Imatges de pÓgina

The Early French Poets. REMY BELLEAU, AND JAN ANTOINE DE BAÏF. The Painter of Nature was the ap- making copies of copies; but that he pellation which distinguished Remy drew from the life, whenever he had Belleau among the poets of his time; such objects to describe as the visible and it is enough to obtain for him no world could supply him with. Nor ordinary share of regard from those is this the whole of his praise; for who know how much is implied in he bas also some fancy, and a flow that title, and how rare that merit is of numbers unusually melodious. of which it may be considered as a In the above collection, the first pledge I have not yet had the good poem, on the Loves and Transformafortune to meet with an edition con- tions of the Precious Stones, deditaining the whole of his works: That cated to Henry III., is on a plan not which I have seen was printed during much more happy than that of Darhis life-time, with the following title: win's Loves of the Plants. Several Les Amours et nouveaux Eschanges of them are supposed to have been des Pierres precieuses; Vertus et youths or maidens, who, in conse Proprietez d'icelles. Discours de la quence of adventures similar to those Vanité, Pris de l'Ecclesiaste. E- invented by the poet of the Metaelogues Sacrees, Prises du Cantique morphoses, were changed into their des Cantiques. Par Remy Belleau. A present shape. Thus, in the first of Paris par Mamert Patisson, au logis de these tales, the nymph Amethyste; Rob. Estienne, 1576, avec privilege du of whom Bacchus is enamoured, Roy. “ The Loves and new Trans- prays to Diana for succour, and by formations of the Precious Stones; her is transformed into a stone which their Virtues and Properties. Discourse the god dyes purple with the juice on Vanity, taken from Ecclesiastes. of the grape. A description, which Sacred Eclogues, taken from the Song he has here introduced of the jolly of Songs, &c.' There is in these god with the Bacchantes in different sufficient to prove that Belleau was attitudes about his chariot, is exe not in the habit of looking at nature cuted with a luxuriance of pencil through the eyes of other men; that that reminds one of Rubens. be did not content himself with

D'un pié prompt et legier, ces folles Bassarides
Environnent le char, l'une se pend aux brides
Des onces mouchettez d'estoiles sur le dos,
Onces à l'oeil subtil, au pié souple et dispos,
Au muffte herissé de deux longues- moustaches :
L'autre met dextrement les tigres aux attaches
Tizonnez sur la peau, les couple deux-à-deux,
Ils ronflent de colere, et vont rouillant les yeux :
D'un fin drap d'or frisé semé de perles fines
Les couvre jusqu'au fanc, les houpes à crepines
Flottent sur le genou ; plus humbles devenus

On agence leur queüe en tortillons menus. (F. 4.)
A train of Mænads wanton'd round the car
With light and frolic step: one on the reins
Hung of the ounces speckled o'er with stars,
Of eye quick-glancing, and free supple foot,
The long mustaches bristling from their maws:
Another with quick hand the traces flung
Across the tygers of the streaky skin :
They yoked in pairs went sorting, and with ire
Their restless eye-balls rolld. Fine cloth of gold,
Sown o'er with pearls, hung mantling to their side,
And at the knee the tasseld fringes danced.
Then, as their pride abated, in quaint curls
They braid their wavy tails.

As a companion to this, I would place the fine picture of Cybele's chariot drawn by lions, as Keats has painted it.

Forth from a rugged arch, in the dusk below,
Came mother Cybele ; alone, alone,
In sombre chariot; dark foldings thrown
About her majesty, and front death-pale,
With turrets crown'd. Four maned lions hale
The sluggish wheels ; solemn their toothed maws,
Their surly eyes brow-hidden, heavy paws
Uplifted drowsily, and nervy tails

Cowering their tawny brushes. (Endymion, p. 83.)
In this pictorial manner, there is

-“ on the pearl'd sands an anonymous poem of extraordinary Of tawny Indus with the crisped merit, which, I believe, appeared locks.” first in the New Monthly Magazine. It is called the Indian Circian. The De l'Indois basané sous ses crespes che

sur le sable perleux writer of it, whoever he may be, may

veux ; well aspire to the title of the Painter of Nature,

where they are changed into onyxTo return to Belleau. Another of stones. these little stories is built on the fable To these fanciful Tales, are apof Hyacinthus, whose blood, when pended directions for distinguishing he is killed by Apollo, forms the ja- artificial stones from the true, togecinth ; at the same time, that the ther with some remarks on their menymph Chrysolithe, who had requited dical properties, and their uses ahis offered love with scorn, poisons gainst incantations and sorceries. It herself, and is changed into the stone scarcely need be told how bad an bearing her name. The spot, in effect so incongruous a mixture prowhich the boy meets his fate, when duces. When Belleau made this adhe is playing at quoits with Phobus, dition, it is probable that the Greek is a piece of landscape-painting, poem on Precious Stones, which goes sweetly touched.

under the name of Orpheus, was in Iris being sent on one of her mis- his view. tress's errands, stays to refresh her- In addressing the twelve chapters self by the river Indus, where she of his Discourse on Vanity, taken sees and becomes enamoured of 0- from Ecclesiastes, to Monseigneur palle ;

(the Duke d'Alençon), he tells that Opalle, grand Berger des troupeaux de prince that his brother (the late King, Neptune. (F. 27.)

Charles IX.), being at Fontainebleau, “ Great Shepherd that on Neptune's had made him read over the first

was so much pleased with it, that he flocks did tend."

four chapters several times; that the He is dazzled and overpowered by King's death, and a grievous malady the advances of the wind-footed under which he had himself labourgoddess, and falls into a swoon; but ed, had interrupted his design; “ but is recovered out of it. Juno, mean- now being recovered," says he, “I time, being, enraged at the delay of present this work to you.” This was her handmaid, goes in search of her, in July, 1576. Having tuned the and discovers them together. He is verses well, he has done nearly all changed into a stone, of which Iris that could be expected of him in this makes the opal.

task. Much the same may be said of While Venus lies asleep, Love, the Sacred Eclogues, into which he fluttering about her, sees his own has formed the Song of Songs. Proimage reflected on the polished sur- faner love employed his muse at anface of her nails. He sets himself to other time; for he translated the carve out these mirrors with the poems attributed to Anacreon, which point of one of his darts, while she were then newly discovered, into continues in her slumber; and then French verse. flying off with them, he lets them Among his other poems, is the fall

following Song on April: having seen it much commended in the ac- · Avril, la grace, et le ris counts given of this poet by French De Cypris, writers of the present day, I have

Le fair et la douce haleine: obtained a transcript of it from'a

Avril, le parfum des Dieux, public library in this country. If we

Qui des Cieux

Sentent l'odeur de la plaine. compare it with Spenser's Song in the Shepherd's Calendar, April, we C'est toy courtois et gentil, shall find some slight resemblance in

Qui d'exil the measure, which would induce one

Retires ces passageres, to imagine that Colin, though he

Ces arondelles qui vont, calls it a lay,

Et qui sont

Du printemps les messageres. Which once he made as by a spring he lay,

L'aubespine et l'aiglantin, And tuned it unto the water's fall,

Et le thym, had yet some snatches of this me- L'æillet, le lis, et les roses lody floating in his ear, which min- En ceste belle saison, gled themselves with the wilder A foison, music.

Monstrent leurs robes écloses.
Avril, l'honneur et des bois,

Le gentil rossignolet
Et des mois :

Avril, la douce esperance

Decoupe dessous l'ombrage,
Des fruicts qui sous le coton

Mille fredons babillars,
Du bouton

Nourrissent leur jeune enfance.

Au doux chant de son ramage.
Avril, l'honneur des prez verds,

C'est à ton heureux retour
Jaunes, pers,

Que l'amour
Qui d'une humeur bigarree

Souffle à doucettes haleines,
Emaillant de mille fleurs

Un feu croupi et couvert,
De couleurs,

Que l'hyver
Leur parure diapree.

Receloit dedans nos veines.
Avril, l'honneur des soupirs

Tu vois en ce temps nouveau
Des Zephyrs,

L'essain beau
Qui sous le vent de leur ælle

De ces pillardes avettes
Dressent encore és forests

Volleter de fleur en fleur,
Des doux rets,

Pour l'odeur
Pour ravir Flore la belle.

Qu'ils mussent en leurs cuissettes. Avril, c'est ta douce main,

May vantera ses fraischeurs,
Qui du sein

Ses fruicts meurs,
De la nature desserre

Et sa feconde rosee,
Une moisson de senteurs,

La manne et le sucre doux,
Et de fleurs,

Le miel roux,
Embasmant l'Air, et la Terre.

Dont sa grace est arrosee.
Avril, l'honneur verdissant,

Mais moy je donne ma voix

A ce mois,
Sur les tresses blondèlettes

Qui prend le surnom de celle
De ma Dame, et de son sein,

Qui de l'escumeuse mer
Tousjours plein

Veit germer
De mille et mille fleurettes.

Sa naissance maternelle. (Les Oeuvres Poetiques de Remy Belleau, 2 Tomes.

Paris, 1585, La Premiere Journce de la Bergerie, p. 126.)
April, sweet month, the daintiest of all,

Fair thee befal :
April, fond hope of fruits that lie
In buds of swathing cotton wrapt,

There closely lapt,
Nursing their tender infancy.
April, that dost thy yellow, green, and blue,

All round thee strew,
When, as thou go'st, the grassy floor
Is with a million flowers depeint,

Whose colours quaint
Have diaper'd the meadows o'er.

April, at whose glad coming Zephyrs rise

With whisper'd sighs,
Then on their light wing brush away,
And hang amid the woodlands fresh
Their aery

To tangle Flora on her way.
April, it is thy hand that doth unlock,

From plain and rock,
Odours and hues, a balmy store,
That breathing lie on Nature's breast,

So richly blest,
That earth or heaven ean ask no more.

April, thy blooms, amid the tresses laid

Of my sweet maid,
Adown her neck and bosom flow;
And in a wild profusion there,

Her shining hair
With them hath blent a golden glow.
April, the dimpled smiles, the playful grace,

That in the face
Of Cytherea haunt, are thine;
And thine the breath, that from their skies

The deities
Inhale, an offering at thy shrine.

'Tis thou that dost with summons blythe and soft,

High up aloft,
From banishment these heralds bring,
These swallows, that along the air

Scud swift, and bear
Glad tidings of the merry spring.
April, the hawthorn and the eglantine,

Purple woodbine,
Streak'd pink, and lily-cup, and rose,
And thyme, and marjoram, are spreading,

Where thou art treading,
And their sweet eyes for thee unclose.

The little nightingale sits singing aye

On leafy spray,
And in her fitful strain doth run
A thousand and a thousand changes,

With voice that ranges
Through every sweet division.
April, it is when thou dost come again,

That love is fain
With gentlest breath the fires to wake,
That cover'd up and slumbering lay,

Through many a day,
When winter's chill our veins did slake.
Sweet month, thou seest at this jocund prime

Of the spring-time,
The hives pour out their lusty young,
And hear’st the yellow bees that ply,

With laden thigh,
Murmuring the flowery wilds among.


May shall with pomp his wavy wealth unfold,

His fruits of gold,
His fertilizing dews, that swell
In manna on each spike and stem,

And, like a gem,
Red honey in the waxen cell.
Who will may praise him; but my voice shall be,

Sweet month, for thee ;
Thou that to her dost owe thy name,
Who saw the sea-wave's foamy tide

Swell and divide,

Whence forth to life and light she came. Remy Belleau was born at No- bove-mentioned, that he was resolved gent-le-Rotrou, in le Perche, 1528. to construct himself a monument of René de Lorraine, Marquis of El- precious stones. beuf, and General of the French Besides the editions of his works Gallies, committed to him the edu- which I have referred to, there is cation of his son. He died in Paris, said to be one priuted at Rouen, 1577. Some one said of him, in al- 1604. 2 Vols. 8vo. lusion to the first of his poems 2

JAN ANTOINE DE BAÏF. Both those, of whom I have last There is what appears to be the spoken, Bellay and Belleau, belong- game edition with his Passetems ed to that cluster of poets, to which added. was given the name of the French In the prefatory address to the Pleiad. lodelle, Thyard, Dorat, and Duke of Anjou, afterwards Henry Ronsard, were four others in this con- III. he speaks of the French poets stellation; and Jan Antoine de Baïf who have sung of love. They are made the seventh, whose lustre, if Bellay, Thyard, Ronsard, Belleau, it were proportioned to the number to whom he says, of verses he has left, would outshine Belleau gentil, qui d'esquise peinture most of them. But as it is rather Soigneusement imites la nature, by the virtue than the bulk of such Tu consacras de tes vers la plus part luminaries that we appreciate their De Cytheree au petit fils mignard. excellence, he must be satisfied with "Gentle Belleau, who dost diligentan inferior place. The chief thing ly copy nature with exquisite paintthat can be said of him, I think, is ing, thou hast consecrated the greatthat there is much ease in his man- er part of thy verses to the darling ner. But this is not enough to carry child of Venus.' To these he adds us through so many books as I have Desportes. to record the titles of under his name. Of the four books of his Francine It is said that no one has had the (the name of his mistress), and of courage to read them all since his his three other books, Des Diverses death.

Amours, there is very little by which Les Amours de Jan Antoine de I could hope to please my readers. Baïf. Paris. Pour Lucas Breyer, They will,' I doubt not, think the 1572. 2 vols. 8vo.

following sonnet enough.
Un jour quand de l'yver l'ennuieuse froidure

S'attedist, faisant place au printemps gracieux,
Lors que tout rit aux champs, et que les prez joyeux,

Peignent de belles fleurs leur riante verdure :
Pres du Clain tortueux sous une roche obscure

Un doux somme ferma d'un doux tien mes yeux,
Voyci en mon dormant une clairté des cieux
Venir l'ombre emflamer d'une lumiere pure.

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