Images de page


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6. 5. qui = celui qui. 9. regaillardir, ‘I wish you could put some life into it.'

The word is not formed from re' and 'gaillard,' but from ‘re' and an obsolete verb ' agaillardir.' Cp.

ramener, ralentir,' etc. 12. tout à fait joli. M. Jourdain's taste in lyrical poetry

is like that of Alceste in the Misanthrope, and that of the poet Malherbe, whom Chapelain found one day singing an old ballad :-D'où venez-vous Jeanne, Jeanne d'où venez ?' 'I had rather,' said Malherbe,

'have written that than all the works of Ronsard.' 25. Que n'est. Notice the use of 'ne' after a comparative

used affirmatively. 27. Le plus joli du monde, exquisitely pretty.' The

phrase is equivalent to a strong superlative. 32. comme vous faites; cp. 2, 20. 7. 8. qui me montre, “Who teaches me.' 'Me’is dative,

and montrer’is used absolutely. Cp. Mal. Imag. II. iv.-Votre maître de musique est allé aux champs et voilà une personne qu'il envoie à sa place pour vous

montrer.' j'ai arrêté, 'I have engaged, bespoken.' Cp. M. de

Pourceaugnac, I. v.—' Avez-vous arrêté un logis ?' 14. Il n'y a rien qui soit si utile ... In the royal

patent granted by Charles IX. in 1570 to establish an Academy of Music, the following sentence occurs :'Là où la musique est désordonnée, là volontiers les meurs sont dépravez et où elle est bien ordonnée, là

sont les hommes bien moriginez.' 16. Il n'y a rien qui soit si nécessaire

Cp. “Un baladin nommé Fauchéri, qui n'étoit point assis avec les autres, vint dire par dessus les épaules que les royaumes se ruinoient faute de la danse. (Aventures du baron de Feneste, by Agrippa d'Aubigné, 1620). Vestris, the great dancer, used to say quite seriously : “There are only three great men in Europe the king

of Prussia, Voltaire, and myself.' 20. ne saurait = 'ne peut.' The use of the conditional

in an assertion generally conveys a certain idea of apology or reservation.



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

7. 23. pour n'apprendre pas . : parce que l'on n'ap

prend pas,' a somewhat irregular construction. In such clauses the subject of the infinitive should be the same as that of the principal verb. Cp. 55, 14, ‘Elle me touche assez pour m'en charger moi

même,' i.e. ‘pour que je m'en charge. 27. bévues, 'blunders.' The prefix 'bé' has a 'pejorative'

force = English 'mis-.' Bévue' always implies a certain degree of culpability,' ' méprise' does not ;

'erreur ' is the general term. politiques, "statesmen,' 'public men.' During the

religious wars in France the word was applied to the party which wished to set aside sectarian questions

and confine themselves to political reform. 28. faute de, 'for want of.' The full phrase was 'à faute

de. Here the word ' faute' bears its first etymo

logical meaning of 'want,' 'absence.' 8. 3. aux affaires ; à’is here used for dans,' a not un

frequent use in the seventeenth century. Cp. Femmes Sav. IV. iii. Nous saurons toutes deux imiter notre mère, Vous aux productions d'esprit et de lumière, Moi dans celles, ma veur, qui sont de la matière. On the other hand, dans' and 'en' were occasionally used for à. Indeed, the use of prepositions was not so strictly defined as it is at present, e.g.à' is used for 'avec' (Cp. 'De notre sang au leur font d'horribles mélanges '—Corn. Cid. IV. iii.); for 'par' (“Qu'on se laisse aisément persuader aux personnes qu'on aime’B. G., 55, 2); for pour' (*La place m'est heureuse à vous y rencontrer’-Ec. des Femmes, IV. iv.); for 'sur' ('Point de soldat au port, point aux murs de la ville'); for ' envers' ('Ces titres aux Chrétiens sont ce des impostures '—Corn.

Polyeucte, III. ii.) 5. Un tel, iso and so.' A common expression. In the

plural the article is dropped, e.g. 'On n'a point à louer les vers de messieurs tels, A donner de l'encens à madame une telle, Et de nos francs marquis essuyer

la cervelle' (Misanthr. III. viii.) 14. à cette heure maintenant.' 0. Fr. 'asteure,'

asture' (Montaigne), from the Latin ad ecce-istam horam. Cp. 'alors' = ad illam horam.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]




Cp. Av.

8. 20. essai, ‘an attempt to represent ...,'a modest expres

26. Pourquoi toujours des bergers ? This passage

has been taken for a hit at the Italian Opera, introduced by Mazarin in 1645. It is more probably intended for a popular objection on M. Jourdain's part, followed

by a justification of the practice.
29. il faut bien ... qu'on donne dans la bergerie, “We

can't well avoid going in for the pastoral style.' The
verb 'donner'in such cases is a neuter verb, or rather,
a reflexive verb without its pronoun, and means 'to
fall,' 'to rush in to' (of troops, 'to charge '). Cp.
the Latin se dare, dare se præcipitem in ..
I. v.- Vous donnez furieusement dans le marquis'

*You are going in tremendously for playing the lord.' 32. bourgeois, 'ordinary people.' 9. 1. l'amoureux empire, 'beneath Love's sway.'

5. Il n'est rien 'il n'y a rien.
13. foi, 'constancy.'
16. jour, 'life,' the light of day. Cp. the Greek expres-
sion, το φώς οράν

= to live.
19. Franchise, “liberty. Hence, on the one hand, the

meaning of 'independence of character, sincerity,' on the other, that of civil immunity, privilege, right.

Cp. English franchise.'
10. 4. pour aimer, "and learn to love.'

7. rencontrer, interrogative infinitive.
9. Je te veux offrir ; cp. for the position of the pronoun,

2, 9. 11. 7. bien troussé, 'neatly arranged, packed together, '

a trivial and familiar expression. 8. dictons, sayings,'— usually of proverbial phrases,

‘Dicton' is the medieval pronunciation of the word dictum ;' cp. rogaton, factoton.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


13. 2. se trémoussent, 'skip or hop about ;' fig: “to fidget,'

‘be fussy' (e.g. Molière's remark on hearing La Fon


[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]




taine disparaged-Nos beaux esprits ont beau se trémousser, ils n'effaceront pas le bonhomme.') The contrast between the high estimate in which the artists hold their respective professions and M. Jour

dain's contemptuous ignorance, is a very happy touch. 13. 6. ajusté, 'arranged ;' lit. "to bring into harmony,

agreement. 7. pour tantôt, 'for by and by.' "Tantôt' is also used

of the past = 'a moment ago.' "Tantôt'...'tan

tôt'.. 'at one time ... at another.' 9. céans, ‘here,' 'in the house.' “Céans' (Lat. ecce-hac

intus), in common use in the seventeenth century, is now obsolete. There was a corresponding form,

léans.' 14. chez soi, in modern French 'chez lui.' This use of

‘soi,' etymologically more correct, lasted till the seventeenth century. At present it is only used after indefinite adjectives or pronouns — 'on, chacun,' 'quiconque,' etc.; or with an indeterminate infini

tive-e.g. 'n'aimer que soi,' 'chacun pour soi.' 15. mercredis ou ... jeudis. These days were, it seems,

set apart for musical parties, and the Opera, for some time after its institution, had no performance on

them. 21. Il vous faudra ... etc., 'You will want three voices,

a treble, a contralto, and a bass, which will be accompanied by a bass viol, a theorbo, and a harpsichord or the sustained basses, together with two first violins to play the airs.' The 'ritournelles' were the instrumental 'motifs' which preceded or ended the piece, or came in as an interlude to allow the singer to rest. Most of these instruments are no longer in use. The 'bass viol' was shaped like a large violin, with seven strings, and played upon with a bow. The 'theorbo? was a kind of lute with two handles, played somewhat like a guitar (cp. R. Browning, The Glove

Venienti occurrite morbo !- With which moral I drop my theorbo).' The clavecin’ or harpsichord

clavi-cymbalum) has given way to the pianoforte. 27. trompette marine. This was not a trumpet, nor had

it anything to do with the sea, except perhaps in its sound. It was an instrument like a large mando.



[ocr errors]


line, with one thick string, which was pressed with the thumb, while the performer used his bow. It may be noticed that the marine trumpet' is perhaps the least harmonious of musical instruments, and has

nothing to recommend it but its noisiness. 13. 32. à table. There are frequent mentions of this custom

in the memoirs of the time. 14. 6. les menuets, plural, because equivalent to ‘les pas

menus,' the small, short steps. 8. ma danse. Notice the emphatic possessive. 17. La jambe droite, ‘keep your leg straight.' 20. estropiés, crippled.' The word is used figuratively

of mutilating or 'murdering’a poem or a language. Like trémousser' above, its derivation is purely

conjectural. 25. comme. In modern French, comment il faut faire.' 35. une révérence en arrière, 'a bow while stepping

backwards.' 15. 3. Faites un peu, ‘Just show me.'

[ocr errors]


SECOND SCENE. 8. donner leçon. Notice the omission of any article.

In the seventeenth century the rules were far less settled than at present, and the article was frequently omitted where we should use it. Cp. such phrases as 'couper chemin,''prendre amitié,' etc.

THIRD SCENE. 10. fleurets, a diminutive of 'fleur.' Probably so called

because the button at the end of a foil resembles the

bud of a flower. 15. opposite-adjective used substantivally. 18. plus quartée, less exposed,' a technical term. A

person's shoulder is said to be 'quartée' when he is en quarte,' i.e. when the adversary's foil is threatening the left shoulder more particularly, which, there

fore, should present as little surface as possible. 19. Touchez-moi, etc., ‘Touch my foil from “quarte," and

[ocr errors]
« PrécédentContinuer »