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believe Tallemant des Réaux. No wonder that the persons who had the boldness to turn princes, prelates, and gentilshommes into ridicule, played not unfrequently a dangerous game. A thrashing, and often some more terrible punishment, awaited them. Thus, in the concluding stanza of a song on the Prince de Condé's repulse at Lérida, the anonymous vaudevilliste said :

Celui qui a fait la chanson
N'oserait

pas

dire son nom,
Car il aurait les étriviéres

Laire la,
Laire, lanlaire,

Laire la,
Laire lanla.'

In spite of this declaration, the chansonnier was found out. Poor Saint Amant, the ridiculous author of Moïse sauvé, caught it, and a sound bastinado brought him to his senses,-at least we hope so.*

Now for the Fronde. The Iliad of that plaisanterie à main armée may be read in the Mazarinades,t the Courriers burlesques de la Fronde,f and a shoal of other literary stuff, of which it would be difficult to say whether it is more conspicuous for want of taste or want of delicacy. The disorder of the finances,—the barricades, Mazarin's departure and his return, the arrest of Blancménil and of the bonhomme Broussel-such are the principal episodes in this extraordinary attempt at a revolution. Poetry and reality, rhapsodes and heroes-they are all on a level. The burlesque predominates, and the Parisians, unable to resist the forces of Monsieur le Prince, find themselves obliged to while away the time by singing :

66

* The Prince de Condé wanted, one day, to get a man arrested who had in some manner offended him.

“On ne me prend pas, Monseigneur,” said the culprit, running away; Je m'appelle Lérida."

+ Published by M. Moreau for the Société de l'Histoire de France. Paris. 2 vols. 8vo.

| Published by M. Boiteau in M. Jannet's Biblioth, Elzévirienne. 2 vols. 18mo.

“Tandis que le Prince nous bloque,

Et prend bicoque sur bicoque,
Et la rivière haut et bas,
Nous ne nous occupons qu'à faire,
Au lieu de sièges, de combats,
Des chansons sur laire, lanlaire.”

Voltaire has left us a glowing description of the siècle de Louis XIV. How beautiful everything seems there! How regular, how dignified ! how imposing ! But will you take a glance at what is going on behind the scenes, and discover the amount of corruption that can co-exist with such grandeur ? Read the memoirs of Saint mon, the correspondence of Bussy-Rabutin, and the famous Recueil de Maurepas.* Notwithstanding

*

* This Recueil, of which a great many MS. copies exist (two of them are in the British Museum), was compiled by order of M. de Maurepas, Minister under the reigns of Louis XV. and Louis XVI.

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all his prestige, Louis XIV. saw his mistresses, his prelates, his generals, his own family, and himself chansonnés in the most unrelenting manner. His mistresses : “ que Deodatus est heureux,"* etc. ; his prelates: “Meaux(Bossuet)est un très grand esprit,| etc.; his generals: du duc de Bourgogne à César,” I etc. ; his own family : qui l'aurait cru qu'en diligence,” s etc.; himself : “les uns le nomment Louis le grand,” || etc. The disaster of Malplaquet is turned into a song; the Bull Unigenitus has originated vaudevilles enough to fill a whole library; the great Colbert had been sung on account of his ability ; the imbecile Chamillart received the same honours for the very contrary motive, and unfortunately his name rhymed with “billard." Louis XIV. was sung out of the world with an amount of severity which he no doubt deserved, although it was scarcely courageous in the satirists to abuse a man after his death ; and the best chanson of that epoch finishes by the following true statement :

“Sitôt qu'il fut enseveli,

On le porta à Saint Denys,
Sans pompe, sans magnificence,
Afin d'épargner la dépense ;
Car à son fils il n'a laissé
Que de quoi le faire enterrer."

* See Bussy-Rabutin's Histoire amoureuse des Gaules, in M. Jannet's Bibl. Elzévir. vol. i. + Nisard, vol. i. 370, 371.

| Ibid. vol. i. 365. § Ibid. vol. i. 365.

|| Ibid. vol. i. 374, 375.

In the meanwhile it must not be supposed that the more dignified and classical style of lyric poetry remained uncultivated. At the Epicurean soirées of the Temple, CHAULIEU and LAFARE shone by their taste and the harmony of their versification; JEAN BAPTISTE ROUSSEAU composed his odes and his cantatas; RACINE introduced into his Esther and his Athalie all the splendours of the sacred muse; and the persecuted Huguenots made the wild fastnesses of the Cevennes ring with that rough but imposing poetry which embodied their aspirations and told of their woes.

The Regency, and that “halt in mud,"* the reign of Louis XV., could not but be fertile in chansonniers. The old society was crumbling into pieces, and France offered the curious though melancholy sight, of a government assiduously working to accomplish its own destruction. Can we wonder, when we hear that Madame de Pompadour and Madame Dubarry were exposed to public ridicule, that Marshal Soubise was hooted in the cafés because “ il s'était couvert non pas de gloire, mais de farine," and that the notorious speculator Law saw his name sung to all the popular tunes of the day? What shall we say of Chancellor Maupeoz ? Impassible and careless of the opposition he had raised, he stood for the space of five years, without flinching, the rolling fire of squibs and pamphlets. Finally, however, he was obliged to retire, and the whole Paris populace, says Bachaumont, greeted his downfall with the following stanza, which they sang sotto voce :

* Une halte dans la boue,"-M, MICHELET.

“Sur la route de Chatou

Le peuple s'achemine
Pour voir la triste * mine

Du chancelier Maupeou
Sur la rou ... sur la rou ... sur la route de Chatou.'

Those of our readers who are anxious to see how the Jansenists with their miracles, the police, the actresses, the philosophers, Cardinal Dubois, the Parliament, and the Court of Versailles, were handled by the vaudevillistes of the last century, must turn to the Recueil de Maurepas, the Mémoires secrets de Bachaumont,tand the journal of the avocat Barbier. $ They will soon, let us add, come to the conclusion that the most sparkling wit cannot compensate for coarseness, and they will seek something more refined in the works of Voltaire, Piron, Gresset, and Bernis.

During the forty years which began with the accession of Louis XVI. to the throne, lyric poetry in France assumed almost exclusively a political

* The real epithet is somewhat stronger.

+ Why are they not reprinted? The original edition, 36 vols. 12mo. 1717-89, Londres (Holland), is very scarce.

Published by Charpentier. 8 vols. 18mo. Paris: 1857.

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