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Voici le mont ou de la bande
Je la vis la dance mener,
Et les nymphes l'environner
Comme celle qui leur commande.

Pasteurs, voici la verte pree
Oil les fleurs elle ravissoit,
Dont, apres, elle embellissoit
Sa perruque blonde et sacree.

Ici, folastre et decrochee,
Contre un chesne elle se cacha :
Mais, par avant, elle tascha
Que je la visse estre cached.

Dans cet antre secret encore,
Mile fois elle me baisa ;
Mais, depuis, mon cceur n'apaisa
De la flamme qui le devore.

Done, a toutes ces belles places,
A la fontaine, au mont, au pre,
Au chesne, a l'antre tout sacre - ,
Pour ces dons, je rends mile graces l .

But in place of the other 2 , which is also given by Sainte-
Beuve, I will quote one which is not so well known :

Toy qui peux bien me rendre heureux,
Pourquoi te rends tu si hautaine,
Philis di moy ? Car si tu veux
Tu rendras heureuse ma peine.

Ie scay que ie ne suis des beaux :
Mais aussi ie ne suis sans grace,
Aumoins si l'argent de ces eaux
Me montre au vray quelle est ma face.

Nul plus que moy n'a de troupeaux,
Ni plus de fruicts ni de laitage :
Chez moi ne manquent les chevreaux,
Ni le said, ni le fourmage.

Ie voudroy seulement ici
Dedans ces bois tout franc d'envie,
Sans des villes avoir souci,
Vivre avec toy toute ma vie.

1 Idyll. 62 (Les diverses poesies, ed. Travers, p. 503). With 11. 15, 16 cf. Virg.
Eel. III. 65, Et se cupit ante videri.

2 Idyll. 60 {ib. p. 502).


Las ! Philanon, qui le conduit
En t'egarant en cette sorte?
Vois-tu point ton troupeau, qui fuit
Le Loup, qui ton mouton emporte 1 ?

Of Vauquelin's satires, which he seems to have written at
intervals between 1574 and 1595, I shall have something
more to say in the chapter on Regnier. Since M. Joseph
Vianey has completed the work of stripping them of their
borrowed plumes they have lost whatever claim to merit they
ever enjoyed ; not even the prefatory Discours sur la satyre is
original. It is true that Vauquelin acknowledges his debt to
Horace and Ariosto, but he borrows without acknowledgement
long passages, even whole satires, from Alamanni and
Sansovino and other Italians 2 . Nor can he be said to have
adorned what he stole :' his language is too incorrect, and
his style is too languid for satire. He had indeed no high
opinion of his own verses, which he aptly describes as Pleins
de paresse et non de doctes veillcs 3 .

His Art poetique, which he began to write in 1575 at the
command of Henry III, but which was not finished till near
the close of his reign 4 , is composed on the same plan as the
Satires. Horace's Ars Poetica provides about a thousand
lines, or nearly a third of the whole poem, each line of the
Latin being expanded into two or more of the French. The
other two epistles of Horace's second book are also drawn
upon, while several passages are taken from Vida and
Minturno. To these writers indeed Vauquelin acknowledges
his debt, and with them he joins Aristotle as one of his
sources, but it is evident that he knew his Poetics chiefly

1 Idyll. 42 (id. 490), and cf. Virg. Eel. II. 19 — 26.

2 See J. Vianey, Maturin Regnier, 1896, pp. 69 — 77. He points out that the
well-known passage in the satire of book iii addressed to Ph. de Nolent beginning

Je ne sfanroy, comme a Dieux imtnorteh, is almost literally translated from
Alamanni, and that the satire to Bertaut, the last of book v, is with the exception
of sixteen lines translated word for word from Vinciguerra. For the debts to
Ariosto, which are very large, see Lemercier, pp. 206, 7.

3 Cf. Je suis comme un grand lac ou beaucoup vont a l'eau,

Qui tarissent ma source et troublent mon ruisseau.

A. P. 1. 1 165.

4 A. P. ill. 1 145 ; ib. 1 165.

T. II. 5


through Minturno 1 . He has also borrowed from Ronsard
and Du Bellay, while for his knowledge of mediaeval French
literature he is indebted to Claude Fauchet. The original
part of his work is interesting partly for its references to the
productions of the Pleiad school and its personal reminis-
cences, partly as representing the poetical ideas of the school.
In fact Vauquelin's treatise stands in much the same relation
to the Pleiad poetry as Sibilet's does to that of the Marotic
school. But unlike Sibilet Vauquelin looks altogether behind
him ; his attitude is that of a faithful disciple tempered
to some extent by his own mild and reasonable nature, and
by the lesso ns of moderation wh ich the s econd generation of
the Pleiad had learnt. For him Desportes was the supreme
exponent of the school 2 .

In one point alone does he shew independence — and even
here he is but following Du Bartas — namely in his opposition
to the literary paganism of the day and the exhortation to
write on Christian subjects :

Si les Grecs, comme vous, Chrestiens eussent escrit,
lis eussent les hauts faits chante* de Iesus Christ.

Nor does Vauquelin atone for his want of originality by
any skill in the arrangement of his treatise, which is full of
confusion and repetition. Its poetic merit lies solely in the
digressions, of which the aspiration for peace at the close
of the prelude to the Third book may be especially
commended :

Viendra jamais le temps que le harnois sera
Tout couvert des nlets que laraigne fera?
Que le rouil mangera les haches emoulues,
Que les hantes seront des lances vermoulues?

1 Pour ce ensuivant les pas du fils de Nicotnaclie (Aristotle),
Du harpeur de Calabre (Horace) et tout ce que remache
Vide, et Mintume apres, fay cet ceuvre apreste.

See Pellissier, xxxvii ff. ; Spingarn, Literary Criticism in the Renaissance,
pp. i86ff. Minturno's De poeta was published in 1559, and his Arte Poetica in

2 Un Desportes qui fait,
Composant nettement, cet Art quasi par/ait.

A. P. III. 1 173-


Que le son des clairons ne rompra nuict ne jour
Du pasteur en repos le paisible sejour 1 ?

Some of the b est poetic work of th e second generation o f
the Pleiad is to be found in the choruses of the two dramatists,
Gamier an d Montchrestien. They keep to a somewhat narrow
range of commonplace for their ideas, but their language is
imaginative and stately, and Gamier, at least, is almost as
great a master of rhythm as Ronsard himself. Among the
numerous elegies which Ronsard's death called forth from his
surviving disciples the finest undoubtedly is Garnier's 2 . It
is addressed to Desportes, who, though he had ceased to
write secular poetry, was generally recognised as Ronsard 's
successor. But the true inhe ritor of the poe tic style which
Ronsard had fashioned wa s Gamier him self.

Finally it must be borne in mind that though all the
writers discussed in this chapter, with the exception of two
or at the most three, lived beyond the limits of the sixteenth
century, comparatively little of their poetry was written during
the last quarter of it, and very little indeed after Ronsard's
death. The unfinished Seconde Sema ine of Du Barta s, the
r contributions of Passerat, Durant and _Rapi n to the Satire
Menippee, and part of Vauquelin's Art Poe'tiqiie. p ractically
represent the sum total of all that was produced after the
latter date. From that time until the arrival of Malherbe,
though Despor tes was still reg ar ded as the leading F rench
poet, French poetry was mainly represented by the two
official laureates. Du Perron and Bertau t, and after Du Perron's
retirement by Bertaut alone, who, if under one aspect he is a
paler reflexion of Desportes, under another and historically
a more important one is a forerunner of Malherbe. Jjertaut 's
poetry, therefore, is intermediate between that of the true
Pleiad__jchooJ and that of Ma lhe.rhp, and as such will be
treated in a later chapter dealing especially with the years of
transition from the Renaissance epoch to its successor.
Meanwhile, even including not only Bertaut's work but
the lyrical portions of Gamier and Montchrestien, and

1 in. 61 — 66.

2 Ronsard, CEiivres, VIII. 243 ff.



D'Aubigne's Les Tragiques, the amount of poetry produced in
France during the third and last period of this history is com-
paratively small. On the other hand the prose literature of
the period is abundant and important. But before pro-
ceeding to consider it in its various developements we must
first turn our attention to another product of the Pleiad, the
Renaissance drama.



GuiLLAUME SALUSTE DU Bartas, La Muse Chrestienne, Bordeaux,
1573. La Semaine ou Creation du Monde, 1578. La Secoude Semaine,
premier et second jour, 1584. Les CEuvres, 2 vols. 1610 — 11.

Pierre DE Brach, Les Poemes, Bordeaux, 1576. CEuvres poetiques^
ed. R. Dezeimeris, 2 vols. 1861 — 62.

GUY DU Faur DE PlBRAC, Cinquante quatrains co?itenans preceptes
et enseignemens utiles poitr la vie de I'homme, Paris, F. Morel, 1574.
Editions were published in the same year at Lyons, Rouen, and Le
Mans. Les quatrains, 1583. Les quatrains suivis de ses autres poesies y
ed. J. Claretie and E. Courbet, 1874.

Philippe Desportes, Les premieres ceuvres, 1573 (Le Petit, p. 97) ;
1600 (Picot, 1. no. 740, the edition used by Malherbe) ; 161 1 (a copy in
the library of Trinity College, Cambridge ; the most complete edition,
but without the Psalms). Soixante psaumes, 1591 ; Les psaumes de
David, Rouen, 1549. CEuvres, ed. A. Michiels, 1858.

Jean Passerat, Le premier livre des poemes, 1597 ; reveus et
augmentez, 1602. Recueil des atuvres poetiques... augmente de plus de la
moilie, 1606 (Picot, 1. no. 713). Les poe'sies francaises, ed. P. Blanchemain,
2 vols. 18S0.

Gilles Durand de la Bergerie, Imitations du latin de Jean
Bonnefons par Gilles Durand sieur de la Bergerie auec d'aulres gaietfc
amoureuses de Vinvention de Fauteur, 1587 (second part of a volume of
which the first part contains the Pauc/iaris of J. Bonnefons). CEuvres
poetiques, 1594 (Picot, I. no. 757).

NICOLAS Rapin, Les asuvres latines et francaises, 1610. Les plaisirs
du gentilhomme champctre, 1583 ; ed. B. Fillon, with a biographical
notice, 1853.

Michel Guy de Tours, Les premieres o3uvres poetiques et souspirs
amoureux, 1598 ; ed. P. Blanchemain, 2 vols. 1878.

JEAN le Houx, Les Vaux de Vire, publics sur le MS. aulographe du
poete, par A. Gastd, 1875 > edited and translated by J. P. Muirhead, 1885.


Jean Vauquelin de la Fresnaye, Les deux premiers livres des
Foresteries, Poitiers, 1555. Les diverses poesies, Caen, 1605 (Picot, I.
no. 725) ; ed. J. Travers, 2 vols. Caen, 1869 — 70. CEuvres diverses en prose
et en vers (including the Foresteries, published separately in 1869),
pre'ecdees d'un Essai sur PAuteur, Caen, 1872. L'art poctique, ed.
G. Pellissier, 1885.


C.-A. Sainte-Beuve, Tableau de la poe'sie francaise. H. F. Cary, The
early French Poets.

G. Colletet, Vies des poctes gascons, ed. P. Tamizey de Larroque,
pp. 71 ff., 1866 (Du Bartas). J. W. v. Goethe, Works (Cotta's edition,
1866 — 68), XXV. 260 ff. (remarks appended by Goethe to his translation
of Le tieveu de Rameau). G. Pellissier, La vie et les aeuvres de Du Bartas,
1883. O. de Gourcuff and P. Be"netrix, Salluste Du Bartas, Choix de
poesies, Auch, 1890 (they print Uranie and give a full list of authorities
for Du Bartas's life).

R. Dezeimeris, Notice sur Pierre de Brach, 1858 (incorporated in the
above edition of his works). P. Stapfer, La famille de Montaigne,
pp. 237—271, 1896.

C. Paschal, Vidi Fabricii Pibrachii vita, 1584 ; La vie et moeurs de
Messire Guy du F~aur, seigneur de Pybrac, 161 7 (a translation of the
above by Guy du Faur d'Hermay). L. Feugere, Caracteres et portraits
litteraires du xvi e siecle, II. 1849. M.-E. Cougny, Pibrac, sa vie et ses
e'erits, 1869.

F. Brunot, La doctrine de Malherbe, c. 1. 1891. E. Faguet in Rev.
des cours et conf. 1893 (Dec. 28) and 1894. F. Flamini, Studii di storia
letteraria italiana et straniera, 346 ff., 433 ff. Leghorn, 1895.

E. Auble, Etude sur Nicolas Rapin in Mhnoires de la Societe des
sciences morales etc. de Seine et Oise, XII. 1884.

A. Caste", Etude sur Jean le Houx, 1874.

A. P. Lemercier, Etude litteraire et morale stir les poesies de Jean
Vauquelin de la Fresnaye, 1887. G. Saintsbury, A history oj criticism
and literary taste in Europe, II. 128 — 134, 1902.



THROUGHOUT the first half of the sixteenth century the
mediaeval drama still reigned, but with a rapidly declining
sway. Towards the close of the reign of Francis I objections
began to be raised to the mystery-plays on the ground of
irreverence, and finally by a decree of the Paris Parliament
dated November 17, 1548, the Confreres de la Passion, who
had just installed themselves in the Hotel de Bourgogne, were
forbidden to represent mysteries taken from Holy Scripture.
This, however, by no means put an end to the popularity of
the Confreres, even at Paris, the only place affected by the
prohibition 1 . They continued to play profane mysteries,
moralities and farces, and even sometimes religious mysteries,
cloaked under the name of tragedies or tragi-comedies 2 .
Moreover the same decree had secured to them (saving the
rights of the Bazoche and the Enfants sans sonci) the exclusive
privilege of representing public plays of any sort at Paris.

The decline of mediaeval comedy in its form of the sotie
dates from the same period as that of the mystery-play. Its
last spurt of activity had been made during the reign of
Louis XII, who had employed Gringore as a political pamph-
leteer to assist him in his struggle with Julius II. On the
other hand the favour shewn by Francis I to this outspoken

1 For representations of mysteries in the provinces after 1548, see Petit de
Julleville, Les mysteres (2 vols. 1880), I. 446.

2 E. Rigal, Le the&tre franfais, p. 129. Lecoq's mystery of Cain played in
Normandy in 1580 is called a tragedy (Darmesteter and Hatzfeld, Morceaux
choisis, p. 320).


comedy was fitful and capricious. In the second year of his
reign Jehan du Pontalais and two other members of the
Bazoche - were imprisoned. We hear indeed of a Cry de la
Bazoche being played in 1 548, but from this time the popularity
of the Bazoche, as well as of the Eufauts sans souci, rapidly
and definitely declined 1 .

Meanwhile the influence of the c lassic al drama was begin-
ning to make itself felt, partly through translations and partly
through the medium of the Italian Renaissance drama. ^Lazare
de Ba'i'f 's versions of th e Electro , of Sopho cles and the Hecuba
of Euripides, poor though they were, could not fail to excite
attention. Another play of Euripides, the Ipliigenia in A nils,
was translated by Sibilet in 1549 2 , and Charles Estienne pro-
duced in 1542 a prose version of Teren ce's Andria. About this
time too we find professors writing Latin plays of a classical
type for their pupils. At the age of twelve, says Montaigne,
who was born in 1533, " I took the chief parts in the Latin
tragedies of Buchanan, Guerente, and Muret, which were played
in great state in our College of Guienne 3 ." In fact, Buchanan's
Jephthes , first played about 1542, and Muret's Julius Caesar
(1544) were the two most notable productions of this N eo-
Latin drama 4 .

On September 28, 1548, the Court had an opportunity of
judging of the merits of the Italian Renaissance drama, when
Ippolito d' Este, the Cardinal of Ferrara, produced at Lyons
before Henry II and Catharine de' Medici Cardinal Bibbiena's
La Calandria 5 , founded on the Menaechmi of Plautus and
formerly regarded as the first modern Italian comedy 6 . Five

1 No trace has been found of a representation by the Clercs de la Bazoche later
than 1582 (Rigal, Le theatre francais, p. 116).

2 Salel translated the Helena, but it was never published.

3 Essais, I. xxv.

4 Buchanan also wrote Baptistes and Latin translations of the Medea and
Alcestis. Jephthes is much superior as a drama to Muret's play. For an analysis
of it see Faguet, La tragedie francaise an xvi e siecle, pp. 70 ff.

5 Brantome, CEuvres, II. 256.

6 Tiraboschi (VII. 1253) supposed it to have been represented at Urbino between
1504 and 1508, the date of AriostoJs_first_comedy, the Ca ssaria, being _ i 508. But
it has been shewn that the first representation of the Calandria did not take place
till Feb. 6, 1513 (F. Flamini, // Cinqnecenlo, p. 273).


months later appeared Du Bellay's Deffence in which he
exhorts French poets to write comedies and tragedies instead
of farces and moralities. In the same year (1549) Ronsard,
with the help of his friends, performed his translation of the
Pint us of Aristophanes at the Collegeof Coqueret. It was
in one sense, as his biographer Claude Binet says, " the^first
French comedy played in France." But it was only a trans-
lation, and Ronsard would never have dreamt of disputing
with Jodelle the honour of having produced the first French
comedy as well as the first French tragedy. In fact, in the
Ode to Jean Bastier de la Peruse he pays him his just due :

Jodelle heureusement sonna,
D'une voix humble et d'une voix hardie,
La comedie avec la tragedie,
Et d'un ton double, ore bas ore haut,
Remplit premier le Francois eschauffaut 1 .

I. Renaissance Tragedy.

The production of Jodelle's first tragedy Cleopdtrc is related
by Estienne Pasquier in a well-known passage. It was first
played, together with a comedy entitled La Rencontre, before
the King at the Hotel de Reims (doubtless the hotel of Charles
de Guise, better known as the Cardinal de Lorraine, who was
Archbishop of Reims), and afterwards at the College of
Boncour, " where all the windows were filled with numbers of
distinguished persons, and the court was thronged to over-
flowing with students 2 ." The principal parts were taken by
Remy Belleau and Jean Bastier de la Peruse, and P_asquier
was present as a spectator in the company, as he is careful to
tell us, of the great Turnebus 3 .

1 (Euvres, VI. 45.

2 Toutes les fenetres etaient tapissees d'une infinite" de personnages d'honneur, et
la cour si pleine d'e'coliers, que les portes du college en regorgeaient. Recherches,
VII. vi.

3 Pasquier does not give the date of these performances, but according to Charles
de la Mothe Cleop&tre and Eugene (the first French comedy) were both produced
in 1552, and we know from internal evidence that as regards Eugene this is correct,
for there is a reference to the impending siege of Metz, which began in October,
1552. It is commonly supposed that La Rencontre is another name for Eugene,


It is then as the first French tragedy that Jodelle's
Ctiopatre demands our careful attention. The play opens
with a long monologue by Antony's ghost, in which he tells us ' C t -
that he has appeared to Cleopatra in a dream and summoned
her to join him. In the Second Scene Cleopatra relates her
dream to her two attendants, Eros and Charmian, and
announces her intention of killing herself. This gives rise to
an animated discussion. In the Second Act, which has only
one scene, Octavian expresses his regret for Antony's death,
and his officers, Agrippa and Proculeius, advise him to pre-
vent Cleopatra from committing suicide in order that she
may grace his triumph. In the Third Act the two principal
characters, Octavian and Cleopatra, are for the first and
only time brought face to face. Cleopatra implores Octavian
to spare her life and that of her children, and he grants her
prayer. In the Fourth Act she explains to her attendants
that the object of her entreaties was merely to preserve the
life of her children, and then the three women go together to
Antony's tomb. In the Fifth Act their death is related by
Proculeius to the chorus of Alexandrine women.

It will be noticed that, Antony being already dead, the
action of the play is confined to the death of Cleopatra,
and thus only covers the same ground as the last Act of
Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. As M. Rigal says, .
"the unity of acti on is so perfec t that there i s alm ost no vj^^'
actio n at all." Yet in the conflict between Cleopatra and
Octavian, between her determination to kill herself and his I
to prevent her, there is plenty of scope for dramatic action, i k^ y
But Jodelle has missed his opportunity. It is, as we have \J^y^
seen only in the T hird Act that the two protagonists meet,
and except in this Act, which has some dramatic merit, I
the play is totally devoid of action. In the other Acts the f
speeches are chiefly lyrical in tone, and the minor characters J

hut this seems unlikely, for there is nothing in Engine to warrant either the title,
or the explanation of it given by Pasquier. Nor can we suppose that Pasquier
was mistaken in the play. The most satisfactory solution is that Cleop&tre was
played at the Hotel de Reims towards the end of 1552 and at the College of
Boncour early in 1553. See G. Lanson in Rev. cfhist. lift. x. 186 — \go.



^ do little more than play the part of an additional chorus to
either Octavian or Cleopatra. Thus Cleopdtre may be more
properly described as a series of dram atic ly rics than as a true
dra ma. Moreover the part allowed to the actual chorus forms
at least a quarter of the whole play.

Yet there is something in the play which at once differ-
entiates it from a mediaeval mystery. Cleopatra is no mere
stage^puppet, but a w oman of energy and pu rpose. Moreover,
as Ebert points out, there is rea l pathos in her situation,
because there is truth and passion i n her u tterances 1 . More
than this one can hardly expect from a youth of twenty. As
regards the versification it is to be noted that the First and
Fourth Acts 2 are written in Alexandrines, while for the other
< Acts the old decasyllabic metre is used.

It is obvious that Jodelle's principal model was Seneca.
He could hardly have had a worse one. The merits of
Seneca's plays are philosophical power, political wisdom, and
above all psychological insight. But though he can analyse
character, he has not the synthetic power to create it ;
though he can portray passion, he cannot make men and
women. Further, he exaggerates the loose structure of
Euripides' plays, until his own are absolutely devoid of
unity ; and in his desire to be more tragic than ' the most
tragic ' of the Greek poets he bases his appeal to the emotions
on bloodshed and other physical horrors. Thus his plays as
dramas are worthless, and indeed it is fairly certain that they
were written, not for the stage, but for the recitation room.
The very language, with its glitter of point and antithesis,
with its use and abuse of all the arts by which a skilled
rhetorician bids for the applause of his audience, points to the
same conclusion.

Yet it was to the pattern pf_Seneca that the young play-
wrights of the French Renaissance conformed with increasing
slavishness. The long monologues, the rapid duologues of
single or even half lines, the sententious maxims (which it
was the fashion to print within inverted commas), the rhetorical

1 p. 107.

2 Ebert notes that these are the more pathetic Acts (p. in).


artifices of language, the more or less strict adherence to the
unities, the separation of the chorus from the action of the
play, all these are Senecan characteristics which become more
or less stereotyped in French Renaissance tragedy. But the
heritage of Seneca which was the most fatal in its conse-
quences was the substitution of rhetorical declamation and
lyrical emotion for true dramatic action. In Seneca's case
this was due, not only to his ignorance of dramatic construc-
tion, but to his philosophy of life. For him man is the
puppet of a blind and capricious Destiny from which he can
only escape by a voluntary death. Action, other than suicide,
is impossible to him, for he is not a free agent ; he can only

Beweep his outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with his bootless cries,
And look upon himself and curse his fate.
It is the same with the heroes and heroines of French
Renaissance tragedy, with Cleopatra, and Dido, and Saul, and
Porcia. But such a theory of life, whatever its philosophical
value, is fatal to dramatic action.

How far the French playwrights were influenced in this
cult of Seneca by the Italians is in the want of positive
evidence impossible to determine. The only Italian tragedy
which was translated into French was Trissino's Sofo)iisba,
written in 15 15 and generally regarded as the earliest regular

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