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to restore the prestige of France, he appointed Burgundy commander-in-chief of the forces in Flanders. Marlborough and Eugene were the generals against whom the young prince was to contend. Some experienced leader, it was felt, should be sent as his adviser, and the king's choice fell upon Vendôme. Once more Burgundy had an opportunity of visiting his exiled master, but once again the king insisted on the same conditions as before. Some letters, however, have been preserved, which show how intimate were their relations more than ten years after they had been parted.1

The campaign, which followed, was most disastrous. Vendôme thwarted the duke in every way; the young officers sneered at his manners and devotions; even the common soldiers nicknamed him Télémaque.' The decisive defeat of Oudenarde and the loss of the great stronghold of Lille put an end for ever to his military career. Fénelon was heart-broken at the failure. He felt that he himself would be blamed. He wrote a manly, straightforward letter to the prince, pointing out the causes of the disaster, and at the same time holding out encouragement for further efforts." But the king put no further trust in his grandson-it was not he, but Villars who fought the glorious defeat of Malplaquet in the following year. And now we must leave the Duke of Burgundy for a while, and turn to Fénelon's literary activity.

3. Most of us have made our first acquaintance with Fénelon as the author of Télémaque. 4t was his custom, while teaching the young prince, to throw some of his lessons into the form of fables. Though these were not meant for the public eye, they have been preserved, and they give us ample proof of his shrewdness and humour, and power of striking the imagination. They are naturally adapted to the special circumstances of his royal charge; hence they deal with the dangers of life at court, the evils of tyranny and

'Correspondence de Fénelon, i. 76; i. 89.

2 I wish I could give the letter in full. It is an admirable example of paternal correction. Part of it may be found in Sanders, p. 275, seq.

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bad faith, the worthlessness of wealth and high station without virtue.1

As the prince grew older, his preceptor gave these moral lessons in a more serious and ambitious form. We have seen how thoroughly Fénelon's mind was steeped in the classics. Accordingly, he wrote for his pupil a classical His own account of it is given in a letter to


Père le Tellier :

Télémaque is a fabulous narrative in the form of a heroic poem, like those of Homer or Virgil, in which I have set down the truths most necessary to be known by one who is about to reign; there also are described the faults that cling most closely to sovereign power. But I have borrowed from no real persons. I have sketched no characters of our own time; my book was written at odd moments hurriedly, bit by bit. It was sent to the press by a faithless copyist, and was never intended for publication.2

There seems no reason to doubt his sincerity in this matter. Indeed the appearance of the book shattered all hope of any reconciliation with Louis XIV.3 It was impossible to convey any useful lesson without pointing out the defects of the existing ruler and his government; and Fénelon's temperament no doubt caused him to do this in a form which looks rather like satire. But it was one thing to write for the prince's eye and quite another to hold up Louis to the ridicule of his subjects


I wrote it [he says] at a time when I was overwhelmed by evidence of the confidence and kindness of the king. I should have shown myself to be not only the most ungrateful but the most reckless of men if I had attempted to take satirical and insolent examples; I shrink from the very thought of such a thing.

Nevertheless the public insisted on taking it as a satire, and as such it had a prodigious success. The year of its

1 Here is an example. As the young Bacchus was one day learning to read, an old Faun kept laughing at his blunders. How dare you make game of Jupiter's son?' exclaimed the proud little god in a rage. The Faun replied calmly: How dare Jupiter's son make mistakes?' This fable referred to an occasion when the young prince had rebelled against Fénelon's authority. 2 Euvres, vii., p. 665.

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Lord St. Cyres' printer has here played him a little joke. The existence of Télémaque first became known in the autumn of 1698, just when the Quietest controversy was at its fiercest.'-Page 179.

publication (1699) was a time when Louis XIV. and his Court were the objects of hatred and jealousy to the rest of Europe, and when even in France there was considerable opposition to his despotic rule. No wonder that such passages as the following were read with delight by all the enemies of the Grand Monarque :

A king should have no advantage over others, except what is necessary either to help him in his arduous duties or to exact from the people the respect due to the representative of law and order. Moreover, the king should be more sober, less prone to indolence, freer from arrogance and pride than others. He must not have a larger share of riches and pleasures, but of wisdom, of virtue, and of renown. He must be the defender of his country and the leader of his armies abroad, and at home the ruler of the people, who wins them goodness and wisdom and happiness. The gods did not make him a king for himself, but that he might belong to the people. All his time, all his care, all his love, is due to the people, and he is only worthy of royalty inasmuch as he forgets himself to devote himself to the public good.

When kings allow themselves to recognise no law but their own sovereign will, and put no curb upon their passions, they can do what they please; but by doing as they please they undermine the foundations of their power; they have absolute laws no longer, nor traditions of government; everyone will compete to flatter them; they will not have a people; there will be none but slaves remaining to them, and these will grow fewer daily.'

Fénelon's countless readers insisted that Idomeneus was meant for Louis; Boccharis was the Dauphin; Louvois, Protesilas; Mme. de Montespan, Astarbe; and William of Orange, Adrastus. Tyre was evidently Holland, and the League of Augsburg against Louis was represented by the coalition against Idomeneus. Telemachus is, of course, the Duke of Burgundy, and Mentor, Fénelon. Read in this light, the book will always be of interest. But it must be confessed that the characters themselves are utterly wanting in reality; they are not beings of flesh and blood. As to its style, French critics are, of course, the best judges:

The characteristic of Fénelon's style [says M. Paul Janet], especially in Télémaque, is grace. No French writer equals him in this respect; no one else has so depicted all that is sweet and lovable and natural. When he describes nature it is always under

1 Liv. v. ; Liv. xvii. See also Liv. xiv. Sanders, pp. 162-4.

the simplest and most familiar aspects. . . . Besides grace, there is in Fénelon much imagination, not, as in Bossuet, grand, sublime, profound, Hebraic, but lively, brilliant, coloured, Greek. His narrative, in the finest passages (e.g., battles, struggles, shipwrecks) is rapid, made up of lifelike, forcible strokes. Grace does not exclude strength (e.g., the combat between Adrastus and Telemachus), or pathos (Idomeneus' sacrifice), or terror (the death of Boccharis). Yet he is at his best in depicting what is noble, delicate, and pure. In contrast to other poets he has succeeded better in his description of Paradise than of hell. '

As a critic of other writers Fénelon stands in the first rank. In his Lettre à l'Académie Française, written in 1714, just before his death, he enters into the famous controversy concerning the comparative merits of the ancients and the moderns. Though he speaks with caution, for fear of hurting the feelings of his literary friends, he is decidedly in favour of the ancients. He reproaches the moderns with being studied and stilted, unreal, continually straining after effect; whereas in the ancients all is natural, simple, and easy. He is especially severe on French poetry, and justly points out that rhyme, which is considered so essential to it, is in reality its stumbling-block. Then, again, he deplores the excessive importance which the passion of love occupies in modern tragedies. Eschylus and Sophocles he would place above Corneille and Racine. One is not surprised to find him disapproving of modern comedy; but this does not prevent him from giving the highest praise to Molière

We must admit [he says] that Molière is a great comic poet. I do not fear to say that he has gone even further than Terence;

1 Fénelon, pp. 131-2.

2 Lord St. Cyres aptly quotes Cardinal Newman: 'Passages which to a boy are but rhetorical commonplaces at length come home to him, when

long years have passed and he has had experience of life, and pierce him, as if he had never before known them, with their sad earnestness and vivid exactness. Then he comes to understand how it is that lines, the birth of some chance morning or evening at an Ionian festival or among the Sabine Hills, have lasted, generation after generation, for thousands of years, with a power over the mind and a charm which the current literature of his own day, with all its obvious advantages, is utterly unable to rival. Perhaps this is the reason of the medieval opinion about Virgil, as if a prophet or magician; his single words and phrases, his pathetic half lines, giving utterance to the voice of nature itself, to that pain and weariness, yet hope of better things, which is the experience of her children in every time.'-Grammar of Assent, pp. 78, 79,

he has embraced a greater variety of subjects; he has painted in strong colours all that is exaggerated and ridiculous; he has opened up an entirely new road. Once more I find him great.

It was something for an archbishop to speak in such glowing terms of a writer of comedies, after Bossuet's denunciations in the Maximes et Réflexions sur la Comédie. One of the last chapters of the Lettre à l'Académie is devoted to history. While insisting that a historian must be truthful and thoroughly impartial, he requires him also to be an artist. I prefer an inexact historian who bungles over names, but yet paints with naïveté all the details, as, for example, Froissart, to all the chroniclers of Charlemagne.' But he must not be an embroiderer; he must give us a faithful as well as lifelike picture of the past. He must not confine his attention to wars and the intrigues of courts: great importance should be attached to the history of institutions of all kinds. Herein Fénelon was anticipating the studies which, under the name of Histoire de la Civilization (Kulturgeschichte), have been cultivated with such success in our own day.

Eloquence is duly treated of in the Lettre; but Fénelon has also dealt with this subject in a special work entitled Dialogues sur l'Eloquence. Here we are chiefly interested in his views on preaching. The rival styles of the day were represented by Bossuet and Bourdaloue; and, strange as it may seem to us, Bourdaloue was the general favourite. It was against this popular judgment that Fénelon set his face. He contrasts the cold monotonous delivery, the elaborate divisions, the minute analysis of character, the long quotations and trains of reasoning of the great Jesuit, with the simple and yet sublime and majestic, because Scriptural, eloquence of Bossuet. He is strongly opposed to written sermons learnt by heart :

A man who does not learn by heart is master of himself; he speaks naturally, his matter flows directly from its source, his expressions are full of life and movement; his very excitement provides him with phrases and figures which he could never have found in his study. All that comes in the heat of delivery is full of feeling and is natural-it has an air of being unstudied and

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