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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

But the chief were a certain Sieur de Nerveze


Scudery writes "Urfe," and this confirms the _obiter dictum_ of Sainte-Beuve, that with the Christian name, the "Monsieur," or some other title you must use the "_de_," otherwise not. But in this particular instance I think most French writers give the particle.

[127] I myself, in writing a _Short History of French Literature_ many years ago, had to apologise for incomplete knowledge; and I will not undertake even now to have read every romance cursorily mentioned in this chapter--indeed, some are not very easy to get at. But I have done my best to extend my knowledge, assisted by a rather minute study of the contemporary English heroic romance in prose and verse; and I believe I may say that I do now really know the _Grand Cyrus_, though even now I will again not say that I have read every one of its perhaps two million words, or even the whole of every one of its more than 12,000 pages. In regard to the _Astree_ I have been less fortunately situated; but "I have been there and still would go."

[128] The above remarks are most emphatically _not_ intended to refer to the work of Mr. Greg.

[129] The sheep, whether as a beast of most multitude or for more recondite reasons, has, of course, the preference; but it may be permissible to say that no guardian of animals is excluded. Goat-herds in the Greek ran the shepherd hard; neat-herds and swine-herds abound everywhere except,

as concerns the last, in Jewry; even the goose-girl figures, and has in Provencal at least a very pretty name--_auquiera_.

[130] The mediaeval _pastourelle_ is no doubt to some extent conventional and "made in moulds." But it is by no means so unreal as (whether Greek was so or not) Roman pastoral pretty certainly was, and as modern has been beyond possibility of doubt. How good it could be, without any convention at all, Henryson showed once for all in our own language by _Robene and Makyne_.

[131] _Theagenes and Chariclea_ had preceded it by thirteen years, though a fresh translation appeared in the same year, as did the first of _Hysminias and Hysmine_. Achilles Tatius (_Cleitophon and Leucippe_) had been partly done in 1545, but waited till 1568 for completion.

[132] _Op. cit. sup._

[133] They are almost always _Amours_ after their Greek prototypes, sometimes simple, often qualified, and these most frequently by such adjectives as "Infortunees et chastes," "Constantes et infortunees," "Chastes et heureuses," "Pudiques," etc. etc. Not a few are taken direct from episodes of Ariosto or other elders; otherwise they are "loves" of Laoniphile, Lozie, Poliphile and Mellonimphe, Pegase (who has somehow or other become a nymph) and Leandre, Dachmion and Deflore (a rather unlucky heroine-name), etc. etc. Their authors are nearly as numerous as their titles; but the chief were a certain Sieur de Nerveze, whose numerous individual efforts were collected more than once to the number at least of a good baker's dozen, and a Sieur des Escuteaux, who had the same fortune. Sometimes the Hellenism went rather to seed in such titles as _Erocaligenese_, which supposed itself to be Greek for "Naissance d'un bel amour." It is only (at least in England) in the very largest libraries, perhaps in the British Museum alone, that there is any chance of examining these things directly; some of them escaped even the mighty hunt of M. Reynier himself. What the present writer has found is treated shortly in the text.

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