Wit was all in all— not true wit, but that which consists in conceits and extravagant fancies. Contemporary notices, however, make it apparent that this piece came out first its Paris ; and it was impossible that he could have so well seized the peculiar tone of these sentimental pedants any where except in their very birth-place. Remy said to king Clovis — ' We must burn what we have adored, and adore what we have burnt. That this consisted in a true picture of the follies of society, idealised and grouped by the fancy, but in every part in accordance with nature.
He became aware, that he had but to examine the impression made on himself, and to embody the conceptions they suggested to his mind. As he went on writing, he in each new piece made great and manifest improvement. The splendours of the reign of Louis XIV. In an evil hour for himself, Fouquet, the minister of finances, got leave to entertain royalty at his villa, or rather palace. Blinded by prosperity, this unfortunate man thought to delight the king by the splendor of his entertainment ; he awoke indeed a desire to do the like in Louis's mind, but he gave the final blow to his own fortunes, already undermined.
His mortification made him suspect another more successful lover : he discovered the hidden and mutual passion of the king and the beautiful girl; and, with the most unworthy meanness, he threatened her with divulging the secret ; and added the insolence of an epigram on her personal appearance. He would have caused.
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Louis accordingly delayed his revenge. A glittering veil was drawn over the reality. With courtly ease he concealed his resentment by smiles ; and, while meditating the ruin of the master and giver of the feast, entered with an apparently unembarrassed mind on the enjoyment of the scene. English followers of the field find ample scope for ridicule in this scene, which in their eyes contrasts the rules of French sport most ludicrously with their more manly mode of running down the game.
Another more praiseworthy effort to please and flatter the king in this piece was the introducing an allusion to Louis's efforts to abolish the practice of duelling. Unfortunately this example was not followed by all. Many little-minded persons regarded with disdain a man stigmatised with the name of actor, while others.
The king generously took his part on these occasions. When brutally assaulted by a duke, the king reproved the noble severely. Madame Campan tells a story still more to this monarch's honour. You are probably hungry, I always get up with a good appetite ; sit at that table where they have placed my en cas de nuit " refreshment, prepared for the king in case he should be hungry in the night, and called an en cas. Not less delicate was the attention paid him by the poet Bellocq. He brought.
With Boileau he continued on friendly terms all his life. His old schoolfellow, " the joyous Chapelle," was his constant associate; though he was too turbulent and careless for the sensitive and orderly habits of the comedian.
She was beautiful, sprightly, clever, an admirable actress, fond of admiration and pleasure. Another author speaks of her acting ; and remarks on the judgment she displays. He always disdained to contradict the falsehood ; and it has generally been assumed by biographers, while they acquitted him of the alleged crime, that his wile was the daughter of Madeleine.
We owe the discovery of this falsehood to the pains which M. Poquelin, J. She is elegant and rich in her attire without affectation : she studies her dress, but forgets it the moment she appears on the stage; and if she ever touches her hair or her ornaments, this bye-play conceals a judicious and inartificial satire, and she thus enters more entirely into ridicule of the women she personates : but with all these advantages, she would not please so much but for her sweet-toned voice. She is aware of this, and changes it according to the character she fills.
Yet the gentleness of his nature made him find a thousand excuses for her : — " I am unhappy," he said, " but I deserve it ; I ought to have remembered that my habits are too severe for domestic life: I thought that my wife ought to regulate her manners and practices by my wishes ; but I feel that had she done so, she in her situation would be more unhappy than I am. She is gay and witty, and open to the pleasures of admiration.
This annoys me in spite of myself. I find fault— I complain. Yet this woman is a hundred times more reasonable than I am, and wishes to enjoy life ; she goes her own way, and secure in her innocence, she disdains the precautions I entreat her to observe. I take this neglect for contempt ; I wish to be assured of her kindness by the open expression of it, and that a more regular conduct should give me ease of mind.
But my wife, always equable and lively, who would be. Her conduct disgraced her; but she had not sufficient feeling either to shrink from public censure or the consciousness of rendering her husband unhappy. To these domestic discomforts were added his task of manager ; the difficulty of keeping rival actresses in good humour, the labour of pleasing a capricious public.
The latter task, as well as that of amusing his sovereign, was by far the easiest; as in doing so he followed the natural bent of his genius. He had begun the " Tartuffe. The part, however, of the Country Girl herself, personated by Mrs. The " Impromptu de Versailles " was written in the same spirit, at the command of the king. The war of words thus carried on, and replied to, grew more and more bitter :.
In those days, as in those of our Elizabeth, the king and courtiers took parts in the ballets. This seizing as it were on the bared inner kernel of some fashionable vanity, and giving it its true and undisguised name and definition, often shocked ears polite. They called that "vulgar," which was only stripping selfishness or ignorance of its cloak, and bringing home to the hearts of the lowly-born the fact, that the follies of the great are akin to their own : the people laughed to find the courtier of the same flesh and blood ; but the courtier drew up, and said, that it was vulgar to present him en dishabille to the commonalty.
If you pleased less how much better pleased would your censurers be! He still hoped to gain leave to represent his satire on hypocrites.
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When travelling, Louis was accustomed to make his supper his best meal, to which, of course, he brought a good appetite : one afternoon he invited his former preceptor, Perefixe, bishop of Rhodez, to join him ; but the prelate, with affected sanctity, declined, as he had dined, and never ate a second meal on a fast-day. The king saw a smile on a bystander's face at this answer, and asked the cause. In reply, the courtier said, that it arose from his sense of the bishop's self-denial, considering the dinner he enjoyed. The detail of the dinner followed, dish after dish in long succession ; and the king, as each viand was named, exclaimed, le pauvre homme!
There is a well-known print of his reading it to the celebrated Ninon de l'Enclos, whose talents and wonderful tact for seizing the ridiculous he appreciated highly ; and to whom he partly owed the idea of the play, from an occurrence that befel her. On his return, Ninon restored hint his casket, and the value of money being increased, he was richer than.
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The king, however, remained his firm friend, and tried to compensate for the hardship he suffered on this occasion by giving his name to his company, and granting him a pension in consequence. It was the custom for the soldiers of the body guard of the king, and other privileged troops, to frequent the theatre without paying. These people filled the pit, to the great detriment of the profits of the actors. The soldiers were furious; they went in crowds to the theatre, resolved to force an entrance ; the unfortunate door-keeper was killed by a thousand sword-thrusts, and the rioters rushed into the house, resolved to revenge themselves on the actors, who trembled at the storm they had brought on themselves.
The younger Bejart encountered their fury with a joke, that somewhat appeased them : he was dressed for the part of an old man ; and came tottering forward, imploring them to spare the life of a poor old man, seventy-five years of age, who had only a few days of life left. He offered this surplus to his friend ; but she replied by threatening to throw the money out of window, if he said a word more on the subject.
The priest acted in a different way : he said he had employed the sum deposited with him in pious works, having preferred the good of Gourville's soul to pelf, which might have occasioned his perdition. One specific came into fashion after the other ; quack succeeded to quack ; and the more ignorant the greater was the pretension, the greater also the number of dupes. It is said, that the duke went to see the play, and came back quite satisfied ; saying, that the "Misanthrope" was a perfectly honest and excellent man, and that a great honour, which he should never forget, was done him by assimilating them together.
There is indeed in Alceste a sensibility, joined to his sincerity and goodness of heart, that renders him very attractive; and thus, as is often the case when genius mirrors nature, the ridicule the author pretends to wish to throw on the victim recoils on the apparently triumphant personages : the time-serving Philinthe is quite contemptible; and every honest heart echoes the disgust Alceste feels for the deceits and selfishness of society.
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His mind was set on bringing out the "Tartuffe. In this new shape his comedy was acted once ; but, on the following day the first president, Lamoignon, forbade it. Meanwhile he brought out "Amphitryon," " L'Avare," and " George Dandin" all of which rank among his best plays. The first has a more fanciful and playful spirit added to its comedy than any other of his productions, and displays more elegance and a more subtle wit.
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As a specimen of mingled wit and humour, let us take the scene between Sosia and Mercury, when the latter, assuming his name and appearance, attempts to deprive him of his identity by force of blows. Sosia exclaims,—. And again, when Sosia tries to explain to Amphitryon how another himself prevented him from entering his house : —. There were so many George Dandins in the world. One in particular was pointed out to him as being at the same time an influential person, who, offended by his play, might cause its ill success.