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the beginning of the year 1639. Under date of January 15 of that year we have another letter of Chapelain to Balzac, written in Paris, in which he says: «Corneille est ici depuis trois jours et d'abord m'est venu faire un éclaircissement sur le livre de l'Académie pour ou plutôt contre le Cid, m'accusant, et non sans raison, d'en être le principal auteur. Il ne fait plus rien, et Scudéry a du moins gagné cela, en le querellant, qu'il l'a rebuté du métier, et lui a tari sa veine. Je l'ai, autant que j'ai pu, réchauffé et encouragé à se venger, et de Scudéry et de sa protectrice, en faisant quelque nouveau Cid, qui attire encore les suffrages de tout le monde, et qui montre que l'art n'est pas ce qui fait la beauté; mais il n'y a pas moyen de l'y résoudre, et il ne parle plus que de règles, et que des choses qu'il eût pu répondre aux académiciens, s'il n'eût point craint de choquer les puissances, mettant, au reste, Aristote entre les auteurs apocryphes, lorsqu'il ne s'accomode pas à ces imaginations.>>

Another portion of his time was taken up with the duties incident to his position as conseiller et avocat général à la table de marbre des eaux et forêts de Rouen. Here also he was beset with worry and care. A certain François Hays had obtained an appointment sharing the office with the poet, thus reducing the revenues by half. Corneille appealed, and, though we are ignorant of the outcome of the suit, we may be certain that it caused him anxiety. Then, as the oldest of the children, family cares fell upon his shoulders. His father died on February 12, 1639, and the management and division Mairet, one of the documents in the famous Quarrel. The author said: «Si par de petites escarmouches vous amusiez un si puissant ennemi, vous dissiperiez un nuage qui se forme en Normandie, et qui vous menace d'une furieuse tempête pour cet hiver >> (i. e. the winter of 1637). The reference is too indefinite tɔ warrant the conclusion often drawn that it indicates the initial preparations for Horace.

of the property as well as the education of the younger brothers and sisters were left in his hands.

The time was, however, not all spent in brooding, and attending to the demands of the struggle for existence. He studied Aristotle and Horace, and much of the intimate knowledge of Roman history which characterizes his later work was probably gained from reading pursued during these years. His visit to Paris and his interview with Chapelain may have incited him to put his hand again to the plough.

The new play was presented to the public within a year after this visit. Made wise by the surprises that awaited him after the unheralded appearance of the Cid, Corneille resolved this time to conciliate, if possible, those who would be influential in directing public opinion. He decided to read the play in private to certain gentlemen, who had been prominent in the Quarrel of the Cid. The reading took place at the house of Boisrobert, a close friend of Richelieu's, but we have only a few meager details concerning the scene itself. The Abbé d'Aubignac, the future author of the Pratique du Théâtre (1657) was present, and he gives us the names of some of the other gentlemen who had been invited.' These were Chapelain, Barreau, Charpi, Faret and L'Estoile, most of them members of the Academy, and men whose judgment and taste could not be ignored.

The host seems to have praised the play; at least this is the inference which may be drawn from the following anecdote in the Menagiana. « M. Corneille reprochait un jour à M. de Boisrobert qu'il avait mal parlé d'une de ses pièces, étant sur le théâtre. 'Comment pourrais-je

1 Troisième dissertation concernant le poème dramatique en forme de remarques sur la tragédie de M. Corneille, intitulée l'Edipe.

2 Vol. II, p. 162.

avoir mal parlé de vos vers sur le théâtre, lui dit M. de Boisrobert, les ayant trouvés admirables dans le temps que vous les barbouilliez en ma présence?' Il voulait dire par là que M. Corneille lisait mal ses vers, qui étaient d'ailleurs très beaux, lorsqu'on les entendait dans la bouche des meilleurs acteurs du monde.» Chapelain criticised the end of the play, calling it « brutale et froide,» and outlined another dénouement.' D'Aubignac found fault with the play on the same score, and advanced criticisms against the position occupied by Valère in the play. We do not know how Corneille accepted these criticisms at the time, though it is evident that they did not cause him to change the form of his play. D'Aubignac's censures appeared in print seventeen years later (1657), and then Corneille, made bold by the established success

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1 1 This information is gathered from a letter of Chapelain to Balzac under date of November 17, 1640, where he wrote as follows: «Dès l'année passée, je lui dis qu'il fallait changer son cinquième acte des Horaces, et lui dis par le menu comment; à quoi il avait résisté toujours depuis, quoique tout le monde lui criât que sa fin était brutale et froide, et qu'il en devait passer par mon avis. Enfin, de lui-même, il me vint dire qu'il se rendait et qu'il le changerait, et que ce qu'il ne l'avait pas fait était pource qu'en matière d'avis, il craignait toujours qu'on ne les lui donnât par envie et pour détruire ce qu'il avait bien fait. Vous rirez sans doute de ce mauvais compliment, pour le moins si vous êtes comme moi, qui me contente de connaître les sottises sans m'en émouvoir ni fâcher ..."

2 « La mort de Camille par la main d'Horace, son frère, n'a pas été approuvée au théâtre, bien que ce soit une aventure véritable, et j'avais été d'avis, pour sauver en quelque sorte l'histoire, et tout ensemble la bienséance de la scène, que cette fille désespérée, voyant son frère l'épée à la main, se fût précipitée dessus: ainsi elle fût morte de la main d'Horace, et lui eût été digne de compassion comme un malheureux innocent; l'histoire et le théâtre auraient été d'accord.>> Pratique du Théâtre, p. 82.

« Le discours mêlé de douleur et d'indignation que Valère fait dans le cinquième acte s'est trouvé froid, inutile et sans

of the play, and also with a certain grain of malice, answered them in the Examen, printed on pp. 15-20, which appeared in 1660, without, however, mentioning D'Aubignac's name.

The success of the play seems to have been instantaneous. Naturally there were rumors of further strife and attack, and Corneille himself appears to have expected another outburst, when the play appeared in print in 1641. Pellisson wrote: « Il courait un bruit qu'on ferait encore des observations et un nouveau jugement sur cette pièce.»1 When the danger seemed past, Corneille said to one of his friends: «< Horace fut condamné par les Duumvirs; mais il fut absous par le peuple.» Who these duumvirs were, remains a matter of surmise. One of them probably was the Cardinal Richelieu, whom with another person in high position, whose identity has so far remained unknown, Corneille always believed to be the prime mover in the whole discussion about the Cid. And it was probably with the thought of the impending danger before him that he wrote the dedication to Richelieu which accompanied the appearance of the play in print.

effet, parce que dans le cours de la pièce, il n'avait point paru touché d'un si grand amour pour Camille, ni si empressé pour en obtenir la possession que les spectateurs se dussent mettre en peine de ce qu'il pense, ni de ce qu'il doit dire après sa mort . . . Selon l'humeur des Français, il faut que Valère cherche une plus noble voie pour venger sa maîtresse, et nous souffririons plus volontiers qu'il étranglât Horace que de lui faire un procès. Un coup de fureur serait plus conforme á la générosité de notre noblesse, qu'une action de chicane qui tient un peu de la lâcheté, et que nous haïssons.» Ibidem, pp. 433 and 436.

1 Pellisson, Histoire de l'Académie Française, edited by Livet, Paris, 1858, vol. I, p. 98.

2 Pellisson, ibid.

II. THE SOURCES

The combat of the Horatii and Curiatii had been three times utilized for dramatic purposes before Corneille. In Italy Pietro Aretino had published in 1546 a tragedy, entitled L'Orazia, in which the heroine is the sister of Horace, the Camille of Corneille's play. In France Laudun d'Aigaliers had chosen the same subject in his Horace, tragédie, 1596, and in Spain the story had served as background for Lope de Vega's El Honrado Hermano, tragicomedia famosa, published in 1622. Corneille might have known any one of these plays, but comparison has established the fact that he has not made use of them. It will be safest, therefore, to maintain that the original cause which led Corneille to the selection of this subject is obscure at present. One or two considerations, however, may allow us glimpses of his attitude.

Subjects for the composition of tragedies had by common tradition for nearly a century had been sought in classical antiquity. The French plays had been either translations or adaptations of classical plays, or they had treated an incident from ancient history strictly upon classical models. Corneille showed himself plainly in sympathy with this tradition when he wrote his adaptation of Seneca's Medea. A sudden enthusiasm for the Spanish drama, aroused, as it would seem, by a conversation with a certain M. de Chalons, opened up the treasures of Spanish literature to him, and the Cid was the result of this new interest. But its appearance created jealousy and hostile criticism, and Corneille preferred to return to the beaten path.

We find in the next place that he was at this period much preoccupied with the thought of the struggle occasioned by the conflict between passion and duty, and see

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