successfully Du Vair was appointed in 1598
First President of the Parliament of Aix, where he resided
till 1616, when Marie de' Medici, the Queen-mother, recalled
him to Paris as Keeper of the Seals. He only held them on
this occasion for five months, but after the murder of Concini
in 1617 he was re-appointed by Louis XIII, who also

1 (Euvres, ed. Dufey, 1. 441 — 453.

2 ib - 375—407-

3 Du Vair's speeches were first published by L'Angelier in 1606 under the
title of Actions et traictez Oratoires.


conferred on him the bishopric of Lisieux. He died in
1 62 1.

Eloquence is at once Du Yair's chief merit as a writer
and his stumbling-block. His finest passages are all eloquent
in character ; on the other hand he too often degenerates into
declamation and commonplace. From the historical point
of view his style is worth attention, for though he is neither
a highly original thinker nor a writer of genius, he has
something to say and can say it well, and he may therefore
be taken as a good representative of this transitional period.
While his language retains the vigour and picturesque-
ness of the sixteenth century, he writes clearly and lucidly,
avoiding as a rule the long sentences which lead his pre-
decessors astray. But compare him with Jean Guez de
Balzac and one sees at once how far he falls short of the
finished art of seventeenth-century prose. Of those qualitie-
for which Balzac was especially admired, the careful choice of
his words and phrases and the equilibrium and harmony <>f
his periods, qualities which he was the first to introduce
systematically into French prose, and which have ever since
been its chief glory, there is hardly a trace in Du Yair. In
the following passage we see him at his best :

Mais pource que les loix sans jugemens sont inutiles, et comme
paroles mortes, il faut en tirer profit, clone toutes nos iournees par une
censure et examen de nos actions, les espluchans tous les soils, pour

voir ce qui en est conforme aux reigles que je vous ay proposce-^ Si

nous trouvons que tout aille comme il doit, et que tout y soil conforme a
ces sainctes loix la, nous recevrons une secrette rejouyssance
ame, que nous cueillirons comme le doux fruict de nostre innocenci I C
sera la, a mon advis, un cantique nocturne le plus melodieux, et le
plus agreable que nous puissions chanter a Dieu.... Mais pource qui- la
nature des choses crees porte par son infirmite - que le bien don:
les doue en leur naissance se define et consomme de soy mesme jour
nellement, sinon qu'il soit continuellement reparc et soustenu pat 1«- flux
ordinaire de sa bonte', et que nos forces ne sefont pas suffisanti
mesmes a nous conserver en cette perfection, adjoustons a ce premiei
cantique un Epode et sacre enchantement, pour invoquer la divine
faveur...luy disant : O Dieu tout bon, tout sage, et tout puissant '

1 Printed from a Paris edition, 1 :"■".. 1618.


Two contemporaries of Du Vair who like him served
Henry IV with diligence and distinction deserve honourable
mention as having furthered the developement of French
prose in the direction of lucidity and precision. " Cardinal
d'Ossat 1 and President Jeannin 2 ," wrote Lord Chesterfield to
his son, " will not only inform your mind but form your style."
But their writings consist solely of dispatches and state-papers,
and, however much they may deserve the praise of having
introduced into the language of diplomacy a grammatical
correctness and logical precision hitherto unknown to it, they
cannot be said — and it is no blame to them — to have imparted
to their reports any special charm or individuality. Cardinal
d'Ossat who played an important part in the negotiations
with the Holy See consequent on the conversion of Henry IV
was for some ten years the representative of France at the
Vatican. His letters addressed to Villeroy, the Secretary of
State, were published in 1624. The Negotiations of President
Jeannin written in the two years, 1607- 1609, during which he
was employed in negotiating the truce — it was a peace in all
but name — between the Netherlands and Spain, were not
published till 1656, the year which saw the appearance of the
first great monument of modern French prose, Les lettres
provinciates. Even as writers of dispatches D'Ossat and
Jeannin are hardly the equal of Du Vair, whose letters to
Henry IV 3 are characterised by a straightforward brevity,
not always present in his more ambitious efforts.

Of all the works which saw the light during this period
of the reign of Henry IV none is more thoroughly imbued
with the spirit of the monarch himself than the Theatre
d'Agricult?tre et Mesnage des Champs of Olivier de Serres 4 .
The statement in Scaliger's Table-talk that Henry had the
book read to him for half an hour after dinner every day for
three or four months may or may not be true, but he certainly
gave it a hearty welcome ; for it treated of an industry upon

1 b. 1536— d. 1604. - b. 1540 — d. 1622.

; M. Sapey prints thirty-one of these, together with eight addressed to other
persons, including an admirable one to Villeroy on the subject of the Satire
Menippk. * b. 1539— d. i6ro.


which the regeneration of his kingdom largely depended and
which the restoration of peace and order had made possible
to take in hand with hope and energy. The writer was an
elder brother of the historian, Jean de Serres, and like him a
Protestant. During the greater part of the civil wars he had
resided on his estate, which was a considerable one, at
Le Pradel in the Vivarais 1 , spending his time in its cultivation
and in the study of books. He thus realised the project
which Montaigne announced with such pomp, but which he
carried out with only partial success. Like Montaigne he was
a student of ancient literature, especially of Latin writers
on agriculture and kindred subjects, Virgil, Pliny, Cato,
Columella, and Palladius. Plutarch's Lives were also familiar
to him, and he is fond of citing instances of Roman statesmen
who, after the turmoil of war or politics, retired to the
cultivation of their estates.

His book, to which he had given thirty years, was first
published in 1600, and there were other editions in 1603,
1605, 1608 and 1623 2 . Its scope is much wider than that of
an ordinary treatise on agriculture ; it is in fact a complete
manual of the management of a landed estate. It might
fitly have been called The country gentleman, a pendant
to Castiglione's Courtier. It not only embraces agriculture in
its widest sense, including horticulture in all its forms, water-
supply, and forestry, but it considers such questions as the
management of servants and the duties of the mistress of the
house. For an estate in those days was a self-contained
kingdom and its ruler had to know something of everything.
Thus one chapter contains recipes for every imaginable kind
of preserve, while others are devoted to remedies, not only for
all human diseases from the plague to corns, but for those of
every animal on the estate. Thus if De Serres's book i->
chiefly of a technical character, it embraces at any rate a
considerable variety of topics, some of which are of fairly
general interest. For the student of social life it ofl
most instructive picture of rural France at that period, while

1 It is near Villeneuve de Berg.

2 The chapter on silkworms (book v. c. xx) was publi I


underlying the whole there is a substratum of human emotion,
which occasionally finds its way to the surface, especially in
the first and last books.

The orderly arrangement of the topics reminds one of
De la Sagesse, and each book is preceded by a classification
of the chapters worthy of Charron himself. The style
is unaffected and exceedingly lucid, but without any of the
aridity which one associates with the writers of Calvin's
school. De Serres, in fact, though a Protestant, belongs rather
to the school of Rabelais ; his syntax is somewhat archaic,
his language rich and coloured by poetical feeling. The
following passage will give a good idea, not only of his style,
but of the nature of his book, and of the character of the man
who, in the words of Arthur Young, was ' the great parent of
French agriculture ' :

A corriger la solitude de la campaigne est de grande efncace la lecture
des bons livres, vous tenant tous-jours compagnie. Scipion l'Africain en
rend tesmoignage, disant a ses amis (qui s'esbahissoient de sa vie privee
et retiree) liestre jamais moi?is sail, que quand il estoit sail. Si que le
Gentil-homme aimant les livres, ne pourra estre que bien a son aise, avec
un livre au poing se promenant par ses jardins, ses prairies, ses bois,
tenant l'ceil sur ses gens et affaires. En mauvais temps de froidureset de
pluies, estans dans la maison, se promenera sous la guide de ses livres,
par la terre, par la mer, par les Royaumes et provinces plus loingtaines,
aiant les cartes devant ses yeux, lui monstrant a l'ceil leurs situations.
Dans l'histoire, contemplera les choses passees, les guerres, les batailles,
la vie et les mceurs des Rois et Princes, pour imiter les bons et fuir les
mauvais. Remarquera les gouvernemens des peuples, leurs loix, leurs
polices, leurs coustumes, tant pour entendre comme le monde segouverne,
que pour faire profit des salutaires avis qu'il en pourra tirer, les appropriant
a ses usages. Des bons livres, il apprendra a sagement conduire sa
famille, a se comporter avec ses voisins : sur tout a craindre et servir
Dieu, a bien vivre, a fuir le vice, suivre la vertu, qui est le chemin du ciel.
nostre seure demeure.

Moiennant ces belles et nobles qualites, nostre vertueux pere de
famille se maintiendra gaiement en son mesnage, y vivra accomodement,
fera bonne chere a ses amis. Et despartant a propos ses heures, pourvoira
a ses affaires, si bien que mariant le profit avec le plaisir, chose aucune
n'en demeurera en arriere, ains, comme en se jouant, toutes s'avanceront
a son contentement et honneur, Dieu benissant son labeur et industrie 1 .

1 CEuvres, 1605, pp. 9S9 f.




Jean Bertaut, Recueil des ceuvres poetiques, 1601. Recueil de
quelques vers amoureux, 1602 (Picot, 1, no. 820). Les ceuvres poetiques,
1620 ; ed. A. Cheneviere, 1891 {Bibl. elze'v. ; with an introduction and
good bibliography).

Jacques Davy du Perron, CEuvres diverses. 1622.

PIERRE Charron, Les trois veritez, Bordeaux, 1593 ('published with-
out his name) ; seconde edition, reueiie, corrigee, et de beaucoup augment t'e,
Bordeaux, 1595. De la Sagesse, livres trois, ib. 1601 ; seconde edition
reueiie et augmentee, Paris, 1604; derniere edition, ib. 1607 ; ed. Amaury-
Duval, 3 vols. 1820-24. There is an English translation of Z><
by Samson Lennard [1612], and another by George Stanhope (Dean of
Canterbury), 3 vols. 1697.

GUILLAUME DU Vair. The first editions of Du Yair's separate
treatises have all disappeared, but it may be inferred that La saincte
philosophie was published before 1589, Le Manuel d'Epiclcte soon
wards, La philosophic 7norale des Stoiques a few years later, Le Traicte"
de la Constance et consolation es calamitez publiques in 1594 (first known
edition 1595), and I^e Traicte de V Eloquence francoise in 1594 is earlier
(first known edition 1595). In 1606 L'Angelier published at Paris under
the general title of Recueil des harangues et traictez de S* du Voir the
following five volumes ; viz. 1 Actions et traictez Oratoires, 2 Arrestspro-
noncez en robbe rouge, 3 De P Eloquence francoise, 4 Traictez Philosophies,
5 Traictez de piete et sainctes meditations (I have copies of 1 and 2).
These were re-issued in 1607 (copies of 2 to 5 in the Brit. Mus.).
are several later and more complete editions, viz. Rouen, t6l2, [622;
Cologne, 161 7 ; Paris, 1619, 8vo. 1621, fo. 1625 (Brit. Mus.), and I".
1641. The two latter are the most complete, but the la;
that of 1641 is somewhat rejuvenated. See Rene Radouant in A' V.
d'hist. lilt., 1899, pp. 72 ff., 253 ff., 408 ff. ; 1900, pp. 603 ff. There is an
English translation o{ La philosophic morale des Stoiques by Thos. James,
first Bodley's Librarian, 1598, and another by Chas. Cotton, [I

Pierre J EAwmN, Negotiations, 1656 ; Coll. Petitot, 2"" , senr. \i xvi.
Arnaud d'Ossat (Cardinal), Lettres,fo. 1624; ed. Amelot de la Hou
2 vols. 4*° 1697-8.

Olivier de Serres, Le Theatre aV Agriculture et M
Champs, 1600; 2 vols. 4'° 1804-5 (with an doge by Franco
Neufchateau at whose instigation it was publish)

There are good portraits of Du Perron, Du Vair, Jeannin, and D I
in Ch. Perrault's Les homines illustres, 2 vols. [796, 1800.

T. II. 19



A. Poirson, Histoire du regne de Henri IV, IV. F. Robiou, Essai sur
Vhistoire de la litterature et des mceurs pendant la premiere moitie du
xvii? siecle, 1858. T. Demogeot, Tableau de la litterature francaise au
xvii e siecle avant Corneille et Descartes, 1859. G- Lanson, Histoire de la
litterature francaise, 5th ed., pp. 333—346, 1898.

G. Allais, Malherbe et la poe'sie francaise a la fin du xvi" siecle (1585—
1600), 1891 (deals at length with Bertaut and Du Perron). E. Faguet,
Rev. des cours et conf, 1894 (Bertaut).. Georges Grente (L'abbe - ), fean
Bertaut, 1903. F. Vianey, in Rev. d'hist. litt., XI. 156 ff., 1904 (a review
of the preceding work). P. Feret (L'abbe), Le Cardinal Du Perron,
1877 ; 2nd ed. 1879.

A. Desjardins, Les moral istes francais du seiziime siecle, 1870 (Du
Vair and Charron). La Rochemaillet, Eloge de Charron, prefaced to the
1607 ed. of La Sagesse and most subsequent editions. Bayle, Diction-
naire historique et critique. Sainte-Beuve, Catiseries du Lundi, XL
1854-5. A. Vinet, Moralistes des seizieme et dix-scpticme siecles, 1859.
John Owen, Skeptics of the French Renaissance. 1893. P. Stapfer,
La famille et les amis de Montaigne, 1896. P. Bonnefon, Montaigne
et ses amis, II. 1897.

Niceron, xill. (DuVair). E. Cougny, Guillaume du Vair, 1857. C. A.
Sapey, Etudes biographiques pour servir a Vhistoire de Vancienne
magistrature francaise (G. du Vair), 1858 (developed from an essay
on Du Vair published in 1847). F. Brunot, La doctrine de Malherbe,
1 89 1, pp. 59-72.

T. Froment, Essai sur Vhistoire de Veloquence judiciair'e en France
avant le dixseptihne siecle, 1874. C. Aubertin, L eloquence politique et
parlcmentaire en France avant 1789, pp. 135 — 153, 1882. A. Chabrier,
Les orateurs politiques de la France, 1S88 (gives extracts from speeches).
P. Jacquinet, Les Predicateurs du xvii e siecle avant Bossuet, 1863.
A. Lezat (l'Abb<£), De la predication sous Henri IV, 1871.

C.-A. Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du Lundi, x. (Le President Jeannin), 1854.
A. Degert (L'abbe), Le Cardinal d'Ossat, 1894. E. Melchior de Vogue,
Histoire et poe'sie (Card. d'Ossat), 1898.

H. Vaschalde, Olivier de Serres, sa vie et ses travaux, 1886. H.
Baudrillart in Rev. des deux mondes for Oct. 15, 1900.



There remains MathurinRegnier, who, though he published
nothing until after the close of the limits assigned to this
history, belongs, like D'Aubigne, emphatically to the six-
teenth century. M. Vianey, indeed, speaks of him as " the
most important of our poets of transition " ; but in all those
characteristics which depend on training and influence rather
than on individual temperament Regnier belongs not so much
to the transitional period as to the Renaissance itself 1 . It
was not merely because he happened to be Desportes's
nephew that he opposed the reforms of Malherbe, it was
because his poetical education, his many visits to Italy, his
natural dislike of all change,

En toute opinion je fuy la nouveauu',
made him a thorough-going disciple of the Pleiad. Like
his masters, he pillages the Italians, like them he is indifferenl
to the virtues of order and artistic construction, like them he
is without the faculty of self-criticism, like them he writes in a
language which is habitually metaphorical and picturesque,
and like them he is firmly convinced that poetry is an affair
not of the reason but of the imagination. It is true that In-
is a popular instead of a courtly poet, and that he has
for realistic description shared by no other follower ol tin-
Pleiad, except possibly Remy Pelican; bul the e A\r tin-
fruits of his individual genius, and they have no connexion

1 While differing from M. Vianey on this point, I must acknow
debt to his book.



with the prosaic and positive view of life upon which Malherbe
prided himself 1 .

Little is known of Regnier's life, and that little is not
greatly to his credit. Born at Chartres in 1573 he was
younger by seventeen years than the youngest of the writers
noticed in the last chapter. His father, Jacques Regnier, was
an alderman of his native town-', and his mother, Simone
Desportes, was a sister of the poet. At the age of nine he
received the tonsure, and when he was quite young — the
date is uncertain 3 — he was attached to the suite of the
Cardinal de Joyeuse, who had succeeded the Cardinal of
Ferrara as Protector of France at the Court of Rome, and
whose restless activity and strict life were far from acceptable to
his indolent and pleasure-loving follower. Regnier accompanied
him to Rome and led a more or less wandering life in his
service, of which a considerable period was spent in Italy. He
also passed some time at Toulouse, of which see Joyeuse was
archbishop. But in the year 1605 he returned from his last
journey to Italy 4 and definitely settled in Paris, where with
many other men of letters he enjoyed the patronage and
hospitality of his uncle, Desportes. He looked forward to
succeeding him in one of his four fat abbeys, but in this he
was disappointed, for on his death in 1606 they were given,
with one exception, to the King's son by Henriette
d'Entragues, then in his sixth year. The poet's sole recom-
pense for his tonsure and his long servitude was a pension of
2000 livres and a canonry at Chartres, which was conferred on
him in 1609. He died at Rouen in October, 161 3, two months
before his fortieth birthday.

1 Petit de Julleville's view of the relations of Regnier and Malherbe seems to
me far juster than that of M. Vianey. Comp. Petit de J. IV. p. 32 with Vianey,
pp. 169 ff. Between the realism of a grammarian and the realism of an observer
of life there is all the difference in the world.

2 The fact that he built a tennis-court {tripot) in his garden led to the story
that he was a tripotier or keeper of a public tennis-court. A good deal of scandal
soon accumulated round the poet's name.

3 See the note at the end of this chapter.

4 Joyeuse returned from Rome in May, 1605, and Regnier doubtless accompanied
him. It is a mistake to suppose that he was ever secretary to Sully's brother,
M. de Bethune, to whom Satire vi is dedicated.


It is by his Satires that Regnier lives. His other poetry
is small in amount and comparatively unimportant. Vet the
first half of the Stanzas, beginning Quand sur moy je jettt Us
yeux\ though visibly inspired by Desportes, an Ode, Jamais
ne pourray-je bannir, and a Plaintc-, with its original and
elaborate arrangement of metre, suggest that had he fallen on
days more favourable to lyric poetry, he might have written
lyrics distinguished by strength and sincerity of emotion,
and by a note of plaintive melancholy. But it is Regnier
the satirist, the creator of French satire, who demands our

In French mediaeval literature there is plenty of satirical
writing, but no formal satire, nothing which calls itself by
that name. In Marot's hands, as we have seen, it took the
curious unliterary, almost doggerel, form of the du coqal'asne,
which Sibilet regarded as pure French satire, and which 1 hi
Bellay treated with not unmerited contempt. If poets must be
satirical, says Du Bellay, let them take the Satires of Horace
for their model. Yet he himself, as so often happened to him,
did not practise what he preached. His first models in satire
were the Italians. Now Italian satire of the time of the
Renaissance took two forms, one of which, being of purely
classical origin, arrogated to itself the name of Satire, while
the other was generally called Burlesque. Both alike were
written in terza riina,b\xt for Burlesque the sonnet form, either
with or without a coda, was also employed. The creator of
the Satire proper is said to have been Vincigucrra, but by far
its greatest exponent was Ariosto 3 . After him, at a con-
siderable distance, come Alamanni, Bentivoglio, Nelli, and
Francesco Sansovino. The last, a son of the great Venetian
architect, published in 1560 the collected satires of all these
writers, as well as of some others, which proved ol greal

1 CEnvres, ed. Courbet, p. 2ii, first printed in the Elzevir edition ol
Cf. Desportes, CEuvres, p. 493.

2 (Euvres, p. 173 and p. 167, both first printed in 1611 in a volume entitled
Temple ePApollon, and first assigned to Regnier in the Elzevir edition ol

3 Vinciguerra's satires were first published in 15:7, Alamanni'l in
Ariosto's in 1534. Alamanni's satires are chiefly political and shew the influi
of Dante and Juvenal.



service to French imitators. Ariosto's model was Horace,

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