Critical prefaces of the French Renaissance

By Bernard Weinberg | Go to book overview

JEAN VAUQUELIN DE LA FRESNAYE
PREFACE TO HIS Satyres Françoises 1605

TEXT:

Les Diverses Poesies dv Sievr de la Fresnaie Vavqvelin. Dont le contenu se void en la page suiuante. A Caen, Par Charles Macé Imprimeur du Roy. 1612. [Pierpont Morgan Library.]

[The 1612 edition is identical with the first edition of 1605 except for the t.p. and the preliminaries and the removal of the special t.p. for the "Satyres Françoises." Cf. Brunet, V, 1102, and Supplément, II, 848-49; Tchemerzine, X, 452-53; Le Petit, pp. 106-107; Cat. Rothschild, No. 725.]

There is some disagreement about the date of composition of Vauquelin de la Fresnaye 's Satires françaises. Achille Genty, in his edition of Vauque lin 's Art poétique ( Paris: Poulet-Malassis, 1862, p. xii), indicated that they were written between 1581 and 1585; but Hugo Lichtenauer, Jean Vauquelin ... der Schöpfer der klassischen Satire in Frankreich ( Dresden, 1889), pointed out that certain ones were written in 1588 or 1589, others after 1591. The preface is undated. It probably was written after the completion of the satires and just before their publication; Vauquelin speaks, in the final paragraph, of having published some of his verses "il y a près de cinquante ans," which must be a reference to the Foresteries of 1555. The preface was reprinted in a line-for-line transcription by Julien Travers in his edition of Les Diverses Poésies de Jean Vauquelin ... (Caen: Le Blanc-Hardel, 1869, I, 121-33). Travers also made a study of Vauquelin in the preliminary essay of his edition of the Œuvres diverses (Caen: Le Blanc-Hardel, 1872).


[I] DISCOURS POUR SERVIR DE PREFACE SUR LE SUJET DE LA SATYRE

La satyre estant une sorte de poësie qui n'est pas encores si commune en nostre France que les tragedies et comedies, j'ay bien voulu toucher quelque chose de l'antiquité de ce sujet pour en donner plus claire et facile intelligence, me persuadant que quand il sera connu il se pourra trouver autant utile et agreable en nostre langue que nul autre, quel qui puisse estre. Pour donc sçavoir d'où il a pris son origine et son commencement, il faut entendre qu'aux premiers temps que le monde sortoit de son enfance et que les gents estoient encores [I v] ignorants et grossiers, ayans plustost les mœurs simples et naturelles que fines et artificieuses, ils avoient accoutumé, comme bons et devotieux, de sacrifier à leurs dieux et d'acomplir leurs vœux avec grande feste et solennité; ce qu'ils

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