A collection of some modern epistles of Monsieur de Balzac. Carefully translated out of French. Being the fourth and last volume
Balzac, Jean-Louis Guez, seigneur de, 1597-1654., Marshall, William, fl. 1617-1650, engraver., Bowman, Francis.
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A COLLECTION OF SOME MODERN EPISTLES OF MONSIEUR DE BALZAC.

LETTER. I. To Monsieur CONRART.

SIR,

BEing arriv'd home but this morning, I could not before the evening frame an answere to your Letter which you honour'd me with, and was delivered me at Page  2 my arrivall; it is so full of baits to feed both the eyes and the under∣standing, that it were impossible I could refraine from reading it more than once. It is so judicious, and withall so passionate, that J cannot think of it without congra∣tulating with my Country that we have seen Philosophers even in our own language, and those Philoso∣phers such as professe goodnesse as well as wisdome; the time, you see is now past for to satisfie your de∣sire; but though the King by the activity of his courage could not render those remedies unusefull, which you expect from my idle meditations; yet J meane not to act the bold Empyrick of Mounte∣banke in your presence. It would argue too much impudence to send any drugs and receipts from a Page  3 country village to Paris, and to un∣dertake the cure of afflicted minds in a countrey of good books and great Doctors. Nay I have seen Sir in your own house▪ a Magazin of rare instructions & examples, both printed, and in hand-writing. And Justus Lipsius (had hee been your Neighbour) might have made a purchase of a Constantia of a stron∣ger and better temper, then her that he hath bestowed among us. Since then the whole masse and mine is in your own power, J cannot per∣swade my self that you could have desir'd those few Graines that J could furnish you with, and that being so rich your selfe, you were resolv'd to exhaust my poore stock too. Taking view from hence at so farre distance of the estate and af∣faires of our Frontiers, J cannot di∣stinctly Page  4 and cleerely bestowe my judgement on them. J am content to carry about me the thoughts of an honest man, & to remove from my mind the disgusts of ill suc∣cesse with good hopes. J know Sir, that the fairest kingdomes have suffered the vicissitudes of good and evill; and that the brigh∣test fortune hath some spots & sha∣dowes; and knowing this, J cannot think strange of any disasters that may happen, or be surprized with the newes of a revolt, or be any thing amazed with losses more than with gaines. Flanders J con∣fesse is advanced pretty farre into Piccardy, and would have given the like alarme to France as France had given it the yeere before. But it may be, they that plunder it freely to day in the field will be to mor∣row Page  5 blockt up in a siege▪ your good Brothers J know will revenge the quarrell, and they that Pillage the Citties of others, will be glad to get them home to save their own ha∣bitations against their Ancient sub∣jects. We must then confesse that Antiquity hath wisely term'd the God of warre Communem Martem, that Homer never gave it a fitter E∣pithet then that. It is certaine that it never favours the same cause long. This is a Fugitive in all Ar∣mies, and a starter from all parties, sometimes a Guelphe, and some∣times a Gibellin, sometimes wea∣ring the white scarfe, and sometimes the red. This is too much Sir con∣cerning Publique Affaires. Doe me the favour as to send to M: du Moulin the answere that J have made him, the later words thereof Page  6 will call to your mind those three verses of our Hierusalem.

*Amando in te ciò, &c.

By loving that in thee, which o∣thers feare doth move
And envious hate, he seemes thy virtues to approve:
And willingly with thee could make a league of love.
J beg of you the good favours of that grand Adversary of the Roma∣nists, but yours above all, since J am with all my soule

Balzac. 30. Octob. 1636.

Sir

Your, &c.

Page  7

LET. II To Monsieur du MOULIN.

Sir,

COurtesie never denies respect to any man, and thinkes no mans Presents meane but her owne. This was it (no doubt) that made You speake of mee in such a high straine and set so great a price upon my booke, which (indeed) is but the worst part of your Li∣brary. J see you will not alter your course, or forget your ancient civi∣lity, for the which J am infinitely obliged unto you. And if some men would needs perswade me that at other times you handle me something rudely, yet I can∣not believe you doe it with a ho∣stile hand; on the contrary, J sup∣pose Page  8 that in your familiar letters you give a true coppie and chara∣cter of your selfe, but in actions of Ceremony, men require another countenance & more studied gra∣vity; otherwise Sir, my nature can beare with my friends, and J am not of so delicate a sense as to complaine of pettie wrongs which J suffer. Besides, that J doe not at all medle with that science of di∣vision which teaches to rente our Saviours Coat into 1000 peices, & to implead and cavill against every word of his Testament. This com∣monly doth rather exasperat mens spirits, than compose affaires, and multiply doubts, insteed of encrea∣sing charity. If J were put to my choyce, J would take a litle lesse of that which puffeth up, and a litle more of that which edifieth. TruthPage  9 is not the purchase of hot blood, or of incensed choller, or a disturbed imagination. The Labyrinthes of Logick are not the easiest way to heaven, and oft-times God hides him-selfe from them that search him with over-much curiosity. You will avouch (J am sure) all that J say, and this too Sir, that the best quarrels prove nought, and of bad consequence, and that the con∣tentions of Doctors prove the mur∣thers of their Brethrens soules, if they tend not to the peace of the Church; for my part, J can with other vulgar Christians, but wish for it; but you can with the Wor∣thies of Christian Religion, con∣tribute much towards it, & when∣soever you shall preach and teach this, J shall ascribe unto you one of the principall parts of that holy Page  10 work: But while we expect that this peace be advanced through the grace of God, & that we draw neerer every day one to another, nothing hinders, but that we may maintaine innocent commerce, & traffick in things lawfull. There is no law rightly interpreted that is repugnant to that of Humanity, & doth not accord with the law of Nations. If our opinions differ, it is not necessary that our affections should disagree; the head and the heart have their severall motions, and actions distinct; and morall vertue can reconcile & unite what the intellectuall might separate. Love mee therefore still if you please, since you may doe it law∣fully, and J believe also, that J may be without scruple, while J live

Sir

Your; &c.

Balzac. March 30. 1636.

Page  11

LET. III. To Monsieur L' HUILLIER Counsellour to the King, and Ordi∣nary Mr of his Accounts.

Sir,

YOU can make men happy, and procure them Sun-shine daies, where, & when you please. Let us speake no more of misfor∣tunes: there is nothing here within but prosperity, since the Ordinary hath arriv'd: and J must recall a language which J have forgotten, since you doe restore a passion to me which J had lost. J thought there was no disposition to any joy left in me, yet notwithstanding from a litle sparke rak'd up in my bosome, you have kindled such an excesse, that J never felt the like; Page  12 such inebriations of the spirit, and sober transportments Philosophy hath observ'd in extraordinary suc∣cesses. There is no way Sir to sup∣presse or keep this joy conceal'd, & if it be lawfull for me to speake it, my heart is so full and▪ high that it mounts up to my face. J am like to loose by it all the gravity and de∣murenes, which J have these many yeares contracted by my melan∣choly life. And since there is no ap∣parēt cause that might stirre such a passion in such a languishing spirit as mine, men may imagine that I paid some Arreres, and that I have received an acquittance pa∣tent, but that I call it your letter. They still deceive themselves and take me for another mā than I am: for my Interests touch me not so sensibly as my passions doe, and Page  13Fortune is not so rich as to present me with any thing that might countervaile the least pledges of your Amity. The world and I, doe not agree in the rate of things that are bestowed & received. That doth estimate them by an Arithmeticall, and I by a Morall proportion, ac∣cording to which, Sir, all your words to me are weighty and pre∣tious, because all true; and because Truth cannot be sufficiently estima∣ted in a time when Oracles doe faine, whē we have reason to mis∣trust even Faith it selfe, and when the great Cato should not be taken without caution and security. I doe infinitely cherish those speeches of yours, so full of verity, and preserve them as the titles of a possession, which I passionatly desired before J went to Paris, and which I ac∣count Page  14 for the greatest businesse that I did dureing my abode there. Jn lieu of these, I will forgive Paris for all the unquiet nights, and other mischiefes I suffered there. I com∣plaine no more of its impure aire, or the jangling of bells, or of the justling and dirt of the streets. And though I could not carry a∣way thence but the bare Idea of your entertainment, yet be∣sides that you defrayed the char∣ges of my journey in it, J can live here (yet awhile) upon your charges, & feed my thoughts a long time with what I have re∣ceived from your mouth. Yet J know not whether a provident managing of remnants, may make them last alwaies, or whether old Ideas, doe not at the last fade and vanish out of the memory, or whe∣ther Page  15 an expired felicity may deno∣minate a man still happy. What e∣ver joy your letter sprang in me, yet (being a marke of your absence) it doth but advertise me, that I am six-score leagues distant from the Au∣thor of my wellfare, and that there∣fore I can receive but imaginary painted satisfaction, and enjoy but forraine pleasures. You cannot re∣presente unto me the happy houers that I have spent in the closet of Messieurs de Puy, and the fine things that I have heard there, with∣out tacitely upbraiding me with the pensive howers of my solitude, and the gibbrish of my Neighbour∣hood. In truth Sir, if you know it not, J must tell you, that Balzac is the frontier of Barbary. But one daies journey from hence, (Monsi∣eur des Cordes can tell you) the ho∣nest Page  16Swaines doe not eat bread, or speak French but upon sundaies; The most understanding men there, believe that Prester-Iohn saith Masse; and that the snow in the country of the Moores is black, the most gentle and affable find in an innocent word, the tenth part of a lye; and are offended with the very aspect and silence of a man that passeth by. Are not these the right Antipodes to the lodgings of Mon∣sieur de Thou, and especially of the Gallery, which is not only full of the noblest spoiles of Antiquity, and and of Greek and Romane Trea∣sures, but which is (otherwise) in∣habited by all the Graces of the pre∣sent Age, and all the sociable and civill Virtues. Yet notwithstanding these, it might deserve the curiosi∣ty of the remotest Nations of the Page  17 Earth, and invite the inhabitants of Cadiz, and those beyond them, for to see there the great President of Counsels and humane acti∣ons, and the grand Doctor of Kings and Common-wealths. But al∣though this famous and learned Head appears not there but by the benefit of paint, yet his memory still keeps its place, and presides in all the Assemblies that happen there. Me thinks, that of Master of the house, He is become the Genius of the place, and inspires all those that speak there, that so they might not speak any thing unworthy of his presence. Indeed this is the cause of my happinesse here, that my poore conceptions give you some content, as you would make me believe; and that my adventures in print, have the allowance and ap∣probation Page  18 of those excellent Bro∣thers, my deare and loving Friends. Now Sir, that I begin to grow so∣ber againe, and to recover my selfe from that extasie, which you have cast me into; take good heed, that you make no doubt of the serious∣nesse of my speeches: assure them therefore, if you please, that the fa∣vours that I have receiv'd from them, are not let fall, into a barren and ungratefull soule, and that it is impossible to honour Them more perfectly then I doe. You shall doe me the favour also; as to be∣lieve, that you never lov'd a man that could set a higher rate upon your amity, or would be more then I am

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac Nov. 23. 1636.

Page  19

LET. IV. To Monsieur the Abbat of BOIS-ROBERT.

Sir,

SInce my departure from Paris, I have received two Letters of yours, that is to say, two sin∣gular Emblemes, or tokens of your goodnesse: for it is certain, if you be not expos'd to the danger of warre, you are (at least wise) ob∣noxious to the cumbrances & mo∣lestations of it: and in this plight to have found the leasure to remem∣ber me, and to send from the far∣thest skirts of Piccardy, but a thought as farre as Guyen, is a thing that could not be expected, but from a friend that is extremely sol∣licitous of those things that he Page  20 loves. According to your order, I communicated the newes unto my Father, who doth professe him∣selfe much obliged unto you for it. We doe daily groane for that of peace, and if you send us intelli∣gence of this before Easter, I will answer you with a publike thanks∣giving, and with the benedictions of all our Arrierban. That Virgin which your Authors call Astrea, was at other times, courted and a∣dor'd by them (only) of the long gowne: now even Gladiators and Pirats think her handsome and comely. J doe not see any man of the sword, but doth at some time of the day mislike and beshrew his own trade. I doe not know whe∣ther this be either the Cowardice of the age, or the Impatience of the Nation, or the feare of poverty Page  21 and famine presented to their ima∣gination; or (to speak more favou∣rably of the present occasions) a christian tendernesse and common sense of humanity; so vehemently doth all the world desire peace, that I think Heaven cannot send a better Present to the Earth. I think that — should be imployed up∣on such a pious occasion, and cho∣sen one of the Agents for Coloigue. If he would bring us that excellent Donative of Heaven, he deserved to enter the Academy in triumph, and that Monsieur the President should make the speech himselfe: For my part, J should receive him after such a Negotiation with more re∣spect, then if he came from com∣manding an Army; And to tell you the truth, the pacifique Angels doe please me farre better than the de∣stroying Page  22Angels. Think it not strange Sir, that the desire of glory is not the passion of Villagers; and that dreaming (sometimes) of the Crabbats, I pitch upon the same thought with the Poet:

Impius haec tam culta novalia Miles habebit?
—Barbarus has segetes?
These are thoughts which are bred in my rurall walke, and which spring from lownesse of spirit; into which I am apt to fall, as soone as I have lost the sight of you. There∣fore be pleased to take the paines to fortify me from time to time, and to send me some preservatives a∣gainst the bad newes which fly a∣bout. These would help to enter∣taine good thoughts, while we ex∣pect the conclusion of the Treaty, and make my Neighbours know, Page  23 that a man cannot be ill inform'd that maintaines intelligence with you, and make them beleeve, that J am in deed what I professe my selfe to be, which is

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac. 17 Oct. 1616.

LET. V. To my Lord, the Earle of EXCESTER.

My Lord,

HAving not enjoyed my health, or at least having had no lea∣sure at all, since the time that your Letter was delivered me; I could not any sooner render you Page  24 thanks for the testimonies of your esteeme and affection, which you vouchsafed me therein. I will not any way seeme to suspect or doubt of a newes that makes for me; and I doe readily believe, that my works that were sent you from the Queene your Mistresse, have been your welcome-home among your friends. But herein, I doe acknow∣ledge their good fortune, farre be∣yond my deserts, and the Influences that descend from the Court, be∣yond all the favours they can re∣ceive from a coūtry-village. Those hands so great and powerfull, that gave you this small Present, doe en∣noble whatsoever they touch and are able to effect rarer transmutati∣ons, than those which Alchymy boasts of; with their marke, a trivi∣all Fable may passe for▪ Authentick Page  25 History, and the Nether-Britton should surpasse the native French∣man. I have therefore my Lord, no thought of deserving that Elogy, which I owe to so illustrious a cir∣cūstance nor doe I mean to glory in the travels, which my book (as you informe me) hath made beyond the Rhine. Your name (being one of its principall ornaments) is that to which J must owe my fame in those climats, and it was upon your recommendation and credit, that all the Courts in the North, and some of their Schooles too, have entertain'd my books. I doe here solemnely promise you never to a∣buse this favour, at least wise, ne∣ver to write any thing of your I∣land, that might give any distast in the reading, and that will not testi∣fy Page  26 particularly of you, that I am most intirely

My Lord,

Your &c.

Balzac. Sept. 20. 1636.

LET. VI. To my Lord the Duke de la VALLET∣TE, Governour & Lieutenant Generall for the King in GUYEN.

My Lord,

I Doe not mean to tempt your valour, it were precipitate rash∣nesse to dare it; yet I shall make bold to tell you, that you have no lesse Art and dexterity in conquer∣ing, than in winning men; and that Page  27 in you, that which intreats & per∣swades, hath no lesse efficacy than that which commands and enfor∣ceth. Jt doth nothing availe me to shun the world, the better to enjoy my selfe in the desart. Three words from your mouth, make me loose all the freedome I enjoy there; and J see my selfe surpriz'd in that Sanctuary, in which J thought to save my selfe. J must confesse my Lord, that there is no such absolute independence, over which you cannot claime some power; that there is none so discon∣tented and averse that you cannot allure, or so wild and disorderly that you cannot tame. Since you have done me the honour as to write, that you have sent me your heart, J should betray very litle skill or judgement in rare and excellent Page  28 things, if J were not ravisht with such a present, and if J did not e∣steeme it above all that ambition can desire, or fortune bestow. It may be, the hearts of Giants were more vast, and lesse limited by rea∣son, but the hearts of the Heroes were not more noble, or of any o∣ther elevation than yours is of; and he that speaks of this, speaks of a place hallowed, and purged from all the vices of this age, and where all the ancient Virtues have taken San∣ctuary▪ Loe here, my Lord▪ what gift you have sent; after which, I have nothing to wish for in this world, which J have abandoned, since this is the most pure and re∣fin'd part of it; in which, goodnesse cohabits with power, and great∣nesse combines with love▪ To which J must of necessity, stoope Page  29 and yeeld; and my heart were more vile, than yours is generous, if I were not

My Lord

Your &c.

Balzac Ian. 10 1637.

LET. VII. To Monsieur Drouet, Doctor of Physick.

Sir,

YOur sorrow is too accurate, and studied, to be true; and an afflicted person that writes such brave things, hath no great need of any thing of mine to solace him. J will therefore forbeare a taske▪ which I conceive to be so Page  30 nedlesse; and will be contented to tell you, that J know how to disco∣ver counterfeit sorrows. No man could act a Desperato better than you. Panigarola made not such ex∣clamations when hee preacht, that there will be signes in the Sunne and in the Moone. And it is a pleasure to see you write of the end of the world, of the falling of the starres, and the finall ruine of Nature, & all this, up∣on occasion of my Niece, labouring of a feaver. This is to give Virgil the lye, that calls your profession a dumb Science. For indeed, to finde so many ornaments & Tropes upō such a vulgar Theme, could not be without having a treasurie of words, and without teaching this Mute, Rhetorick. Yet me thinkes, you should husband and manage this treasure more thriftily, and Page  31 have more care, than you had, of the modesty of a poore Maid. Are you not afraid to make her fall into vaine-glorie, and marre all the paines of that good Father that guides her conscience? If J did not furnish her with counter-poison, you would infect her minde, & cast her into a worse maladie than that you cur'd her of. But J haue taught her, that there are a sort of Enchanters that bewitch by com∣mending, and that the wanton Court-ship of Sirens hath allur'd many to their ruines, and filld the Seas with frequent shipwracks. She believes her Glasse, & me too, who are more true to her thē you, and who (without much difficul∣ty) can rectifie her opinion of her∣selfe, which you would have strai∣ned too high. For my own particu∣lar, Page  32 J cease not to be your debt or for the quaint extravagances & hy∣perboles, wherein you expresse your Affection towards me; and for her part, separating your com∣mendations from her name, and considering them asunder, by thē∣selves, she esteemes them as the wealth of a Jewellers shop, which indeed may delight her eies, but she findes nothing there that belongs to her. Receive this complement as from her, if you please, J am meerely but her Secretary in this point, and J shall remaine

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac. 12. Octob. 1636.

Page  33

LET. VIII. To Monsieur DE-BONAIR.

Sir,

THE Honourable mention that you were pleas'd to make of me in your booke, is a most singular favour, and I cannot behold my selfe in so faire a seat without some temptation of vaine glory. J know not as yet, whether my testimonie be to be admitted or rejected; and whether J be an Apo∣cryphall or Canonicall Author; but since you have cited me, it is not lawfull for me to doubt any more of the good successe of my wri∣tings; and after this, J dare claime a place in the noblest Libraries. It is true, I dare not owne that Title you bestow on me, of the Genius of Elo∣quence.Page  34 Besides, that this would be a wrong to Mercury & Pytho, who have for many ages possest the Chaire, and sweyed the Art of Elo∣cution; it were necessary also that J had the suffrages of all the Preachers and Advocats of the Realme; and you know Sir, that there is none of them so meane, that doth not perswade himselfe that he is the God of Perswasion, and would very hardly confesse a supe∣riour. J must not therefore enter∣taine an Elogie which would bee challenged from me by two so great Nations, equally terrible and potent, and J am content to be lesse Prized by you, since J am sure of the same affection; you shall pre∣serve that for me, if you please, since J am willing to give it its true esti∣mation, Page  35 and to be really

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac: 20 Dec. 1635.

LET. IX. To Monsieur HUGGENS Counsel∣lour and Secretary of the Com∣mands of my Lord the Prince of Orenge.

Sir,

I Have received with your Let∣ter the Dissertation of Monsieur — in Print; but to write my o∣pinion thereof, would be too dan∣gerous an enterprise. J never mean to doubt of the certainty of his do∣ctrine; and too bad construction was made of me at the beginning Page  36 of our commerce for to adventure farther in that way. It sufficeth me to confesse that J was lost in all probability, had it not been for your protection, since even under that, J could hardly be secure. This is a Buckler that hath been pierced in a thousand places, and (to speak freely) hath served me rather for a shew, then defence. My great Ad∣versary (as you call him) would faine have made an example of your poore Suppliant, and shewed that he did not either believe that you did love me so deerely, or that he did not much regard the persons whom you so loved. Neverthelesse Sir, If J had been of a quarrelsome humour, that matter (perhaps) would not have been so appeased; and men would perswade me, that my person onely was injur'd, my Page  37Assertions being as firme & as sound as they were before the battery. But let the field be his, seeing he cannot endure an encounter, that J say not a resistance; and J doe willingly yeeld him all the advantages of this action. He chose rather to take me, then receive my submission, and preferr'd a trophey before an ho∣mage. Neverthelesse, J am resolv'd not to alter my condition or forget my wonted civility. Yet J doe make a stand at the very same bounds that he hath leapt over, and give respect to that Character, which he hath violated; J speak of your Love and good opinion, which are more precious to me then my writings or my reputation, and which J cannot disesteem where∣soever J meet them. Sir; there will be alwaies in the world Oppres∣sours Page  38 and men oppressed, & J must be one of the Innocents that must suffer the persecutions of a Herod. But there is nothing so hard that love cannot digest. J pardon (for your sake) all my injuries and suffe∣rings, withall my heart, & am con∣tented to be ill intreated, as long as J give evidence that J am

Sir

Your, &c.

Balzac. 10. Sept. 1636.

LET. X. To Monsieur de RACAN.

Sir,

I Render You thanks for your Shepheardesse; with whom J en∣joyed such ravishing pleasures that Page  39 the Voluptuous never enjoy the like, and yet so chast and honest, that J think not my selfe bound to make Confession, She hath reviv'd my spi∣rits that were rebated with eager study and tired with distinctions and Syllogismes. J cannot dissem∣ble, J have not this long time Sir, spent a day more happily then whē J entertain'd Her. And if J haue thought Her so beautifull in her own simple weeds, & naturall ha∣biliments, without the addition of those helps which serve to embel∣lish & adorne; what will it be, whē She will appeare in the pompe and luster of the Theater? and when those things that are of themselves so powerfull, will be mended with the help of the voice and the graces of pronunciation? If J thought She were to come forth suddainely in Page  40 that Equipage, J would straight be∣gin my journey for to be present at that joyfull spectacle, and to give you the applause which you doe justly deserve. But since you have sent Her me, being yet, warme frō the birth, and that Shee must grow up a while and gather strength in your hands, J hope J shall be time enough at Roche to behold her in her glory. J understand Sir, in the meane while, that there is a great contention between the Ladies a∣bout the names of Orante, & Oria∣na, & that they are more ambitious of the scrip and shepheards hook then any thing. It lieth in you to doe them Justice and satisfie their ambition: yet notwithstanding, if youl'e beleeve me, you must ca∣sheere this rurall Equipage, and adapte your selfe to Crownes and Page  41 Scepters. That active and strong Spirit which doth sweye you, hath too much vigor for to dwell on weaker Themes; it would break all the furniture of horne-pipes and hau-bois that you should fill it with; moreover, the countrey and cabbin is not the proper spheare of magnificence, and Shepheardesses must not dance to the sound of a Trumpet. J have therefore chosen for you an heroick subject indeed, and worthy the courage and ma∣jesty of your style; Which style car∣rieth all the exactnesse of rules, and hath been already used with good approbation by the Masters of An∣tiquity. But the sport is, to see you dispute and contend with them for their own vitory, and to chal∣lenge them at the same carreeres & courses that they have gain'd their Page  42 glory by. This kinde of Imitation is more noble and hardy then Inven∣tion it selfe, and which you are very capable to undertake, How-ever, if you shall stand in need of some aid, I am ready to doe the office of a Grammarian, and to give you the li∣terall interpretation of the Texts of such Authors, which you meane to follow, with a resolution to out∣goe them. I know that herein I shall not betray any great care of their reputation, nor doe any good office to any of them. But Sir, there is nothing that I would not doe for you, to whom I cōfesse infinite ob∣ligations, & will be everlastingly

Sir,

A most humble, &c.

Balzac. 3. Sept. 1633.

Page  43

LET. XI. To Monsieur de St CHARTRES.

Sir,

THe disorders of a crazie, & ruinous body, and the paines I suffer by it, are the eternall hindrances of my devoir: These al∣so shall be (if you please) the ordi∣nary Apologies for my silence. You may believe, that J doe not use to make great preparatiōs for to treat with you, in respect of the famili∣arity we professe each to other; and if I could have rendred you thanks sooner for your courtesies, I would not have sav'd the expence of a few ragged lines, so long a time. I have received the Translation of your friend, who doth me more honour then I can deserve. J cannot suffi∣ciently Page  44 acknowledge the paines that he was pleas'd to take for me, being not ignorant how unpleas∣ing a thing is Dependance. J con∣fesse that it is more than a probable argument of a mans love, to submit himselfe to the fancy of a man that holds no superiority over him. This servitude is irkesome, and so heavy a yoke to good wits, that they have seldome borne it as they should; and Victorius observes a number of passages of Aristotle, which Ci∣cero did not understand in his trans∣lation. And yet to understand an Author aright is not all: things ren∣dred in another language, must re∣taine the same degree of goodnesse, (if it be possible) as was in the Ori∣ginall: the strong must not be enfee∣bled, nor the well attired be deve∣sted or clad in raggs, nor those Page  45 that are well moūted be unhorsed, and made to serve on foot. Most Interpreters (indeed) deale with books in that manner, and doe vio∣late the lawes of sacred hospitality, towards the Persons of the noblest strangers that they meet with. Commonly they write French af∣ter the Latine mode, and Latine af∣ter the French; & J have seen more Authors stript and excoriated, than Authors translated. Jt is by your good favour, that J am not of the number of those Martyrs; but on the contrary, your Friend hath done me many courtesies which J nee∣ded, and furnisht me with a thou∣sand ornaments which J had not of my owne. J am very much ob∣liged unto him in this behalfe, and J owe you also much thanks, for the regard you shew'd to my coun∣sailes, Page  46 preferring them before your first inclinations. Accomplish Sir, that which you have begun, and let us see a Senator worthy the ancient Republicke, and the age of genuine and legitimate Romans. Jn our time, men doe beare a great opinion of their eloquence: and a certaine Au∣thor (whose name J have forgot) talkes of the purple of their lan∣guage, as well as of that of their gownes. I doubt not but you will adorne them: both with the one and the other livery; And that you will make the driest thornes of thir pettifogging Dialect, look fresh and flourishing againe, if you will take the paines to dresse and ma∣nure them. Monsieur Chapelaine followes my counsaile, and thanks me in all his Letters for the friend∣ship contracted between you. Pre∣serve Page  47Sir for me that good which I doe for others, and think me not unworthy of it, since that I am withall my soule

Sir.

Your &c.

Balzac. 4. Nov. 1636.

LET. XII. To Monsieur BAUDOIN.

Sir,

I Received the alarme of your sicknesse: but your Letter did soone settle and compose my mind; if it be as you write, but an attachmēt without griefe, J believe that J am not bound to keep much adoe in bemoaning you; this neces∣sary Page  48 rest and residence is good for something: it doth (at least) privi∣ledge a Philosopher from perform∣ing a thousand petty offices, which doe distract a Contemplative life, & which a Civill life doth seem to ex∣act from him, that hath the free use of his leggs. So that in the state that you are in, you doe oblige the Pub∣lick in despight of you; and doubt not, but diverse Nations doe blesse your Goute, that is the cause of your leasure; since that indeed it doth not handle you rudely, and that I doe (as others) reape much profit there∣by; I know not whether I ought to call it good or bad, except my own interest should be more considera∣ble, then the liberty of my Friend. Hereupon, J shall consult with my Morall Philosophy, upon that part which treateth of Duties, which Page  49 you (I am sure) will not have call'd Offices. You shall understand Sir, in the meane while, that I have re∣ceived the second impression of my Letters, and that my eyes are not so bad, but that I could espie at the first glance, that which they owe unto your care. I should be uncivill (not to say unknowing) if I did not render you thanks for this favour, and if that my book (having received better order and Oeconomy by your hands) J did not confesse that it is you that did bestow upon't its last graces. We must con∣fesse that you are an admirable Chy∣mick to refine that which is grosse and drossy in my writings; and that you are a great exterminator of our superfluous characters. But J should have been yet more deeply ingaged unto you, if that you had Page  50 throughly plaid the Aristarchus, and with that hatchet which is so formidable to SSs, which you deem unusefull, you had hewne off my other faults, as well as that of Orthography. This shall be reser∣ved for another time, and for a work of greater consequence, whereof you shall be the Iudge, up∣on condition Sir, that you shew no pitty or favour in your censures, and that my stile undergoe all the rigor of your lawes, as long as my person be had in consideration, and that J be still

Your &c.

Balzac. 25. Oct. 1636.

Page  51

LET. XIII. To Monsieur de COIGNET Gentle∣man in Ordinary to the most Illustrious Queene of great Britaine.

Sir,

I Was much discontented that J parted from Paris, without having the honour to bid you Adieu: But it is very difficult to live regularly amidst such confusi∣ons, and to be punctuall in a time when all things are out of order. I thought I had done much, that I had not forgot my selfe, being in the place where I was; and that I did put six score leagues of land be∣tween Me and Iohn de Werth. Be∣ing able to make but a sorry soul∣dier, I thought that no body had a∣ny Page  52 thing to say to me in Picardy, and that the Kings Army, would not be the lesse compleat for my absence. Loe now Sir, J am arriv'd here, this side of the Loire, busy in fortifying, as well as J may, my village with Philosophy; and in∣trenching my selfe against the Eni∣mies with good books. If the tem∣pests which threaten the Frontiers of Bayon arrive at us, we must think of another way of safety, and re∣solve (in any case) to passe the Sea, and goe and dwell in that Region of Peace, and that happy climate where your divine Princesse reigns. But the good conduct and leading of the King her Brother, and the good Fate of France forbid us to harbour any thoughts of despaire; and the opinions of Sages, that ex∣pect a calme and serenity after a Page  53 storme, are farre different from the Dialect of the vulgar, that think that all stormes are everlasting. It shall be then a visite of comple∣ment (in despight of Iohn de Werth) that J shall performe, and not a voyage of necessity which J must make; and I hope my words shall finde no evasion, and that I shall tell you in London that which I say here, that I am entirely

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac. 20. Sep. 1636.

Page  54

LET. XIV. To Madam DESLOGES.

Madam,

TAke it not amisse, that I doe much rejoyce at your remo∣vall from Paris, since that thereby I doe regaine the glorious beatitude of your neighbour-hood, and that I am now but fifteen lea∣gues distant from Virtue retired: Monsieur d'Auvila did confirme this newes, whereof I had otherwise an intimation formerly; and he hath farther assured me (Madam) of the good successe of your jour∣ney, and of your victory in the Chamber of the Edict. Since the guerdon of this conquest lyeth in Aunix, I beleeve it will repent you to have offended the AngoulmoisPage  55 some five years agone. J say it is some pleasure to me to think that you will not digresse anymore out of the roade in contempt of us; and now shortly will be the time when you will dignify those men with your presence, which doe so passi∣onatly desire to see you. J am not so presumptuous as to alleadge here my own wishes. But me thinks (Madam) that the Duke of Roche∣foucaut deserves one of your stages; and if it be so, I have reason to hope to be happy in some houres of the two or three daies, which you can∣not deny to afford Him. J was a∣bout to send to you — to learne some newes of you: But this excel∣lent Bearer, hath promised me to relate some at his returne; and you need not be troubled, in that he did forbeare that crude Oration that Page  56 was provided for you. This is a man (Madame) in whose mouth are Temples and Altars erected for you, and who adores you in every word he speaks; He hath no vulgar conceit of your virtues, and he be∣ing also a man of parts, is worthy of that regard you beare to him. I hope he will love me a litle for love of you, and that you will doe so likewise; and adde this favour to the infinite number that I owe you, and which oblige me to bee more then any man in the world,

Madam

Your &c.

Balzac. 7. Oct. 1636.

J send you (Madam) the com∣plement which you desire to see; It was sent ere this, but was not re∣ceived, because my packet was lost. Page  57 Since that time, J have never thought of it; but your curiosity finds out things that are lost, and J am so good a Courtier, that none should have seen it besides your selfe.

LET. XV. To my Lord Keeper of the Seales Se∣guier, since Chancellor of France.

My Lord,

IF I had not been advertis'd that it was my bounden duty to write unto you, J should not have thought it needfull so to doe. And though J have ruminated as much as any other, upon the choice that the King hath made of your person, I considered it, as one of the felicities of his reigne, and as a generall influence of favour upon Page  58 all the world. Calling to mind the definition of Aristotle, that calls Ju∣stice the good of another, I thought it not so congruous to congratulate with him that must be the Guardi∣an of the lawes, touching a prefer∣ment that will put him to a perpe∣tuall care and vigilance. But ra∣ther to partake in silence of the common felicity of those people that shall wholly rely upon his watchfulnesse. But my Lord, since custome commands it, and that congratulations from the remotest parts of the Kingdome doe poast towards you, J should be thought unwotthy of that ranke which J hold among your humble servants, if I did not sequester my selfe from the Crowde to deliver you (apart) some testimony of my joy, and to make you see, that in places of si∣lence Page  59 & solitude there be not wan∣ting acclamations for you and affe∣ctions for the Countrey. I shall therefore make bold to tell you that the joy which seiseth me at this time, is mingled with a kinde of vanitie; and having accompani∣ed you with my thoughts and eies even unto the place of your Ad∣vancement, I doe imagine I have (in some sort) conducted you, whether the judgement of the Prince hath advanced you. Where∣fore my Lord in your Promotion, I doe rejoyce for the good successe of my Imagination, & take no small pleasure to see my own Divinations verified. Certainly it is a matter of delight to see a Ʋertue so labori∣ous & active as yours, brought into the most wide and spacious Car∣reere that Fortune could make Page  60 choice of; and this is a spectacle worthie the sight of Heaven, and of the blessed soule of the late Cato of your race. The importance is, my Lord, that you begin in a very good season, for to continue long; and that you are in the verdure & vigor of your age for to uphold the crazy & decrepit weaknesse of our State. In this Elevation both of Merit and Dignitie, each man will be your Adorer & Votary: But you will give me leave to assure you that none will approach unto you with a pu∣rer & more dis-interessed Devotion then mine, and that I am without much pompe and flourish, yet in much sincerity

My Lord,

Your &c.

Balzac. 1. April 1636.

Page  61

LET. XVI. To Monsieur de Morins, Counsellour of the King in the Court of the Edict, at Agen.

My Lord,

YOu are noble enough to love a man without any merits, but I were too loose and forlorne if I were so loved, and yet had no sense or regard of it; and yet you have some cause to call me by that bad title; and if Monsieur Girard hath not had a care of his friend's reputation, all circumstances con∣demne me. It is true that my fault was but the omission of a Com∣plement, which had slipt out of my memory; & yet I avow to you, that this omission is such a sin that hath (a long time) burdened my Page  62 conscience, and causeth such gripes and remorse Sir, that except the same goodnes that hath shewed me favour doe grant me a pardon, I cannot make attonement with my selfe. But I am apt to believe that for the appeasing of my thoughts you will not runne the hazard of your former benefits, and that you will by your perseverance adde to my obligations. Knowing this moreover, that you are a right Ho∣nest man; I must necessarily con∣clude that you are no Formalist or a man of Ceremonie, and that you doe not tye your selfe to those petty observances & Rites which make the friendship of this Age more perplext and difficult then sincere. If Yours may be gain'd or merited by a true and perfect valuation of your worth, I will not be an un∣faithfull Page  63Depositary, beseeching you to believe that I am alreadie as much as any man in the world

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac Feb. 20. 1636.

LET. XVII. To Monsieur de-Vaugelas Gentleman in Ordinary to Monsieur the Kings onely Brother.

Sir,

I Did read my own thoughts in your Letter; I subscribe unto all that you have writ unto me, & con∣fesse that in the Elogie of Monsieur Arnold the Abbat, you doe (indeed) Page  64 but give your friend his due, & lend him never a graine. This is (in truth) a most accomplish't man, & who at the age of 22 yeares, was re∣puted wise even by the Italians, that lately thought wisdome was their own free-hold. He hath with his great knowledge mingled much goodnesse: the sharpnesse of his understanding is tempered and allaied by the sweetnesse of his be∣haviour, and his modestie doth re∣presse and conceale much of his a∣bilities. He never pardons himself, though he doth beare with all hu∣mane infirmities in others; and that Piety which he doth practise, gives respect unto all, but strikes a terror in none. Loe Sir, the testimonie which I adde unto yours: which I would bestow upon an enimie that deserv'd it, but would not upon a Page  65 friend that wanted merit. His knowledge is attended on by other vertues, and it hath furnisht him with excellent moralitie: for with∣out this, it should be solitarie and of litle use. I tell you nothing of the late experiment I have found of it in your Letter which he wrote un∣to you: Besides that my best lan∣guage would be farre below my apprehension of if; I know withall too well the power of his Rhetorick to contest with it; since he hath got so many advantages over me, he must needs have that of civility and complements too; and my silence must not be accounted any more the effect of modesty but of the E∣loquence of his Letter. I send it you back because you would have it so, and because you may make some use of it in your Cabinet; but I Page  66 shall reserve a coppy of it under your favour, that it may afford some comfort & reliefe to my dis∣contents. I have seen the siedge of Tyre, the Death of Darius, the Voi∣age of the Jndians, and I have read them with wonder. All these seem to me so good French and so natu∣rall, that it is impossible to pick out any line there, that doth savour of, or shew any affinitie with Latine, or wherein the originall Author hath any advantage above the se∣cond. What would you have more Sir, or what sentence can you crave of me? I have but one word to adde in commendation of your Travels. The Alexander of Philip was invin∣cible, & that of Vaugelas is inimita∣ble. It is that (to say no more) that will deserve the affection of your incomparable Marchionesse, and the Page  67 faire Beavy or Troope that doe often assemble at her House. Monsieur — calls Her a choice and resplen∣dent Court, and the great World refi∣ned, and reformed: and saith, that there is no Tribunall so soveraigne that we may not appeale from, un∣to the Mansion of Ramboûillet. Since I cannot know what kind of work it is that my Stationer shall give you, untill this divine Romane Dame shall passe her censure upon it; I dare not as yet, declare my selfe for a Book which I must not acknow∣ledge, although I have composed it. It sufficeth to tell you, that I had an ayme to speake French, and to write some Letters which should not put Her to the trouble of deci∣phering. I did heartily desire that my Designe might take effect; and I should believe I had not gain'd a Page  68 litle, by the commerce of many yeares, if what you shall presente her with, in my name, may enter∣taine her thoughts for a few houres; the noblest labours of the understanding cannot aspire to a higher blisse than that; Philosophy her selfe should betray too much presumption to think to take them up wholly and imploy them; shee cannot claime to be any more than her diversion and by-thought. I shall be very well contented Sir, if I might serve for that purpose hand∣somely; & I should boast, after this, that I were (though in my absence) very good company. That timo∣rousnesse that did ever possesse me that I could not be so, any other way, and the feare of troubling the serenitie of another mans visage by the sullen cloudinesse of mine, have Page  69 made me to refrain from all Feasts and Assemblies, and hindred me frō bringing heavy looks to those pla∣ces which I esteeme sacred, & be∣fore those eyes which I doe re∣vere. So that it is a pure reverence in me, that I abstaine from accep∣table and delightfull conversation, and from the pleasures of those Ca∣binets that appertaine to them only that be happier than I. And I doe choose rather to adore a farre off with awfull regard, than be im∣portunately, and saucily familiar. I leave it to you to excuse and justifie this timorousnesse which proceeds from respect, not from a Stoicall fe∣rocity. And you will doe me a fa∣vour, if that while you represente the best part of your friend, you wil take the paines to excuse the worst. Whereunto, J doe earnestly con∣jure Page  70 you, and to believe firmly, that I am

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac. 26. Feb. 1636.

LET. XVIII. To Monsieur de la Motte-Aigron.

Sir,

THe Jndian Canes which you sent me were pretty, but you have so embellisht them at Rochell, that I doubt me they are not for my turne. They are not made for a pri∣vate mans use: They are Emblemes of soveraigne command; & a bol∣der Orator then I, would render you thanks rather for your SceptersPage  71 then your Canes. By what name soever we call them, they are the more precious to me because they came from You, more then for any other consideration; and though you have not made me rich, yet you have made me very glorious. It is a Maxime in Aristotle that Ambition is no more satisfied with benefits re∣ceived, then Covetousnesse. But me thinks, he should have added, whē it receives from him, from whom it desired to receive: For all sorts of Benefactors doe not farre oblige those that are ambitious of the bet∣ter sort only. For my part, I should believe that the Presents of Mon∣sieur — would pollute me, & I would be as much asham'd of his favours as I glory in yours. In truth Sir, I have quitted the Countrey & am come purposely to the Towne Page  72 to shew them. With them, I doe su∣staine my old age with credit, and look as trimme as upon solemne daies of Ceremonie. They serve me both for to support and to a∣dorne▪ for moveables of necessity, and ostentation too. But the worst is, that I have nothing here for to requite so rare a Presente, but the shape and lineaments of a vulgar man, and the sad representation of my own visage. As it were very un∣just that I should pretend to beau∣ty: so it is a very solecisme that Phi∣larchus calls me a Narcissus. But there are alwaies foolish passions, and idle curiosities in the world. My friends at Paris would needs urge me to have my Picture drawn, and I to give them contentment, did yeeld my selfe for one halfe-houre to be transcrib'd, & granted Page  73 them this meager delight. Some Coppies were sent me: one whereof I bestow upon You, supposing that it will not scare you; & knowing that Affection is a better flatterer yet, than the Painter. This is it that will beare false witnesse for me to prove me faire, and which will al∣low me a place in the Classe of your Illustrious men. Such a place in your Cabinet, is indeed a high advance∣ment, and which I cannot obtaine but by meere favour; But that which you have given me in your heart is no lesse precious to me, and I thinke I have good right to the possession, since I am really

Sir,

Your &c.

Angoulesme 15. Ian. 1637.

Page  74

LET. XIX. To Monsieur de BORSTELL.

Sir,

I Durst not undertake the great and hazardous voyage, which I did impose upon my selfe some foure years past, without taking leave from our noble Lady. J have therefore sent unto her to beg it, by the man that shall deliver you this Letter; & that shall bring me back (if you please) some directions for my journey, which I beg of you. Being provided of such ammuniti∣on, I shall not feare the rigor of Fe∣bruary, nor the unconstancy of March, nor the inundations of the Loire, nor the waies of Beausse. I am sure to arrive happily at Paris: where Sir, if you have any busines, Page  75 J can furnish you with a Sollicitor, who (though but a sorry one) is very ambitious to doe you service. Alte non temo, & humili nonsdeg∣no: I neither feare the high nor dis∣daine the low. You cannot think of a∣ny imployment that shall not be very welcome to me; and though I love sloath and make a profession of Idlenesse, yet I will change my inclination, and of a sedentary man become a Currier; Except this, I am commonly desirous of privacy, and never bring into the Assemblyes of men but my eyes, and my testimo∣ny. There must be Spectators at such times as well as Poets and A∣ctors; and some that must doe no∣thing for the interest and honour of those that act. But to the pur∣pose, Sir; what are become of your Actors of the Low-countreyes. I doe Page  76 verily think that there is no more Holland in the world, and that the sea hath drowned the famousest part of the Earth. There was ne∣ver such a dearth of newes; And the Carthusian Monks doe not me∣ditate with more silence, than they doe wage warre in that Countrey. Jf you are more learned than the Gazettes, J pray impart your know∣ledge by this Bearer, who hath a chardge to give you an account of many things, and will acquaint you particularly how farre I am

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac: 18. Feb. 1636.

Page  77

LET. XX. To Monsieur — the Chiefe Advocate.

Sir,

I Am impatient untill I can hear of the estate of your health, and learne by the returne of my Lac∣quay, whether your legges be better then they were wont. It is no wonder if they bend under the burden of so many brave things which they sustaine; and being to carry the counsailes of a whole Province, if they be somewhat in∣commodated with such a weight. Yet I doe hope well of the whole∣somnesse of that Aire which you breath; and that, being out of the reach of that malignant Iupiter, (that noisome mildew, J would have Page  78 said) which over-runnes the hilles of Angoulesme, you will have the leasure to travell to your breaches, and fortify your selfe against win∣ter. This is a neighbour that doth threaten us upon the Frontiers, and if I can, I will fly from him, as far as Africk. But this remedy is some∣thing too farre. Without undertak∣ing so great a voyage, we will en∣deavour to make resistance as well as we may; and I am already re∣solv'd to use all humane industry, to barricadoe my chamber, and to block up all approaches towards it. If I can maintaine it bravely a∣gainst so terrible an Enimy; I shall account my selfe no mean Engi∣neer, and shall think my Sconces and Fortifications as regular as those of the Hollanders. After this, this shall be, if you please, the Campe of our Page  79 riotous discourses and extravagan∣ces; of our peacefull disputations, and all other exercises that an ho∣nest man may performe in a chaire; I doe therefore designe you for it a∣bout mid-November, and remaine

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac. 18. Oct. 1636.

LET. XXI. To Monsieur De MAURY.

Sir,

YOu have sent me a Presente which was extreamly deare and welcome to me, and which J must highly prize, both for the manner of sending, and the Page  80 matter sent; the Affliction which you paint out and emblazon, is so Christian, that all the Ioy in the world is not able to countervaile it; and you complaine in such a lear∣ned forme, that we must forbid men to comfort you, least you should cease complaining. J am, you know, but a simple French Doctor; yet J doe now and then, make excursion into the Latine Countrey, and take a view of the Frontiers. But this is too litle for to know the just valew of your Muse, and to give you the commendation that you deserve. You have an an∣cient Roman neere you, that can di∣stinguish between the Native, and the Forrainer; and makes it Religi∣on to confound the modesty of the age of Augustus, with the intempe∣rance of succeeding times. He hath Page  81 a smack of the primitive Poetry, which the Spaniards had not yet vi∣tiated, and made immodest; and of that pure Latine, which the Decla∣mators had not yet corrupted with nice subtilities. He it is, that can give you ample and just commen∣dation, & can make a just estimate of the riches of your stile: For my part, J can but testify unto you my deep apprehension of your courte∣sies in this behalfe, and assure you that J will be while I live

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac. 23. Oct. 1636.

Page  82

LET. XXII. To Monsieur De MONDORY.

Sir,

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

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac 15. Dec. 1636.

Page  87

LET. XXIII. To Monsieur LE. GVAY.

Sir,

YOu had an intention to per∣forme an act of Humility, when you did dedicate your Poem to me; for to expect protecti∣on from a man that is not recko∣ned of the world, and light from a name so obscure as mine, you could not (sure) forget your selfe in this sort. The same virtue which obligeth the Saints to acknowledge Superiors where ever there are men, hath carried you to this depth of lowlinesse, and you have chosen an unhappy man, for to bestow ho∣nour upon, that you might loose that, which you would faine be∣stow. Page  88 I must confesse, that no man ever commended his neigh∣bour more Christian-like, and doth more decline the trade of those Mercenaries, who sell their testimo∣nies and credit to any, that have wherewith to requite them. These are Hucksters of Poetry and Rheto∣rick; that prostitute to the first com∣mers, even those whō you stile the Kindred of the Gods & Daughters of Iupiter; and make Pegasus a ve∣ry hackney of commendation, (as I may so say) for all the world. You have a heart of a farre better mould then theirs; and though men consi∣der not as they ought, the graces ces and elegancies of your Muse, we must notwithstanding infinite∣ly commend their noblenesse and generosity. I confesse for my part, that J am a debtor to them as farre Page  89 as any, and that J know not how to requite in any measure, the fa∣vours that I have received from them. Yet notwithstanding, J for∣beare not to loade my Porter with a pretty grosse▪ bundle; not pre∣tending thus to acquit my selfe, or thinking that I am hereby lesse then before

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac. 1. April 1636.

LET. XXIV. To Monsieur De SILHON, Musque∣teer of the Kings Company.

Sir,

HAving your person in great admiration, I cannot mis∣prize Page  90 or undervalue your friend∣ship. The faire tokens whereof, which I have receav'd in the Letter, that you were pleas'd to write unto me, have obliged me so farre, that I confesse that I owe you already that which you are pleas'd now to promise me. I will tell you but this, that if Princes could bestow health and vertue, I should be a more sedu∣lous Courtier then I am, and should stand in more neede of your testi∣mony and the recommendation of your friend. But truly in the case that I am, my desires are so feeble, and my passions so cold and lan∣guid, that I could hardly bee per∣swaded to take up a Crosier, if I found it on the earth. Though Phi∣losophy doth not teach, that wee must seeke for happinesse out of the wheeling Orbe of the Court; Page  91 my owne lazinesse would cause me to apprehend it as a fortune, under whose weight J should per∣petually groane and not a place of any ease; and J doe lesse esteeme of a place of Government that might cumber me, then a field of liberty that may solace me. Jf you goe a∣ny time into Gascony, and doe me the honour to take my house in the way, you will verify what J say to you; and avouch, that if J were as well cured of all maladies as that of Ambition, I had not many wishes to commence. Jt is true that some company (like that of Monsieur your Brother) is wanting unto me; and if this were added to my Her∣mitage, J durst contend with Jupi∣ter for happinesse. This is a speech of Epicurus which Seneca doth al∣leadge, but which I doe mean to Page  92 apply better then it was by the Au∣thor; since Bread and Beare (which this Philosopher made the two E∣lements of soveraigne Good) are not so rare or so good, as those excel∣lent Instructions and perfect hone∣sty, which I should finde and injoy in the person of my friend. I doe charge you to assure him, that I doe ever honour and esteeme him infi∣nitely, and for your particular, you may believe, that you cannot affect a man that could be more sincerely then I am,

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac. 19. Dec. 1635.

Page  93

LET. XXV. To Monsieur De la Fosse.

Sir,

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

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac. 3. Ian. 1637.

Page  97

LET. XXVI. To Monsieur D' Espesses Counsel∣lour of the King in his Coun∣saile of State.

Sir,

YOU make me (truely) to lan∣guish, & it is more then foure months, since J have expected our Translation: J call it ours, because you made it in my Chamber, and on my paper; and J might call it mine too, by a rule in the Law, which doth adjudge the surface to goe along with the profunditie; but that J remembred the exception of the Emperour which he adds in fa∣vour of excellent Artizans. Nobis contrà videtur, meliùs esse Tabulam▪ cedere Picturae: Ridiculum enim est pi∣cturam Apelli vel Parrhasií in acces∣sionemPage  98vilissimae picturae cedere. We must not urge a man that is intent upon more important affaires. Yet when your leasure serves, be pleas'd to perfect that same Translation, & try if our language can expresse Te∣rence in that noblenesse of style, and the Character of Scipio and Laelius, which the Roman Nation observe to be in it. Jn the meane time Sir, to have the more colour to demand of you, I send you here a small gift; some Verses which I received late∣ly from one of my friends in Eng∣land, who doth chardge the Muses of the Low-Countreyes with the ma∣king. You are in some sort interes∣sed in't, seeing they question the credit & trueth of an Author who a∣mong you, is cryed for Indubitable; and seeme to thwart your judge∣ment of him, as concerning the cer∣tainty Page  99 of his Testimonie. But (in good sooth) the Flemmings have reason to require such a scrupulous and punctuall truth in our newes: They who are the most fabulous Historians of this Age, and for the most part, truck away nothing but Apocryphall Relations. By changing the proper names only in their Ver∣ses, we might retort all their Sar∣casmes upon them-selves; wee could speake truely of their Gazet, what they have falsely written of ours; and tell them farther, that that which they deride so, is well esteem'd all over by the most inge∣nious Nation of the world; It is cer∣taine that the fine wits of Rome doe admire the acutenesse and apposite expressions therein; and Monsieur the Abbat of — upon his return from Italy did assure me, that it was Page  100 pronounc'd in the Academy of the Humorists, that each section of the Parisian Gazet was worth a Chap∣ter in Florus, or Valerius Maximus. They are Sir, as you know, Epi∣grams in prose: and the determina∣tion of so famous a Tribunall, is a sufficient Countermure against the assaults of this new Poem. I would desire you to impart it to Monsieur Gaulmim, and some other grave Judges of Latin learning. That we may know the gust of your great world, and what we are to believe in the Provinces. The Description of the Bureau d' Adresse,* seemes to me to have been drawn upon the plaine, or modell, of that Palace which Ovid hath erected to Fame. But you will make us upon this, & all the rest most large and learned Observations; and I doe promise Page  101 my selfe to receive from you at once, both a Translation and a Com∣mentary. I am perfectly

Sir

Your, &c.

Balzac. 25. Nov. 1636.

LET. XXVII. To the same.

Sir,

Since I wrote my Letter, it comes to my head that for a Counter-cuffe to the Gazeta Parisi∣ensis, we might send to the Low-Countrey-men, Historia Hispana, and fill it with Comicall sport enough. First we must make it to be the in∣cestuous Off-spring of the Giants, begotten upon their own sister Page  102Fame, for the high and mighty lies wherewith it doth abuse the cre∣dulity of the simple; and (in truth) the naturall pride of that Nation which appeares, even in the wan∣dring Begger in extreamest misery; and those Rhodomontades which to them are so proper and usuall, that their very complements reteine a smack of them, are worthy of so Il∣lustrious an Extraction, and to de∣scend in a direct Line from Encela∣dus and Mimas, and Briareus. This premis'd Sir, and enricht with your art, I would have this monstrous Issue gaine upon the beleefe of the Jndians & the Cockneyes of Europe, that the beginning of the universall Monarchy promised to Spaine will betide just the next yeare, which is the climactericall yeare of all other States; that God's will is, that there Page  103 should bee but one Monarch upon earth; & that the Pope himself for his better accommodation, doth mean to resigne Rome to him, & exchange it for the Arch-Bishoprick of Toledo. That the Battle where the King of Sueden was slaine, was the last sigh of dying liberty; that this Prince was no such thing as we took him to be; and for those atchievements of his, which we entertain'd with such wonder, nothing was perfor∣med without the help of Magick, by vertue only of some charmes, & characters, and the assistance of the Powers of Hell, which at last were found too weak against the House of Austria. That to the end that se∣cond causes and humane meanes might concurre with the Designe of Providence, forreine affaires doe seeme to comply of them-selves to Page  104 this great change. That the King of England is not so brave, but that he would be contented to be a Feuda∣tary of the King of Spaine; and if it goes to the worst, that there will not be wanting some Gun-powder∣men to make him caper in the ayre with his whole Realme. That the cinders of the Holy-League, and the remainder of the Huguenot Party begin to flame a new in France by the bellowes and Libells of St Ger∣mains; that they have bargain'd with some secret Engineers, who have undertaken to fortify Rochell in one night. That Duke Charles must be revenged upon Nancy, and that he doth hold Paris already in extremity; that if there be not a Spa∣nish Garrison already in Turin and Casall, there will be one, when it shall seeme good to his Catholike Page  105 Maiesty, and when the Dukes of Savoy and Mantua, shall be received into his favour. That he will none of Venice or Amsterdam, because that an Illuminatée of Madrid, and a Sybille of Naples have assured him that the Sea will one day swallow up these two great Citties; and the losse of his Spaniards that should be their Commanders, would be a cause of great griefe unto him. That he had long since chastis'd the Rebells of Holland, if some con∣siderations of state had not hindred him from it. But let him preserve that land of contradiction, for a Fencing-schoole for his owne Sub∣jects, to keep them from idlenesse, and to breathe them by continuall exercise. That for the rest, if the world will not be so easily con∣quered, hee hath in his coffers Page  106 wherewith to buy it. And herea∣bouts, this Daughter of Fame and Enceladus her Brother, must raise her tone higher, and out-bid her first figure or number; shee must with one dash of the pen make more gold, then the Sun can make in a thousand years; she must make the windes laboure, and force the Ocean to groane under the new Fleet, which according to her computation, must arrive every moneth punctually at Lisbon and Sivill; she must make a discovery (if needs be) of the third Indies, & find out all the hidden mines there; not those within the Demaines of Anti-Christ excepted, & cause them to be guarded by those evill Spirits, which S. Augustin cals (for this rea∣son) Incubones Thesaurorum, &c. Be∣hold Sir, a rude draught of a work Page  107 which expects from you its con∣summation and perfection, which you might soone finish, if your Po∣eticall fancy should once seize you. Here is matter (you see) for an ex∣cellent Irony, and wherewith to continue it to a hundred verses and more, though the Comoedy did affect you ne're so litle, especially when you shall adde forme and fashion to the stuffe which I presente you with, who am

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac. 27. Nov. 1637.

Page  108

LET. XXVIII. To Monsieur de Couurelles.

Sir,

I Cannot write unto you but tu∣multuarily▪ my hands and head are so full of businesse, that being to take a journey to Paris, I am bound to bid farwell to the Clergy, the Nobility, and the Commons. It is now foure yeares that I have deli∣berated upon this voyage, and be∣ing at last resolv'd, I am like by your favour to be better accompa∣nied then I did expect, Comes facun∣dus in via, &c. I think I may give this attribute to your Book, after the Elogy which you vouchsafe me therein: and if I had not alrea∣dy taken part and declared my selfe for the Author of the Flandrian Hi∣storyPage  109 (who is one of my good Lords and friends) J should have entred blindly into a new faction, which (as it seems) you doe abette and pa∣tronize; But Sir, you will not take it amisse that I professe constancy, and that this second Author, hath not wonne my first affection. This evening I shall begin to entertaine him, and to tast of those delicacies whereof you were pleas'd to make an Essay. These will not be painted Cates, I am sure, nor Pageants of good; no nimble juglings and im∣postures practis'd upon the eye and imagination, as most part of those things are, that come from that Country. There is no imposture so finely contrived, as to be able to cheat so cautious a judgement as yours. And I will follow you, whe∣ther soever you shall please to lead Page  110 me, (I mean still to except matters of faith) and J believe you will not be offended with such an excepti∣on, since the lawes of friendship will allow it me, and since I never cease to be most affectionatly

Sir

Your &c.

Angoulesme March. 8. 1636.

LET. XXIX. To —

Sir,

MY willingnesse to relieve af∣flicted men, deserves not the thanks which J have reapt thereby. This is a passion which on my part doth but produce fruit∣lesse Page  111 desires, and which cannot by you be had in any estimation, but out of a superlative noblenesse in you. In that J have given harbor to a man that was persecuted, J did but that which the Law of Nations required of me, and what I would not have denied to the misfortunes of an — or a Spaniard. If you take this to mind, and become my debtor, you doe assume the in∣terest of all mankind, and acquit the honour of the whole world; for my part, J am twice rewarded for an act, which J thought was suffi∣ciently rewarded in the doing, and for which I expected neither honor nor acknowledgemēt. You see Sir, that I am not privy to your secrets, and if you were obliged hereby, it was by an innocent and blindly ig∣norant man. For the Cavalier,Page  112 touching whom you aske some newes; I believe that he hath pre∣vented me, as being unwilling that any other then himselfe should be the Historian of his adventures. He will (no question) write unto you, what hath hapned unto him in the Refectory of the — Fathers, and the notable advantages he hath gotten over a Gladiator of the long gowne. J am not troubled a whit that he hath got him some credit in so good a place, and gain'd the re∣putation of a man of valour. Yet, J must tell you, that his credit is dearer unto me then my own inte∣rest; and that if he have not the mind to dispute, it is not my desire he should turne for my sake. He may be my friend at a cheaper rate▪ and I can content my selfe with the calmenesse and tranquillity of his Page  113 passion, not needing that it should break forth and appeare through noise and jangling. Many men (you know) never doe a good turne, but that they may have occasion of up∣braiding. Poverty is more tolera∣ble then such Creditors; & there are some Patrons of such harsh disposi∣tions, that I would choose persecu∣tion before their succors. Upon our first meeting, I will declare my selfe more particularly to you, and in the mean while, rest

Sir

Your &c.

Paris May 3. 1631.

Page  114

LET. XXX. To my Lord the Bishop of ANGOU∣LESME, chiefe Almoner to the Illustrious Queene of great Brittaine.

My Lord,

I Have seen in a Letter that you have written to Monsieur — that my name is not unknown unto you, and that J have some share in your good Graces; this is a favour which I owe to your courtesy on∣ly, and I dare not believe, that my more then small deserts, could have acquir'd me such an inestimable good as that. I cannot justly enjoy it, if you would not admit of that perfect devotion and reverence which J offer you, and which I Page  115 were bound to pay to your Ʋirtue, though I should never reflect upon your Dignity. You have at first boording, ingaged my observance. It will be (my Lord) an incredible contentment unto me, to enjoy that happy entertainment and discourse which you have done me the ho∣nour to promise me. And J am confident, that I shall still depart thence a better man, and more learned, though my inclination be never so untoward, and unapt for good purposes, & my memory ne∣ver so slippery to retain the impres∣siō of faire Ideas. But I begin to fear that your Flock should in the mean while languish for you, and that the interests of France, will crosse and oppose themselves a∣gainst the wishes of our Province. The feare of that was it, that caus'd Page  116 me to send to England a Book, which I did heartily desire, I could have presented to you there, togi∣ther with the Author. He is one of the great Votaries of that great Car∣dinall Perron your Unkle: He doth celebrate his memory without in∣termission, and adores his learned Reliques. He doth glory in being his ghostly sonne; and, you will not (I am sure) make any difficulty, to avow this spirituall alliance that is between you and him, being joynd with the condition, that he desires to live in all his lifetime; which is to be

My Lord,

Your &c.

Balzac. 20. Dec. 1636.

Page  117

LET. XXXI. To Monsieur De —

Sir,

I Write unto you with a heart wounded with sorrow, and make my moane to you, for the sinister opinion, that you have con∣ceiv'd of me, upon the first evill re∣port that was suggested to you con∣cerning me. J thought I had given you a sufficient assurance of the smoothnesse and plainnesse of my soule, that you should not have so easily doubted of it, and entertaine a beleefe so injurious to amity, be∣fore you had communicated your jealousies to your friends, and made them cleere enough. You know Sir, more then any other, that my passions are not close and Page  118 reserved, but I carry my soule still in my forehead. When I was not as yet, so farre your servant as now I am, I did not use much Artifice, and dissimulation to perswade the contrary; and thence you might have deduc'd an infallible conclu∣sion, that if J had chang'd my incli∣nation, J would not have deceived you with new protestations of fi∣delity. I doe therefore religiously protest unto you, that honouring you with that zeale as I doe, you could not inflict a greater punish∣ment upon me, then the forfeiture of your favours. But moreover, I doe sweare to you by all that is sa∣cred in the world, that I have com∣mitted nothing that might deserve such a cruell punishment. After this me thinks you might be confirm'd in the truth, but pardon me if I tell Page  119 you, you should have been so be∣fore; and that I doe extremely wonder, that a weak and grosse ca∣lumny, should quite ruine and de∣face in your thoughts, the good im∣pressions, which J thought I had left there. J cannot hinder mens mis-constructions of me, or binde Interpreters from doing violence, and putting my words upon the rack, to make them depose things which were farre from my intenti∣ons. Sophisters make use of a true proposition to inferre an erroneous conclusion; and Pettifoggers still cite the Law, to authorise their in∣justice, & yet none will taxe Truth to be the cause of Error, or Law the mother of injustice. I cānot war∣rant, but my own thoughts (which are sound and innocent) not those of my adversaries, which are full of Page  120 malice and rancor. J am respon∣sable for the things that J have written, and ready withall to maintaine them. But all the visi∣ons and fancies of men are not in my power. Every man can make a nimble and subtle decipherer of another mans intentions. The same picture, according to severall lights and postures, may have seve∣rall representations; and oftentimes there is a great difference between a Text and the Commentaries, the meaning of the Author and the Cri∣ticismes of Grammarians. I said that I knew some strange insufferable hu∣mors, and no way fit to possesse and sway free-borne men. Therefore I said, that a man, whom J doe infinitely esteeme and honour was of that humor. Loe here Sir, (not to say halfe of what I think of it) a con∣clusion Page  121 very unworthy a Logician, and which is as farre from com∣mon, as from my particular sense. Indeed it was not you, that de∣duc'd it, yet you should not have entertain'd it at second hand; and if it did not seeme to you to be pal∣pably false, yet you might have de∣murr'd a while, and suspected it; you have done your selfe wrong and me too, in conceiving so bad a thought of your own merit and my fidelity; in expressing that you have some distrust of your self, who are of no mean value, and but very litle confidence in me, whose free∣nesse is something worth. I have but litle skill in fallacies, and a mean Jugler may sometimes gaine credit with me▪ neverthelesse, I should never have been thus sur∣pris'd and deluded, and when you Page  122 have wrote to me in a dozen Let∣ters at least, that you knew some men that wrote pernicious Books, and maintain'd Hereticall Propositions▪ I did not yeeld to such an imagina∣tion that this did reflect upon me; and when you sent a Lackey into this Province, I did not forbeare to send you commendations by him. You see that I am stung, and therefore am sensible. If your love were not deare unto me, I could well-enough beare your neglect of me; and if my zeale to you were not strong, I should endeavour to solace my selfe, after your ill in∣treating of me. But because I love, I would be requited with love; and I cannot brook to be taxt with a fault, which I thought did not de∣serve so much as suspition. Sir, I am upon the point to publish a Page  123 new Volume of Letters, where there be some which I have writ∣ten unto you, and others, where I make mention of you, as your vir∣tues did oblige me; and where will be one also, wherein (as some would perswade you) I am injuri∣ous to you. How I pray, can all these agree? can I be both your friend and your foe at once? can I blow with the same mouth, both hot and cold? can the literall sence favour you, and the allegoricall in∣jure you? can I doe you wrong, when J must needs wrong my selfe? shall I give an occasion of di∣stast by ambiguous termes, where I must make my selfe ridiculous by apparent contradictions? This was it Sir, that was suggested to your credulity, and which you did not reject at first acquaintance, as J had Page  124 reason to expect from your good discretion. These were the false surmises which were brought be∣fore you, wherein you found more semblance of truth, then in the sin∣cere protestations which J made to you. I cannot conceive (know∣ing that you have continued your friendship towards me, and that I too have not lost my reason) how you could imagine, that I intended in a bravery to disingage you, and by those aukeward spirits which I had knowne, I aim'd directly at you, and might not designe some other as well. J know a great many of the Gascons, and as there be some of them very moderate, so also there be others that are not so. I know some of Provence and Corsica, and J am not ignorant of their naturall gentlenesse; I know some Spani∣ards,Page  125 and I know how agreeable is their Yoake with that which they call Castiga-vellacos.

Lastly you may believe that I have not travel'd blindfold, and I had in vaine conversed with men, if I had not endeavour'd to know them; and yet in this particular, men would faine make all my acquain∣tance to be terminated in you, and that I have pardoned a thousand Humorists in the world (to whom my proposition might be applied) for to violate you. They surmise, that having an aime to wound some body, I made choice of one of my chiefest friends for my marke; and that I have murmur'd closely and in darke language, that He is rough and violent, whom J pro∣claime every where, and with loud accent, so completely wise and noble.Page  126 I will not cite unto you mean testi∣monies, for the confirmatiō of this truth. I can alleadge My Lord, the Duke of — and My Lord the Count of — of whom is here question made. They know both of them, how farre J am your servant, and with what fervency J did main∣taine your honour, and interests, on a time when occasion was presen∣ted. J am willing to believe that your other friends, might serve you in some steed in some other en∣counters, but in this here, all the whole company (J except no man) was mute. There was not any there, but my selfe that spake stre∣nuously in your behalfe, concern∣ing those things that did reflect up∣on you; and the boldnesse of my af∣fection carried me so farre, that the Lords, whom J now nam'd unto Page  127 you, did give me a publicke testi∣mony, and professed, (though with a litle disgust) that I was too good a friend to make a Courtier of I am therefore something aggrieved at this time, to be requited thus with obloquie, where I thought I had deserved thanks; to have preserv'd my fidelity inviolable towards you, and now to be accused of trea∣chery; to be the only man in your defence on that occasion, whereof you have cause to boast, and now to be the onely man of whom you complaine. I doe not use to value my services which I performe to my friendes, and I am con∣tent to stand up for them man∣fully, without making unto them an account of my prowesse. More∣over Sir, this betraies griefe, more then presumption, and may bee Page  128 term'd defending, rather then up∣braiding; These are resentments which accompany innocence that is offended; and which your facili∣ty (abused by the malice of ano∣ther) doth force from my heart a∣gainst my will. I will not conceale it from you, you have made a deep wound in it, it makes me think in all my dreames of the injustice which I suffer at your hand, & you had utterly lost any friend, that had been lesse firme then my selfe, by putting him to such a hazard. Wherefore Sir, for all the revenge that I desire for the injury which I have received, take it not amisse, that I give you this Advice, that you give lesse credit hereafter to ano∣ther, and more to your selfe; that you would be more jealous of those opinions that you have con∣ceived Page  129 upon your first acquaintance of a businesse, and lesse affected to the rumours of the Citty, which are not grounded upon any solid foundation. You should consider the place frō whence these quaint Newes have travelled; weigh the circumstances of the thing, examin by what spirit the accuser was led thereunto: and not examine His person onely, and passion, and in∣terests, but also the deservings of the party accused, his manner and behaviour of life, and his former actions: suspend your judgement at leastwise, untill time shall give you a more exact and particular infor∣mation of businesses; otherwise you shall never want disquiet & vexati∣on, and you should thus but feed upon suspicion and distrust, which are very unwholsome viands. Men Page  130 must not send you relations of whatsoever an undiscreet friend or some rude sturdy servant, or such and such a neighbour shall report unto — they must have more care of the tranquillity of your minde; and likewise for your part, you must not sweare un∣to the testimonies of all the Infor∣mers, that have a plot upon your credulity, and take pleasure in the paine and exercise which they put you unto. If you allow an open gate for all tales and suggesti∣ons to enter in, they will throng in∣to your house apace, and first come, first heard. To day, they will inform you (and perhaps with specious colours too) that your Privado's doe divulge your secrets; & to mor∣row that your Domesticks doe rob and rifle you; and at last that all the Page  131 world is your enimy, & all private conferences are but conspiracies a∣gainst you. I conjure you Sir, for your owne peace, not to give so much credit to those things which doe no way concerne Religion, nor to abandon your selfe to those Re∣lators, who pretend to dispell me∣lancholly, when they are fit for no∣thing but to whisper follies into your eares, and to calumniate with a good grace: make a distinction betwixt the fraudulent Arts of Pa∣rasites and the freedome of ingeni∣ous men; betweene those that a∣dore Fortune, and those that regard nothing but Vertue. For my part, I declare freely unto you that if Monsieur the — were rais'd a∣gaine, and would commit his om∣nipotency to your hands, I should not doe that to regaine your favour. Page  132 what I doe now performe in re∣gard of our friendship. At leastwise I should be more stern & stubborn (then I am) in my displeasure, and more obstinate in seeking to you, & lesse sollicitous of the event of my seeking. But I have not yet the skill to complie with the times, and to be still on Fortunes side; I professe such an austere honesty & goodnes that is not of the present times. I would take a pleasure to be a com∣panion of my friend in exile, and be his fellow-prisoner, I would runne under his Ruine to beare it off, whē I could not help him to stand fast & subsist. Your Fortune being so well established as it is, doth not require any such proofe and triall of fideli∣ty. But it is certaine that you can∣not desire of me any experiments of love so hazardous, but I would wil∣lingly Page  133 undergoe them with plea∣sure, for your sake, and testifie unto you that I am (beyond compari∣son) more then all my Informers

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac. 7. Iune 1633.

LET. XXXII. To Monsieur de Serizay.

Sir,

THere is no way to beare any longer with the contumacy of your silence. I have sent this mes∣senger of purpose to make you speake, and to tell you (though with some distaste to you) that you have lost your memory; & that is no lesse then the third part of your soule. So Page  134 that there remaine but the Vnder∣standing & the Will, wherein I have (perhaps) some nook & seat. You have promised me wonders and perform'd just nothing; you did owe me a visit immediatly after your voyage to Sainctes, and since that, you might have gone to Rome and come backe againe. You see here great cause of discontent; ne∣verthelesse I am so facile, that if you would but bereave your selfe of the pleasures of the Court for three or foure daies, I would seale you a ge∣nerall Pardon for all that is past, & account you as honest a man as e∣ver I did before. While I expect this reasonable satisfaction which you cannot deny me, be pleased to ac∣quaint my Lord the Duke of Roche∣foucaut that Monsieur de Nantes is extremely troubled, that he cannot Page  135 receive the honor which he would willingly pay him by comming to visit him in these parts. He expects this morning some tidings from my Lord the Duke of Espernon for to render himselfe where he shall ap∣point him to finde him; and I looke upon him as upō a blessing which I expect to loose every moment. If he were not preparing to Masse he would signifie unto him his dis∣contents himselfe, and the earnest desire he hath to make his Sonne one of the Luminaries of our Church. He finds the businesse so farre ad∣vanced, that there will be no great difficultie to effect the rest, and that his Extraction is so happy, that a li∣tle cultivation will produce rare & excellent fruits. Doe me the favour as to deliver to Monsieur his eldest Sonne the Panegyricke fram'd for Page  136 the King of Sueden, together with the Letter which I wrote the last summer to poore —. This is not to recommend unto him the me∣mory of her: I know that She is in∣finitely deare unto him: nor to put him into any affright; for men of his sort doe apprehend nothing but dishonour. I desire onely that hee should see that my poore judge∣ment doth sometimes jump with good understandings, and that J had the honour to be his Rivall in one passion that he hath harbour'd. If you doe not send me by my Man the Discourse of — garnished with Notes and Commentaries, I shall have a new cause of quarrell; and doe not you thinke that I be∣take my selfe to Monsieur — for them, this is an Oracle (indeed) that is alwaies ready to answer, but Page  137 I feare me, that you have not al∣waies devotion enough to con∣sult with him. Adieu Sir, I am ab∣solutely

Balzac: 30. May. 1633.

Your &c.

LET. XXXIII. To Monsieur Habert, Abbat of Cerizy.

Sir,

I Beleeve that you will not be of∣fended with a petition that this Bearer shall commence unto you in my behalfe. Your goodnesse car∣rieth you so farre as to love your Persecutors; and you have enter∣tain'd so favourably my first impor∣tunities that I stand not now in Page  138 feare of making motions. If you had givē me the repulse at first, you had taught me the Vertue of discreti∣on, & provided better for your own quietnesse. But the force of exam∣ple is dangerous: the evill doth sud∣dainly insinuate & grow familiar, and treads oft that way, which it was wont to measure. So that I think that I have now some colour of justice to torment you; and it is habituall unto me to abuse a thing, when I have not found difficulty enough to make me use it with moderation. I shall continue Sir, an importunate Begger till you forget to bee generous: and doe not doubt, but I knowe how to make use of a good so diffusive, and beneficiall, as is your Amity. You shall travell to day for the good of my estate, because there Page  139 is a Councell; and to morrow for the good of my soule, because there is a Sermon; that I may acknowledge you my friend, for my spirituall as well as temporall good, and that you may receive my thanks, both in this and the other world. That which you are to pronounce with gracefulnesse of Action, & cannot well be communicated in writing, hath notwithstanding already gi∣ven me infinite delight upon paper. I have never seen our Mysteries il∣lustrated with so much light of elo∣quence, nor Reason so successefully imployed in the service of Faith, nor Christian Morality better sea∣son'd, to make it relish well in pro∣fane palates. But in this particular, J would faine be lesse beholding to you, that J might have the more freedome, and be able to assure you Page  140 (without any supposition of en∣gagement, or signe of acknow∣ledgement) that I admire all your Muses universally, both the politer and the severer ones; both those that can compose Hymnes and An∣thems, and sing the praises of our Saviour Christ: and those that can resolve Problems, and deale in Christian learning. J bid you good day, and remaine with all my soule

Sir,

Your &c.

Paris 29. Apr. 1636.

Page  141

LET. XXXIV. To Monsieur De GAILLARD.

Sir,

BE of good courage, and start not at the opening of my pac∣ket; I doe assure you before∣hand, that it is not my Ghost that talkes to you, & that the Letter that I write unto you, doth not come from the other world. The rumor which was scattered concerning my death, hath not killed me; and I am yet, (since it is the pleasure of God) a witnesse of his works, and an Adorer of his power. I have ere this, received the alarme of the like newes; but J am no longer credu∣lous to dreams and presages; my soule doth not labour with those popular infirmities: and I doe con∣sent Page  142 with that Grecian, that all the wishes of enimies, all the impreca∣tions of Poets, and all the false bruits of Fame, are not able to bring on our destiny one houre the soo∣ner. There is a Gentleman in Gas∣cogne, who is Chronicled to have been slaine in the Battle of Yury; & he is yet very well notwithstand∣ing, and means to live long. J am Sir, of the same humor too, and confesse to you, that J doe not much hate my life, though J have litle cause to love it. Your Statio∣ners indeed, did not beleeve this: they have handled me as though I had been dead indeed, and have imagined withall, that they be my rightfull Heyres ex asse, having seiz'd upon the first papers of mine that they could meet with. J am something apprehensive of this in∣jury, Page  143 and it should grieve me if Monsieur — should be the Author of it; because J should then endure it with more impatience yet. To say truth, if this be not to wound & violate (downeright) the law of Nations, it is (at least) to deflowre and taint it: and you will confesse with mee, that it could not bee pleasing unto me, that the — should be publisht without asking my consent thereunto. Had it been so, J should not have been (perhaps) very averse, and J should have desi∣red him only to alter something for my sake, and something for his owne. For though his understand∣ing be passing good, yet you know well, that our Grammarians doe not allow his stile for regular; and though their scruples be ill groun∣ded, yet they must be considered. Page  144 That which I would faine have changed, and where I thought I had some small interest, was one word, which my ancient Enimy had already miserably mangled; and which, (not wanting spirit and life in its naturall place) doth re∣semble those delicate plants, which dye as soone as they be transplanted from their own banks. But reme∣dies come now too tardy. J must comfort my selfe against this, as well as other injuries. This is but dallying to former wrongs; and such pinches should well be borne with, by a man that never useth to complaine of Treasons and Assassi∣nates. For your satisfaction Sir, let it suffice that I have a perfect knowledge of your wisdome and Honesty, and that I would trust you with my life, my honour, and my Page  145 fortunes. If J had had so base a thought as to suspect you in this dealing, J should believe that J were bound to doe penance for my suspition. J know that you are e∣very way virtuous, and my firme friend, as I am very really

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac 10. Jan. 1634.

LET. XXXV. To the same —

Sir,

I Have received your incompa∣rable Book: in the which (after a long and tedious perusall) my Grammer could finde no constru∣ction, Page  146 nor my Logick common sence. This is not the first time that that poore Wit hath strayed so. He hath been, this long time ridiculous without being facetious, and hath been a laughing-stock to the vul∣gar, and an object of pitty to the wise. The late Monsieur — did use to call him the greatest enimy that ever Reason had, betweene Cales and Bayonne; and said, he was a foole in two sciences, and in foure languages. Neverthelesse if our friend shall think him wor∣thy of some traces of his pen, let us indulge him that exercise, with this proviso, that he be not violent, and that he put not himselfe to a heat; that (if it please him) he doe not deal seriously with him, or arme him∣selfe at all points, against an Adver∣sary that deserves not any encoun∣ter Page  147 but with pinnes. As for the — you wrong your selfe, for to mi∣strust the moderation of my spirit. Jn the estate that J have ordered and setled it in, I have lesse passion then the King of the Stoicks; and J must be excited for eight daies to∣gither, to the cruelty of hateing any man whatsoever, for one halfe an houre. It is not my intention to write against Monsieur — but to discourse with him; and I have not so litle wit, but that J can distin∣guish his person from his cause. He hath obliged me with so good grade, and spoken of me in such high language & sumptuous termes, that I cannot doubt of his respect, or his affection towards me. And he shall likewise see my resent∣ment of it, through the whole file of my Discourse; wherein I am re∣solved Page  148 to temper my selfe so dis∣creetly, that if I perswade him not to my opinion, I shall not make my proceedings odious; and if I doe not rest satisfied with what he saith, I shall contradict him but obliquely, and with a kind of Bi∣asse, which shall not be distastfull unto him. This will be (perhaps) the first example of modesty, that hath been heard of among the Dis∣putants of this age; and we will de∣monstrate to those of that side, who talke outragiously in Problems of small importance; that the alter∣cations of honest men are without choler, and that generous enemies live better togither then malicious Burghers. For the rest Sir, I desire you to continue the paines that you have begun, & to send me where∣with J may fortify all the Approa∣chesPage  149 that are liable to assault and battery. I shall feare nothing being strengthned with so powerfull suc∣cors; and you will justify my cause if it be good, or give it a colour of justice, if it be not so. See what an enterprise it was in you to love me: You could never have conceived a more pernicious designe for your selfe. It will repent you more then once, and you will renounce at any time (I am sure) the sorry purchase which you have made in the ac∣quaintance of a troublesome man. Neverthelesse he is one that is most affectionately

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac. 20. March. 1634.

Page  150

LET. XXXVI. To Madam DESLOGES.

Madam,

IT is now three Months that I have expected Monsieur d' Auvi∣la, that I might be informed of the state of your health: But have∣ing lately understood that it is not so currant as I could wish it, and mine being not so firme, that J could adventure upon a journey, J have dispatched one towards you to learne the truth thereof. It will be an incredible ease to my mind, if I finde that it was but a false a∣larme, or that your sicknesse by this time be over-past. J doe hope for one of the two (Madame,) because J doe passionatly desire it; but J be∣seech you to beleeve that it is long Page  151 of my crazie body that J am no sooner clear'd of my feare, and rid of the paine it put me to; and that you doe not see me in person in steed of the Messenger that I have sent. He hath in charge to presente you with my fine Cuts or small In∣gravery, which J have newly re∣ceived from Paris; J thought meet to send you this dumbe visit that it might not oblige you to any com∣pliment that might put you to trouble; you doe receive (indeed) more troublesome ones, some∣times; And if the sullennesse of my countenance, be an object of bad presage, you will confesse that the perpetuall silence that doth accom∣pany it, is a great commodity: at leastwise it can never be offensive to you, since it leaves you still at quiet, and demanding no ceremo∣ny Page  152 from you, it must perplexe you lesse then the Antiquities and Origi∣nals of La Marche, and Limousin. Finally Madame, it lyeth in you to preserve your bounties for me▪ and maintaine me in my possession. I know that Monsieur d' Aillé is of in∣finite value, and I believe I cannot loose him, since it was you that gave him me; you have too good a hand to doe any thing that should not last, and there is no accident that can menace and shake that friendship, whereof virtue is the cause, and you the Mediatrix. I e∣steeme that of this rare Personage as a treasure, and J would be well pleased that he should know by your means, that J admire the Elo∣quence of his Dogmaticall & peace∣able Divinity, though J doe not subscribe unto the Doctrine of his Page  153polemicall writings. J most humbly kisse your hand, and remaine

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac. 16. Ian. 1637.

LET. XXXVII. To Monsieur de —

Sir,

TAke pitty on a man that hath not the leasure to live, that is alwaies busy and alwaies sickly, whom a thousand griefes seize upon in his chamber, and a thousand persecutions throng up∣on, from without. Monsieur de — knowes it well that I am no dis∣sembler, and will testify unto you Page  154 (I assure my selfe) that in the state that I am in, I can but admire those letters, to the which I should frame an answere. I avow unto you Sir, that it cost me some paines to deci∣pher them: But yet I doe not com∣plaine of my travell, which found most happy successe. J have disco∣vered infinite rarities under the rid∣dles of your Scribe, and I did not mistake the Graces, though He had begrimed them all over. I send them back to you, since it is your request▪ and yet notwithstanding I cease not to deteine them; my me∣mory is not so unfaithfull, but it preserves the better part of your faire compositions, as well as of your excellent conversation. It is cer∣taine that this gave me some gusts and appetites, which I never had, before you came hither. I am not Page  155 good, Sir, but by your goodnesse, & if I have any degree of holy heate in me, it is neither proper nor naturall unto me, J have it from your com∣munication. You are at this day one of those Authors whom I cite still with a grace and an Emphasis: I doe arme my selfe with your reasons against the enimies of Truth, & you are all my French Divinity. What a harvest might be reapt (think you) of devout meditations, and Spiritu∣all Treatises from lesse seed thē are your Discourses and Letters? A man might extract from them more sapp and juice then from many Quadragesimall Sermons of Spanish Postillers; and were they but a litle amplified, they might serve for compleat Apologies of Christian do∣ctrine, and solid refutations of un∣sound Philosophie. Your acquain∣tance Page  156 then, is no small purchase, & J owe you more thē vulgar thanks for it. But since you desire none o∣ther but my edification: insteed of minting fastidious complements for you, J will labour to put your wholsome counsailes in practise. J will become a good man if J can, that you may be celebrated in my works, being not contented with words. The curing of a disease doth sufficiently proclaime the so∣veraignty of the remedy; and it is a farre better way to magnifie your stile by performing actions of ver∣tue, which it doth propose as its end, then to cry out Euge at every period. There is no hopes to goe beyond this. Remember me if you please in your Sacrifices, that is, love me effectually, after your way, since Page  157 J am after mine, and that very sin∣cerely

Sir,

Your, &c.

Balzac. 30. Decemb. 1636.

LET. XXXVIII. To Monsieur Girard, Officiall of the Church of Angoulesme.

Sir,

YOur favours have exhausted my thanks. I cannot choose but acquaint you that I doe repos∣sesse my old pieces againe, and that your Love is still ingenious in obli∣ging those whom you affect. I doubt not but that that Courtesies that I have received from Monsieur de — are the effects of your te∣stimonies Page  158 of me; & I must ascribe all the contentment that I have re∣ceived thereby to your preparation and induction. There is no subject so vile and meane but gaines price by your estimatiō. You have found the trick or secret to make objects swell beyond their proportion ad infinitum; and to stampe a man Illu∣strious, though of a very abject cō∣dition. I came to know him by the civilities of —, which are farre different from the bravado's of —. Are not these the most ty∣rannicall Spirits in the world? that should say that I could hinder, that any Bookes should bee written or published, at a hundred leagues di∣stance? that is, that I should main∣taine an Agent in all the Printing-houses of France, that should pre∣vent the publication of Antiphilar∣kes.Page  159 These Messieurs that have han∣dled me in such a sort, that fire and poison would seeme to an Italian too gentle tortures to revenge their cruelty, are, at this time, offended (forsooth) that I should be furnish∣ed with so much as a buckler, and that I should be offred a Sanctuary. They demand a reason of me why a man, whom I never knew, should take compassion on Innocence op∣prest, & could not endure the noise & insolence of their false triumphs. which J should not doe neither, deare Friend, if I would give vent & liberty to my griefe, & that Nature suffer'd not in the suppression of so just complaint. And yet J must con∣tinue to doe her violence & deserve the approbatiō of Monsieur our Pre∣late. J beg from you his good fa∣vours, and desire you both to be∣lieve Page  160 that J am affectionately

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac. 20. March 1633.

LET. XXXIX. To the same: —

Sir,

IT is not your Will that I sollicite, but your Memory. For amidst the presse of businesse of the whole Province, which you doe willingly take the charge of, mine happily may slip out of your memory with∣out your fault. The importance is, to commence it with an opinion that it is feasible, and with a resolu∣tion to carry it; for if reason be ur∣ged timorously, and if a man doe Page  161 not descend streight from generali∣ties to particulars, a thousand jour∣neies unto the — will not bee worth one; and we should but take much paines to litle purpose. Mon∣sieur de — shall pardon me, if J doe not find my selfe either hardy, or strong enough to undertake the worke which he hath done mee the honour to designe me for; and for such a taske, a more peaceable and happy retreate, and a more practis'd and expert quill then mine, are re∣quisite. J have used my hand and minde to write but toyes, & things un-necessary. For the future, I pur∣pose not to write any workes of su∣pererogation, but what the Church prescribes, and God doth reckon as meritorious. I am extremely troubled at my Cousins mischance, and the burning of his Study. Hee cannot Page  162 choose but be very sensible of this losse▪ since it was the chiefest part of his wealth, and thereby saw the Issues of his brain perish before his face, without being able to redresse it. This must be his comfort, that he is young and laborious, & that For∣tune cannot ravish from him those true goods which he is Master of. The losse of a vessell is not valued, if the Pilot be saved; and Captaines have been seene to triumph after the losse of many Armies. Miser & nudus Imperator invenit exercitum▪ Our Advocate is more cruell then the Warre, & more severe then Iu∣stice: He hath slaine in his Letters my Lord the Marshall of — & my Lord the Duke of —, who are yet alive to pardon him. Tell him (if you please) that he doe not trafficke any more in such newes, Page  163 for he will be reckoned among the fabulous Authors else, and men will taxe mee for bad intelligence. I know well that he is not surety for the newes that flyes abroad, but he is answerable for the asseveration wherewith he doth recommende them unto me; and hee must talke of something that is not knowne, or at leastwise with the cautious forme of the Poets, when they say, ut fama est, ut perhibent, si credere dignum est. I bid you good even, and remaine perfectly

Sir

Your, &c.

Balzac. 4. Feb. 1634.

Page  164

LET. XL. To the same —

Sir,

YOur friend doth not well to take the Alarme, since it is not J that gave it him. I was never used to promise but with an inten∣tion to performe; & those that have soveraigne power over me, have not power enough to make me fal∣sify my word. As for those idle Cō∣templators that talke according to their fancy, concerning the occasi∣on of my Voyage; I doe not think it any part of their office to render an account of my actions; I ever thought that the liberty of going & comming was tolerated as lawfull in this Kingdome; and when a man departed out of Paris, he was not Page  165 bound to publish a Manifesto, to make it knowne to all the world. It is not without reason that Mon∣sieur de Silhon doth much esteeme the eloquence of Maffaeus. The late Monsieur Scaliger, who was none of the best friends the Jesuits had, did so before him; and see here one trace of his pen concerning it, in one of his Letters. Maffaeus ille quis∣quis est vir eloquentissimus est, ambi∣tiosae tamen magis quàm castigatae fa∣cundiae. Hee commends him (you see) though not without exception, yet in my judgment without envy; since in this particular the most In∣telligent of the Society concur with him in the same opinion, & name∣ly the Historiographer of the Low-countrey-warres, who in his Dia∣logues, speaks of him thus; though it be in the person of another: Mira∣tusPage  166sum florem & numeros Orationis. Dixi Scriptorem mihi videri non hu∣ius aevi, sed è veteri illo Ordine & quidem Patricio Historicorum. Ni∣hil uspiam incultum neglectum{que}; concinna perfecta{que} omnia; nisi fortè eo peccat, quòd nihil peccat, nam & in∣genium Scriptoris anxium apparet interdum, & dictio videtur exquisita adsonum, eum{que} simili modulatione cre∣brò fusum. Quare monui ut orationis culturam saepius libentius{que} dissimula∣ret, nec verba ita trajiceret quasi com∣plementa numerorum. I am yet in the same state, that you left me in at parting, but that I have still the same malady though not the same con∣solation. My Ague visits me every night, though (indeed) not in the same pompe and ceremonie as it u∣sed, when its accesses were regular. But yet, it doth still handle me rude∣ly, Page  167 and J doe much feare the conse∣quence of this custome. Come Sir, and exorcise this evill spirit out of my body, by the infusion of some mirth into my minde, & think not that I can receive any true joy, be∣ing so farre distant from you. I am

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac. 7. Apr. 1634.

LET. XLI. To the same —

Sir,

SInce it is impossible to with∣stand it, I have sent you the Let∣ter, that you desired to see. But you shall read it (if you please) to your own eares only, that it may not a∣wake Envie. And that some Phi∣larchusPage  168 doe not over-heare you. Loe here withall, the three lines of Car∣dinall Bentivolio's Letter, which you did so often demand of me, and which J can no longer deny you without incivility. Di nuovo prego V. Sria a 'ringratiar, &c. I doe againe intreat you to thanke Mon∣sieur Balzac in my name, and by the same opportunitie to make him an am∣ple testimonie of my great affection to∣wards his deserts; & tell him this with∣all, that no pen doth more discourage me then his, for J see too well how farre it doth surpasse mine. I must confesse that in this particular, to doe mee grace he hath been unjust to him∣selfe, and that the same motion of humility that prompts Princes of his ranke and parentage to wash poore mens feet, hath moved him to use me so respectfully▪ Neither Page  169 doe J pretend to take a pride in it; but yet I think, it will not be denied, but that I may derive some com∣fort from it. And (indeed) it seemes that the goodnesse of this brave Worthy, would needs make me a∣mends for the malice of my Adver∣saries. These few lines doe weigh downe the swelling Volumes of my Opponents, and I shall use no other refutation of all that hath, or shall be written against me. For the pre∣sent Sir, I am not of that man's opi∣nion who censures that passage, La noire mere des estoiles; the Poet that so stiles the Night, is not so bold & rash as the Grammarian supposeth, that reprehends him. And if this be as he saith, a *Gasconisme, Tibullus was a Gascon when he said,

Ludite, jam Nox jungit equos: cur∣rum{que} sequuntur
Page  170Matris lascivo sydera fulvachoro.
The Night there is mother of the starres; as in another Poet the Nurse of them.
〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.
Nox, aureorum furva nutrix sy∣derum.
Our Man writes to me oft enough, but he puts me to hereafter in all his Letters; & doth ever promise what he never performes. Neverthelesse I doe believe, that Hee will certifie me by the first Poste touching the event of that busines which makes you so anxious, and I will not fayle to impart unto you the newes, as soone as ever the Carrier bringeth them. I am

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac: 20. Iuly. 1632.

Page  171

LET. XLII. To Madamoisell de CAMPAGNOLE.

My deare Niece,

YOu did not well, that you did not keepe that floury Chaplet, which J had the favour to re∣ceive from your Lackey; the win∣ter would not have budded but for you, and by consequence you should have better valued this fa∣vour, and managed your Roses more sparingly. They should have been bestowed about your temples, for an honour to its pregnancy, and not have been bestowed on an Hermit: for this were to hide a mi∣racle. J see well your drift herein, you would needs be liberall in a time of scarcity; and loose your Page  172 owne right, that you might please my passion with something; which is so much affected with true and lively floures: Which J doe terme so, because the other, which men doe so much esteeme, having not any odour which animates, are in my judgement but faire pictures, or specious carkasses. But J beseech you to resolve me one scruple that doth trouble me; and ease me of my perplexity. Tell me, was this because there be some already, or because there be some yet left? are these remainders, or fore-runners? was it the last spring that was tar∣dy, or the new that is hasty and for∣ward? loe here a Problem worthy to be discussed by the Philosophers of your Sexe, and it would not be amisse to propose it to Her whom you speak of, for to have her reso∣lution. Page  173 I professe, that if she be very expert, she is a very dissembler, for I could never discover her to this houre. Shee hath such a heavy dull apprehension, that a man had need interpret twice or thrice over what ever he speaks to her. It were ea∣sier to converse with a deafe wo∣man, and I would choose rather to make my selfe understood by a Cor∣net, then to be my own Interpreter. Yet if this stupidity be without ma∣lice, it is more tolerable then mali∣cious cunning God permits him∣selfe to be intreated, (sometimes) by a simple thumping of the breast, and often rejects eloquent and loud prayers. It is a miserable light, that, whose glory and luster flowes from vice only, and yet is not offensive to great men. A good Beast is of more worth thē a bad Angell.Page  174 This is the upshot of all (my deare Niece) that you must lay a founda∣tion of Bounty, upon which it is allowed you to raise a Structure of other virtues, that are more high, and more glorious. You did not stand in need of this lesson, but I would needs fill up my paper, be∣fore I would put a period, and tell you that J am

Balzac. 15. Dec. 1637.

Your &c.

LET. XLIII. To Monsieur the Abbat of Bois-Robert.

Sir,

THe world is full of darstardly friends, but you are none of Page  175this world. You can love dare∣ingly and resolutely; and J see that my injuries are (commonly) more apprehended by you, then by my selfe; neverthelesse I am much vexed with the language which you received from Messieurs the — These are men, that doe understand too well the points of honour, for to give me any satisfaction; and for my part, I carry so much goodnesse about me, as to demand nothing from them but my life. J never be∣leev'd that their Superior had pro∣mised me nothing. Jf he hath left them no other debts to pay but this, they have great cause to com∣mend him for his good providence and thrift. Jn the mean while, J cannot dissemble my sorrow to you for his death, nor forget to tell you, that in all his ill carriages to∣wards Page  176 me, he hath never done me a greater affront then this, to dye. If J had had some particular Revela∣tion concerning it, or if he had ad∣vertised me thereof by the Spirit of Prophecy, which is spoken of in his Elogy, he should have seen his prat∣ing long since condemned, and should not have carried away into the other world, that great opinion of sufficiency, which his Fraternity did sooth him with. For the other extravagant Doctor, which you mention, it would not be accepta∣ble to God almighty, that J should undertake his reformation; it were needfull to create him anew, for to amend him▪ Jt were no mean en∣terprise but to examine his book, and to make a breviary of all the ab∣surd things therein contained. J would choose as soone to be con∣demned Page  177 to be a Scavenger for the streets of Paris, and to carry away all the dirt out of that litle world. His impertinencies are infinite, and would puzzle a better Arithmetician then I am to calculate them, and he that would goe about to count them,

Conterâ ancora in sùl'ombroso dosso &c.
Will count the Trees on top of sha∣dy Appennine
Assoone: or waves, when windes doe chafe the curling Brine.

Jf this Bearer shall stand in need of recommendation to the Councell, J doubt not, but knowing his name, and what a share J beare in his in∣terests, you will effectually assist him for love of me, who am more Page  178 then any man in the world;

Sir,

Your, &c.

Balzac. 30. Ian. 1629.

LET. XLIV. To the same —

Sir,

I Am (ever this Month) confin'd to my bed, where I received your Letter directed from Roan. To read there the continuation of your sicknesse, could not (you must think) be any assuagement of mine. J bestow a thousand curses upon the waters of Fórges, for impairing your health. Propertius hath not been more liberall, or bestowed Page  179 more upon the Baiae that kill'd Au∣gustus his Nephew. But a maine difference is, that this man was a Poet, and did but act griefe: but I am truly afflicted; and true friend∣ship doth really suffer more, then flattery can personate. J am very sorry that — hath not demean'd himselfe towards you so well as he should have done; and if you have resolv'd upon his ruine, I doe not mean to step in between him and it, and undertake his protecti∣on. I doe ever side with all your passions without premeditation; and that man that doth not please you, hath no allurements so power∣full, as can render him pleasing to me: neverthelesse if this mans of∣fence were veniall, and your justice could be satisfied; J would adven∣ture to beg his pardon, and would Page  180 become his surety, that he should willingly undergoe all the punish∣ments that you would inflict upon him, to regaine your favour. There are some businesses betweene us, that force me to dissemble a litle, and doe not permit an apparent rupture, if there come not from you an expresse order to the contrary. But being once freed out of this tur∣moile, if he be so unlucky as to of∣fend you againe, I declare unto you that I doe even now renounce him; and J had rather forget my obliga∣tions to him, then to carry affecti∣ons repugnant to yours. Your Cou∣sen is too generous to oblige (so no∣bly) a man whom he never knew; and J had rather beleeve, that his e∣steeme of me, is but the conse∣quence of your love, then to ima∣gine it to be an apprehension of any Page  181 merit in mee. J doe purpose a voy∣age beyond the seas the next year; If J take ship at Diepe, as J hope to doe, J shall not faile to goe and kisse His hands at Röan; & to make him see that the Monster, that Fa∣ther Goulu speaks of, is a tame Beast, (at least) and capable of know∣ledge. If J did exceedingly rejoyce at the newes, when a Canonship was bestowed upon you, J forgot how farre this Dignity was below your deserts. It sufficeth me, that I give you some testimony that I am not sorry for it; and that J consider it (as in the croude) among other Benefices that shall fall upon you; knowing that some few mens lives (that be not yet dead) are the onely obstacles to your Virtues. J expect by the first Post, some bet∣ter Page  182 newes concerning your health, and ever remaine with all my soule

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac. 10. May 1634.

LET. XLV. To the same.

Sir,

YOur last message did give me exceeding content, & though I am well assured of your af∣fection towards me, yet I take a singular delight to read in your Let∣ters that you love me. These be words, whose fragrancy time can∣not weare away; and which will Page  183 be as pleasant to me many years hence▪ as when they were first spo∣ken. I am (indeed) ravished with your last protestations: But I rejoyce with you the rather, for the felicity of this new age, since you are in part the cause of it, and that by your suggestions, Monsieur — doth purpose to allot a considerable Te∣nement of lands for the releefe of poore and disconsolate Muses. We shall see this year Sonnets, and Odes, and Elegies enough. The Almanack doth promise wonderfull plenty, and Parnassus must not yeeld lesse then it did under the Pontificate of Leo the Tenth. For you Sir, if you believe me, you shall never take pen in hand againe, but in case of necessity, and only that commerce may not decay. Hitherto you have been a Horace, now you are a Mece∣nas; Page  184 and if we doe not celebrate you (every Scribler of us) and ad∣dresse our Works, both in prose and verse to you, you have just cause to indict us of ingratitude. For my part, I would willingly both live and dye under your patronage; and I doe provide an Oration for you in genere demonstrativo; wherein (at first salute) J shall astonish the world with this great prodigy. That you are both a complete Courtier, and a perfect Friend. Since you would absolutely have it so, that J come to Paris, it is to you, that J shall make my most frequent re∣sorts to doe my respects; and it is in your Cabinet that I shall (by your good leave) redeeme the time, which J have lost in the Country, but we must give place (a while) to the anger of stormeing Iove; or to Page  185 speak the language of men, we must permit it to raine and freeze in Beausse; and not goe to out-brave the month of February. J have no great need to dye out of too much dareing. My health is still very infirme and unconstant; and if J did not take incredible care, (I say not to preserve my person, but only to continue my sleepes) you had lost me a great while since. Since J am wholly yours, you will allow me the use of this word, and take it not ill, that J reckon my selfe in the number of those things, that are not to you indifferent. You have in∣finitely obliged me in assuring Mon∣sieur the Count of — of the conti∣nuance of my zeale and fidelity. J have made him so eminent and publike a marke, that as J can never recant it, so can he never suspect it. Page  186 I omit a thousand things that I should tell you of: but this will be imploiment for the next weeke: and I am forced to conclude that I am

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac. 10. Feb. 1632.

LET. XLVI. To Monsieur de Savignac.

Sir,

EIther I have not well interpre∣ted my selfe or Monsieur de — hath not well understood me. I doe ever value the merits of Madame d' Anguitar, and if it must be, that I must (by a second act) cō∣firme Page  187that testimonie which I have given of Her, I am ready to declare my selfe a new, and to commende once more a Lady that is so praise-worthy. It is true, that for the in∣terest of her Honour, it will be some thing materiall, to understand the cause that made my intentions to be mis-construed, and that I leade you to the very source of this jea∣lousie; Whereas, it seem'd to certaine Cavaliers, my friends, that I did too much approve of her singular humour, and frequent reti∣rings, one of the most eloquent of them took a fancy to publish his dislike in this point; and to write a reproachfull Letter unto me in the name (as he saith) of the whole Corporation of Honest men. Wherein he proclaimes open warre against me in their name, as though I had Page  188 conspir'd against faire Society; and calls me the Common enemy; the uni∣versally jealous mā, the Tyrant to both sexes. He doth imagine that it is my intent to shut up in Prison all faire and delectable things, for to punish curious eyes. He cryes out, that I would faine abrogate the sweetest lawes of this Realme, and bring in the cruelty of that custome in Spaine, where honest women are mewd up in cages, and honest men adore but doores and windowes. From Madrid, he passeth to Constan∣tinople, and tells me in a great rage, that I am good nothing but to be a Counseller of the great Turk, for to advise him to raise the walls of the Seraglio higher, & to double the Guard of the Sultana; Then he doth accuse me for a thousand mischiefs and takes me for Him that invented Page  189 the iron grates, the locks, the vailes & maskes: & for the Author of all those things that oppose his intrusi∣on & saucy curiosity. Insomuch that he imagines that I must render him a reason of the secrets and difficul∣ties of all riddles, of the darknesse of all ancient Oracles; of the Allegories of Poets; and of the Mysteries of all Religions. To make answer to farre lesse then this, it behooved me to study a long Apologie; & (as ill luck was) when I received his Letter, I was not in the humour of making Books. Wherefore Sir, I professe to you truly, I chose rather to yeeld thē defend my selfe; and abandon my Maxims to the verbosity of my good friend, rather then maintaine them with the expence of so many words as he did plye them with: But if I be not deceaved, there is a good Page  190 deale of difference betweene my Maximes & the praises of Madame d' Anguitar; and he must take heed of confounding in the designe that I have, that which I distinguish'd in the * Letter which I wrote unto Her. To say that She is one of the Perfections of the world, is an im∣moveable truth, for which I would fight all my life time: But to say that such Perfections must be se∣questred from the eyes of men, is (I suppose) a problematicall opinion, which I may revoke without pre∣judice to my own constancy, or to the worth of these Perfections. But on the contrary, most will bee apt to believe, that this will be suffici∣ent amends, and just satisfaction for the injury I did them, in condem∣ning them to Solitude and Retired∣nesse; & will call it their revoking Page  191 from exile, and releasing out of bon∣dage. Thus Sir, I preserve still my first Designe; and my commendati∣ons remaine whole and intire a∣mong the ruines of my Maximes. Nay out of their demolitions, Tro∣phies might be erected to the ho∣nour of Madame d' Anguitar, and a Theater built, where Shee might be gazed upon, by those that can but divine and guesse at Her; and that the Desart might no longer have such advantage over the Citty. This is not then to rebell against her Ver∣tues, but to wish Her a more spaci∣ous Empire, and a greater number of Subjects then She hath had; nor to goe about to eclipse her light, but to adjudge, that Shee should issue forth out of the cloudes, for the be∣nefit and comfort of the Ʋniverse. I pitty those Criticks that take it o∣therwise; Page  192 and am sorry that Mon∣sieur — is fallen upō a thought so far distant from mine. He might have understood me well enough, without putting me to the paines of interpreting my selfe; and might have seen (moreover) that though in this occasion I would not at all consider the interests of another, yet I should have considered my owne at least. Doth he imagine that I could have been perswaded to spoile at one dash, one of the dearest Issues of my Braine? and to bereave my selfe of the acknowledgements of one of the greatest Personages of the world, who thinks Herselfe in some measure beholding unto me? I am no such Enemy to my selfe, or so prodigall of the good that I have acquir'd. I doe not mean to throwe dirt upon that piece, where I have Page  193 bestowed so many and so rich Co∣lours; and believe not you, that I would have razed out (being there∣unto intreated by none) those words that did no way dislike me; you that know how Heliodorus de∣nied to doe the like, though ear∣nestly sollicited thereunto, by a whole Councell. If you doe me the honour as to make a journey to morrow to Balzac, I will tell you more; though negociating with an understanding so serene as yours, I think I have spoken enough alrea∣dy concerning it. This is

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac 26. March 1637.

Page  194

LET. XLVII. To Monsieur Chapelain.

Sir,

I Am newly out of a fit of an Ague; and though the shaking & tossing be past, yet it is not yet calme. My head is so numb'd, and deafned with yester-daies tempest, that I am for no reasonable use; and in the estate that J am, I am not fit for any Society. Neverthelesse there is no way to put off so just an office as this to another time, and (though with hazard of incongruities, and of∣fending against Grammer rules) you must receive from me these three or foure ragged lines. You have ob∣ligations upon me, both new & old, which cannot by me be sufficiently acknowledged. I am asham'd to be Page  195 beloved so much and deserve it so litle; and if you be not contented with an honest Heart, I can offer you nothing worthy so noble and pure affection as yours. The last Letter which you did me the honour to write unto me, hath given proofe thereof beyond all question; and J have kist each line thereof as so many traces or footsteps of the gol∣den Age, and so many pictures of the sincerity of the old World. Your coū∣sells are most wise and loyall, and I would most punctually render them obedience, if J were in case to doe it. But besides that it is impossible to appease and conjure downe En∣vy, & that I am too weake to grap∣ple with it: Physitians doe prohi∣bite all study and labour of the spi∣rits; and tell me, that I cannot me∣ditate one halfe an houre, without Page  196 running the hazard of never medi∣tating more. So that Sir, it is more expedient that my cause should pe∣rish then J; and that I should be beaten at Paris in my absence, then that I should die here in person. You will (no doubt) be of my opinion, and since the occasion (which is presented) of dying, is none of the most glorious: you will not take it amisse if I make some more use yet of my life, to be

Sir,

Your, &c.

Balzac. 30. Ian. 1632.

Page  197

LET. XLVIII. To the same —

Sir,

YOU doe wrong to that Passi∣on or regard which I beare to∣wards you, to call it Civility. It de∣serves a better name then that; and we are not acquainted in the coun∣trey with those vertues, countenance and Shew. I deale very seriously with my friends, and I speak no∣thing but what I meane to make good; & by the principles of ancient Philosophy, I doe think that a Com∣plement doth as much oblige me as a Contract. Think not then that I deale with you out of Common pla∣ces: they are the true motions of my soule, which I shew you, and if I Page  198 could exhibite my very soule, you would confesse, that the expressions of my tongue are farre inferiour to the Idea by the which they were fram'd. It is you alone Sir, that can content those that demand satisfa∣ction, and make my interests even what please you. J have neither li∣berty nor election when J see the bent of your desire. Teare, burne, scatter the ashes of my Books in the wind; I doe submit them to all the rigour of your justice; Tibi in me, mea{que} aeterna authoritas esto. You are no more my Counsellour but my So∣veraigne, and by consequence, deale not with me by Arguments & Re∣monstrances, but impose Laws up∣on me and prescribe Commands. You shall never finde a more docile and supple nature then mine, no not if you went to seek in Asia, that Page  199 countrey of perfect Slaves. Never∣thelesse, I think that my Humility will not take off the edge of perse∣cution, but on the contrary, it will make my Adversaries to swell and grow insolent: But I have com∣forts ready at hand against all the ill fortunes which I expect. In this, I desire onely the glory of obeying you. It is enough for me that I have shewed that friend-ship can doe more with me, then Tyranny, and I would acknowledge your Jurisdi∣ction, when I might decline all O∣ther. J am

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac▪ 20. Iuly. 1632.

Page  200

LET. XLIX. To the same—

Sir,

HItherto I have beheld (with∣out disturbance) all the assaults of my enemies; and they have but scratcht some lines of my Books, & at most have call'd to questiō some things of small consequence. But now that they wounde me in the tenderest part of my heart, I professe to you, J begin to have some resent∣ment▪ I cannot forgive them the in∣jury they have done me, to raise jea∣lousies and make a breach betweene vs Two. And I have conceived such indignation against this imposture, that it is impossible I should write unto you soberly and moderately. If J doe not exercise vindicative justice,Page  201 there is no reason J should desire it. That which doth most of all trou∣ble me is, that I doe runne after a Fantasme, and that I knowe not whom to lay hold upon. And truly, if there were any meanes to disco∣ver this honest Secretary that was bestowed on me without my knowledge, I think it were very just to pay him his wages. How e∣ver, here is a man that would gaine a name by such an occasion; & doth pronounce against him that terri∣ble Arrest. Ligno pereat qui fumum vendidit. These men should be made an example; and whereof a civill Society ought to be quickly purg'd. They are the most dange∣rous Theeves of all, that rob us of our friends: which be goods, that should remaine ours, after the losse of all other. J confesse, that J have Page  202 many infirmities, and am subject to erre a thousand waies, but J am not capable of an offence of that high nature that J am charg'd with; and the goodly Letter, which you sent me a coppy of, carries neither my stile nor my Genius; neverthe∣lesse, your faith hath betrayed a weaknesse, and you have staggerd a litle upon the opening of this false packet. Assure your selfe Sir, if J have forfeited your good Opinion and favour, that J would not out∣live so smart an Affliction; and you may believe, that J doe not rashly hazard a thing so precious as that. J make not onely Sincerity and Zeale the companions of my Friendship▪ but Discretion also and Respect. The Persons whom J love, are to me al∣most in the same degree of venerati∣on, as those things which J adore: Page  203 I approach them not but with awe, which accompanies Religion; and it is certaine, that I am so fearfull to offend them, that (least J should distast them with my sullennesse) J doe force and faine smiles when I am most sad. You shall know more of this in the progresse of my life; and avouch, that I know how to practise those maxims, which J hold, and approve my selfe, with courage and constancy

Sir

Your, &c.

Balzac. 1. March 1632.

Page  204

LET. L. To the same —

Sir,

SInce I have arriv'd here, I have received the Letter, which you did me the honour to write unto me; which is, a conti∣nuation of your courtesies and bounty, and an entrance upon a commerce, where I must take all, and you give all. While I expect to make benefit of your Prose, I feast upon your verses, which have disre∣lisht all that I took for excellent be∣fore. I never saw boldnesse more dis∣creet, courage better maintain'd, or sweetnesse lesse effeminate. These are Sir, worthy Harbingers of your Damsell. But you doe her wrong to seeme to doubt of her good Fate,Page  205 and doe not beleeve the auspicious omens that appear'd at her Nativi∣ty, which promise long life. If you have patience enough to consum∣mate this work, all the rest is suffici∣ent: your naturall wit is strong and pregnant; you have the perfection of Arts; your Cabinet is a Magazin of ornaments and riches, to adorne the Subject. What more is wanting to you? Be not nice any longer: you are condemn'd to goe forward with it; except you meane to quit one passion for another, and aban∣don Poetry for the Politicks: where∣in (to tell you the truth) J believe you will prove admirable. I am of your opinion, that fifteen hundred verses at one breath, goe farre; and that it would not be amisse, to set more reasonable bounds to every Book. But touching all this, you Page  206 may consult with Vida & Fracasto∣rius; and if they be not of the same opinion, Scaliger may be the super-numerary. Our Doctor saith, that he hath not so much need of coun∣sell as of aide, and since things past, fall not under deliberation, it is no time now, to know whether he hath err'd; he desires you only to teach him how to deny it with some faire probability; to perswade the people that Pericles is not fal∣len, though the people saw it. For my part, J am confident of the good successe of all your enterpri∣ses. Haveing found the bel motivo in favour of the Poet Marini, there is no such Monster which you cannot shape and make handsome; and without doubt, you have such pre∣cious Oyle, that one drop thereof is Page  207 sufficient to blanch a Moore. It is

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac 1. Aug. 1632.

LET. LI. To the same—

Sir,

MY silence is not the effect of Sloth; and you may believe that it is against my will that J deprive my selfe of the content∣ment that J took in entertaining you. The reasons that obliged me to silence, were more just then J wisht they had been; and a trouble∣some Defluxion which fell upon my eyes hath fail'd to charge you with a blind friend: For in that case, I think you could not have Page  208 chosen but to have been my Guide; and I did already make account to learne to sing, that J might chante your Poëme. But (by the great mer∣cy of God) J recovered my eye-sight yesterday; and you are freed from the sad office, which my di∣stressed Fortune might have re∣quir'd from your good nature. Now that I doe speak, and doe not rattle in the throat; J must give you an account of the voyage that J made; and I must tell you with as much ceremony and eloquence as heretofore, that I have been to meet the Court as farre as Cadilliac. I had the honour there, to doe my respects to my Lord —. But His sicknesse, that took him the very day that he arriv'd thither, and mine, which would waite no lon∣ger to attach me, did force me to Page  209 take my way back to my Village; where I found your messages, and my coffers. I render you once more, most humble thanks, for the care you took to keep them for me; and since you are pleased that J make use of you, with such familiarity, you must permit my thankfull acknowledgement thereof. The newes you wrote unto me, con∣cerning the sicknesse of — was told me at Bordeaux, when I was there; and J sweare unto you, J have not slept a good sleepe since. This is as good a man as ever I was acquainted with, and I doe maine∣ly esteeme him; because I know him to the very heart: where (with∣out faineing) I have found nothing, but what was noble, and (I dare speak it) magnanimous. J know that his ou side hath been displeasing to Page  210 many; But men must not alwaies, be judged by the lineaments of the face, and that aversation is unjust, which springs only out of deformi∣ty. J doe much wonder that two words which I have written to my Stationer, being halfe a sleepe, are floune out of his shop already. I as∣sure you I am no — nor doe not use to put on severity in reading these kinds of Relations. But (in-truth) this here, did give me much content; and though I meet with some passages that might be alte∣red without any harme, & where a decorum was not so exactly obser∣ved as it might have been; never∣thelesse (to speak in the generall) the invention, to my thinking, was handsome, the narration neat and smooth, and the stile all savouring of the Court and Cabinet. When you Page  211 have read it, I will think of it, as you shall pronounce the sentence; in the mean while, J use the liber∣ty allowed in points not yet deci∣ded; and the interim, that you are too good to agree with me, untill you have made the truth manifest unto me. For the Dutch Orator, re∣member (at least wise) that J spake nothing but touching his phrase, for J doe infinitely esteeme his learn∣ing and judgement. Be pleased therefore to manage this petty se∣cret according to your ordinary prudence▪ since J am so unfortu∣nate, that I cannot utter one word, but it will straight finde strange Glosses and Commentaries, and that there be people so charitable, as to stirre up warre against me, and cre∣ate me enimies in all parts of the world. J have never received the Page  212 Letter of Monsieur de — neither did I need them to assure me of his love. I know that he is good and noble; wherefore relying hereup∣on, it sufficeth me to understand that he is well; and it is not materi∣all to me, whether J learne this from him or from you. J forgot to tell you that J received from Monsieur the Duke of — many cares∣ses & favours; he hath used me like some great Personage, or mighty Signor; and I have been his Favorite the space of foure daies. I desire no more, nor doe I labour to promote my good fortune any farther. I am content to bound it Sir, with the fruition of your good favour, and J am most affectionately

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac 1. Dec. 1632.

Page  213

LET. LII. To the same —

Sir,

I Have returned no answere to your Letter, in regard J have been cumbred (lately) with some domestick affaires, which would allow me no leasure to write; it is your Prerogative, to be able to in∣tend severall things at once: you in∣joy a spirit so calme, that you can read a Dialogue in Plato, and di∣spatch a dozen businesses too at once, with a resolve to dye an houre after. For my part, one ob∣ject is enough to imploy me, and it is impossible for me to reconcile Re∣creation and Businesse. That which you tell me of Monsieur — is true. The Letter which he wrote unto Page  214 me is an abridgement of all his Books; and J cannot returne an∣swer to it, though J would, but by the messenger that goes the next year from Angoulesme. But though it hath been told you, yet be pleased not to believe it, that this Letter of∣fends me, or that mine hath given any offence. Only upon occasion of one litle word, he took a hint to sport it after his ordinary manner, and to make a new shew of his old manner of boording. We must be indulgent to our friends mirth, and give way (a litle) to their jolly hu∣mor. Nay, a man ought not to doe his enimy all the discourtesies he can; and to be very sensible of a wrong, is to adde weight and mea∣sure to it. Satisfy your selfe, J pray, touching my spirit by these max∣imes of peace▪ and feare not that a∣ny Page  215 man can raise my passions to an humor of contention. A thousand Chartells cannot tempt me to one Duell, and J can be more coward, then the Hott-spurres of the times are quarrelsome. J feare not their strength, nor subtlety, but J feare my owne trouble, and I doe infi∣nitely love my Rest: Honour it selfe would seeme unmanerly to me, if it came to disquiet it. And I would faine passe for an Jncognito even in my owne Province, and my owne Village. You cannot believe how much J am fallen out with the world, and how distastfull J am to my selfe. What was wont to tickle and please me, hurts me. An Alma∣nack and an History I esteeme alike. Those simple termes of stile, phrase, and period, are so harsh to my ears, that they make my head ake. If it Page  216 were Gods will, that I should be sentenced to loose my good or bad Reputation, J would resigne it (with all my heart) to any that would de∣sire it; and J have a desire to change my name, that J might not any more share in any thing that is spo∣ken of Balzac, nor interesse my selfe either in the praises or disprai∣ses that are bestowed on Him. Js not this Sir, a pretty resolution? & which J should long since have undertaken. This is almost the pa∣noplie of that Philosopher, that pati∣ently took a boxe on the eare in a publike place at Corinth. He profes∣sed he had a helmet to ward future blowes, that if any should chance to give him another boxe, it might fall on an iron face and not his. Ap∣ply this how you please; As for my part, I doe but laugh at Rhetorick,Page  217 and all its Tropes; and have nothing to doe with that Art, which hath created me so many vexations. J am with all my soule

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac. 10. Ian▪ 1632.

LET. LIII. To the same.

Sir,

GOd doth beset me on all sides; and sends me afflictions by troopes: To comfort me for the decease of Monsieur de — newes is brought me of that of Monsieur de — So that J begin to make a conscience to love you, since my Page  218 Friendship is (in a manner) fatall to whomsoever J give it; and that I possesse nothing but I loose it in a moment. But there is no need of doing bad offices about you, or to affright you with any Planet, whose malignity (J hope) you are able to correct. I passe it over there∣fore, to tell you, that as long as Monsieur de — was here, I per∣formed my part with wonderfull assiduity, so that I was astonisht at it my selfe. We have had long and particular discourses upon all good subjects, and by consequence, you may believe that You have not been forgotten. J never preach well, but when you are my Text. As J prize nothing more justly then your love so I praise nothing more willingly then your virtue; and this subject pleaseth me so well that I never Page  219 want words, if I doe not want Au∣ditors. Yet I doe not pretend to en∣gage you hereby. To reck on you in the number of Illustrious men, is on∣ly to leave you in your own seat; & and to say that the Damsell will be your work, is to say, that Pallas will issue out of the head of Iove. She is at this time the sweetest hope and expectation of honest leasure; She is the desire of the Cabinet & will be the great labour of the French Muses. I haue threatned (this long while) a voyage to Paris; which I intended of purpose to see it; and I hope to surprise you both together, one day when you expect me not. But re∣member Sir, that even your Purpose is a vow; and that you can have no such Dispensation, that can take a∣way all scruple, if you have a tender conscience and will believe some Page  220Divines (that I can name) concer∣ning it. I cannot conclude my Let∣ter before J acquaint you, that J am ravished with the good opinion you beare towards my Nephew. J ascribe more to your predictions then to them that make Horoscopes and calculate nativities; & the con∣jectures which your good judge∣ment doth suggest, are more certain then those which They derive out of their Art. My Sister is so proud of the testimony you gave her, that she would have return'd you a Com∣plement, if she durst adventure to speake to you. But her respect did check her desire, and I have promi∣sed to excuse her silence; which (I know) you will pardon, because it will save you the paines to reply. we desire Sir, the continuation of your good admonitions to this gal∣lant Page  221 man; and doubt not, but a glance or caste of your eye now & then, will edifie him much. I think you should consider him as some∣thing that concernes you. For my part, I make no difference between your affection and mine; and I am without all reservation

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac. 25. May 1633.

LET. LIV. To the same —

Sir,

I Know not how to presente my selfe before you: though my cō∣science doth acquit me, some ap∣pearances Page  222 condemne me; and you see my fault, but know not my af∣faires; I have had variety of them e∣ver these three months which have strangely exercised me; and where∣of I am yet so weary that I must have a great while to recover my selfe. All that I can, is to use my Idle∣nesse well, and to make something of my Leasure. Now that I have got it in possession againe, I meane not to be disseised of it: If it be pos∣sible, I bid eternall farwell to all contracts, transactions, & Aquittances. These are ornaments of our lan∣guage which must not (in my opi∣nion) enter into your Poems. You have more care of the chastity of your Damsell then to violate her with these villanous termes; & this were of a Ʋirgin to make a Strum∣pet of her. But I can never obtaine Page  223 that small favour of you, or prevaile so much as to see here (at least) the first hundred verses that doe con∣cerne her. I doe preserve carefully all those things that you have sent, and never produce them out of my Treasury, but to impart them to choice Wits. The invention of your first Metamorphosis is ingenious. O∣vid had swell'd up and dilated that subject which you have contracted and pressed together. But the im∣portance is, that in this litle, you ap∣peare great; and I behold you intire in every parcell. The second part doth please me no lesse yet then the first, and I hold that Lionnesse hap∣py that hath heaven for an Amphi∣theater, and hath been placed there by such a hand as yours. You make her jarre so well and tunably; and her roaring is so sweet and melodi∣ous Page  224 in your Verses, that there is no Musick comparable. Those of — doe not flow in such numbers. Lon∣ge{que} pulchrius spectaculum est, & dig∣nius oculis eruditi, videre nobilem illam feram, quàm miserum & febriculosum Annaei Lucani Simium With the last Letter I received Bembus which you sent me. In truth he is not so well polished and digested as those Au∣thors in the Library of Monsieur —. But all tattered & confused as it is, I can assure you, it likes me infinitely. J never love luxury, & am nothing curious for gay cloathes. The beauty of Chariclea did shine through her ragges; and your Mari∣ni hath made a Sonnet, wherein he tells us, how he fell in love with a canting Doxie. J thanke you there∣fore for Ʋenus and the Graces (though ill attired) which J met Page  225 with, in your Books, and remaine

Sir,

Your, &c.

Balzac. 3. Iuly. 1633.

LET. LV. To the same—

Sir,

I Entertaine your commendations like ill gotten goods; the fruiti∣on whereof is sweet, although un∣just. It is some honour to me to have so excellent a Flatterer as you are; and I suffer my selfe willingly, and take a pleasure to be deceived by a man that can doe it so neatly. J think (indeed) that the Verses which you have seen, are not bad in their kinde; but J think withall, that this Page  226 is the shortest of all kinds. I durst not engage my selfe in a wider car∣reere; my strength serves but for a short tugg; and I walke at the foot of your Parnassus; but I should want breath, if J should attempt to moūt the top. You doe (indeed) Sir, bear the name of a great Poet, & succeed equally in all sorts of Verses; and though you speak with extreame modesty of the last work, which you sent me: I doe not find that it oweth any thing to the fairest Pie∣ces that you have shewed us. There is no stanza that hath not its parti∣cular value; nor no Piece but is re∣markable for some beauty. But that which did chiefly relish with me was the Prayer which you direct to Apollo; and that admirable Mu∣sick, (which proceeding out of the clouds) heals your malady in a trice. Page  227 This is not the effect of ordinary Poetry; it is a fit of that divine rap∣ture and furie, which Plato hath ac∣knowledged; and which the first Poets were sometimes possessed with. Send me such Presents often, if you would have me rich in my Poverty; and have good company in my solitude. But above all, love me well, if you would have me happy; and assure your selfe, that no man in the world is more then I am

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac. 9. Aug. 1634.

Page  228

LET. LVI. To the same—

Sir,

I Know that you love me, and I know that you are in health, but this is not enough; I must learne something more concerning it; and you must tell me some newes of your brave Meditations. Doth the Girle wage warre, or doth she keep at home in the countrey with her Father? Doth Charles grow soft in the embraces of the faire Agnes, or doth he quit Love for honour? In what state are the affaires of Eng∣land? How doth Hire and Potho? What doe your Achilles and Ajax? are you for a battle or for a siedge?

Jam nunc minaci murmure cornuum
Perstringis aures, jam litui strepūt:
Page  229Audire magnos jam videor duces▪
Non indecoro pulvere sordidos, &c.
See questions enough at once; but you are not bound to answere to them punctually, and provided, that you satisfie me in one Article, you have to deale with a man of a fa∣cile disposition, who will not be ri∣gorous for the rest I am now more a Hermit then ever; and for having here a litle Court but two daies one∣ly, I had the Megrim by it for three weeks. Tranquillity & silence Sir, is a precious thing; and if Epicurus had some reason to complain of his very friends that they did break his head with their applause & accla∣mations: what must be said of the bawlings and exclamations, of a mans enemies, of the first & second part of Philarkes of their times. Those that write, are subject both Page  230 to the one and the other persecuti∣on. But for my part, I avow to you, that hitherto Complements have done me more harme then injuries. I use none towards you Sir, for fear you should complaine of me in the same manner; and J am content to tell you, that I am without comple∣ment, that is, intirely

Angoulesme 1. Sept. 1634.

Your, &c.

LET. LVII. To Monsieur de Sithon.

Sir,

YOU shew a sort of humility that is not sufferable; and though it be the proper stile of Saints to talke of their vilenesse, and Page  231 their nothingnesse; yet to reject all te∣stimonies indifferently, that come from another, is in my opinion ra∣ther a contempt of our neighbor thē a modest conceit of our selves. I am no flatterer, but J praise or dispraise, according as J am perswaded of the merit of things, or their default; & if I talke often of the great lights that you have, whither in sacred or prophane Learning, it is because I have been dazled therewith. Your three Discourses doe please me in∣finite; ly and I am very well pleased that mine did not displease you: But I am the more glad that you are of my opinion touching the putting downe quite of all Answers, Replies, Defences, Apologies, and the like. Since I have but laughed at the at∣tempts of a Legion. I doe not meane to complaine of the insolence of a Page  232Carbine; A man were better to pick out an enimie; and this here, may fight all alone, if it please him: It is not fit to shew anger against a man that deserves pitty, nor to loose pa∣tience upon an occasion so obscure, that it were hard to make it ap∣peare. You send me no newes con∣cerning the affaires of Italy, and I am very desirous to heare some. It hath been told me that Monsieur Maynard hath not appear'd in Paris, though Monsieur de Mailles be ar∣riv'd thither. He will (perhaps) be staied a longer time. If it be so, my Affection is so farre ingenious as to torment my spirit. I stand in feare (for his sake) of all the dangers both of sea and land. I doe appre∣hend at once that he is fallen sick by the way, and that he is lead cap∣tive into Barbary, and that the Spa∣niardsPage  233 have surprised him. That which must comfort me in this di∣straction is, that a good spirit doth passe undauntedly through all; and that they were the Poets his Prede∣cessours that made wings for Dae∣dalus. How ever you will confesse, that if Epigrams be current among the Millamois, and that he wants but 2000 of them for his ransome, hee hath wherewith to satisfie them without dammage to himselfe. In truth, I am sollicitous touching this my deare friend; and you will ob∣lige me, if you will be pleased to send me a relation of his Adven∣tures, whē you shall come to know them. I am

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac. 30. Dec. 1636.

Page  234

LET. LVIII. To Monsieur GERARD Secretary to my Lord the Duke of Espernon.

Sir,

HAppy are those actions that fall under your Pen and Hi∣story. Since you doe extoll one mans idlenesse even to the envy of the world, and so farre, as to pro∣pose it for an example, what Will you talke of the life of the Suedish King, and other Miracles of our age; if you will take them in hand? The mischiefe is, that those, that have heard you, shall see me; and you have set me at so high a rate, that J cannot hold after it, but upon your credit, & by my own absence. If Monsieur the Duke of — pas∣seth Page  235 by Balzack, the legend that you have fram'd of me, will at first dash loose that probability that it carri∣ed; and I shall be no more that fa∣mous Hermit, that hath been re∣lated and described unto him by an officious Impostor. Jn vaine will he seek among my papers the fine things that you have promised him; and it will repent him (per∣haps) that he turned out of the rode, for such a sad spectacle that J shall exhibit him. In any case Sir, I will present my selfe; and if hitherto you have deceived him, yet you shall acquit your selfe of the name of Cozner, when you shall assure him on my behalfe of an in∣violable fidelity, and hearty ac∣knowledgement. These are quali∣ties which I possesse in a soveraigne degree▪ and which I preserve for Page  236 him in the bottome of my soule. But the passion which I beare to his Honour, must not be still kept as a secret; and, J will at length pro∣fesse, what I have this long while ador'd in particular manner. Doe me the favour, as to tell him thus much, and beleeve withall, if you please, that I am

Sir,

Your, &c.

Balzac. 30. May 1635.

LET. LIX. To the same—

Sir,

I Love no kind of quarrelling, much lesse with my friends. But it is a thing worthy pitty, that a Page  237 man should receive continuall wrong, and yet must not open his mouth to complaine, but he shall be censur'd for a troublesome and untoward fellow. I know the ea∣ger spirit of that man that speaks so loud, when my interests are in agi∣tation. I know he is carried with the hot vapours that exhale from that sulfury veine, which (you say) lyeth about his heart. But you will confesse notwithstanding, that the bottome of this heart is not bad. His lavishnesse proceeds from a faire spring, and in acts of friend∣ship an inundation is better then drouth. J forgive the intricated zeale, incident goodnesse, and im∣petuousnesse of a man that can∣not love with moderation. Wee must doe him some right, and not hate his passion, though we ap∣provePage  238 it not; for my part, I doe per∣mit it, but not imploy it; and though he tells me, that he hath a fierce Sa∣tyre to come forth to kill our messer, if he doe not save himselfe in the litle Cottage; J give him thanks for his good will, but J desire him to deliver the Satyre into my hands, and for this purpose only, that none might see it. You shall finde in my packet some latine compositi∣ons that were sent me, and particu∣larly, the later Teares of S. Peter, which have been commended un∣to you. In my judgement, (and I think you will subscribe to it) he is too subtle, and shewes too much punctuality in delineting a true Pe∣nitent. Nature doth not speak thus, nor its passions either, which are the daughters of nature, as subtle∣ties are the wantons of Art. S. PetersPage  239 sorrow is admirably well expres∣sed by Grotius; and these foure ver∣ses of his, which I remember, doe weigh downe the foure hundred that J have sent you.

Quae me recondet Regio? quâ maestū diem
Fallam latebrâ? quaero nigrantem specum
Quâ me sepeliam vivus; ubi nullū videns,
Nulli videndus, lachrymas foveam meas.
Are not these worthy of the Hero∣icke times & purest Antiquity? the rest of the Discourse is animated with the same Genius; and is a les∣son for Orators, that sorrow must not be elaborate, or at leastwise must not betray any studied care. I leave your Brother to relate newes; he hath in charge to in∣forme you of all occurrences, and therefore I have nothing to say, but that I am

Sir

Your &c.

Balzac 15. Iun. 1636.

Page  240

LET. LX. To Monsieur De la Mothe Le Vayer.

Sir,

MY spirits have been so dull and heavy these three daies, that it is beyond imaginati∣on. Never did any man loose the relish of all Books and Arts as I did; and hence you may gather that that which you sent me, was very delicate, when it procur'd an appe∣tite to a languishing man. You have strangely altered me in a moment: my soule is touched to the quick; and you have made it so hungry af∣ter knowledge, that I have no mind to any thing but to your Philosophy. If you will set up a Sect, J am ready to enrole my selfe, at least wise I Page  241 will subscribe willingly to that franke doctrine, which maintaines its liberty against the usurpations of Aristotle; and is contented to ackno∣ledge lawfull power, but not to be slave to the Tyranny of one particu∣lar man. I speak Sir, as J believe: Doubtlesse your work will last, and to give you your full due, J must give it in your own language: noble an act of the Soule, is not the weakest argument we have of its immortality; and if any shall here∣after take in hand this subject, he will be beholding to you for this new argument, which your mode∣sty would not permit you to make use of. Certainly there were no reason nor colour, that the off∣spring should be of a better condi∣tion then the mother, and that those productions which must encounter Page  242Time, and conquer Fate, should flow from a corruptible principle. But since J have sped so well in my first sollicitations, J desire not to stoppe there. This good successe doth encourage me to redouble them, and in the name of all the Learned to begge yet more worke of the same vigour. Though J should performe no other office in the common-wealth of Learning then this, J were not an unusefull member; and this will be (one day) honour enough for me, when it will be said, that I gave the coun∣saile for those labours which you have undertaken. Acquire for me Sir, this reputation, that J may adde it to that which I would gladly de∣serve all my life time, which is to be

Balzac. 29. March 1637.

Your &c.

Page  243

LET. LXI. To Monsieur de —

Sir,

THe Discourse which you did me the honour to send me, is full of an infinite number of good things; and none can deny but your friend is both learned and judicious. Neverthelesse I doe not think that he will find in that place whither he goeth, that approbation which he promiseth to himselfe: I think that (for his speaking Latine after the French manner) his mean∣ing is better then his expression▪ He is not alwaies so regular as I would desire; and his words doe sometimes doe wrong to his thoughts. True it is, that in these times we are very nice and delicatePage  244 in the purity of expressions. We can brooke no stile that is licenti∣ous be it never so litle; and what∣soever is not after the garbe of the Court is accounted barbarous. This is not, that I am of the opinion of Monsieur de — that said that the good man Iudgement could never passe beyond the Garond; and that He was put into such a fright at Blaye, that he durst not adventure any farther. When he spake this, he forgot (sure) that Monsieur de Pi∣brac, Monsieur de Montagne, and the Cardinall d' Ossat were Gascons; and their solid judgements which are admired to this day over all Eu∣rope, doe sufficiently refute that poore jest which passeth among some for excellent. It is certain that Reason is common to all Coun∣treys, and consequently is of that,Page  245 where they say Adieu-sias, as well as when they say Dieu vous conduis∣se. It is confin'd to no place, and we may finde subtlety among the Swit∣zers, and stupidity among the Flo∣rentines; but indeed, for the lan∣guage, it is not all alike: without question in some places, they speak better then elsewhere, and where∣as a Courtier of Rome did tast some thing of Padua in the Histories of Titus Livius, it is not impossible to observe in the writings and con∣versations of your men some tin∣cture of their Province. Ever and anon, you shall observe them to let slip vousist for voulust, fausist for falust, cousin mien, & ie suis esté a Thoulouze, which marre all good speech: and their allarent, donuarent armarent, have runne over their Page  246 banks, & come as farre as our coū∣trey. The late Monsieur de Mal herbe hath told me oftē that he did what possibly he could for to correct the dialect of Monsieur de — & purge it of Gasconisme, but could never bring it about: so difficult is it, to wipe off our naturall staines, and utterly to weare out the badge of our Countrey. Neverthelesse for all this, neither the Patavinity of Ti∣tus Livius, nor the Gasconisme of some of our times, doe hinder them from being reputed Eloquent▪ And for one petty fault, either of use or of Grammer, I condemne not those works which in all other re∣spects, are excellent. To satisfy your desire, I have sent by Monsieur de — the Letters of Monsieur Heinsius, one whereof preceded my Disserta∣tion,Page  247 the other followed his an∣swer. Now that I have furnished you with these two Letters, to en∣tertaine you a while; be pleased not to take it amisse that I take leave of you, and all the world for two years. I am forbid to write any thing for so long a time, and this is an oath that J have taken by the order of my Confessor; and upon good and waighty considerations. I hope God will give me the grace to observe it:

Nec mihi scribendi veniet tā dira cupido;
And you will not (J am sure) tempt me to sinne, and provoke me to break that silence which J have sworne to. But though you should solicite me a thousand times, and assault me every day in two or three languages, I am resolved to Page  248 be inexorable, and not to be moved with that happy abundance of your words. Jf you terme me un∣civill, and expostulate with me in the words of your Poet,
Ʋnde îstam meruit non faelix charta repulsam?
Hostis ab Hoste tamē per barbara a verba salutē
Accipit, & Salve modiis intervenit armis;
Respondent & saxa homini.
J will make answere with an au∣dible voice both to your Poet and You, that Religion must sway Civi∣lity, and that a lesser duty must yeeld to a greater. Finally if there be an absolute necessity, that we have some commerce with each o∣ther: in this case, I will choose ra∣ther to make a journey then write a letter, and expose my selfe to the hazard of shipwrack by going to see you, then violate my Faith by Page  249 writing to you. Adieu then untill the year of 1639, which we will be∣gin (by Gods grace) by the renew∣ing of our ancient Trafick. Is is

Sir,

Your &c.

Balzac: —

FINIS.