Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ibid. 1689, iscussed (by Desertion;

from the beginning of Sept. 1688 to Feb. 12 following," ibid. 1689, 8vo. 8. “ An Answer to a piece called The Desertion discussed (by Jeremy Collier),” printed at the end of the “ History of the Desertion.” 9. “ The Doctrine of Passive Obedience and Non-Resistance no way concerned in the controversies now depending between the Williamites and the Jacobites,” ibid. 1689, 4to. In page 24th is a passage respecting bishop Ken, which Mr. Bohun found to be untrue, and therefore requests that it may be cancelled. 10. “ The Life of John Jewell, bishop of Salisbury,” prefixed to a translation of his Apology, 1685. 11.“ Three Charges delivered at the general quarter sessions holden at Ipswich, for the county of Suffolk, in 1691, 1692, and 1693,” 4to. 12. “ The great Historical, Geographical, and Poetical Dictionary," Lond. 1694, fol. He also translated Sicurus' origin of Atheism the Universal Bibliotheque, or account of books for Jan. Feb. and March 1687

Sleidan's History of the Reformation-Puffendorff's Present State of Germany, and Degory Wheare's Method of reading History, Lond. 1698, 8vo.

BOIARDO (MATTEO-MARIA), count of Scandiano, an Italian poet, was born at the castle of Scandiano, near Reggio in Lombardy, about the year 1134. He studied at the university of Ferrara, and remained in that city the greater part of his life, attached to the ducal court. He was particularly in great favour with the duke Borso and Hercules I. his successor. He accompanied Borso in a journey to Rome in 1471, and the year following was selected by Hercules to escort to Ferrara, Eleonora of Aragon, his future duchess. In 1481 he was appointed governor of Reggio, and was also captain-general of Modena, He died at Reggio, Dec. 20, 1494. He was one of the most learned and accomplished men of his time, a very distinguished Greek and Latin scholar, and at a time when Italian poetry was in credit, one of those poets who added to the reputation of his age and country. He translated Herodotus from the Greek into Italian, and Apuleius from the Latin. He wrote also Latin poetry, as his “ Carmen Bucolicum," eight eclogues in hexameters, dedicated to duke Hercules I. Reggio, 1500, 4to; Venice, 1528 ; and in Italian, “Sonetti e Canzoni,” Reggio, 1499, 4to ; Venice, 1501, 4to, in a style rather easy than elegant, and

| Ath. Ox. vol. II.

imon, performed. Or Latin court first of out withon,

occasionally betraying the author's learning, but without affectation. Hercules of Este was the first of the Italian sovereigns who entertained the court with a magnificent theatre on which Greek or Latin comedies, translated into Italian, were performed. For this theatre Boiardo wrote his “ Timon," taken from a dialogue of Lucian, which may be accounted the first comedy written in Italian. The first edition of it, according to Tiraboschi, was that printed at Scandiano, 1500, 4to. The one, without a date, in 8vo, he thinks was the second. It was afterwards reprinted at Venice, 1504, 1515, and 1517, Svo. But Boiardo is principally known by his epic romance of “ Orlando Innamorato," of which the celebrated poem of Ariosto is not only an imitation, but a continuation. Of this work, he did not live to complete the third book, nor is it probable that any part of it had the advantage of his last corrections, yet it is justly regarded as exhibiting, upon the whole, a warmth of imagination, and a vivacity of colouring, which rendered it highly interesting : nor is it, perhaps, without reason, that the simplicity of the original has occasioned it to be preferred to the same work, as altered or reformed by Francesco Berni (See BERNI). The “ Orlando Innamorato" was first printed at Scandiano, about the year 1495, and afterwards at Venice, 1500, which De Bure erroneously calls the first edition. From the third book where Boiardo's labours cease, it was continued by Niccolo Agostini, and of this joint production numerous editions have been published. ?

BOILEAU (Nicholas DESPREAUX), an eminent French poet, usually called by his countrymen DESPREAUX, was born on November 1, 1636. His parents were Gilles Boileau, register of the great chamber, and Ann de Nielle, his second wife; but it is uncertain whether he was born at Paris or Crone. In his early years, he was the reverse of those infantine prodigies who often in mature age scarcely attain to mediocrity; on the contrary, he was heavy and taciturn; nor was his taciturnity of that observing kind which denotes sly mischief at the bottom, but the downright barren taciturnity of insipid good-nature. His father, on comparing him with his other children, used to say, “ as for this, he is a good-tempered fellow, who will never

i Ginguené Hist. Litt. d'Italie. Roscoe's Leo. ---Moreri. -Tiraboschi, Saxil Onomasticon.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of biok him

speak ill of any one.” In his infancy, however, he appears to have been of a very tender constitution, and is said to have undergone the operation for the stone at the age of eight. Through compliance with the wishes of his family, he commenced with being a counsellor; but the dryness of the Code and Digest soon disgusted him with this profession, which, his eulogist thinks, was a loss to the bar. When M. Dongois, bis brother-in-law, register of parliament, took him to his house in order to form him to the style of business, he had a decree to draw up in an important cause, which he composed with enthusiasm, while, he dictated it to Boileau with an emphasis which shewed how much he was satisfied with the sublimity of his work; but when he had finished, he perceived that Boileau was fallen asleep, after having written but few words. Transported with anger, he sent him back to his father, assuring him he 6 would be nothing but a blockhead all the rest of his life.” After this he began to study scholastic divinity, which was still less suited to his taste, and at length he became what he himself wished to be a Poet; and, as if to belie, at setting out, his father's prediction, he commenced at the age of thirty, with satire, which let loose against him the crowd of writers whom he attacked, but gave him friends, or rather readers, among that very numerous class of the public, who, through an inconstancy cruelly rooted in the human heart, love to see those bumbled whom even they esteem the most. But whatever favour and encouragement so general a disposition might promise Boileau, he could not avoid meeting with censurers among men of worth. Of this number was the duke de Montausier, who valued himself upon an inflexible and rigorous virtue, and disliked satire. But, as it was of the greatest importance to Boileau to gain over to his interest one of the first persons about court, whose credit was the more formidable, as it was supported by that personal consideration which is not always joined to it, he introduced into one of his pieces a panegyrical notice of the duke de Montausier, which was neither flat nor exaggerated, and it produced the desired effect. Encouraged by this first success, Boileau lost no time in giving the final blow to the tottering austerity of his censurer, by confessing to him, with an air of contrition, how humiliated he felt himself at missing the friendship of "the worthiest man at court.” From that moment, the worthiest man at court became the protector and apologist of the most caustic of all writers. Though we attach less value to the satires of Boileau than to his other works, and think not very highly of his conduct to his patron, yet it must be allowed that he never attacks bad taste and bad writers, but with the weapons of pleasantry; and never speaks of vice and wicked men but with indignation. Boileau, however, soon became sensible that in order to reach posterity it is not sufficient to supply some ephemeral food to the malignity of contemporaries, but to be the writer of all times and all places. This led him to produce those works which will render his fame perpetual. He wrote his “ Epistles,” in which, with delicate , praises, he has internixed precepts of literature and morality, delivered with the most striking truth and the hap. piest precision; and in 1674 his celebrated mock-heroic, the “ Lutrin,” which, with so small a ground of matter, contains so much variety, action, and grace; and his “ Art of Poetry," which is in French what that of Horace is in Latin, the code of good taste. In these he expresses in harmonious verse, full of strength and elegance, the principles of reason and good taste; and was the first who discovered and developed, by the union of example to precept, the highly difficult art of French versification. Before Boileau, indeed, Malherbe had begun to detect the secret, but he had guessed it only in part, and had kept his knowledge for his own use; and Corneille, though he had written “ Cinna” and “ Polieucte," had no other secret than his instinct, and when this abandoned him, was no longer Corneille. Boileau had the rare merit, which can belong only to a superior genius, of forming by his lessons and productions the first school of poetry in France; and it · may be added, that of all the poets who have preceded or followed him, none was better calculated than himself to be the head of such a school. In fact, the severe and decided correctness which characterizes his works, renders them singularly fit to serve as a study for scholars in poetry. In Racine he had a disciple who would have secured him immortality, even if he had not so well earned it by his own writings. Good judges have even asserted, that the pupil surpassed the master; but Boileau, whether inferior or equal to his scholar, always preserved that ascendancy over him, which a blunt and downright self-love will ever assume over a timid and delicate self-love, such as that of

Racine. The author of " Phædra” and of “ Athaliah" had always, either from deference or address, the complaisance to yield the first place to one who boasted of having been his master. Boileau, it is true, had a merit with respect to his disciple, which in the eyes of the latter must have been of inestimable value, that of having early been sensible of Racine's excellence, or rather of what he promised to become ; for it was not easy, in the author of the “ Freres Ennemis,'' to discover that of “ Andromache" and “ Britannicus,” and doubtless perceiving in Racine's first essays the germ of what he was one day to become, he felt how much care and culture it required to give it full expansion. · Boileau knew how to procure a still more powerful protection at court than the duke de Montausier's, that of Lewis XIV. himself. He lavished upon this monarch praises the more flattering, as they appeared dictated by the public voice, and merely the sincere and warm expression of the nation's intoxication with respect to its king. To add value to his homage, the artful satirist had the address to make his advantage of the reputation of frankness he had acquired, which served as a passport to those applauses which the poet seemed to bestow in spite of his nature; and he was particularly attentive, while bestowing praises on all those whose interest might either support or injure him, to reserve the first place, beyond comparison, for the monarch. Among other instances, he valued himself, as upon a great stroke of policy, for having contrived to place Monsieur, the king's brother, by the side of the king himself, in his verses, without hazard of wounding the jealousy of majesty ; and for having celebrated the conqueror of Cassel more feebly than the subduer of Flanders. He had however the art, or more properly the merit, along with his inundation of praises, to convey some useful lessons to the sovereign. Lewis XIV. as yet young and greedy of renown, which he mistook for real glory, was making preparations for war with Holland. Colbert, who knew how fatal to the people is the most glorious war, wished to divert the king from his design. He engaged Boileau to second his persuasions, by addressing to Lewis his first epistle, in which he proves that a king's true greatness consists in rendering his subjects happy, by securing them the blessings of peace. But although this epistle did not answer the intentions of the

d to plapon a gre Amongst place, be

« ZurückWeiter »