Critical prefaces of the French Renaissance

By Bernard Weinberg | Go to book overview

ANTOINE DE HARSY
DEDICATION TO THE Oeuvres Poëtiques OF MELLIN DE SAINT-GELAIS
1574

TEXT:

Oevvres Poëtiqves De Mellin De S. Gelais. A Lyon, Par Antoine de Harsy, M. D. LXXIIII. Auec Priuilege du Roy. [B.N., Paris.]

[Cf. Brunet, V, 46, and Supplément, II, 557; Tchemerzine, X, 108; Le Petit, p. 84; Cat. Rothschild, No. 630. The copy at the Library of Congress, dated 1574, in reality belongs to the edition of Paris: Guillaume de Luyne, 1656, with the spurious title page found in most copies; cf. the above references. The edition of Lyon: Benoist Rigaud, 1582, has not been collated.]

The first edition of the poetic works of Mellin de Saint-Gelais appeared in 1547. But that edition was apparently already rare in the sixteenth century, since Harsy did not know it; he speaks only of the poems scattered in the works of other authors and calls his own edition "ce beau fruict postume." It was on the margins of a copy of this Harsy edition of 1574 that Bernard de la Monnoye made various annotations, which were first published in the edition of Prosper Blanchemain, Paris: Bibliothèque Elzévirienne, 1873.


[†2] À TRÈS DOCTE ET VERTUEUX SEIGNEUR, MONSEIGNEUR M. HIEROSME CHATILLON, CONSEILLER DU ROY, ET PRESIDENT EN LA COUR DE PARLEMENT DE DOMBES, ET EN LA SENESCHAUSSÉE ET SIEGE PRESIDIAL À LYONa

Que la poësie, monseigneur, soit une invention belle et gentile, voire grandement recreative et plaisante, il est assez notoire, et n'y a (comme j'estime) bon esprit qui aucunement en doute; mais de son efficace et vertu beaucoup en parlent diversement. Toutesfois, laissant l'opinion d'aucuns bijarres cerveaux qui l'ont en mauvaise reputation pource qu'elle engendre, disent-ils, beaucoup de lascivetés ès esprits de ceux qui s'y addonnent, prenans leur argument sur quelques nouvelles poësies, je m'arresteray à ce qu'en ont jugé nos bons anciens, lesquels vrayement l'ont estimée si excellente, et de telle utilité, force et vigueur, qu'ils en ont rapporté l'origine à leurs [†2 v] dieux, disans la poësie n'estre autre chose qu'un enthousiasme ou celeste fureur; bref que sur tous autres amateurs de sagesse on les devoir tenir pour saincts et sacrés; qui est la cause aussi que bien souvent en

____________________
a
. Bernard de la Monnoye provides a note on Châtillon, who associated with various savants of the period, in his commentary on the poems of Saint-Gelais; cf. ed. Blanchemain, Paris: Bibliothèque Elzévirienne, 1873, I, 145-46.

-237-

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