Portraits of the seventeenth century, historic and literary . ueen-mother and Mazarin, that suddenly, amid thefetes of Saint-Mande and Vaux, from the salon ofthe hotel de Rambouillet or the antechambers of theyoung king, there issued, as if by miracle, threechoice minds, three geniuses diversely endowed, butall three of pure and naive taste, perfect simplicity,easy productiveness, fed by their own native gracesand delicacies, and destined to open a brilliant era ofglory, in which none have surpassed them. Moliere, La Fontaine, and Mme. de Sevigne belongto a literary generation which preceded t

Portraits of the seventeenth century, historic and literary . ueen-mother and Mazarin, that suddenly, amid thefetes of Saint-Mande and Vaux, from the salon ofthe hotel de Rambouillet or the antechambers of theyoung king, there issued, as if by miracle, threechoice minds, three geniuses diversely endowed, butall three of pure and naive taste, perfect simplicity,easy productiveness, fed by their own native gracesand delicacies, and destined to open a brilliant era ofglory, in which none have surpassed them. Moliere, La Fontaine, and Mme. de Sevigne belongto a literary generation which preceded t Stock Photo
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Portraits of the seventeenth century, historic and literary . ueen-mother and Mazarin, that suddenly, amid thefetes of Saint-Mande and Vaux, from the salon ofthe hotel de Rambouillet or the antechambers of theyoung king, there issued, as if by miracle, threechoice minds, three geniuses diversely endowed, butall three of pure and naive taste, perfect simplicity, easy productiveness, fed by their own native gracesand delicacies, and destined to open a brilliant era ofglory, in which none have surpassed them. Moliere, La Fontaine, and Mme. de Sevigne belongto a literary generation which preceded that of whichRacine and Boileau were the leaders, and they are dis-tinguished from the latter by various traits, derivedfrom the nature of their genius and the date oftheir coming. We feel, from the turn of their mindsas much as by their circumstances, that they are nearer Social life went on chiefly in dark, half-furnished bedrooms, untilMme. de Rambouillet instituted her famous blue salon; hence the useof the word ruelles, applied to social meetings.—Tr.. MADAME DE SEVIQNE. /II^a^ame &e Serto»^e. 193 to the France that preceded Louis XIV, to the oldFrench language and spirit; more commingled inthem, so to speak, by education and study; and thatif they are less appreciated by foreigners than certainlater writers, they owe it to what is precisely moreinward, more undefinable, more charming for French-men in their tone and manner. So that if to-day weattempt (and with reason) to revise or call in questionmany judgments delivered, twenty years ago, byscholastic professors; if we declare war pitilesslyagainst a number of exaggerated fames, we cannot, on the other hand, venerate too much and uphold toofirmly these immortal writers, who were the first togive to French literature its original character, and tosecure for it to this day its unique place among theliteratures of other nations. Moliere drew from thespectacle of life, from the living play of human eccen-tricities, vices,

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