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1 Such as :

Tu pourras bien choisir un serviteur
Ayant en main de plus grandes richesses,
Tout seme d'or, de gemmeuses largesses,
Superbe et fier dun hazardeux bonheur.

lxxxv. (ed. Blanchemain, II. 131).
Traisnant ma vie amerement austere.

xlvii. (id. 58).
Soit qu'au milieu de la plaine muette,
Compagne a tous mes plus segrez ennuiz.

lviii. [id. 66).

2 There is a breath of rich imagination in one of the two sonnets (lxxx. id. 93)
translated by A. Lang, op. cit. p. 36.


Tahureau had a sceptical and pessimistic vein in his nature,
which going deeper than it did in some of his fellow-poets
gives a sombre tone to several of his poems, such as the
elegy to Charles Belot on the death of his sister and the two
poems entitled De la vanite des homines and De V inconstance
des e/ioses 1 . The following stanzas are from De la vanite des
hommes :

L'homme ne scaurait prendre en un jour tant d'e"bas,

Que, devant la soiree,
II ne die en son cceur, plus de cent fois : Helas !

Maugreant la journee ;

Et le fol au rebours, qui tousjours se tourmente

Pour peu d'occasion,
De lui-mesme bourreau vainement se lamente

Comble d'afliction.

Maint pique vainement d'un desir trop extreme

Veut tout voir icy bas :
II veut connoistre tout ; mais le grand sot, lui-mesme

II ne se connoist pas.

Tout ce que l'homme fait, tout ce que l'homme pense

En ce bas monde icy,
N'est rien qu'un vent legier, qu'une vaine esperance

Pleine d'un vain souci.

Fuions doncques, fuions ces trop vaines erreurs,

Dressons notre courage
Vers ce grand Dieu qui seul nous peut rendre vainqueurs

De ce mondain orage ;

Recherchons saintement sa parole fidelle,

Invoquons sa bonte,
Car, certes, sans cela notre race rnortelle
N'est rien que vanite.
This 'conclusion of the whole matter' is noteworthy as
being identical not only with that of Ecclesiastes, of which
Tahureau left an unpublished translation in verse, but with
his own conclusion in his prose dialogues 2 . These dialogues,
which became exceedingly popular 3 , were published, ten years

1 ib. 170, 203, 221.

2 Heureux celui duquel Fesperance est au nom du Seigneur Dieu et qui ne
s 'est point arreste aux vanites et fausses reveries du monde.

3 There were fifteen editions from 1565 to 1602.


after his death, in 1565 under the title of Les dialogues de feu
Jaques Tahureau non woiiis profitables que facetieuses on les vices
d'uu ck&cun sont repris fort aprement, po?ir nous animer davan-
tage a les fuir et suivre la vertu 1 . They have been generally
classified among the Contes of the sixteenth century, but they
contain few anecdotes, and, as Marty- La veaux has pointed
out (though he adopts the usual classification), they are, as
the title shews, moral studies, almost sermons 2 . They are
written in the dialogue form which Pierre Viret had made
popular among Protestant writers, and are of little interest
except as throwing some light on sixteenth century manners
and customs. The speakers are Democritic, the censor of the
world — his name also denotes that he is a follower of the
philosopher Democritus,- — and Cosmophile its apologist. But,
as in most of these satirical dialogues, there is no attempt at
fair play, and Cosmophile merely serves to feed Democritic
with fresh fuel for his satire 3 .

Tahureau, when he published his two volumes of poetry
at Poitiers in 1554, was the recognised chief of a small band
of young men of literary aspirations who for one reason or
another were living in that city, which at this time seems to
have been regarded as the literary capital not only of Poitou
but of the neighbouring provinces. Guillaume Bouchet, the
author of the Sere'es, was a bookseller of the town and of about
the same age as Tahureau ; Scevole de Sainte-Marthe,
Vauquelin de la Fresnaye, Charles Toutain and Andre de
Rivaudeau were students of the University and some ten

1 Ed. F. Conscience, 1870.

2 Petit de Julleville, in. 78.

3 For a full discussion of the identity of L 'Admiree, the lady of Tahureau's
verse, see H. Chardon, La vie de Tahureau, 48 ff. and the references given in his
pages. All that is certain is (1) that her real name was Marie, and that V Admire" t
is an incomplete anagram of her name, (2) that she was the sister of Baif 's Francine,
and a native of Tours, (3) that on September 28, 1555, Tahureau married Marie
Grene who was living at La Charite, a town of the Nivernais on the right bank of
the Loire. Blanchemain conjectured with a fair show of probability that the
family name of the two sisters was De Gennes. It seems clear from Tahureau's
poetry that some crisis took place in his life about 1553 which inspired him with a
pessimistic view of life. My own belief is that Marie Grene consoled him for his
long ill-treatment at the hands of U Admiree.


years younger. Here too Jean-Antoine de Bai'f, the close
friend of Tahureau, resided for nine months and lost his heart
to Francine. Here too Jean Bastier de la Peruse, a native
of Angouleme, wrote his tragedy of Mede'e, and died like
Tahureau in 1555.

In the same year 1555 there appeared in another quarter
of France a volume of poetry which resembled Tahureau's
in being rough and unequal in execution and in being the
sincere record of a true passion. Louise Labe 1 , la belle
Cordiere, the only distinguished French poetess of the
Renaissance, is usually classed by historians of literature
under the school of Lyons. It is sometimes added that she
was a pupil of Maurice Sceve, but there is no evidence of
this, and her poetry is certainly very far removed from the
cold metaphysical subtleties of Sceve and Heroet. Moreover
her poems did not appear till the year 1555, and her use of
the sonnet-form shews that they must almost certainly have
been written after 1549. Thus though her work both in its
merits and in its defects is very different from that of the
ordinary followers of Ronsard, it is to the period of the Pleiad
that she properly belongs. She has occupied the attention of
many biographers-, but after all little is known of her life.
According' to her own account, which there does not seem

1 b. 1525 or 26 — d. 1 566.

2 The best and most sober account of her life is that by C. Boy in vol. II. of
his edition. He thinks that she was born before 1524 on the ground that she
must have been the daughter of her father's second wife, who is said to have died
not later than that year. But the evidence for this is not very clear, and I see no
reason to doubt her own statement that she was twenty-nine at the time of writing
her third Elegy, which is evidently intended as an envoi to her volume. This was
published in 1555 by Jean de Tournes under the title of Euures de Lottize Labe
Lionnoize; it contained besides her own productions twenty-four poems written by
various poets, including Sceve, Ba'if, Tyard and Magny. In the following year it
was republished twice by Tournes and once at Rouen. There was no further edition
till 1762, in which an ode by Peletier was added to the Escriz de divers poetes.
In the last century there were several editions, but only two of any merit, that
of P. Blanchemain and that of Charles Boy. M. Boy has disposed of much of
the romance which Turquety and Blanchemain hail woven round Louise, especially
of the story that she fought in the siege of Perpignan. M. Favre in his Olivier de
Magny takes the same view as M. Boy of her character.

2 — 2


sufficient reason to doubt, she was born in 1525 or 1526.
The daughter of a well-to-do ropemaker, she married a
husband of the same trade, named Ennemond Perrin ; and
being clever, beautiful and attractive, received men of letters
at her house. Scandal naturally busied itself with her name,
but there is nothing to shew that she was other than a
virtuous woman 1 . Magny on his way to Rome in 1555 paid
court to her and hoped he had made an impression. But on
his return a year later he was undeceived, and his injured
vanity led him to write a poem for which, according to
modern notions, he should have been horsewhipped 2 . There
had been one great passion in the life of Louise and this had
left room for no other. It had been many years ago, before
she was sixteen, but it had burnt itself into her imagination,
and it still burns in her verse :

Tout aussi tot que ie commence a prendre

Dens le mol lit le repos desire",

Mon triste esprit hors de moy retire

S'en va vers toy incontinent se rendre.
Lors m'est avis que dedens mon sein tendre

Ie tiens le bien, ou i'ay tant aspire,

Et pour lequel i'ay si haut souspire,

Que de sanglots ay souvent cuide fendre.
O dous sommeil, 6 nuit a moy heureuse !

Plaisant repos, plein de tranquility,

Continuez toutes les nuiz mon songe :
Et si iamais ma povre ame amoureuse

Ne doit avoir de bien en verite,

Faites au moins qu'elle en ait en mensonge.

Baise m'encor, rebaise moy et baise :
Donne nven un de tes plus savoureus,
Donne m'en un de tes plus amoureus :
Ie t'en rendray quatre plus chaus que braise.

Las, te pleins tu ? qa que ce mal i'apaise,
En t'en donnant dix autres doucereus.
Ainsi meslans nos baisers tant heureus
Iouissons nous Tun de l'autre a notre aise.

1 Ceste avoit la face phis angelique, qu'kumaine : t/tais ce n'estoit rien a la
comparaison de son esprit tant chaste, tant vertueux, tant poetique, tant rare en
scavoir. (Paradin, Memoires de Fhist. de Lyon, 1573, cited by Boy.)

3 A sire Ay mon, Odes, 11. 222 ff.


Lors double vie a chacun en suivra.

Chacun en soy et son ami vivra.

Permets m' Amour penser quelque folie :
Tousiours suis mal, vivant discrettement,

Et ne me puis donner contentement,

Si hors de moy ne fay quelque faillie.
Ne reprenez, Dames, si i'ay ayme :

Si i'ay senti mile torches ardantes,

Mile travaus, mile douleurs mordantes :

Si en pleurant, i'ay mon tems consume,
Las que mon nom n'en soit par vous blame.

Si i'ay failli, les peines sont presentes,

N'aigrissez point leurs pointes violentes :

Mais estimez qu'Amour, a point nomme,
Sans votre ardeur d'un Vulcan excuser,

Sans la beaute d'Adonis acuser,

Pourra, s'il veut, plus vous rendre amoureuses :
En ayant moins que moy d'ocasion,

Et plus d'estrange & forte passion.

Et gardez vous d'estre plus malheureuses 1 .

The language is archaic and somewhat awkward, and
there is little music in the verse, but these defects are redeemed
by the sincerity of the passion and by the instinctive feeling
for the true sonnet-cadence.

The three elegies which accompany the twenty-four
sonnets are in no way remarkable, but the volume also
contains a little prose-fable, Debat de folie et d' amour, which is
full of charm and delicate observation. To write a mythological
tale without pedantry in the days of the Pleiad was in itself
a noteworthy achievement, and it is superior to the sonnets
in execution. But it is to her sonnets that Louise owes
her coronet of gold.

These are the chief poets who, born between 1520 and
1530, made their first appearance in the fifties. A few others
of lesser merit have obtained the honour of a reprint in
modern times. Such are Marc-Claude de Buttet, a native of
Savoy, who had a fresh vein of fancy, which he expressed in
somewhat provincial language 2 ; Jean Doublet, a Norman,

1 Sonnets ix, xviii, xxiv (printed from Boy's edition).

2 Epithalame, 1559; Avialthcc, 1560. He adopted phonetic spelling and wrote
vers mesuris (Pasquier, Kecherches, VII. xi); his rhymed Sapphics are not bad.


author of an indifferent volume of elegies ; and Nicolas
Ellain, a Paris physician whom I have already mentioned as
the author of sonnets after the pattern of Du Bellay's Regrets.
They have no merit but that of simple and correct language 1 .

To these may be added Jacques de Fouilloux, a native
of Poitou, who published in 1562 a treatise on hunting in
prose interspersed with verse, which is often cited by Buffon,
and which contained a poem in octosyllabic metre of con-
siderable charm and shewing a genuine love of country life.,
entitled L 'adolescence de Jacques de Fouilloux 2 .

But these, as well as others who had a larger measure of
contemporary fame, such as Guillaume des Autels, and Louis
le Caron, who was a Platonist and a jurist of considerable
distinction 3 , may be dismissed in the words of Estienne
Pasquier, CJiacun d'eux avoit sa maistresse quit magnifioit,
et chacun se promettoit une immortality de nom par ses vers ;
toutefois quelques-uns se trouvent avoir survecu leurs livres i .

Nor can Pasquier himself, so far as his poetry is concerned,
be said to have escaped this fate. There is more merit in
the verse of two other men who like himself obtained dis-
tinction in other forms of literature as well as in public life.
Estienne de la Boetie, who was born at Bordeaux in 1530,
and was thus a year younger than Pasquier, is best known
first as the friend of Montaigne and secondly as the author
of the Conti'un, but his few sonnets are not without interest.
Those which Montaigne gave to the world in 1572 were
addressed to his future wife, Marguerite, the daughter of
Lancelot de Carle. Montaigne speaks of them as sentant
desja je ne scay quelle froideur man tale, and preferred to them
those which La Boetie wrote in more ardent youth to a lady

1 If we may judge by the Elegies a la belle fille by Ferry Juliet of Besancon,
published in 1557 and reprinted in 1883, the influence of the new school had not
reached the birthplace of Victor Hugo.

2 Printed in Les poetes franc. IV. 326. Fouilloux died during the reign of
Charles IX : his volume is entitled Venerie 0:1 Traite de la C/iasse.

3 b. 1536 — d. 1616. See L. Finvert in Rev. de la Ren. II. (1902).

4 Recherches, VII. v. Tasquier gives a list of poets which is far more trustworthy
than that of D'Aubigne, who includes several very unimportant names and omits
such poets as Magny and Tahureau {GLtivres, 1. 458).


who did not become his wife 1 . Rough and inharmonious as
these are, they have the merit of sincerity, and we can readily
believe the writer when he says,

Je dis ce que moil cceur, ce que mou mal me dil 2 .

Moreover, he shews more originality of thought than the
professional sonneteer of the period, and his conception of
love is less material. In spite however of Montaigne's judg-
ment the one sonnet of La Boetie's that seems worth quoting
is from the later series :

Ce iourd'huy, da Soleil la chaleur alteree
A iauny le long poil de la belle Ceres :
Ores il se retire ; et nous gaignons le frais,
Ma Marguerite et moy, de la douce seree ;

Nous tracons dans les bois quelque voye esgaree :
Amour marche deuant, et nous marchons apres.
Si le vert ne nous plaist des espesses forests,
Nous descendons pour voir la couleur de la pree ;

Xous viuons francs d'esmoy, et n'auons point soucy
Des Roys, ny de la cour, ny des villes aussi.
O Medoc, mon pais solitaire et sauvage,

II n'est point de pais plus plaisant a. mes yeux :
Tu es au bout du monde, et ie t'en ayme mieux,
Nous scauons apres tous les malheurs de nostre aage 3 .

I have already mentioned another distinguished public
character, Scevole de Sainte-Marthe, as forming one of the
Poitiers circle 4 . In 1569 he published a collected edition of
his French poetry, and ten years later a new and augmented
edition, the number of alterations in which shews that at any
rate he took his art seriously 5 . One of the best of his sonnets
is on the sonnet :

1 The twenty-five later sonnets will be found in the CEuvres Completes of
La Boetie, ed. P. Bonnefons 1892. Six of them were printed by J. -A. de Bai'f
among his own Amours with very considerable differences, due no doubt to the
desire of Bai'f to give him a coat of Petrarchian varnish. See Bonnefons, pp. lxiii —
lxx; he thinks that Montaigne also touched up his friend's work before publishing
it. The earlier sonnets, twenty-nine in number, are those printed by Montaigne
in his Essais, I. xxviii. They must have been written after 1550, for they refer to
Ronsard's Amours de Cassandre.

2 No. xi. :i CEuvres, p. 283.

4 B. at Loudun i=.',6, — d. 1623. ■"■ See Picot, I. nos. 715. 716.


Graves sonnets, que la docte Italie
A pour les siens la premiere enfantes,
Et que la France a depuis adoptes,
Vous apprenant une grace accomplie ;

Assez des-ja vostre gloire annoblie
Par tant d'esprits, qui vous ont rechantez,
Fait que de vous les haults cieux sont hantez,
Fait que de vous ceste terre est remplie.

Venez en rang aussi petits huitains,
Venez dizains, vrais enfans de la France :
Si au marcher vous n'estes si hautains,

Vous avez bien dessous moindre apparence
Autant de grace, et ne meritez pas
Ou'un estranger vous face mettre en bas 1 .

There is merit too in a sonnet in which he looks back with
regret on the days spent with Vauquelin at Poitiers :

La douce liberte nous servoit de nourrice,
Nous ignorions les maux qu'enfante l'avarice,
Aussi francs de soucy que purs de mauvaistie ;

Et l'orage cruel des querelles civiles,
Qui sur nous depuis lors s'est rue sans pitie,
N'avoit gaste nos champs et saccage nos villes 2 .

But he gave more time and attention to Latin verse than
to French, and his didactic poem on the education of children,
Paedotrophia, published in 1584, had from the moment of its
first appearance an enormous success which can only be
compared to that of Rousseau's Emile. There is only one
work however of le grand Scevole which is consulted at the
present day, and that is his Elogia, a collection of panegyrics
on the illustrious Frenchmen who had died during his life-
time. The first edition, published in 1598, begins with Lefevre
d'Etaples who died in 1536, the year of Sainte-Marthe's birth,
and ends with Florent Chrestien who died in 1596. Fresh
names were added in subsequent editions, the last being that
of Estienne Pasquier who died in 161 5 3 . Yet Sainte-Marthe
survived him by eight years, dying in 1623, in his eighty-
eighth year.

1 Qiiivres choisies des poetcs francais du xvi e siecle, ed. L. Becq de Fouquieres,
p. 245.

2 ib. p. 246. s See Appendix G.


Finally there is a poet whom Pasquier places among the
arriere-garde of the poetic army, and DAubigne in the
seconde vole'e, but who should rather be classed with the
contemporaries of Ronsard. This is Amadis Jamyn. It is
true that he did not make his public debut till 1574, the close
of the period of Ronsard's activity, but he had written much of
his poetry before this date, being then thirty-six, or according
to some authorities, thirty-eight 1 . He was closely attached to
Ronsard, who had made him his page and given him a good
classical education, on the strength of which he completed
Salel's translation of the Iliad and translated three books of
the Odyssey". It was partly perhaps from his study of Homer
that he learnt the art of writing dignified French verse with
ease and precision. Better almost than any of Ronsard's
followers he has caught the tone of lofty concentration proper
to the sonnet. The following except for two rather bad lines,
the second and the third, is excellent in point of style:
Le Nocher qui longtemps dessus les flots venteux

Sur la mer ha souffert maint different orage,

Est aise quand il voit la terre et le riuage,

Eschape des hazards et des vents perilleux.
II apelle, il salue, aueq vn coeur joyeux

Le port bien asseure : puis loing de tout naufrage

II passe doucement aupres de son mesnage

Le reste de ses ans desia foibles et vieux.
Ainsi apres auoir dedans la mer mondaine

Passe mille perils en differente peine,

Bonnet se resiouit a l'heure de sa mort ;

Pour ne deuoir plus rien a quelqu'vn des celestes,

II se mit volontiers souz les ombres funestes

Et le trespas certain luy sembla comme vn port a .

But there is little warmth or imagination in Jamyn's work
and he is far too fond of those Petrarchian conceits, especially

1 Born in 1538 or 1540 at Chaource about 20 miles to the south of Troyes.
He was thus only six or at the most eight years younger than Bai'f. He died in
1592 or 93.

- Salel had translated twelve books and part of the thirteenth. Jamyn began
his work at Book xii. which with the four following books was published in 1574.
The whole Iliad, by Salel and Jamyn, appeared in [580, and again, with the
addition of three books of the Odyssey, in 1584.

3 Ed. C. Brunet, 1. 127.


the over-elaboration of a single metaphor, which his master
and the majority of his followers had by this time almost
entirely abandoned. This failing is fatal to his songs, and
becomes tiresome in his sonnets. In the following it may
perhaps be pardoned for the novelty of the metaphor, which
possibly however is not of his own invention :

Voyant les combatans de la Balle forcee
Merquez de iaune et blanc l'vn l'autre terracer,
Pesle-mesle courir, se battre, se pousser,
Pour gaigner la victoire en la foule pressee :

Ie pense que la Terre a l'egal balancee
Dedans l'air toute ronde, ainsi fait amasser
Les hommes anx combats, a fin de renverser
Ses nourricons brulans d'vne gloire insensee.

La Balle ha sa rondeur toute pleine de vent :
Pour du vent les mortels font la guerre souuent,
Ne rapportant du ieu que la Mort qui les domte,

Car tout ce monde bas n'est qu'vn flus et reflus,
Et n'apprennent iamais a toute fin de conte,
Sinon que cette vie est vn songe et rien plus 1 .

Another feature of Jamyn's work, which is not strictly a
literary one, but which is worth noticing because he shares it
in common with most of the members of his school, is the
servility of his attitude towards his royal patrons. It is not
that he could say of Catharine de' Medici, Ses vertus tout assise
an rang des Immortels, for that was in accordance with a well-
understood literary fiction, nor that he wrote love-sonnets for
Charles IX {Amours d'Eurymedon et de Calliree), but his
poems on the mignons of Henry III {Sonnets du deuil de
CleopJwn, Complainte de Cleophon, etc.) 2 , which the worthy
Colletet could not read without tears, surpass the limits of per-
missible complaisance. They were an insult to the good taste
and the good feeling of the nation. It was this subservience on
the part of the Pleiad poets to the vices of the court which
specially stirred the indignation of the Protestants, and led
by the force of reaction to the more manly poetry of Du Bartas
and D'Aubigne. But before proceeding to consider the new

1 Ed. Brunet, I. 51; translated by Cary, op. cit. p. 267.

2 Published in the volume of 1584. See P. de L'Estoile, Journal, 1. 295.


developements which began to shape themselves after the
year 1574, it will be well to pause and consider the value of
the work done by Ronsard and his contemporaries.

3. The work of the Pleiad.

The first great achievement of the Pleiad was the intro-
duction of a higher conception of the functions of poetry than
had prevailed in France for nearly three centuries. Of the
higher possibilities of poetry Marot had only a glimmer, while
Sceve and Margaret of Navarre, though their conception
was sufficiently lofty, practically lacked the accomplishment
of verse. The confidence therefore with which Du Bellay
proclaimed his belief in the future of French poetry and in
its capacity to deal with the highest themes was of the
greatest importance. It was of equal importance that he
pointed to the classical and the Italian languages as witnesses
to what poetry might achieve, and as furnishing models for
the study and emulation of Frenchmen. It is true that the
Pleiad by no means learnt all the lessons that the great
classical masterpieces have to teach. They learnt neither
economy nor restraint ; nor did they learn that all great
poetry springs from the direct observation of life. But they
did learn this — that the language and the style of poetry
are different from those of prose 1 . This was the capital theory
of the Pleiad, the theory round which all their reforms
centred, whether in vocabulary, in syntax, in style, or in
versification '".

1 Le style prosa'ique est ennemi capital de V eloquence poetique (Ronsard in first
preface to the Franciade). A. Rosenbauer, Die poetischen Theorien der Plejade,
well points out that the reform of the Pleiad consisted in the sjjbstilulipn of
poetic style for rhyme as the principal aim of poetry (p. 97). It will be re-
membered how Wordsworth's theory that ' between the language of prose and

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