LET. XXV. To Monsieur De la Fosse.
YOu judge too seriously of my Recreations & beare too high an opinion of my Essayes. It is no Roman Cittizen that you thus re∣spect, it is a Barbarian disguised. I haue drawn some rude lineaments and mishapen figures, and you would allow them for just works and exact Pieces. Your Eloquence herein doth favour me, but alters me not a whit. You are powerfull in language, but I am hard of per∣swasion; and I have learnt from a mous Author, that to give things honourable appellations doth cost us nothing: And I see well that Illu∣strious & Excellent which you grace Page 94 me with, doe signifie (except by way of Civility) but things vulgar and meane. It is true Sir, that J doe adventure sometimes to coppy out good Originalls. J have an eye as much as possibly I may, to ancient examples, and I doe scarce seek thē beyond Terence or this side Livy. But these are but idle Speculations (perhaps) and impotent desires which leave an infinite space be∣tweene my abilities and my Idea; if it be so, as I feare it is, Monsieur de Priesac doth heedfully observe this distance & pittieth in his soule the vaine attempts & rashnesse of my pen. Yet he is so good & love∣ing, that he will not, I should learn this distastfull truth from him; and loves rather to commend a fault, then discover it, in a man that is deare to him. He hath written such Page 95polite things to me, and in such a∣bundance, that I dare not send forth any replie after his answer, least I should be undone by so unequall a comparison. I must not attempt this great Designe, for the successe thereof must needs be unlucky, though I should make use of Auxi∣liaries and demand succours of all the Latinists of our Province. You shall tell him then, if you please, that I doe acknowledge the advan∣tage his style hath over mine, and I think it no disparagement that I must still owe him what I shall never be able to pay him. You are kind enough yet Sir, to assure Mon∣sieur Habert the Abbat, & Monsieur de la Chamber, of the constancie of my service; and how impatient I am, that the world doth not yet know, in what regard J hold their Page 96 vertues. It sufficeth me that they accept and allow of my affection, and that they testifie it unto you with a nod. For to desire Letters & not tickets from them, were to be ignorant of the present condition of their life, and the homage that they performe to our Monarch, who best deserves it. J have received some Verses from Monsieur D' Es∣pesses, and you send me some more of other mens, together with a Let∣ter, which my Servant left to grow stale upon the Table in my cham∣ber. You will doe me the favour as to deliver him my Packet, & rea∣dily take so much paines for my sake: who will account my selfe happy to be made your Agent in these parts, and be able to expresse that none is more intirely
Balzac. 3. Ian. 1637.