LET. XXII. To Monsieur De MONDORY.
YOur Letter was to me an old novelty, and J received it but in the begining of December, though it had been at my house since August: To unfold this ridle, J must tell you, I am newly return'd from a long voyage, and that I found your Letter here at my arri∣vall. You may believe, that the name of a man that is deare unto me, did, at first encounter of my eye affect me with joy; and that it is no small satisfaction and con∣tentment to me, to see that I hold a place in a memory, that is so occu∣pied and fully fraught as yours. This is to lye downe among a bed of Ro∣ses, Page 83 when I lye among so many brave Poems, and rare discourses which you containe, is a walking Library. And if it be lawfull to tell out the rest; to be the friend of Mon∣sieur de Mondory, is to be a Favorite of a thousand Kings; for indeed you doe so lively represent unto us the majesty and magnificence of former ages, that we must confesse that your representations, are the glorious Resurrections of those Princes, which you doe personate. And things being thus, take it not amisse that in my answere I must contradict you. You cannot com∣pare the bonnet of Herod with that of Mons. the Advocate — without doing some injury to Royall digni∣ty, and avileing their Purple and Diamonds; without doing your selfe a bad office, in lessening, and Page 84 obscuring in me thereby (if you could) the great Idea which I con∣ceiv'd of you, the day that I saw you with that Bonnet. But you may be pleased to humble your selfe; you cannot deface or blotte out of my memory that first im∣pression and Image of majesty which you there left; and J cannot figure you in my thoughts, but with a commanding accent, and the elo∣quence of a Master, farre tran∣scending that inferior Rhetorick, which works but by intreaties and remonstrances. Yet J speak not this, as though J would alwaies consi∣der you under the name and shape of another; or that I beleeve, if that you should quit the Theater, you would be out of all imployment in the world. The Letter which you were pleas'd to write unto me, Page 85 doth sufficiently witnesse, that Elo∣quence is your naturall endow∣ment, and that without borrowing from any, you can traffick in very good things of your own. Suspect not then that I should recant to your prejudice, after this new oc∣casion of extolling you. On the contrary, J am ready (if need be) to adde something to my former testimony. I have many reasons to respect you, and J think I may doe it with the license of our severest Schooles. Since that having re∣form'd the stage, and purg'd it from all obscenity, you may glory in this, that you have recōcild Comedy with —Pleasure with Virtue. And though for my part I stand in need of recre∣ations, yet since I desire not to enjoy but those that are cleanly and which doe not violate honesty, I Page 86 doe (with the common voice) give you thanks for the care you have taken, to provide fit remedies, and Antidotes against Melancholy, and other untoward passions. But far∣ther, calling to mind that you pro∣posed my contentation sometimes, for the end of your action, and that you aimed oftentimes at me alone, I were ungratefull if I did not con∣fesse that I am
Balzac 15. Dec. 1636.