Page images

of conservator in chief of the electoral library, and published some historical essays, which excite less interest however than the titles of his inedited works.

In one which he inscribed Furiae Jugales he delineated the sufferings which the learned have endured from their wicked wives. To show the other side of the picture, he composed a sequel, Charites Pronubae Virorum Doctorum.

For his Musae Ebriae, or Learning in Liquor, he must have had a wide and fertile field ; and in his Musae Mendicantes, or Erudition in Rags, he perhaps anticipated “The Calamities of Authors.”

One treatise, De Eruditis Deformibus, sive Nosocomium Doctum, he devoted to a general detail of the personal deformities of authors, illustrating the history of such as were afflicted by blindness or insanity in another, De Eruditis Caecis et Mente Captis.

But of all his works, perhaps that which promises most interest is the Amores Furtivi Virorum Eruditorum, or The Lawless Loves of the Learned.

Do the manuscripts of this profound scandalmonger still exist?. English versions, with “ tinuations to the present times,” would exactly hit the reigning taste, and could hardly fail to make a bookseller's fortune.


[blocks in formation]




“ PERHAPS it may surprise my readers,” says M. l'Abbé de la Rue, “but there can be no doubt that in the thirteenth century, at least among the Normans and Anglo-Normans, the clergy read to their people, on Sundays and holidays, lives of the saints in French verse, and even preached the truths of the gospel in the same manner.” In the library of the Royal Society of London, there is preserved a sermon by Stephen de Langton, cardinal of Saint Chrisognon, and Archbishop of Canterbury, between the years 1206 and 1228, written in Latin prose, richly interlaced with French verse, and having for its text what appears to have been a fashionable song of the day :

Bele Aliz matin leva,
Sun cors vesti è para ;
Enz un verger s'en entra,
Cinq flurettes i truva,
Un chapelet fet en a

De rose flurie

1 Histoire des Trouvères Anglo-Normands, t. ii.

p. 137.

Par Deu, trachez vus en lá,

Vus ki ne amez-mie.1

The good prelate shows the mystical application of this ditty to the Blessed Virgin :

“ Ceste (la Vierge) est la belle Aliz;
Ceste est la flur, ceste est le liz.”2

Occasionally sermons were written altogether in rhyme ; and two of these discourses have been lately printed : Le Sermun de Guichard de Beaulieu. Paris, 1834,

8vo. pp. 32. Un Sermon en vers, publié pour la première fois par

Achille Jubinal. Paris, 1834, 8vo. pp. 32. There is little remarkable in them beyond the construction of the verse, thirty or more consecutive lines rhyming together.



It is a serious inconvenience to many worthy gen

Ti.e. Par Dieu, allez vous en là, vous qui n'aimez pas.' tlemen, and a great reproach to our literature, that it has not yet produced an Every Man his own Public-dinner-speech-maker." Perhaps the only attempt to supply such a grievous defect has been made by an honest yeoman of Dumfries, who gave to the world a volume entitled “ Speeches on Various Public Occasions during the Last Thirty Years. By Henry Macminn. Edinburgh: Printed for the Author, and to be had of all the booksellers, 1831," 12mo. pp. 288. Mr Macminn indeed gives examples, not rules ; but Homer preceded Aristotle ; and some future Stagyrite may frame a system of post-prandial oratory from the admirable work of the Nithsdale Demosthenes. Meanwhile, a few flowers may be gathered from its pages for the benefit of costive trencher-declaimers. The following was “ delivered at Dumfries on Burns' birth-day, 25th January 1820,” but it will serve for any place or time :

2 Mémoire sur les Trouvères Normands, par M. Pluquet ; Mém. de la Soc. des Antiq. de la Normandie, t. i.

p. 411.

“In viewing the whole of material beings, from the meanest reptile that crawls on the earth to man, who is noble in reason, there is a diversity of beauty in the same species, there is a superior and inferior, whether in the vegetable or the animal world; but in man this difference is forcibly striking. In taking a view of the human race, you

* This is a favourite figure with Mr Macminn ; there is will see many, you would think, were very little above the brute creation, whose knowledge is shallow, whose ideas are confined, and whose dispositions are low, grovelling, and brutal. But some again there are whose eye can penetrate into hidden mysteries, who can solve the most intricate problems, and examine into the motions and magnitude of the heavenly bodies. The cause of this day's meeting, viz. to celebrate the birth-day of Burns, our national bard, is a striking proof of what I have been just now saying. He possessed a superior and elevated mind; and were we to ransack the nation, from the earliest period of time till this present moment, I am persuaded you would scarcely

scarcely one of his orations which begins not with—“ In taking a view of this habitable globe, from the commencement of time till this present moment.” Perhaps in this he imitated the Petit Jean of Racine, whom he resembles in other points :

“ Messieurs, quand je regarde avec exactitude
L'inconstance du monde et sa vicissitude ;
Lorsque je vois parmi tant d'hommes différents,
Pas une étoile fixe, et tant d'astres errants;
Quand je vois le Césars, quand je vois leur fortune ;
Quand je vois le soleil, et quand je vois la lune;
Quand je vois les états des Babiboniens
Transférés des Serpents aux Nacédoniens ;
Quand je vois les Lorrains, de l'état dépotique
Passer au démocrite, et puis au monarchique ;

Quand je vois le Japon
Les Plaideurs, acte üi. sc. iii. Oeuvres de J. Racine, p. 120.
Paris, 1838.

« PreviousContinue »