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which are too common in Du Bartas's work. Even supposing
that his execution had been uniformly good he would still have
failed to write a good epic poem. It is not surprising that
his youthful production, Judith, should shew neither power of
characterisation nor knowledge of mankind. But even in
this first attempt it is significant that he is at his best in
descriptive and rhetorical passages, and at his worst in
narrative. So in the Semaine, the subject of which was
better suited to him because it does not deal with human
beings, the narrative is confused, and the general composition
bad. There is too much learning, too much accumulation of
detail ; the poem often degenerates into a scientific primer,
or becomes a mere catalogue of names. La seconde Semaine,
in which the author's faults are exaggerated, is a mere
encyclopaedia 1 . No, Du Bartas could never have become an
epic poet 2 .

But he might have written a poem like the Georgics. He
had the moral earnestness of Virgil, and he had the same
passionate attachment to his native land, to the actual land
itself. Moreover in his descriptions of nature he surpasses
the other poets of the Pleiad school, even Ronsard and
Belleau, not only in imaginative breadth, but in the accuracy

1 For the analogy between the Seconde Semaine and Sceve's Microcosme, see
Pellissier, pp. 79 ff.

2 It should be pointed out that Du Bartas himself says that the Semaine is not
a true epic poem, but is in part panegyrical, in part prophetic, in part didactic


of his observation. It is characteristic that, while the other
poets with wearisome iteration compare human life to the
rose, he should have chosen the flax, a much shorter-lived
flower, for his simile :

La fleur du lin qui naist et tombe
Tout en un meme jour.

The following description of a 'bleeding' vine testifies to
his knowledge of country pursuits :

Comme le sarment
Qu'on a taille* trop tard distille lentement
Mainte larme emperle'e.

As specimens of his style in longer passages we may take
one from the well-known description of the rival nightingales,
and one from the praise of country life :

O Dieu ! combien de fois sous les feuilleus rameaus

Et des chesnes ombreus et des ombreus ormeaus,

J'ay tache" marier mes chansons immorteles

Aux plus mignars refrains de leurs chansons plus beles.

II me semble qu'encor j'oy dans un vert buisson

D'un scavant rossignol la tremblante chanson :

Qui tenant or la taille, ores la haute-contre,

Or le mignard dessus, ore la basse-contre,

Or toutes quatre ensemble, apele par le bois

Au combat des neuf Sceurs les mieus disantes vois.

A trente pas de la, sous les feuilles d'un charme

Un autre rossignol redit le mesme carme,

Puis volant avec luy pour l'honneur etriver

Chante quelque motet pourpense" tout l'hiver.

Le premier luy replique, et d'un divin ramage

Ajoute a son dous chant passage sur passage,

Fredon dessus fredon, et leurs gosiers plaintifs

Dependent toute l'aube en vers alternatifs 1 .

O trois et quatre fois heureus cil qui s'eloigne
Des troubles citadins, qui, prudent, ne se soigne
Des emprises des Rois : ains servant a Cere's,
Remue de ses bceufs les paternels gueres.
La venimeuse dent de la blafarde Envie,
Ni l'avare Souci ne travaillent sa vie,

1 CEuvres, ed. i6ii, p. 153.


Des bornes de son champ son desir est borne"...
Les trompeurs Chicaneurs (harpies des parquets
Et sangsues du peuple) avecques leurs caquets,
Bavardement facheus, la teste ne lui rompent :
Ains les peints oiselets les plus durs ennuis trompent,
Enseignant chasque jour aux dous-flairans buissons
Les plus divins couplets de leurs douces chansons...
Passant dans le repos tous les jours de son aage,
II ne perd tant soit peu de veue son vilage,
Ne connoit autre mer, ne scait autre torrent
Que le riot cristalin du ruisseau murmurant
Qui ses verts pres arrose : et cette mesme terre
Qui naissant le receut, pitoyable l'enterre 1 .

The second passage is inspired by three well-known loa
dassici on the same subject, the Beatus Me qui procul
negotiis of Horace, the O fortunatos nimiuvi of the second
Georgic, and the speech of Hippolytus in Seneca's Phcedra*.
The direct reminiscences of Horace and Seneca are more
numerous than those of Virgil, but the genuine emotion which
sustains the whole passage and prevents it from being a mere
patchwork shews that Du Bartas is at one with the poet of
the Georgic^

It will be noticed that both passages are unusually free
from the bad taste which disfigures so much of Du Bartas's
work. But the epithet dous-flairans reminds us that one of
the reproaches most frequently and on the whole most justly
brought against him was that he exaggerated the innovations
of the Pleiad in the matter of vocabulary, and especially in
the use of compound epithets. In the preface which he
prefixed to the Seconde Semaine 3 he admits in answer to
his critics that he had used these epithets somewhat freely
in the first Semaine, but he defends himself on the ground
that they often save a whole line, or even two 4 . No doubt
that is what happens to all writers who use compound
epithets and other neologisms ; they call it economy of

1 (Euvres, p. 240.

2 See for references to the parallel passages Pellissier, op. cit. 142 ff.

3 In the i6ro-n edition it is printed as a preface to the original Semaine.

4 See Pellissier, op. eit. 185 ff.


language, whereas more often it is economy of thought.
But it is a practice which can only be justified by success,
and to ensure this the epithet should be such as to impress
itself vividly upon the imagination.

Another innovation which Du Bartas claims as his own
invention is the reduplication of words for the sake of
increased effect, such as jlo-jlotter, ba-battre, soii-sonffler,
bra-branler. Though he uses these very sparingly 1 , their
existence at all is sufficient to shew that he was utterly
wanting in one of the essentials of self-criticism, a sense of
the ridiculous. It is from a lack of this sense that the fine
panegyric on France at the close of Les colonies, the third part
of the second Day of the Seconde Semaine, degenerates into
an expression of gratitude at the absence of crocodiles, lions,
and hippopotamuses. However, as Du Bartas's patriotism is
a note which is a distinguishing feature not only of his own
poetry but of much of the literature of the last twenty years
of the sixteenth century, my final selection shall be the lines
which immediately precede this lamentable conclusion :

O mille et mille fois terre heureuse et feconde !
O perle de l'Europe ! 6 Paradis du monde !
France, je te salue, 6 mere des guerriers !
Qui jadis ont plante leurs triomphans lauriers
Sur les rives d'Euphrate, et sanglant6 leur glaive
Ou la torche du jour et se couche et se leve :
Mere de tant d'ouvriers, qui d'un hardi bon-heur,
Taschent comme obscurcir de Nature l'honneur :
Mere de tant d'esprits, qui de scavoir espuisent
Egypte, Grece, Rome, et sur les doctes luisent
Comme un jaune esclattant sur les pasles couleurs,
Sur les astres Phoebus, et sa fleur sur les fleurs.

Another Gascon poet of some repute in his day was
Pierre de Brach 2 , a native of Bordeaux. He was a common
friend of Montaigne and Du Bartas. He made the latter's
acquaintance at the University of Toulouse, and one of his
most pleasing poems, an account of a tour in Gascony which
the two young men made together, contains a description of

1 Pellissier, op. cit. 188 f.

2 b. 1547. The date of his death is not known, but he was alive in 1604.


the chateau of Bartas 1 . Brach's poetry is of the kind that a
high-minded, well-educated, intelligent man, with some gift
for versification, might be expected to write in a poetic age.
It is well-expressed, easy, and fairly harmonious ; but it stops
short of being real poetry, for the breath of inspiration is
wanting. Yet to the author's friends he seemed a real poet,
for Florimond de Raemond, the Catholic historian of Pro-
testantism, after regretting that his own want of practice
prevented him from paying a tribute of verse to Montaigne's
memory, adds that " only the singer of Aimee could do justice
to so rich a theme 2 ." De Brach indeed busied himself with
Montaigne's fame, but in a more useful manner than that
suggested by his friend. As the editor of the posthumous
edition of the Essays, he has earned the gratitude of posterity,
and this, rather than his poetry, is his chief title to remembrance.
Besides his original work he translated Tasso's Ami/tta 3 and
four cantos of Jerusalem Delivered*.

Of greater importance is Guy du , .Faur^je Pibrac. whom
Montaigne, after recording his recent death in 1584, describes
as un esprit si gentil, les opinions si saines, les mceurs si donees^.
He was born at Toulouse in 1529 in the same year as Estienne
Pasquier, whose intimate friend he became. After a thorough
education in the humanities and jurisprudence, under Bunel,
Cujas, and Alciati, he entered the magistracy, when he was
little more than twenty, as a councillor of the Parliament of
Toulouse. In 1562 he represented Charles IX at the Council
of Trent, and the rest of his life was spent in the service of
the Crown. It was owing to his representations that Bai'f's
Academy was revived by Henry III under the name of
the Academie du Palais 6 . He was a man of brilliant parts

1 Ed. Dezeimeris, 11. 176 ff.

2 Goujet, xiii. 330. Aimee was the poetical name of the lady to whom
Brach's love-sonnets were addressed, and who became his wife. Her real name
was Anne. Colletet says in his life of Brach that " he made her name so famous
that all France knew it."

3 Published in his Imitations, Bordeaux, 1 584.

4 Paris, 1596.

5 Essais, 111. ix.

6 See Fremy, op. cit. 83 ff.


and high character, but with a strain of weakness which led
him to write an apology for the massacre of St Bartholomew 1 .
He had a great reputation as an orator, but he is best known
by his moral quatrains, first published in 1574, which enjoyed
an enormous popularity down to nearly the middle of the eight-
eenth century 2 . They were translated into various languages,
including Persian, Arabic, and Turkish, and were committed
to memory by several generations of schoolgirls and school-
boys. Pjbrac had had the good sense or the good fortune
to choose a form of poetry which did not require any
higher poetic gift than tha^_of_y igorous and concen trated
expression :

Ce que tu vois de l'homme n'est pas l'homme,

C'est la prison ou il est enserre",

C'est le tombeau ou il est enterre,
Le lict branlant ou il dort un court somme.

Hausse les yeux : la voute suspendue,
Ce beau lambris de la couleur des eaux,
Ce rond parfaict de deux globes jumeaux,

Ce firmament esloigne de la veue,

Bref, ce qui est, qui fut, et qui peut estre,
En terre, en mer, au plus cache des cieux,
Si tost que Dieu l'a voulu pour le mieux,

Tout aussi tost il a receu son estre.

Le sage est libre enferre de cent chaines.

II est seul riche, et jamais estranger :

Seul assure au milieu du danger,
Et le vray Roy des fortunes humaines 3 .

1 Ornatissimi cuiusdam Viri de Rebus Gallicis ad Stanislattm Elvidium
Epistola, 1573. Pibrac adopted the official explanation that the original cause of
the massacre was a plot against the Crown by Coligny and his friends, and that
Charles IX ordered only the conspirators to be put to death, but could not restrain
the fury of the populace. In a letter to Sir Philip Sidney, Hubert Languet
partially defends Pibrac, saying that he wrote the apology to save his own life.
{The Correspondence of Sidney and Languet, ed. S. A. Pears, 1845, p. 87.)

2 The first edition containing only 50 quatrains was published in 1574; the
first complete edition, containing 126, in 15S3. Florent Chrestien translated them
into Greek and Latin (1584), Martin Opitz into German, and Joshua Sylvester
into English.

3 Nos. xi, xviii, xix, lix.


The following is quoted by Montaigne in support of his
argument against constitutional changes :

Ayme l'estat tel que tu le vois estre :

S'il est royal, ayme la Royaute' :

S'il est de peu, ou bien communaute,
Ayme l'aussi, quand Dieu t'y a faict naistre 1 .

Ejhxa£»> like Du Bartas, was connected with the Court of
Nerac, having been for seventeen months (1579 — 1 58 1 )
chancellor to Margaret, the wife of Henry of Navarre. His
unfinished poem, Les plaisirs de la vie rustique , also reminds
one of Du Bartas, for, as we have seen, it is the sort of
poem that the latter might successfully have attempted. It
contains, as we might expect, many reminiscences of Virgil,
and Horace, and other classical writers, but the general
treatment shews considerable independence. Interesting
pictures of country life, with references to the Court fashions
by way of contrast, are interspersed with sketches of peasant
character and various autobiographical details. The poem
was written in 1573, the very year in which the new repre-
sentative of the Court poetry, Desportes, published the first
collected edition of his poems 2 .

2. Desportes.

Born at Chartres in 1542 Philippe Desportes found a
patron in Antoine de Sennetaire, the Bishop of Le Buy, who
took him to Italy. The familiarity which he there acquired
with Italian poetry had, as we shall see, a great influence upon
his work. On his return to France he became intimate with
Claude de l'Aubespine, the son of the well-known statesman,
and himself in the employment of Charles IX. Through his
good services Desportes became secretary to his brother-
in-law, Nicolas de Neufville, Seigneur de Villeroy, who had

1 No. cix. Essais, III. ix. With Pibrac's quatrains were frequently united
those of Antoine Favre (1557 — 1624), a native of Savoy and father of the
grammarian Vaugelas, and of Pierre Matthieu (1563 — 1621).

2 It was published at Lyons in 1574.


succeeded the elder De l'Aubespine as Secretary of State 1 . In
1572 he presented to Charles IX a free version of part of the
O r latidjLEiudns_o ; another poem derived from the same source,
and entitled La Mart tie Rodomon t, procured him a present of
eight hundred golcTcrowns from that ardent lover of poetry.
In the following year, 1 573, he published his Premieres CEicvres
in a sumptuous volume, which includes most of his works, and
in which his style appears to be already fully developed.
Soon after its publication he accompanied the Duke of Anjou,
to whom he had recommended himself by his ready com-
plaisance, to his new kingdom of Poland. But nine months
of that barbarous country were as much as the pleasure-
loving poet could endure, and he turned homeward just before
the news arrived of the Duke's succession to the throne of
France. With Henry III as king, Desportes's star was more
than ever in the ascendant. On the death of the two mignons,
Quelus and Maugiron, as the result of the famous duel of
April 26, 1578, he celebrated their virtues, as we have seen, in
lines of extravagant flattery 2 , and soon afterwards found a
new patron in their more powerful successor, Anne de Joyeuse.
He now began to receive more substantial marks of favour
from his royal master, who conferred on him the abbey of
Tiron, in the diocese of Chartres, and that of Bonport, near
Rouen. These two benefices alone, and he had several
others, brought him in an annual income of 30,000 /ivres 3 .
On the death of his patron, Joyeuse, in the battle of Coutras
(1587), he retired to Bonport, and when, after the death of
Henry III, Normandy was invaded by the royalist army, he
took refuge with Villars-Brancas, a relation of Joyeuse, who
proceeded to seize Rouen and hold it for the League.
Desportes as usual obtained the complete confidence of his

1 Claude de l'Aubespine the elder died in 1567, the son in 1570, to the great
grief of Desportes.

2 See CEuvres, ed. Michiels, p. 315 {Elegies, book ii) and p. 477 (epitaph for

3 See Regnier, Sat. ix. 102, and cf. Sainte-Beuve, Quand on regarde le del par
line belle nuif, on y decouvre etoiles stir etoiles ; plus on regarde dans la vie de Des
Fortes, et plus on y decouvre dabbayes [Tableau, p. 428 n.).


new patron and helped him considerably with his advice'.
In the final negotiations between Sully and Villars he proved
himself an able diplomatist, and it was partly by his influence
that his principal was brought to terms' 2 . His own share in
the bargain was the restoration of his well-dowered abbeys,
with a new one in addition 3 . The rest of his days were spent
partly at Bonport, partly at his villa at Vanves in the
neighbourhood of Paris. Having enjoyed this world with
singular success he now turned his thoughts heavenwards and
occupied himself with finishing his translation of the Psalms,
of which he had already published sixty in 1591 4 . He was
offered the archbishopric of Bordeaux, but declined it on the
ground that he did not wish to take upon himself the charge
of souls. " But, your monks ? " " My monks ! they have not
any." He was better suited to the part which he preferred to
play of a liberal Maecenas to less fortunate men of letters.
His table and his library were always at their service, and he
did them many acts of kindness. When he died in 1606 the
numerous epitaphs and other panegyrics that were written in
his honour were at any rate expressions of genuine regret.
No one had envied the prosperity of a man who was as
incapable of pride as he was of shame 5 .

It is of a piece with Desportes's character, with his talent
for utilising all the resources at his command, that he should
have been a skilful plagiarist. He avowed it frankly. When
at the close of his life some one published a book under the
title of La rencontre des Muses de France et d'ltalie, in which his
plagiarisms were set forth, he merely said that the author had
better have consulted him, for he could have added to the list 6 .

1 Palma Cayet, Chronologie novenaire, 1608, i. 500 r°.

2 See Mhnoires de Sully ; book vi. It must have been as the protigi of Joyeuse
that he is called the poete de VAmirauti in the Satire Menippee, for Villars had not
been made admiral when it was published.

3 P. Cayet, op. cit. ii. 356 r°.

4 The complete translation was published at Rouen in 1594.

5 J' a y trente mil livres de rente et cependant je meurs is a remark attributed to
him by P. de L'Estoile, who adds that he disbelieved in Purgatory (Journal, VIII.

6 Niceron, xxv. 309 ; Michiels, p. Ixix. Forty-three sonnets were printed
with the originals for comparison.


In his Amours he is chiefly indebted to the fifteenth-
century poet, Antonio Tebaldeo, and to the contemporary
Neapolitan writer, Angelo di Costanzo, who conformed in
his sonnets rather to the manner of Tebaldeo and Serafino
than to the Petrarchian pattern. Several sonnets are imitated
or even literally translated from those of Panfilo Sasso, of
Modena, another quattrocentista of the school of Serafino 1 .
These being Desportes's models, we are not surprised to find
his sonnets full of extravagant conceits and bristling with
point and antithesis. Nor are they fortified by any sincerity
of emotion, for Desportes was no better qualified than most of
the poets of the Pleiad school to play the part of the spiritual
lover. Like Bai'f and Magny he writes far better in his true
character of a professed libertine. For he was capable of
strong, if not durable, emotion, and friendship as well as love
could lend warmth to his verse. But just as in practical
affairs no emotion obscured for long his marvellous lucidity,
so in his poetry the dominant note is esprit rather than
passion. The following is a good specimen of his wit :

Je l'aimay par dessein, la connoissant volage,
Pour retirer mon cceur d'un lien fort dangereux :
Aussi que je vouloy n'estre plus amoureux
En lieu que le profit n'avan5ast le dommage.

Je duray quatre inois avec grand avantage,
Goustant tous les plaisirs d'un amant bien-heureux ;
Mais en ces plus beaux jours, 6 destins rigoureux !
Le devoir me forca de faire un long voyage.

Nous pleurasmes tous deux, puis, quand je fu parti,
Son coeur n'agueres mien fut ailleurs diverti :
Un revint, et soudain luy voila ralide.

Amour je ne m'en veux ny meurtnr ny blesser ;
Car, pour dire entre nous, je puis bien confesser
Que plus d'un mois devant je l'avois oublie"e -.

Sometimes however the wit is a little overdone, as in the
song which begins :

1 Flamini, Studi, pp. 433 ff. , and Appendix, I plagi di Filippo Desportes.
For his debt to Sasso see J. Vianey in Rev. d'hist. lift. X. (1903) 277 ff. His
Amours consist di Diane, Premieres amours, 2 books ; Amours <T Hippolyte ; and
Cleonice, Derniires amours, first published in 1583.

2 CEuvres, p. 402. See also Adieu a la Pologne, p. 424.


Le mal qui me rend miserable,
Et qui me conduit au trespas,
Est si grand, qu'il est incroyable ;
Aussi vous ne le croyez pas 1 .

But there is real imagination in the following sonnet,
which is interesting as having furnished our English poet
Daniel with some ideas and expressions for his famous sonnet
on the same subject 2 :

Sommeil, paisible fils de la nuict solitaire,
Pere-alme, nourricier de tous les animaux,
Enchanteur gracieux, doux oubly de nos maux,
Et des esprits blessez l'appareil salutaire ;

Dieu favorable a tous, pourquoy m'es-tu contraire?
Pourquoy suis-je tout seul recharge - de travaux,
Or' que l'humide nuict guide ses noirs chevaux,
Et que chacun jouyst de ta grace ordinaire?

Ton silence ou est-il ? ton repos et ta paix,
Et ces songes vollans comme un nuage espais,
Qui des ondes d'oubly vont lavant nos pensees?

O frere de la mort, que tu m'es ennemy !
Je t'invoque au secours, mais tu es endormy,
Et j'ards, toujours veillant, en tes horreurs glacees 3 .
It is however in his songs that Desportes really excels.
Set to music they were extremely popular in his day, and the
merit of many of them is still incontestable. The most famous
of all, the one which the Duke of Guise was said to have been
humming just before his assassination, is the following:
Rozette, pour un peu d ; absence,
Vostre cceur vous avez change - ,
Et moy, scachant cette inconstance,
Le mien autre part j'ay range ;
Jamais plus beaute - si legere
Sur moy tant de pouvoir n'aura :
Nous verrons, volage bergere,
Qui premier s'en repentira.

Tandis qu'en pleurs je me consume,
Maudissant cet esloignement,
Vous, qui n'aimez que par coustume,
Caressiez un nouvel amant.

1 CEuvres, p. 172.

2 The epithet ' Care-charmer ' and the idea expressed in the last two lines are
borrowed from a sonnet by P. de Brach.

3 ib. p. 164.

T. II. A


Jamais legere girouette
Au vent si tost ne se vira ;
Nous verrons, bergere Rozette,
Qui premier s'en repentira.

Ou sont tant de promesses saintes,
Tant de pleurs versez en partant ?
Est-il vray que ces tristes plaintes
Sortissent d'un cceur inconstant?
Dieux, que vous estes mensongere !
Maudit soit qui plus vous croira !
Nous verrons, volage bergere,
Qui premier s'en repentira.

Celuy qui a gaigne ma place,
Ne vous peut aimer tant que moy ;
Et celle que j'aime vous passe
De beaute, d'amour et de foy.
Gardez bien vostre amide neuve,
La mienne plus ne varira,
Et puis nous verrons a Fespreuve,
Qui premier s'en repentira *.

This has the rapid movement, the lightness of touch, and
the lilt of a true song. Not quite so perfect, for there is a
touch of conceit in it, but still very good is the following :

Un doux trait de vos yeux, 6 ma fiere deesse !

Beaux yeux, mon seul confort,
Peut me remettre en vie et m'oster la tristesse

Qui me tient a la mort.
Tournez ces clairs soleils, et par leur vive flame

Retardez mon trespas :
Un regard me sufnt : le voulez-vous, madame ?

Non, vous ne voulez pas.
Un mot de vostre bouche a mon dam trop aimable,

Mais qu'il soit sans courroux,
Peut changer le destin d'un amant miserable,

Qui n'adore que vous.
II ne faut qu'un ouy, mesle d'un doux sou-rire

Plein d'amours et d'appas :
Mon Dieu ! que de longueurs, le voulez-vous point dire?

Non, vous ne voulez pas.
Roche sourde a mes cris, de glacons toute plaine,

Ame sans amide",
Quand j'estoy moins brulant, tu m'estois plus humaine

Et plus prompte a pitie\

1 GLuvres, p. 450.


Cessons done de 1'aimer, et, pour nous en distraire,

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