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mentary on the doctrine of Saint Augustine, was declared heretical by the Sorbonne and five propositions taken from it were condemned by Rome. As a consequence, the Jansenists, whose center of influence was the Abbaye de Port Royal, were subjected to continual persecution. Pascal took up their cause and in the series of letters known as les Provinciales, defended their austere conception of Christianity and
gorously attacked the laxity of their rivals, the Jesuits. The passage given here contains his exposition of the Jesuit doctrine of "probable opinions."
73. A priest, docteur en Sorbonne, to whom Pascal has gone for information concerning the controversy.
77. Delivered at the cathedral of Saint-Denis, Aug. 21, 1670. Henriette-Anne d'Angleterre (1644-1670), daughter of Charles I of England and Henriette Marie de France, was brought up in France where her mother had taken refuge and married in 1661 the dissipated Duc d'Orléans, brother of Louis XIV. In spite of much unfavorable gossip, she became very popular at court. In 1670 Louis XIV, who manifested a warm friendship for her, sent her to England to negotiate a treaty of alliance with her brother, Charles II, against Holland. A few days after her return from this important mission, she was taken suddenly ill and died within a few hours. "On perdait avec elle,” said Mme. de Sévigné, "toute la joie, tout l'agrément et tous les plaisirs de la Cour.”
78. Title given in the XVII Century to the wife of the King's brother, who was known as Monsieur.
79. The Château de Saint-Cloud, a few miles to the West of Paris, was the residence of the Duc d'Orléans after 1658.
80. Ezekiel VII, 27. 81. “Funeral pomp." 82. Job XXI, 26.
83. The vaults beneath the church of Saint-Denis, where French royalty is buried.
84. Simon-Arnauld, marquis de Pompone (1618-1699), statesman and minister of Louis XIV, friend of Mme. de Sévigné and author of some interesting memoirs.
85. François de Beauvilliers, duc de Saint-Aignan (1607-1687), member of the Académie Française.
86. Philippe de Courcillon, marquis de Dangeau (1638-1720), member of the Académie Française and author of a Journal de la Cour de Louis XIV.
87. Cf. p. 19, note 39.
88. Anne-Marie Louise d'Orléans, duchesse de Montpensier, known as la Grande Mademoiselle, daughter of Gaston d'Orléans and Marie de Bourbon-Montpensier. After a romanesque youth, during which she was involved in the Fronde, refused the hand of Charles II of England and sought vainly to become the wife of Louis XIV, she fell in love with Lauzun, then captain of the guards and a favorite at
court. Their marriage was sanctioned by Louis XIV at the instance of Mademoiselle but this sanction was withdrawn before the ceremony could take place. Lauzun fell into disgrace the next year and passed ten years in prison in spite of the efforts in his behalf of Mademoiselle who had probably married him in secret.
89. The Marquis de Coulanges, to whom this letter was written, was a cousin of Madame de Sévigné. He was at Lyon at this time.
90. This may refer to Marie d'Angleterre, widow of Louis XII, who married, three months after the King's death, the Duke of Suffolk, whom she had loved before becoming queen.
91. The Duchesse de Rohan, after refusing the hand of the Duke of Weimar and that of the Duke of Nemours, married for love in 1645 Henri Chabot, a gentleman without fortune or position.
92. Mme. de Hauterive, daughter of the Duc de Villeroi, married the Marquis de Hauterive against her father's wishes.
93. Antoine Nompar de Caumont Lauzun (1633-1723), first known as the Comte de Puyguilhem, a simple captain of the guards, later colonel general of dragoons and Duke of Lauzun.
94. Louise Françoise de la Vallière (1644-1710), maid of honor to Henriette d'Angleterre and mistress of Louis XIV. She entered a Carmelite convent in 1674.
95. Paule-Françoise Marguerite de Gondi, niece of the Cardinal de Retz.
96. Henriette Louise Colbert, second daughter of the great minister of Louis XIV.
97. Madeleine, only daughter and heir of the Duc de Créqui, who married in 1675 the Prince de Tarente.
98. Gaston d'Orléans, brother of Louis XIII.
99. Philippe d'Orléans, brother of Louis XIV, and cousin of Mademoiselle.
100. Daughter of Mme. de Sévigné, married since 1668, had just left her mother for the first time to accompany her husband to Provence.
101. Christophe de Coulanges, abbé of Livry, uncle and guardian of Mme. de Sévigné. Both Mme. de Sévigné and her daughter spent much time at Livry.
102. "Femme de chambre," a domestic, and Madame's dog.
103. The “abbaye la Trappe" in the Orne, where in 1140 was founded the Trappist order known for the severity of its rules.
104. "Les Rochers,” estate of the Marquis de Sévigné, near Vitré (Ille-et-Vilaine).
105. Jean Corbinelli (1615-1716), belonged to an Italian family who came to France with Catherine de Médicis. He was an esteemed friend of Boileau, La Rochefoucauld and Mme. de Sévigné.
106. President of the parliament of Paris to whom Boileau dedicated his Lutrin,
107. The Abbé François le Bouthillier de Chavigny, bishop of Rennes and later of Troyes. Died in 1731.
108. Armand Louis Bonnin de Chalucet, bishop of Toulon in 1684.
109. Celebrated Jesuit preacher (1632-1704).
110. In the XVII Century, the rules of the Jesuit order forbade members to go out without a companion.
111. “With a certain bitter laugh,” quoted from Tasso.
112. "L'honnête homme est caracterisé par du savoir sans pédantisme, de l'élégance sans affectation, du courage sans forfanterie.” (Des Granges.)
113. "Denier dix,” that is, "one denier out of ten" or "ten per cent” (interest). The denier was equivalent to one-twelfth of a sou.
114. "Free thinker,” especially in religious matters.
117. Huet (1630-1721), bishop of Soissons and later bishop of Avranches, intimate friend of La Fontaine. The full title of this poem is: “Epitre à Monseigneur l'Evêque de Soissons, en lui donnant un Quintilien de la traduction d'Horatio Toscanella.”
118. Virgil, who was born near Mantua.
119. Sojourn of the happy after death, hence: "tout est chez les morts."
123. The legend of Codrus, last king of Athens, who is supposed to have sacrificed himself to assure victory over the Dorians in the XIV Century B. C.
124. "To rise up in indignation against.”
127. Character in Rabelais' Gargantua, who, like Pyrrhus, had dreams of being a conqueror of the world. Pyrrhus was king of Epirus.
128. Name given to the sovereign of Persia. 129. i. e., man of the village, of humble origin; also La Fontaine's
130. Name of a "vieil poëte françois” in Rabelais, applied here to the cat.
131. "Hypocrite," probably catus: cat and mitis: gentle.
132. In Rabelais' Pantagruel, the first president of the Parliament of Paris, with his ermine robes; probably gripper: to seize with the claws and minaud, that is, gently as a cat.
133. Old form for dise.
138. "Cythérée,” that is, Venus, adored at Cythera, now Cerigo, an island in the Mediterranean, directly south of Greece.
139. Goddess of fruits.
142. Le burlesque, a reaction against the affectation and idealism of the pastoral poems and novels, such as the Astrée, was more or less in vogue until about 1660. The masters of burlesque style were Charles Sorel (1599-1674), and Scarron (1610-1660), author of the Roman Comique and l’Enéide travestie.
143. A celebrated buffoon whose booth was in the Place Dauphine from 1618-1630.
144. Clément Marot (1492-1549), whose elegant and courtly poetry continued the traditions of the Middle Ages but marked a much greater perfection in form. This attention to form explains why he alone among XVI Century poets was admired by Boileau.
145. The pause or cæsura required after the sixth syllable of the classical alexandrine.
146. Boileau forbids hiatus and really gives an example of it in the words trop hâtée.
147. François Villon (1431-1465), the greatest lyric poet of the Middle Ages.
148. The ballade is composed of three couplets and an envoi with the same rimes and a refrain after each couplet. The triolet is an amusing or satirical poem composed of eight verses utilizing but two rimes, the first verse being repeated after the third and the first two after the fifth. Mascarades are verses written for the personages of a ballet. The rondeau is a poem of thirteen verses, eight with one rime and five with another. It is divided into three couplets, after the second and third of which the beginning of the rondeau is repeated.
149. Philippe Desportes (1545-1606), uncle of Régnier, author of sonnets, elegies and songs and of a translation of the Psalms. Jean Bertaut (1570-1611) wrote a volume of poetry now forgotten.
150. It is hard to overestimate the services rendered by Malherbe in banishing from literary language vulgar and dialectical expressions and foreign words and constructions introduced by the school of Ronsard. Yet the meticulous attention to form of this "tyran des mots et des syllabes” discouraged the production of lyric poetry, which practically disappears from French literature until the romantic outburst at the beginning of the XIX Century.
152. Racine's career as a dramatic writer was embittered by the jealousies caused by his success. Having quarreled with Molière in 1665 and shortly afterwards with Port Royal, he found aligned against him after the triumph of Andromaque (1667), the friends of Corneille anxious to belittle the brilliant young rival who threatened the glory of the old master then past sixty. In 1677 his enemies, led by the Duchesse de Bouillon, acclaimed the mediocre Phèdre of Pradon, and hissed his own masterpiece at the Hôtel de Bourgogne. Extremely sensitive by nature, Racine suffered keenly from this incessant criticism, and, although the public soon reversed its unjust judgment in favor of his Phèdre, he gave up writing for the stage. Boileau's epistle was written to comfort Racine in these trying circumstances.
153. The representation of Iphigénie in 1674 had also encountered organized opposition.
154.. Celebrated actress (1644-1698) who created, among others, the rôles of Hermione in Andromaque and Phèdre in the tragedy of the same name.
155. Molière, being an actor, could not receive the rites of the church. It was only through the intercession of Louis XIV that the Archbishop of Paris authorized his burial in consecrated ground.
156. Molière did not hesitate to flay vice, affectation, hypocrisy and bigotry wherever he found them, even at the court. The marquis and the précieuse are continually held up to ridicule in his plays.
157. The audacity of the École des Femmes (1662), which won the plaudits of the pit, scandalized the precious coteries of polite society by its defiance of accepted rules and the frankness of its language. The Vicomte de Broussin, friend of the Commandeur de Louvre, is reported to have left the theatre at the end of the second act with the remark that he did not understand how one could have the patience to listen to a play that violated all known rules.
158. Allusion to one of the many pamphlets directed against le Tartuffe, in which a curé demanded of the King that Molière be burned at the stake.
159. In the Critique de l'École des Femmes, Molière describes an outraged marquis storming at the amused parterre and crying: “Ris donc, parterre, ris donc." Molière claimed that the "honnêtes gens" of the court as well as the bourgeois supported him.
160. Corneille's last tragedy, Suréna, was played in 1674.
161. Pyrrhus is a character in Andromaque, and Burrhus in Britannicus.
162. i. e., "veine poétique.”
163. Pierre Perin (died 1680), author of a poor translation of the Æneid and of the libretto of the first French opera.
164. Jacques de Coras (1639-1677), author of Jonas, is remembered solely because Boileau satirized him.
165. François Payot, chevalier de Linière (1628-1704). Rostand gives a somewhat too favorable picture of him in Cyrano de Bergerac.
166. François Tallement (1620-1693) had the hardihood to attempt a translation of Plutarch after Amyot.
167. Louis II, prince de Condé, known as le Grand Condé (16211688), was one of the most distinguished military leaders of his time. He was involved in the troubles of the Fronde, fought in Franche Comté and against William of Orange, and finally retired to his château at Chantilly, where he became a patron of letters.
168. Enghien was the son of the Grand Condé. Colbert (16191683) was the famous comptroller of finances and minister of the navy of Louis XIV. Vivonne (1636-1683), brother of Mme. de Montespan and Marshal of France.
169. Marsillac was the son of La Rochefoucauld. Simon Arnauld, marquis de Pomponne (1618-1699), was minister of foreign affairs.
170. Montausier (1610-1690) had married Julie d'Angennes, daughter