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Background of "J’ay perdu ma tourterelle"

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Jean Passerat (1534-1602) was best known in his own time as a classicist and a humanist, and was a well-established professional public intellectual in 1574, when “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle” was written. 1 Passerat was born in the provincial city of Troyes, which is situated about a hundred miles east of Paris. He studied Latin and classical philology in Paris in his early twenties and was appointed to a lectureship at the Collège du Plessis in Paris in 1558, winning a series of increasingly prestigious positions at Parisian colleges in the years that followed as his fame as an orator spread. In 1564 Passerat was so well-regarded that he was appointed to organize all the celebrations for the historic royal visit of King Charles IX to Troyes; Passerat’s biographer Roger Patterson writes that “The choice of Passerat for this position of responsibility emphasises not only his importance as the leading literary figure from Troyes, but also gives some indication of his prominence at Court in Paris” (115). Passerat then went to Bourges to earn a law degree (so as to better understand and teach Cicero), a task which occupied him from 1564 to 1567. In 1568, after a trip to Italy, Passerat resumed his post at the highly-esteemed Collège du Cardinal Lemoine in Paris. The culmination of Passerat’s career came when he was thirty-eight; in 1572, he was appointed to the Chair of Latin Eloquence at the Collège Royal in Paris. His predecessor, the famous Protestant scholar Peter Ramus, had been killed that year in the bloody St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, in which more than two thousand Protestants died. Passerat (a relatively moderate Catholic) held this prestigious academic position for the rest of his life. He never married, and his works were edited and published posthumously by his nephew, Jean de Rougevalet.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Probably three-quarters of the works by Passerat printed during his life or shortly thereafter are in Latin, and his primary identity was that of a Latin orator and philologist. Passerat’s biographer and bibliographer Roger Patterson writes that “the single work by which Passerat wished to be remembered was (as his personal friend, [Jacques] Gillot, confided to [Joseph] Scaliger, his unique study of the morphological developments in the Latin language, posthumously published as De Literarum inter se cognatione ac permutatione Liber in 1606″ (5). Patterson argues persuasively that the lessening importance of Latin language and literature since the Renaissance has led to the misrepresentation of Passerat as a minor French poet, when in fact he was “generally considered to have been one of the most illustrious names in late sixteenth-century French humanism” (4). And to be a humanist was to be vital:

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Like all French scholars of this period, which was characterized by a vigorous pursuit of classical learning, Passerat’s entire career was devoted to rediscovering, annotating, emending, and restoring the original purity of thought and language to Latin and Greek texts corrupted by centuries of neglect. Seen as the renewal of letters (or restitutio bonarum litterarum, to borrow the humanist phrase), the French Renaissance produced men of unbounded enthusiasm, and with almost encyclopaedic interests, who considered it their solemn duty to diffuse the wisdom of Athens and Rome gleaned from years of study. To this end, the humanists played a highly active role in society (as opposed to the contemplative life of Mediaeval scholar-monks) and the careers they engaged in were manifold: grammarian, historian, lawyer, linguist, philologist, geographer, printer-publisher, poet, architect, numismatist, diplomat, antiquarian, lecturer, professional speech-writer, playwright, propagandist– […] Passerat was an archetypal humanist. (2)

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 In other words, a humanist was a professional public intellectual, and “Passerat was an archetypal humanist.”

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Original compositions in Latin such as Passerat’s paradoxical encomium Nihil (“Nothing”)–a satirical piece that according to Roger Patterson “was at one time his most frequently printed work”–were far more characteristic of Passerat’s whole body of work than the pastoral love lyric “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle,” and it was for that body of work that he was known in his own day (33). Passerat did move in the same circles as more important French lyricists; by far the best-known vernacular French poet of the late sixteenth century (now, as then) was Pierre de Ronsard, who was the most important member of the important group of poets called La Pléiade (“The Pleiades”). Ronsard called for a greater sophistication in French poetry, and his methods of achieving this goal included high diction and tone, the coining of new French words, and the frequent use of classical imitation and allusion. 2 Passerat and Ronsard were acquainted–were even friends–and there has been some debate over whether Passerat can be considered a minor member of the Pléiade.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Yet Passerat’s vernacular poetry tended to be simpler than that of the Pléiade, and when he attempted to follow the precepts of that school (he attempted to write vers mesurés at one point–the French equivalent of quantitative verse) the results were usually not as admired as his other work. Passerat was also one of the anonymous contributors to another highly non-Pléiadean satire, this one in French: the 1593/4 Satyre Ménippée de la vertu du Catholicon d’Espagne, et de la tenue des Estatz de Paris (“Menippean Satire on the Properties of Spanish ‘Catholicone,’ and on the Session of the Estates General of Paris”). Historians and literary historians of the French Renaissance generally mention Passerat, if at all, in the context of the Satyre Ménippée; it was a literarily and historically important work from the beginning. Nihil earned early translation into French, and both it and the Satyre Ménippée produced English imitations and translations during and shortly after Passerat’s lifetime. 3 “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle,” by contrast, was not translated into English until 1906–exactly three hundred years after its first publication.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle” was part of a longer memorial sequence, Le tombeau de Fleurie pour Niré (“The Tombstone of Fleurie for Niré”), which was first printed four years after Passerat’s death, in the 1606 Recueil des oeuvres poétiques de Ian Passerat augmenté de plus de la moitié, outre les précédentes impressions (“Collection of the Poetic Works of Jean Passerat, Augmented by More than Half, from Previous Editions”). An initial volume of Passerat’s work, Le premier liure des poemes de Iean Passerat (“The First Book of the Poems of Jean Passerat”) had been published in 1602, the year of the scholar’s death, but this volume had not included Le tombeau de Fleurie pour Niré, further suggesting that the sequence was not among the most popular of Passerat’s works. The music publishers Ballard and Le Roy did include one piece by Passerat in their 1578 Second livre d’airs, chansons, villanelles napolitaines et espagnolles mis en musique à quatre parties (“Second Book of Airs, Songs, Neapolitan Villanelles and Spanish Songs Set to Four-Part Music”), but this was not “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle,” nor was it even a villanelle napolitaine; it was, like many of Passerat’s lyrics, a sonnet. 4

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 Kane gives a clear and valuable summary of the slightly complicated issues surrounding the dating of Le tombeau de Fleurie pour Niré and the circumstances of its composition. She writes that the sequence was

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 produced by Passerat to commemorate the death of the king’s beloved mistress. The title of the entire sequence is “Le tombeau de Fleurie pour Niré” (“The Monument for Fleurie by Niré”)–“Fleurie” being the pet name for the mistress, and “Niré” being the pseudonym for the king. It was long believed, based on an editorial note by Prosper Blanchemain in the 1880 edition of Passerat’s Poésies françaises, that the sequence was written for King Henri IV upon the death of Gabrielle d’Estrées in 1599. The error was perpetuated by Edgar von Mojsisovics, who wrote a 1907 German-language thesis on Passerat, and it was picked up by [Ronald] McFarland.[…] Quite aside from the fact that Passerat was both blind and gravely ill in 1599, and could not possibly have produced the Tombeau in his physical condition, Roger Sorg published an article in 1925 which pointed out that Passerat’s sequence bears many striking parallels to the Tombeaux written by Ronsard, Desportes, and Amadis Jamyn upon the death of Henri III’s mistress Marie de Clèves in 1574. Both of Passerat’s recent biographers, [Kathleen C. K.] Merken and Roger Patterson, have accepted Sorg’s redating without dispute. Marie de Clèves died in childbirth, while Gabrielle d’Estrées died either of heatstroke or poisoning: the redating also explains Passerat’s once-puzzling reference to Fleurie as being pregnant at the time of her death. Niré, thought to be an anagram for “(H)enri,” would of course fit either king, but the rhyme between “Marie” and “Fleurie” is another clue to the mistress’s true identity. 5

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 The year 1574 was in fact the first year of Henri III’s reign, and Passerat, like other professional scholars and poets dependent on patronage (and like other moderate Catholics) may well have been anxious to secure the good will of the new king with his memorial sequence. Henri III, moreover, was well-known to have an affection for all things Italian–Italian culture was decidedly fashionable in France at that time–which doubtless helps account for Passerat’s allusion to the Italian villanella in the Tombeau.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 But Henri III proved to be a disastrous king in the eyes of most of his subjects, and this helped contribute to the reaction against Italian culture that set in; Italian imports such as the villanella fell out of favor in France over the course of the next two decades. 6 There is also no indication that Henri III took any particular notice of Passerat’s lyric sequence dedicated to him, which was only one of many such sequences. For instance, there is no mention of Passerat in the five volumes of Henri III’s letters, nor does Passerat rate an index entry in modern biographies of the monarch. 7

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 A small historico-political sketch of late-sixteenth-century France may be incidentally helpful here to further emphasize the point that “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle” and the king for whom it was written were by no means popular in Passerat’s lifetime, and perhaps also to clarify why Passerat’s reputation with French literary historians has rested chiefly on his connection to the Satyre Ménippée rather than on his authorship of “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle.” France had been enduring sporadic religious civil war for decades when in 1584 the Protestant Henri de Navarre became next in line for the throne then occupied by Henri III (Passerat’s “Niré”), who was Catholic. The Catholic League was at once revived from dormancy with the stated goal of ensuring that the throne of France would never be occupied by a heretic. But the Catholic Leaguers–mainly high-ranking Catholic prelates, French nobles, and wealthy Parisian merchants–were no fans of Henri III, who was considered despotic and sexually dissolute (he was bisexual and/or transvestite, by some accounts); the Leaguers instead backed Henri the Duke of Guise against Henri de Navarre. From 1586 to 1589 the War of the Three Henris raged. In May of 1588 Henri the Duke of Guise managed to occupy Paris with Swiss troops, forcing Henri III, humiliatingly, to flee his palace and his capital. The Catholic League ruled Paris. They governed by means of the Estates General, an informal but traditional assembly of nobles.

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Henri III (poor bereft dove) had the Duke of Guise and several supporters killed in December of 1588, when they unwisely came to a parley with the king at the château in Blois. Henri III himself finally went after his lost tourterelle seven months later when he was stabbed by a Dominican lay brother on August 1, 1589. The Protestant Henri de Navarre by law inherited the throne. But Henri IV, as he then became, could not retake Paris from the Catholic Leaguers, though he spent the next several years trying. In May of 1593, Henri IV therefore announced his intention to convert to Catholicism, and he attended his first Mass in July. (“Paris is worth a Mass,” he supposedly declared.) Many Catholic Leaguers were ready to support Henri IV as king from that point on, but many other Leaguers, especially those in positions of power in besieged Paris, scoffed at the idea that such a convenient conversion could be considered valid.

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 In that summer of 1593, then, there came into being yet another political pamphlet to swell the ranks of the hundreds that fluttered in the streets, this one distinguished from the others chiefly by its witty treatment of a deadly serious subject. The Satyre Ménippée mocked the principal Catholic Leaguers and defended the claims of Henri IV to the city of Paris, the throne of France, and the mantle of Catholicism. The authors of the Satyre Ménippée, including Passerat, were Catholic, but they were what was known as Politiques (“Politicians”): staunch royalists who believed that religious tolerance was the best policy for war-wounded France. This was a dangerously moderate and secular position. It was also, of course, a humanist position. The news of Henri IV’s decision to convert was infinitely welcome to the Politiques–breaking as it did a long stalemate, and presaging the end to the grim sequestration of Paris–and the continued resistance of ardent Leaguers, therefore, was frustrating in the extreme. New editions of the daring and amusing Satyre Ménippée could hardly be printed fast enough, and the work may have contributed to Henri IV’s eventual success in entering Paris in March of 1594, after which he embarked upon a relatively long, peaceful, and productive reign. In the end, he was of course assassinated too, but not until 1610. 8

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Passerat’s contribution to the Satyre Ménippée was not very great. That work is best-known for its “harangues”–speeches made by immediately recognizable caricatures of prominent Catholic Leaguers–and while Passerat was known to be an excellent satirist, there is nothing to suggest that he had anything to do with the writing of the harangues. His contribution is usually thought to consist of a few French lyrics and epigrams appended to the main text (although nothing in a Menippean satire is truly “main”). The Satyre Ménippée was anonymously authored, of course; Patterson points out that there is no “firm evidence” that Passerat wrote the pieces attributed to him in the Satyre Ménippée–but tradition if not evidence is firm on this point, and the pieces are in keeping with Passerat’s other work (307). But even though his authorship is neither confirmed nor primary, Passerat’s connection to the influential Satyre Ménippée is always mentioned first in French literary histories.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 In the context of Passerat’s reputation both during his life and after it, then, it is clear that “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle” was a decidedly minor work until its “rediscovery” (tantamount to a plain discovery) in the middle of the nineteenth century. Only three French works published between 1574 and 1844 have been found that even mention the poem. 9 Of these, the most important is the 1751 edition of Pierre Richelet’s Dictionnaire de rimes, which by some accounts could be the source of the myth of the fixed-form Renaissance villanelle. Kane points out that while several twentieth-century sources (Kastner’s 1903 A History of French Versification, Cohen’s 1922 Lyric Forms from France, Clive Scott’s entry for “Villanelle” in the 1993 edition of the New Princeton Encylopedia of Poetry and Poetics) say that Pierre Richelet fixed the form of the villanelle in the seventeenth century, no edition of Richelet’s prosody manual La versification françoise contains any reference to “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle” or to the villanelle as a fixed form. It is there, if anywhere, that such references ought to be located, not in a rhyming dictionary with purely supplementary essays on poetics. Moreover, Richelet’s Dictionnaire de rimes was first published in 1692, but no edition of it contained a reference to “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle” until the edition revised and expanded by Pierre Charles Berthelin in 1751. Berthelin’s apparatus was reprinted in subsequent editions of the rhyming dictionary, and it is he, not Richelet, who might be credited with fixing the form–in the eighteenth century, not the seventeenth (Kane 211-27).

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 Having adjusted the names and dates of this matter, Kane comments that even still its relevance is doubtful: “Despite the fact that editor Pierre Charles Berthelin had decided to fix the form of the villanelle in 1751, no practicing poet seemed to notice for a century afterward” (227). But I differ from Kane in thinking that even the segment on the villanelle in Berthelin’s apparatus does not fix the form of the villanelle, and for me this explains why no poet imitated “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle” until Théodore de Banville published his “Villanelle de Buloz” in 1845. Close attention to the passage in Richelet is here necessary. Berthelin writes, “La Villanelle est une chanson de bergers. En voici une de Jean Passera” (“The Villanelle is a shepherd’s song. Here is one by Jean Passerat”), and gives thereafter the full text of “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle” (lxix-lxx). The rest of the brief entry is as follows: “Ce petit poëme est partagé par tercets, tous sous deux rimes en ‘elle’ et en ‘oi’: et les deux mêmes se trouvent ensemble à la fin de la pièce, font un quatrain au lieu d’un tercet. On trouve encore des Villanelles dont les couplets son de six vers” (“This little poem is divided into tercets, all under two rhymes in ‘elle’ and in ‘oi’: and the same two are found together at the end of the piece, making a quatrain instead of a tercet. One also finds Villanelles in which the verses have six lines”) (lxx).

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 By “Ce petit poëme” Berthelin surely means this particular poem, not this type of poem–otherwise, that sentence would have to be understood as claiming that all villanelles must use the rhyme sounds “elle” and “oi.” 10 The sentence is a desultory and misleading descriptive aside, not a definition; the villanelle is still defined primarily as a “shepherd’s song” of varying form. It is also important to note that the difference between the French words couplets and stances or strophes is the equivalent of the difference between “verses” (of a song) and “stanzas” or “strophes” (of a poem) in English. In English we would speak of the verses, not the stanzas, of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” Berthelin’s use of the word couplets, then, indicates that he, like all prosodists before him, regards the villanelle as a type of song rather than a type of poem. With no fixed form.

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 Therefore, I judge that the current misperception that Passerat’s “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle” was one example of a common fixed form called “the villanelle” originates with Wilhelm Ténint’s 1844 Prosodie de l’école moderne. Ténint’s Prosodie is the earliest work I have found that overtly and unambiguously holds up “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle” as the model of a type, and it prompted the writing of new poems of that type very shortly afterward. The first of these poems was Théodore de Banville’s “Villanelle de Buloz” of 1845, which is very explicitly based on “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle”–one of its refrains is “J’ai perdu mon Limayrac.” Passerat’s originally obscure lyric had an unexpectedly powerful effect on some poets and critics of the nineteenth century, and whatever otiose handbooky remnants of interest twenty-first century poets and critics have in “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle” are inherited from those nineteenth-century professional writers.

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 Sainte-Beuve’s much-republished Tableau historique et critique de la poésie française et du théâtre français au XVIe siècle, first issued in 1828, drew a detailed portrait of Passerat’s work and life that is worth our serious consideration here. The then-unremarked “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle” is entirely absent from Sainte-Beuve’s eight-page account. What is entirely present, however, is the conviction that Passerat’s chief characteristic as a man and as a writer was his irrepressible and rather malicious sense of humor. A little reading through Passerat’s own writings and through scholarly writings about him confirms this impression, which a long excerpt from Sainte-Beuve can best convey.

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 [L]’originalité française n’était pas éteinte de France; l’esprit naïf et malin de nos trouvères, celui de Villon, de Rabelais et de Marot, ne pouvait mourir. Un ami de Ronsard, de Muret et de Baïf, un savant en grec et en latin, un successeur de Ramus au collège de France, Jean Passerat fut le premier poète, depuis la réforme de 1550, qui revint à la gaieté naturelle et à la bonne plaisanterie du vieux temps. C’était un de ces hommes comme il y en avait plus d’un au XVIe siècle, unissant les études fortes, les moeurs bourgeoises et les joyeux propos; travaillant quatorze heures par jour à des lexiques, à des commentaires; et, le soir, à un souper frugal, sachant rire avec ses amis; une de ces figures à physionomie antique qui rappellent Varron et Lucien tout ensemble. La plupart des vers de la Satyre Ménippée sont de lui, entre autres ce charmant quatrain, si fait pour être populaire:

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 Mais dites-moi, que signifie
Que les ligeurs ont double Croix?
C’est qu’en la Ligue on crucifie
Jésus-Christ encore une fois.

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 Bon et courageux citoyen, témoin contristé des horreurs du temps, il les prend rarement au sérieux dans ses vers. Un mot bouffon, une épigramme sur le nez camus du duc de Guise, un calembourg obscène ou trivial, lui plaisent bien mieux que’une invective de colère; et du même ton qu’il médit du beau sexe et qu’il nargue les maris, il venge la religion et la France. […]

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 Comme Rabelais, qu’il aimait beaucoup, et dont il avait commenté le Pantagruel, Passerat mourut le bon mot à la bouche. Devenu aveugle et paralytique, il recommandait à ses amis de jeter des fleurs sur sa tombe, mais surtout de n’y pas mettre de mauvais vers, qui pèseraient à sa cendre. (121-8)

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 French originality was not extinct in France; the naïve and malicious spirit of our troubadours, that of Villon, of Rabelais and of Marot, could not die. A friend of Ronsard, of Muret and of Baïf, a scholar in Greek and in Latin, a successor to Ramus in the Collège de France, Jean Passerat was the first poet since the reformation of 1550 who returned to the natural gaiety and to the delightful pleasantry of the old days. This was one of those men of whom there was more than one in the sixteenth century, uniting deep study, bourgeois morals, and merry words; working fourteen hours a day on dictionaries, on commentaries; and, in the evening, at a frugal supper, knowing how to laugh with his friends; one of these figures of an antique physiognomy that calls to mind both Varron and Lucien. Most of the verses in the Satyre Ménippée are by him, among others this charming quatrain, so fashioned as to be popular:

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 But tell me, what does it mean
That the Leaguers have a double cross?
It means that the League has crucified
Jesus Christ all over again.

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 A loyal and courageous citizen, an afflicted witness to all the horrors of the time, he rarely took them seriously in his verse. A word of buffoonery, an epigram on the pug nose of the Duke of Guise, an obscene or trivial pun, pleased him better than an angry invective; and in the same tone with which he vilified the fair sex and jeered at married men, he avenged religion and France. […]

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 Like Rabelais, whom he much admired, and whose Pantagruel he commented on, Passerat died with a quip in his mouth. Having become blind and crippled, he recommended that his friends throw flowers on his grave, but to be especially sure not to leave bad verses there, as they would weigh down his ashes.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 Setting aside Sainte-Beuve’s characteristically Romantic emphasis on naïveté and his concern for the reputation of his nation’s literature, what chiefly appears in this account is the portrait of a man with an almost involuntary sense of humor. All of which is just to say that the shade of Passerat no doubt enjoys the joke on history in which his “J’ay perdu ma Tourterelle” so oddly stars.


30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 Notes:

  1. 31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0
  2. This account of Passerat’s life is chiefly drawn from the work of Roger Thomas Patterson, Jean Passerat (1534-1602): A Critical Biography, Bibliography, and Study of Selected Works, published dissertation (Belfast: Queen’s University, 1994). Patterson conducts an extremely thorough and scholarly review of all previous biographies of Passerat, and his attention to previously undiscussed primary sources is outstanding. This biography is therefore clearly the most reliable of available sources on Passerat, as well as the most recent, even though Patterson deliberately de-emphasizes Passerat’s French poetry. See also Kathleen C. K. Merken, “Jean Passerat, Poet and Humanist,” Unpublished dissertation (U of CA Berkeley, 1966), which gives greater consideration to Passerat’s work in the vernacular. Other sources that have contributed to my understanding of Passerat have been Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, Tableau historique et critique de la poésie française et du théâtre français au XVIe siècle (Paris: Charpentier, 1843); Charles Des Guerrois, Jean Passerat, poète et savant (Paris: Ledoyen, Schulz et Thuillie, 1856); Prosper Blanchemain, ed., Les poésies françaises de Jean Passerat (Paris: Alphonse Lemerre, 1880); and Arthur Augustus Tilley, The Literature of the French Renaissance, 2 vols. (Cambridge: University Press, 1904). I have not been able to find any more recent texts that deal with Passerat’s early work or life in any depth.
  3. Michel Bideaux, André Tournon, and Hélène Moreau, Histoire de la littérature française du XVIe siècle, études linguistiques et littéraires, ed. Henri Mitterand (Paris: Nathan, 1991) 188-99.
  4. The Satyre Ménippée was translated into English in 1595 under the title A Pleasant Satyre or Poesie Wherein Is Discouered the Catholicon of Spayne, and the Chiefe Leaders of the League. Finelie Fetcht Ouer, and Laide Open in Their Colours. Newly Turned out of French into English, by “Jean Le Roy” (London: Printed by the widdow Orwin for Thomas Man dwelling in Pater-noster row at the signe of the Talbot, 1595). French translations of Nihil appeared in 1581 by Marie Romieu and in 1599 by Philippes Girard, and English translations or imitations were produced by Edward Daunce in 1585 as The Prayse of Nothing and by William Cornwallis in 1616 in his Essays of Certaine Paradoxes (Patterson 202-12). See Ralph M. Sargent, “The Authorship of The Prayse of Nothing,” Transactions of the Bibliographical Society XII ser. 4 no. 3 (1932) for the re-attribution of The Prayse of Nothing from Sir Edward Dyer to Edward Daunce.
  5. See Fabrice Marin Caietain, and Jane A. Bernstein, Airs mis en musique à quatre parties, premier livre: (1578), The Sixteenth-Century Chanson vol. 4 (New York: Garland, 1995), 200-11. Thanks as well to University of Michigan librarian Charles Reynolds for checking the microfilm of the original 1578 text.
  6. Kane 132-3. I have changed brackets in the original to parentheses in order to distinguish Kane’s insertions from mine. Note that Kane translates the title of the lyric sequence as “The Monument for Fleurie by Niré,” while I translate it more literally as “The Tombstone of Fleurie for Niré.” Although the first-person lyrics in the sequence are presumably supposed to be in the voice of the grieving “Niré,” there is still no reason that I can see to translate “pour” (“for”) as “by” in this instance, as though Passerat were offering the authorship of the poems to Henri III.
  7. See Tilley I.295, II.123; Frederic J. Baumgartner, France in the Sixteenth Century (NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1995) 217-26. The sonnet, of course, was one Italian import that survived handily.
  8. See Michel François, et al., Lettres de Henri III, roi de France, Société de l’histoire de France Publications in Octavo. 463 (Paris: C. Klincksieck, 1959); Jacqueline Boucher, La cour de Henri III, (Rennes: Ouest-France, 1986); Pierre Chevallier, Henri III: roi Shakespearien (Paris: Fayard, 1985); and Jean François Solnon, Henri III: Un désir de majesté ([Paris]: Perrin, 2001).
  9. This account is indebted to Baumgartner 217-30. See Tilley for a thorough account of the printing history of the much-in-demand Satyre Ménippée.
  10. These three sources are the following: François Barbin, et al., Recueil des plus belles pieces des poëtes françois, tant anciens que modernes, depuis Villon jusqu’ à M. de Benserade (Paris: Claude Barbin, 1692; reprinted 1752); A. Phérotée de La Croix, L’art de la poësie françoise et latine, avec une ideé de la musique sous une nouvelle methode, Omnia in pondere, numero & mensura. En trois parties (Lyon: Thomas Amaulry, 1694); and Pierre Richelet, Pierre Charles Berthelin, and Louis Barthelemy, Dictionnaire de rimes (Lyon: A. Leroy, 1751; new editions or printings in 1760, 1762, 1778, 1781, 1799, 1810, 1817, and 1973). See Kane 211-27 for a full discussion of these three works; note that the second source by Phérotée de la Croix is considered to be only a bastardized version of the Barbin Recueil.
  11. Joseph Boulmier did read the sentence as prescribing that a villanelle should use only words rhyming with “elle” and “oi,” in fact (10), but I think that he (and we) are simply expecting a prescribed form. The word “poëme” simply means “poem,” and if the sentence is in fact establishing so rigorous a scheme in tercets, it seems odd that the next sentence should describe villanelles as also having stanzas of six lines.
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