« ZurückWeiter »
was born in the beginning of the 17th century; he be. came an author at the age of fifteen, as he published a volume of poetry in 1624, consisting of quatrains, in hopour of old age. He gave over writing romances about the age of forty-five, and in his frequent journies to his territory of Gomberville, having formed a particular connection with the Solitaries of Port-Royal, he became occupied with more serious concerns, entered on a penitentiary life, and wrote, it is said, a sonnet on the Sacrament; he relaxed, however, we are told, towards the end of his days.
was by birth a Gascon, and was educated at Thoulouse. He came first to Paris in 1632, and entered into the guards. In the year 1648, he married a woman, who, according to some writers, had five husbands; and it has been said that Calprenede was poisoned by her; this story, however, is not believed, as it has been pretty well ascertained that he died in 1663, in consequence of an accident he met with from horseback. - Besides his romances, Calprenede has written a great number of tragedies, as La Mort de Mithridate, Le Comte d'Essex, Bradamante, &c. &c. In his prefaces to these tragedies, and in his conversation, he showed a good deal of that disposition for which the Gascons are proverbial. Boileau discovered this even in the heroes of his drainas :
“ Tout a l'humeur Gasconne en un auteur Guscon,
Cardinal Richelieu having read one of his tragedies, found the plot was tolerable, but declared the verses were luches ; this being reported to the author, he exclaimed, “ Comment! Láches-Cadédis il n'y a rien de lache dans la maison de la Calprenede.”
was born at Havre, but came at an early period of her life to Paris, where she chiefly resided till her death, which happened in 1701, when she was in the 94th year of her age. · The Hotel de Rambouillet seems to have been the nursery in which the first blossoms of her genius were fostered ; and it must be acknowledged, that if the suc. ceeding fruits were not of the finest flavour, their bulk was such as almost to render competition hopeless. They at least procured her admission into all the academies where women could be received. She corresponded with Queen Christina, from whom she received a pension with marks of particular favour, and during several years her house was attended by a sort of literary club, which at that time seems to have been the highest ambition of the women of letters at Paris. · These honours did not preserve her, more than het brother, from the satire of Boileau. The pomp and selfconceit of the brother, and the extreme ugliness of the sister, furnished the poet with abundant topics of ridi. cule. The earliest romances of Mad. Scuderi were published under the name of her brother, and, in fact, he contributed his assistance to these compositions.
It is said, that M. and Mad. Scuderi, travelling toge, ther at a time when they were engaged in the composition of Artamenes, arrived at a small inn, where they entered into a discussion, whether they should kill the prince Mazares, one of the characters in that romance, by poison or a dagger ; two merchants who overheard them, procured their arrest, and they were in consequence conducted to the Conciergerie, but dismissed after an explanation. A similar story has been somewhere related of Beaumont and Fletcher. While these dramatists were planning the plot of one of their tragedies at a tavern, the former was overheard to say, “ I'll undertake to kill the king.” Information being given of this apparently treasonable design, they were instantly apprehended, but were dismissed on explaining that they had merely imagined the death of a theatrical monarch.
No. VIII.-p. 241.
MADAME LA FAYETTE
was daughter of Aymar de la Vergne, governor of Havre de Grace. In 1655 she married Francis, Count de la Fayette. She was held in high esteem in the reign of Lewis XIV., and was much admired by all the wits of the period, who frequently assembled at her house, and to many of whom she was a liberal benefactress. Segrais, after being obliged to quit his residence with Ma
demoiselle Montpensier, became domesticated with Mad. La Fayette, and was the chief director of her literary pursuits. In his name her two celebrated romances were first given to the public, and it was on the appearance of Zayde, that Huet had the complaisance to write his excellent essay on the origin of romance. Besides her novels, Mad. La Fayette is author of Memoirs of the Court of France, in 1688, &c., History of Henrietta of England, and Portraits of Persons about Court; works admired for the same graces of style, and delicacy of sentiment, which characterize her Zayde and Princess of Cleves.
was born in 1688, and died in 1763 ; his life is not com. posed of many incidents; he was twice married, was very poor and very charitable, and very easily offended, particularly in any thing relating to his own works. His conversation, we are told, was singular, and for some time amusing, but at length became fatiguing from its metaphysical monotony; he was a man of no learning, and had a special contempt for the poetry of Homer, on whom he wrote a parody; he also travestied the Telemaque of Fenelon. Besides these works, and his novels, he was the author of a number of dramatic pieces,