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Friar Philip's Geese and Minutolo

By De La Fontaine, Jean

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Book Id: WPLBN0000023747
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 0.5 MB
Reproduction Date: 2005
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Title: Friar Philip's Geese and Minutolo  
Author: De La Fontaine, Jean
Language: English
Subject: Literature, Literature & thought, Writing.
Collections: Classic Literature Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: World Ebook Library


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La Fontaine, J. D. (n.d.). Friar Philip's Geese and Minutolo. Retrieved from

These are the last works of this style that will come from the pen of the Author, and consequently this is the last opportunity he has of vindicating the boldness and privilege which he has assumed. We make no mention of villainous rhymes, of lines that run into the next, of two vowels without elision, nor, in general, of such kinds of carelessness as he would not allow himself in another style of poetry, but which are part and parcel, so to say, of this style. Too anxious a care in avoiding such would force a tale-writer into a labyrinth of shifts, into narratives as dull as they are grand, into straits that are utterly useless, and would make him disregard the pleasure of the heart in order to labour for the gratification of the ear. We must leave studied narrative for lofty subjects, and not compose an epic poem of the Adventures of Renaud d'Ast. Suppose the Author, who has put these tales into rhyme, had brought to bear on them all the care and preciseness required of him; not only would this care be observed, especially as it is unnecessary, but it would also transgress the precept lain down by Ouintilian, still the Author would not have attained the main object, which is to interest the reader, to charm him, to rivet his attention in spite of himself,—in a word, to please him. As everybody knows, the secret of pleasing the reader is not always based on regulation, nor even on symmetry; there is need of smartness and tastefulness, if we would strike home. How many of those perfect types of beauty do we see which never strike home, and of which nobody feels enamoured! We do not wish to rob Modern Authors of the praise that is due to them. Nicely turned lines, fine language, accuracy, elegance of rhyme are accomplishments in a poet. However that may be, let us consider of our own epigrams wherein all these qualities are combined, perhaps we shall find in them far less point, nay, I would venture to add, far less charm than in those of Marot or Saint-Gelais, although almost all the works of the latter poets are full of the same faults as are attributed to us. We will be told that these were not faults in their day, whereas they are very great faults in ours. To this we answer by a similar kind of argument, by saying, as we have already said, that these would undoubtedly be faults in another style of poetry, but not in this. The late M. de Voiture is a proof in point. We need only read the works in which he brings to life again the character of Marot. For our Author does not lay claim to praise for himself, nor to rounds of applause from the public for having put a few tales into rhyme. Without doubt he has entered on quite a new path, and has pursued it to the utmost of his power, choosing now one road, now another, and always treading with surer step when he has followed the manner of our old poets quorum in hae re imitari negligentiam exoptat potius quam istorum diligentiam....

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