Page images

less in life, entirely self-denying, labori- hands and make it up. Presently the ous to the highest point, learned, eloquent, crowd closes in, there is a scuffle, and the mystic, poetical — above all, a gentleman mediator emerges from the fray with

- there was no one in her little Court every external sign of having been acwhom she loved more than Roussel, no tively engaged on the side that has lost. one who more deserved her friendship. When Calvin looked to France for

When he went south with his protector, help, it was first to Margaret and her he instituted everywhere schools for the circle ; when they failed, he turned to young, and, by perpetual preaching and the scholars. If was as yet but the exhortation, laboured to bring the priests dawn of French scholarship; but there of his diocese to a higher level. He were already in France, as there had wrote a catechism of instruction, in which been for fifty years in Italy, men who ask he taught that nothing was to be a matter of the world nothing but leisure, books, of doctrine which was not found in the and quiet. Their talk was of idioms Bible; that there were only two sacra- and translations; they quarrelled over ments, and that personal holiness is the a word ; they disputed over a doubtful great essential. He met his death by a reading. “When," says Erasmus, " afkind of martyrdom, but in a very singular ter a great deal of poring, they can spell fashion. For having sent one of his out the inscription of some battered ecclesiastics to preach at Mauléon, in monument, Lord ! what joy, what triGascony, the fanatic populace, headed by umph!” Pierre Arnauld de Maytie, a gentleman It was a mistake to expect of these of the place, chased him from the church. men the active promotion of religious Then Roussel, as the bishop, went there reform ; but it was surely not absurd to himself, summoned a synod, and, mount- expect that their influence would be at ing the pulpit, preached on the subject least in favour of it. In Italy, it is true, of saints' days, pointing out how their there had been abundant proofs of a widemultiplication led to superstition, idle- spread scepticism among scholars, which ness, and other evils. He was going on, seemed to spring out of the new learnwhen the same De Maytie rushed for- ing, and grow up side by side with it. ward with an axe and cut through the But no signs of this had yet appeared in posts on which the pulpit was placed, so France. It remained for the new French that it fell with the bishop. He was car- scholars to import Italian doubt into ried to Oleron, mortally bruised and in- their own country, and with the pitiless jured, and died on the way. De Maytie logic of their race, to carry what in Italy was tried for the offence, and actually was generally a scholarly scepticism and acquitted, while the approbation of the graceful suspense of opinion, to an open party at this brutal crime was further and scoffing infidelity. marked by their presenting the murder- No mind has more exercised the ingeer's own 'son with the bishopric thus nuity of crities than that of Rabelais. vacated. Deadly hatred could go no Yet to us it seems that there is no writer farther.

of the day whose opinions are more easi. These three men are representatives of ly gathered than his, from his great work. Queen Margaret's party of order. They The key to the whole is given in the belong to that very large class of whom fourth book, published a few days or we find so many examples whenever a weeks before his death, and in the fifth, great question is at stake, being, in fact, or last, an imperfect book, not published of those who follow a sort of instinct in till ten years later. Pass over, in order trying to smooth things rough. A little to get at his real faith, all the grossirèeconcession here, a little glozing there, a tés, all the “comic.” stories, all the good constant parade of points of agreement, sound educational advice, and all the are their only weapons. Amiability is personal satire ; but read carefully the their chief virtue, or, at least, their chief rules of the Monastery of Theleme, the characteristic. They are often scholarly, description of the Islé Sonnante, the Iswell-bred, of excellent taste, of pure and land of Grippeminaud, the Inquisitor, blameless lives; they are' beloved by and the concluding words of the priesttheir friends, they are good and holy ess:. “ Depart, my friends, and may men; but in the hour of danger they are that intellectual sphere, whose centre is as weak as a reed. In matters ecclesias- everywhere, and circumference nowhere, tical they too often enact the part of the which we call God, help you in His algood-natured bystander in a street row, mighty protection. When you return to who exhorts the disputants to shake the world, do not fail to affirm that the greatest treasures are hidden under things are denied to philosophers; only ground.”

partially, indeed, revealed to Christians. Observe: it was not the business of All things are possible for science to disRabelais to be a religious teacher or re- cover, save only these two — Whence former. He was, before all things, a and Whither. Rabelais refused to look man of science and a scholar. Several in that place where an answer is given to things, indeed, he desired ardently- the second, and remained an infidel. So that people should be allowed liberty of that when Calvin urged him to take his thought, expression, and investigation; part in the great struggle of the day, he that monasteries should be wholly abol- answered by a gibe of derision. It was ished, or made places of culture; that the same gibe that he had for the ortholearning should be respected in high dox - for he hated them all. And no places; that the ignorance of bigots man in France, excepting Voltaire, ever should be kept in proper subjection ; that has had, or probably ever will have, anythe sciences of botany, anatomy, and thing like the influence of Rabelais ; for medicine should be emancipated from his books were like text-books, read, rethe thrall of mediæval prejudices; that read, almost committed to memory. Furgentle manners should be taught to high ther, among his own friends and disciples and low; that the follies of alchemists were all the leaders and writers of the and astrologers should be duly exposed; day, - the great Du Bellay family, Marot, and that those evils with which the Dolet, Lyon Jamet, viaurice Scéve, Saworld was then infected, foolish judges, lel, and the rest — and, remembering all cumbrous laws, greedy priests, pedantic this, can we doubt that the indifference scholars might, by the aid of ridicule and to religion which has been for two hunsatire, be scotched, if not ķilled. Ra- dred years a characteristic of modern belais was a great social reformer, but he France, rising sometimes to general and was not a religious reformer. Was he national infidelity, is largely due to the careless about religion? He was more influence of Rabelais, and the balls which than careless -- he was hostile to any he first set rolling ? existing form of religion. We have no We mention the name of Clement doubt whatever that the names of Calvin Marot, important here chiefly for the inand Luther were as unsavoury to Rabelais Auence he might have had. For he as that of the prejudiced, feverishly jeal- translated the Psalms into French verse, ous, bigoted Doctor Beda. Had he, put them to tunes, and set the Court then, no belief ? He had that belief singing them. Let us think for a mowhich men in all ages contract who ment what England owes to those sweet gather their religion from Nature alone. and simple hymns which it is our godly He saw in his plants, in the stars, in the fashion to sing in the churches and in human body, an Order so perfect and so the homes from earliest childhood, and wonderful that he needs must bow down which form a link to connect our religion and adore its Creator ; he saw that Na- with our daily life. Let us only try to ture pours out her thousand forms of life think what we should be without these. in myriad profusion, reckless what be- And then give praise to Marot, for it was came of each, and might have asked with he who gave to France what should have the poet –

been the foundation and beginning of a

national book of praise and service of Are God and Nature then at strife, That Nature lends such evil dreams?

song, had not the bigots, the stupid misSo careful of the type she seems,

chievous bigots, stopped the singing So careless of the single life.

because they pretended to see heresy in

the words – David's words. And France He saw, further, that life, lavishly pro- is without hymns to this day. duced and as lavishly wasted, is ever be- We must here say a word in remoning brought forth anew. From the dead strance with Marot's latest biographer, body of the man, as well as of the insect, Professor Henry Morley. When a writer comes the nourishment which makes the begins by declaring that he has “long grasses rich, and helps to produce fresh wished the truth to be told” about Marot, life in a never-ceasing cycle. When he one has a right to expect something new. asked of Nature to tell him more, he But he gives us nothing new. From bewas met with that cold silence which ginning to end of his work there is not a awaits all who dare question beyond the fact which has not already been set down limit. The Secret of Life, the Secret of by M. Charles d'Héricault in that truly Death, the Great Hereafter — these admirable and careful life of the poet,


prefixed to his edition of the poems.. back from Italy, he tries unsuccessfully, While the book is padded with super- to ingratiate himself with orthodoxy fluous details of political events, and with by translating the Psalms; and then, translations which have somehow all the when this fails, takes his budget to Gespirit of the original dropped out, the neva, where they became for two hunProfessor's object seems to be to prove dred years and more the hymn-book of that Marot was a great Protestant. But the Reformers. A light-hearted, freethe promised truth about Marot — is it living, sweet-natured man, a mere butterthis, after all? It is not as we appre- fly as regards opinion, but with a wholehend it. Marot was a poet of the Court, some tendency to freedom and light; a a flatterer by profession, a man of kindly man of doubtful morals, no scholar, a heart, impulsive and thoughtless speech, writer with a keen sense of fun and hukeen sensibilities, and the sweetest, most mour, a poet who saw in the greasy dirty tender, most delightful, most natural ver- monk the most delightful subject possisifier that France ever had. To please ble for his pen ; and a man who, when his mistress, Margaret, and because it he got into trouble, was ready to perform suited his unsettled fancies, which were any amount of grovelling necessary to of course in favour of religious liberty, get himself out. A Liberal, because his he followed her example in satire of friends were of that school, and because monks and praise of a religious life. To they used him to write verses on their please his other friends, and perhaps side ; but not a religious reformer, behimself, he wrote verses of a quite differ- cause not a religious man. It cannot be ent character. Witness those two cele- too strongly insisted upon that no relibrated blasons of his — the first of that gious change, no lasting religious movecollection of blasons on woman where the ment is possible, save where the leaders French poets in a body gave free play to themselves profoundly penetrated every licentious and impure thought. with real religion. Such men were LuThis precious contribution to literature ther, Calvin, Latimer, Hooper, and othwas commenced by Clement Marot, who ers of the time. Such, too, were some of rejoiced exceedingly in seeing it grow those Frenchmen who chose to remain in and wax fuller and fuller till there was their church, as Lefevre and Roussel. nothing possible left to add. He, too, is But such was not Rabelais, nor Marot, the poet who wasted that graceful lament, nor the two men of whom we proceed to which Spenser imitated (“Shepherd's speak. Calender, Ægloga Undecima”). And, first, of Etienne Dolet, whose life Loyse, mother of Francis I.:

and character we have always been sur

prised, since first we made acquaintance Dido is gone afore: whose turne shall be the with the man, that no student of modern next?

history has taken up. One French writThere lives she with the blessed gods in blisse,

er, of more zeal than wisdom, has deThere drinks she nectar with ambrosia mixed, voted ten years of his life to producing And joyes enjoyes that mortal men doe an éloge upon him, for which he painfully

collected all the facts of the case. It is

not, however, the life of Etienne Dolet, Dido the worst woman of her time in which has yet to be written. Let us here France, as Marot very well knew — the do a little to resuscitate the memory of a licentious mother of a licentious son, most unfortunate man and most noble whom good Queen Anne would not re-scholar. ceive, and for whose evil sake, she long His parentage was quite unknown. refused to marry her daughter Claude to He was born at Orleans about 1509. the heir of the throne. Marot again is Somebody, we do not know who, enabled the poet who, when he fled to Geneva for him to obtain the rudiments of a liberal refuge, would have been imprisoned, per- education. That meant a good deal of haps executed, for immorality, had he Latin, with little or no Greek. At the not fled secretly, and gone elsewhere. age of twelve he went to Paris, where he Marot's religion was of a very undogmatic attended the lectures of Nicolas Berauld. kind. In his preface to his version of It is significant that Berauld was also iuthe “ Romance of the Rose,” he pays his tor to that Cardinal Odet de Coligny, homage to the Virgin ; when he is im- Bishop of Beauvais, who went over to prisoned for something said or written, the Reformed cause, and publicly marhe loudly exclaims that he is not a Lu- ried Elizabeth de Hauteville. Berauld theran or Calvinist; when he comes' was also a friend of Erasmus. For four



years young Dolet lived on Cicero, made | at once for the display of Latinity, eloCicero's thoughts his own, Cicero's style quence, and righteous indignation, and in his model, and learned to look up to making the most of it, Dolet's début dans Cicero with an admiration which never la vie was as unlucky as that young flagged. Then he managed somehow fellow's in Balzac's novel. For exalting the ways of mediæval students are mys- his molehill of a grievance to a very terious — to get to Italy, where he sat for mountain, he prepared an oration into three years at the feet of Simon de Ville- which he poured all his available stock of neuve, at Padua, removing thence to invective, sarcasm, and simulated rage Venice, to follow the lectures of Bap- and then went and delivered it. Nothing tiste Eganjio, still always working at Cic-could be more unreal than this youthful ero. Here he had the great luck to get effusion of pretended patriotism, which is the protection of Jean Du Bellay, a mem- still preserved. It breathes the righteous ber of that noble family which deserved wrath of Cicero against Catiline, and so well of France in the sixteenth cen- while its periods are balanced after the tury — soldiers, statesmen, churchmen, style of that great model, it is more fearscholars, and poets. At Venice he fell less, more bitter, more unsparing. In in love with a certain Helena, about other words, it is the work of a conceited whom he writes Horatian poems

and thoughtless youth, eager to show his Frustra, Venus, mihi jecur tentas novo

cleverness. Again, not content with atIgne; ad tuas obduri

tacking the Parliament, he must needs Flammas; nihil tecum mihi isto tempore

air his crude liberalism in theology, and Commune certe est. Impetus

attack the Toulousians for having burnt Cæcæ juventæ dum ferebat et calor Caturce, the professor of theology, the Ætatis effrenæ, tuis

year before. A man might commit any Plus forte quam castum decebat parui

sin in those days, and it would be forJussis; fuit gratum improbo

given him, because the people were kindAmore vinci.

hearted and the law was uncertain. But One rather suspects the genuineness of let him beware how he touched the the passion when a young man at twenty Church. For the Church never forgives. talks of the fervour of youth; but, after Were it in a moment of madness, were it all, it seemed Horatian, which was what under provocation too intense for suphe chiefly cared for. And as for Helena, pression, were it as mere child, the she probably had as real an existence as offender would never be safe from the Dulcinea del Tobosa, who was flourish- resentment of the offended; while reing at about the same period, l'ornement sentment among theologians meant the de la terre, or as Horace's own Lalage. stake.

From Venice he went to Toulouse to He was soon enough made to feel his study law. And here the troubles of his mistake, and, though he never again life began. Toulouse, which had the dared to lift up his voice and declare his same reputation for law which Mont- opinions, the fatal oration pursued him pelier possessed for medicine, divided its through life. It was, indeed, full of mascholars into “nations” like all media-terials for an enemy to fasten upon. He val universities. We hear, for instance, spoke in favour of free thought, and the of French, Aquitanians, and Spaniards. study of Plato and Cicero. Every nation had its captain, and once a year, on the day of its saint, the na- society of scholars for that of barbarians ?...

What! he asks, shall our students leave the tion' held a fête, at which the captain shall they prefer primitive savagery to the free pronounced an oration. Unluckily for

thought which creates man afresh? . . . Have young Dolet, he was elected captain of the grossness of the Scythians and the monthe French nation, and still more un- strous barbarity of the Ĝetæ made irruption luckily, the Parliament of Toulouse, for into this town only to help the human pests some wise reasons now unknown, chose which inhabit it to hate, persecute, and vilify that very year for suppressing the fête. holy thought? ... That sacred fire of mutual The “nation” resolved to hold its festi-love which nature incessantly kindles in our val in spite of all the Parliaments, and hearts, they have longed to extinguish; that Dolet was urged to deliver the oration as they have wished to stifle; that right of free

fraternity which the gods themselves inspire usual. It was certainly a fine oppor-reunion which every sympathy accords to us, tunity for a young man to display that Ci- they have wished to annihilate. ceronian learning which it had taken him so much pains in the course of his cæca He was mad enough even to attack the juventa to acquire. It was an occasion superstitions of the place, the customs

peculiar to Toulouse, of galloping nine | tained a spirit of free inquiry, which, times round the church, of plunging the while it led some too far, and brought host on certain days into the Garonne, ruin upon one at least of their number, of offering up prayers to the river, of undoubtedly did much to keep back that carrying wooden images of saints round great wave of ignorance and bigotry the town in times of drought, and so on. which was perpetually threatening France

A young man wise in his generation during this century; and, though the sowould at least have sat down to count the ciety was not devoted to religious reform, cost of making enemies of a whole town. every member was a marked man by the But Dolet was not wise. The students orthodox, and each, in peril of accusaapplauded him, and he was happy, until tions false or true, coluit per mille perithe next morning brought reflection, re- cula musas. pentance, and the officers of justice. Here Dolet found a friend who stood To prison he must go, while the people by him faithfully in the printer Gryphe, hooted and howled at him, tried to mur- who published his orations and epigrams der him, spread abroad infamous libels for him. Gryphe (Gryphæus) was one of respecting him, and carried about the that illustrious band of printers who, in streets a pig, which they labelled “Do- the first century of the invention, devotlet,” and solemnly tortured and burned. ed themselves to the noble profession This is the first of that long series of with the zeal and ardour of artists. He imprisonments which made Floridus, the it was who published the Latin Bible of Italian scholar, author of the Apologia in 1550, an edition in the largest type yet Plauti ... calumniatores, call a prison produced, remarkable for the few errors "patria Doleti.”

and the clearness of the character. The How long he was confined we have no list of works issued from his press means of telling, but probably not many amounts to nearly three hundred. Vuldays. Good-natured Bishop Dupin teius said of him — helped him in his strait, pleading youth, Castigat Stephanus, sculpsit Colinæus, utrumand hot-headedness, and his great genius

que —“juvenis est rarâ et excellenti quâdam

Gryphius edoctâ mente manuque facit. ingenii bonitate præditus." But he seems first to have had to perform the His device was “Virtute duce, comite amende honorable, for he says himself - fortunâ.”. He printed, in 1536, Dolet's Nullum me scelus in vincula conjici

great work, “ Commentaria Linguæ LatiPoscebat, neque per compita turpiter

næ," a two volume folio of 1800 colDuci, ut qui impius ense

umns each, with but eight errata for the Patris foderit ilia.

whole work. Charles Fontaine, the au

thor of “ La Contr'amye de Court," and Toulouse was no longer any place for friend of Clement Marot, wrote an epihim. He got out of it secretly, and taph for Gryphe made his way to Lyons, arriving there in a melancholy coudition of mind and

La grand' griffe qui tout griffe,

A griffé le corps de.Gryphe; body, and without a friend.

Le corps de ce Gryphe; mais At this time there was no better place Non le los, non, non, jamais. in the world for a man of advanced opinions and of scholarship than the city of Then came the grand quarrel of the Lyons. Among the authors and students Ciceronians, Dolet being peaceably who formed the celebrated society called housed in Lyons, correcting, probably, “l’Angélique,” were the Scéve family, for the press, and spending every spare consisting of Maurice, poet, antiquarian, moment on his commentaries. ' Erasartist, architect, and musician, and his mus's “ Ciceronians” appeared in 1528. sisters Claudine and Sybille, also poets ; | In 1531 came Scaliger's celebrated diaSymphorien Champiry, who passed a tribe, to which Erasmus replied only by long and vainglorious life in studies of saying that it could not be the work of medicine and history; Benoît, court Scaliger. Six years later came Scaliger's lawyer and botanist, who wrote second “Discourse,” Erasmus being by commentaries Martial's "Arrêts this time dead. To the amazement of d'Amour ;” and Matthieu de Vaugelles, Scaliger, who considered that when he •magistrate and writer on law, broth-had once spoken no more was to be said er to Jean de Vaugelles, maiire des on his side, Dolet had in 1535 also writrequêtes under Margaret of Navarre, and ten a “ Discourse " against Erasmus. friend of Marot. This society main-Scaliger flew into the most violent rage,


« PreviousContinue »