Paris, Antoine de Sommaville, 1661.
12mo [145 x 81 mm] of (1) bl.l., (5) ll., 162 pp. Wood-engraved banners, tail-pieces and many little fleurons. Copy trimmed a bit short in the lateral margin, some pages cut near the headlines. Bound in full contemporary granite-like calf, spine ribbed and richly decorated, mottled edges. Contemporary binding.
First edition of this fine compilation of eulogies by the famous Norman poet Georges de Brebeuf. Brunet, I, 1215.
This work encloses detailed poetical plays: ‘Sur le mariage du Roy’, ‘A Monseigneur le Cardinal Mazarin. Panégyrique de la paix’, ‘Sur la maladie et la guérison de Monseigneur le Cardinal Mazarini’, ‘Histoire de la dernière campagne du Roy, en l’Année 1658’, ‘A Monseigneur Foucquet, procureur général au Parlement de Paris, Sur-Intendant des Finances et Ministre d’Etat’, ‘Pour la Reyne de Suede’…
“This is in the ‘Eloges poétiques’ and in the ‘Entretiens solitaires’ that Brébeuf shows most of his personnal qualities; it is for him the time of maturity, and if we find in these poems the imperfections already mentioned, too much taste for emphasis, hyperbole, antithesis, his inspiration has never been stronger, his phrase more vigorous, fuller and louder, his verse better marked. These two works offer common characters, which bring them closer and ensure them a separate place in Brébeuf’s work. The ‘Eloges’ are eulogies: this kind, both lyrical and epic, had something to awaken the poet’s ardent imagination; he celebrates the great contemporary events, Fouquet and Mazarin’s prodigious fortune and glory, the exploits of the King and his army, the benefits of the peace negotiated by the minister; he then takes part in the joy and prosperity of the country; but all these plays and especially the ones addressed to the bishop Auvry, to Fouquet or to Mazarin, also mark the desire to be liked by them, to ensure their benevolence and to obtain a strong support, a feeling that he adds very well, as we will see, with a sincere admiration for the great men and the great things. All these eulogies have been composed, so it seems, from 1653 to 1658.” (Essai sur la Vie et les Œuvres de Georges de Brébeuf, pp. 224 à 227).
Georges de Brébeuf (Sainte-Suzanne-sur-Vire, Calvados, 1618 – Venoix, near Caen, 1661) is a French poet descended from an illustrious family of the Norman nobility. “His uncle, Jean de Brébeuf, missionary, was made a martyr by the Iroquois in 1649. After his studies in Caen then in Paris, Brébeuf, with no wealth, had to dedicate himself to servile tasks, he was during several years home tutor for the future marshal of Bellefonds, then he was a paid poet. In Rouen, he had met Pascal; in Paris he became friends with Conrart, Ménage, Chapelain, Mézeray and Corneille for who he always had the biggest admiration. With ‘La Gageure’, compilation of one hundred and fifty epigrams and madrigals aiming at made-up women, he encountered a huge success in the salons where he was one of the favorites with Balzac and Voiture […]. In his ‘Eloges poétiques’ (1661), Brébeuf gathered plays written in praise of Fouquet, Mazarin, the young King, or at the occasion of French victories, the battle of the Dunes in particular. In 1660, Brébeuf had left court and the salons and had withdrawn near his brother, priest of Venoix.” (Dictionnaire des auteurs, I, 415).
“Brébeuf had the rare merit in his time to write beautiful and energetic verses.”(Dictionnaire des Œuvres, p. 436).
“Georges de Brébeuf, this Norman poet who knew Pierre Corneille and was undoubtedly influenced by him […] doesn’t deserve to be forgotten like we have done. Faguet, who liked to rehabilitate the poets of this time, had baptized Brébeuf the Lamartine of the 17th century” (H. Du Manoir, Maria, p. 56).
Beautiful and very pure copy preserved in its contemporary binding.
Provenance: handwritten ex-libris on the title.