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Antony, a French ghost, however, who was careful to declare in the opening lines of the play that Cleopatra would duly die within the prescribed number of hours :

Avant que ce soleil qui vient ores de naistre,
Ayant tracé son jour, chez sa tante se plonge,
Cléopâtre mourra.

National and historical subjects were as popular in France as in England. On the London stage Elizabeth appears in a play of Shakespeare, James the Fourth in a play of Greene, Henri the Third of France in a play of Marlowe, Henri the Fourth (yet on the throne) in a play of Chapman. In France Gerland takes for his subject all the troubles of France from the death of Henri the Second till 1566;' Pierre Matthieu writes a tragedy with a chorus, messengers, &c., "offering a lively and impartial picture of the massacre of the Duke of Guise ;' Claude Billard writes a drama on the assassination of Henri the Fourth in the year of the event.

No care was taken of that recul so much thought of by Racine.

All those men lacked genius–nay, most of them even talent. No example left by them would serve as proof positive that men of genius could flourish outside the Aristotelian sheepfold; English examples being unknown, great as they were, could not supply that proof. As years went on the phenomenon grew stranger; opportunities for knowing English literature, and especially the English drama, increased ; French dramatists (Montchrétien, Schélandre, and others) visited England ; English dramatists and comedians visited France; but the English models remained as profoundly ignored as before.

English players came to France in the time of Shakespeare and performed dramas in the city and at Court. They were not mere strolling players; they did things on a rather large scale, for there was only one theatre in Paris, and that one they hired. The lease, dated on the 25th of May, 1598, by which the Confrères de la Passion allow them free use of the grande salle et théâtre de l'Hôtel de Bourgogne is still in existence among the papers of a notary public in Paris. They had at their head • Jehan Sehais, comédien anglois.' Most sanguine and indefatigable as it seems, they invaded, so to say, the town; the Hôtel de Bourgogne was not enough for them ; they wanted to, and actually did, play outside the hôtel, contrary to the privileges of the Passion Brothers. The judge had to interfere, and the Châtelet passed a sentence à l'encontre desdits comédiens anglois, obliging them to pay an indemnity to the Brothers. Whether owing to this quarrel or to other causes, the experiment does not seem to have been carried on for a long while, and it could scarcely be expected to in a town in which fewer people were in a situation to understand the players than if they had spoken native Brazilian.


Another English troupe appeared, however, in France some years later, and gave representations in the palace of Fontainebleau, where King Henri the Fourth and his son the future Louis the Thirteenth were staying. Héroard, physician-in-ordinary to the young prince, who was then scarcely four years old, saw the play with his pupil. It consisted in one of those wild and bloody dramas destined to cause such lively discussions in France a century and a half later. Héroard writes in his journal: “Saturday 18th [September 1604]: At half-past three, lunch; conducted then the Dauphin to the great new hall, to hear a tragedy performed by English players. He listened with coldness, gravity, and patience till the head of one of the heroes had to be cut off. What took place then? Was the child indignant as by a prescience of the arrests of Boileau ? Did he lose his coldness or his patience ? Héroard is mute on this point, but he continues: "Taken him to the garden and then to the kennel to see the

quarry of the hart given to the hounds. He sees the hounds come to his very feet, busy with the carnage, and he sights the scene with the most remarkable assurance.' The physician observes elsewhere that the child feels interested only in weapons, • all other pastimes being as nothing to him.' It seems most probable, therefore, that when he saw the head cut off in the play he was not shocked; his coldness, not his patience, vanished.

Young Louis kept, in any case, a most lively remembrance of the tragedy and of the acting, words, and attitudes of the English players. He was very fond of mimicking what had struck him ; when Master Guillaume,' the fool of Henri the Fourth, had been with him, with mirth and laughter he repeated his jokes.' In the same way, ten days after the play, ‘he asks,” says Héroard again, “to be disguised ; and with his apron on his head and a gauze scarf he imitates the English comedians who were at court, and whom he had seen play. The day after he thinks again of them. ' He says that he wants to play in a play. “ Monsieur," I said, “how will you say?" He answers : Tiph, toph," swelling his voice. At half-past six, supped. He goes to his room, has himself dressed in his disguise, and says: “Let us go and see maman; we are comedians.”' On the 3rd of October he is haunted still by the lively remembrance of that memorable performance. ““Let us dress as comedians,” he says. His apron was tied on his head, and he began talking away, saying, Tiph, toph, milord,pacing the room in long strides.' The rant, the long strides, the head cut off, all that befits many an English drama and many an English actor of the period. Youthful Louis did not prove a bad observer, and if, when on the throne, arms and hunting had not become his only pastimes, he would, probably enough, have given his support to a sort of drama different from the kind that was to be favoured later by a certain young man then nineteen, and very busy with theological studies, the future Cardinal de Richelieu.

Vol. XLIII-No. 254


Comedians came; critics and masters of the art did the same. Sidney visited France in his youth, and imbibed perhaps there his fondness for the unities. He appeared at the Court of Charles the Ninth in 1572, at the very time when Ronsard was staying there, had an apartment in the Louvre, and was writing his peerless sonnets for * Hélène.' Elegant, graceful and learned, a poet born, Sidney pleased everybody, and, though a foreigner, was appointed by the king gentleman of his chamber. Henri of Navarre, who was to welcome the English comedians at Fontainebleau, struck up a friendship with him. He must surely have known Hélène de Surgères, who was then maid of honour of Catherine de Médicis, and the beloved of Ronsard ; whether he may not have climbed in company with the elder poet the interminable stairs which led to the rooms of the docte de la cour is left for speculation :

Tu loges au sommet du palais de nos rois,
Olympe n'avait pas la cime si hautaine.

If his sojourn left few traces, his name was not forgotten in France, for he received the first homage addressed to an English poet by a French poet since the days of Chaucer and Deschamps. Two centuries after Deschamps had praised the God of worldly loves in Albion,' Du Bartas celebrated the merits of that cygne doux-chantant Sir Philip Sidney.

Another came, and no one would have been better entitled to a hearing; Ben Jonson, who was then at the height of his fame, having given most of his great plays, including his Roman tragedies of Sejanus and Catilina. He was the regent of Parnassus in his country; he felt a boundless admiration for the ancients, and he had translated into English verse Horace's Epistle to the Pisos. All this ought to have secured for him a welcome. An intimate friend of Shakespeare, whom a few years before he used to meet constantly at the tavern, he might have given some idea of what the English drama was like. But old Ben loved a tavern even when there was no Shakespeare in it, and he appears to have made himself conspicuous in Paris only as a drinker. He accompanied to France young Raleigh, the son of the famous captain and courtier. young fellow, an enterprising youth who had already killed his man in a duel (his tutor being the last person who might have blamed him for it, as he had done the same), gave himself the pleasure of causing his master 'to be drunken and dead drunk so that he knew not where he was. Young Raleigh placed him then on a car which was drawn in the streets of the capital, and passers-by were free to admire Silenus asleep.

The end of the period draws near; it ends as it began. The Wyatts, Surreys, Sackvilles, Sidneys, Jonsons, and many others journeyed to France; all they wrote, all that was written by others in the English language, be it Spenser's poems or Shakespeare's plays, remained unknown, not even the name crossing the Channel ; opportunities after opportunities were lost; an intimate intercourse yielded no result, the one French poet who came nearest giving his compatriots a suspicion that there was such a thing as an English literature. Du Bartas, surveying 'the spacious times' in which he was living, could only name three writers, the pillars,' he says, 'of the English speech'-More, Bacon, and Sidney:

Le parler des Anglois a pour fermes piliers
Thomas More et Baccon, tous deux grands chanceliers;
Et le milor Cydné, qui, cygne doux-chantant,
Va les flots orgueilleux de Tamise flatant.

For one poet alone he did more than merely mention his name, and that was James the Sixth, whose poem on the battle of Lepanto was by him tourné de Latin en François. James is eulogised as being an eagle and a phenix and a true guide to the heaven of poetry. This may be considered the acme and comble of lost opportunities.

Elizabeth dies in 1603, Shakespeare in 1616. So few English literary works had been translated into French that it would be easy to count them on the fingers of one hand. And the translators were as perversely minded as they were scant in number. France had, owing to them, a knowledge of Greene's Pandosto and Nash's Pierce Penilesse a century before she knew Shakespeare. A change will come, a slow but total one. Tables will be turned one day; novelists and dramatists will enjoy an extra popularity in Paris because English, and Boissy will be able to match Sir Thomas More's picture of the Franco-maniac Englishman with his clever sketches of the Anglomaniac Frenchman. Many years—all the grand siècle—have to pass before that transformation takes place. At the end of the Tudor period English literature was to the French public as though it had been written in that "language of the Antipodes,' spoken of by Rabelais, and which even the Devil would not have a try at.' Anglicum est, non legitur.




PARTY government in any sphere of local or national life seems to some a wholly irrational and indefensible thing. In the election to administrative or legislative offices, ought not, say they, the merits, abilities, and fitness of the rival candidates for those offices to be the sole consideration without reference to their opinions upon other and extraneous subjects? What, for example, has a man's opinions upon Home Rule to do with his fitness to manage public elementary schools or a municipal gasworks? Or, why should a man competent to direct Imperial policy be driven from office because of his views upon a municipal water question ? Theoretically there seems to be but one reply to such questions, and that in a sense adverse to what is known as party government. And yet the practical outcome of government by the people for the people' has been the substitution of party ties and responsibilities for individual preferences and independence.

The tendency towards a system of party government which has been irresistible and uniform in national affairs, has been felt also in the sphere of municipal concerns. But its operation has not been universal and uniform. Various causes, chiefly arising from the exigencies of local circumstances and life, have combined to neutralise it. But in the main, wherever the magnitude of municipal affairs has been considerable, the tendency to introduce party government into local administrations has successfully asserted itself. The municipal elections in the large provincial cities and towns have long been contested upon party issues; and the results are indications of the trend of public opinion upon questions of national polier, simply because municipal parties are in the main identical with political ones.

The introduction of party politics into London municipal affairs dates from the establishment of the first municipal institution directly elected by the electors of the whole Metropolitan area. That institution was the School Board for London, which was established by the Education Act of 1870. Although the public

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