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The baths he tried had no effect on his miserable disorder. But a new affliction was added to the catalogue of his griefs.

His father, who had hitherto contributed to his necessities, having joined a party against Cardinal Richelieu, was exiled. This affair was rendered still more unfortunate by his mother-in-law with her children at Paris, in the absence of her husband, appropriating the property of the family to her own use.

Hitherto Scarron had had no connexion with Cardinal Richelieu. The conduct of his father had even rendered his name disagreeable to the minister, who was by no means prone to forgiveness. Scarron, however, when he thought his passion moderated, ventured to present a petition, which is considered by the critics as one of his happiest productions. Richelieu permitted it to be read to him, and acknowledged that it afforded him much pleasure, and that it was pleasantly dated. This pleasant date is thus given by Scarron:–

Fait a Paris dernier jour d’Octobre,
Par moi, Scarron, qui malgre moi suis sobre,
L’an que l’on prit le fameux Perpignan,
Et, sans canon, la ville de Sedan.

At Paris done, the last day of October,
By me, Scarron, who wanting wine am sober,
The year they took fam’d Perpignan,
And, without cannon-ball, Sedan.

This was flattering the minister adroitly in two points very agreeable to him. The poet augured well of the dispositions of the cardinal, and lost no time to return to the charge, by addressing an ode to him, to which he gave the title of THANKS, as if he had already received the favours which he hoped he should receive! Thus Ronsard dedicated to Catherine of Medicis, who was prodigal of promises, his hymn to PROMISE. But all was lost for Scarron by the death of the Cardinal.

When Scarron’s father died, he brought his mother-in-law into court; and, to complete his misfortunes, lost his suit. The cases which he drew up for the occasion were so extremely burlesque, that the world could not easily conceive how a man could amuse himself so pleasantly on a subject on which his existence depended.

The successor of Richelieu, the Cardinal Mazarin, was insensible to his applications. He did nothing for him, although the poet dedicated to him his Typhon, a burlesque poem, in which the author describes the wars of the giants with the gods. Our bard was so irritated at this neglect, that he suppressed a sonnet he had written in his favour, and aimed at him several satirical bullets. Scarron, however, consoled himself for this kind of disgrace with those select friends who were not inconstant in their visits to him. The Bishop of Mans also, solicited by a friend, gave him a living in his diocese. When Scarron had taken possession of it, he began his Roman Comique, ill translated into English by Comical Romance. He made friends by his dedications. Such resources were indeed necessary, for he not only lived well, but had made his house an asylum for his two sisters, who there found refuge from an unfeeling step-mother.

It was about this time that the beautiful and accomplished Mademoiselle d’Aubigne, afterwards so well known by the name of Madame de Maintenon, she who was to be one day the mistress, if not the queen of France, formed with Scarron the most romantic connexion. She united herself in marriage with one whom she well knew could only be a lover. It was indeed amidst that literary society she formed her taste and embellished with her presence his little residence, where assembled the most polished courtiers and some of the finest geniuses of Paris of that famous party, called La Fronde, formed against Mazarin. Such was the influence this marriage had over Scarron, that after this period his writings became more correct and more agreeable than those which he had previously composed. Scarron, on his side, gave a proof of his attachment to Madame de Maintenon; for by marrying her he lost his living of Mans. But though without wealth, he was accustomed to say that “his wife and he would not live uncomfortable by the produce of his estate and the Marquisate of Quinet.” Thus he called the revenue which his compositions produced, and Quinet was his bookseller.