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Scarron addressed one of his dedications to his dog, to ridicule those writers who dedicate their works indiscriminately, though no author has been more liberal of dedications than himself; but, as he confessed, he made dedication a kind of business. When he was low in cash he always dedicated to some lord, whom he praised as warmly as his dog, but whom probably he did not esteem as much.

When Scarron was visited, previous to general conversation his friends were taxed with a perusal of what he had written since he saw them last. Segrais and a friend calling on him, “Take a chair,” said our author, “and let me try on you my ‘Roman Comique.'” He took his manuscript, read several pages, and when he observed that they laughed, he said, “Good, this goes well; my book can’t fail of success, since it obliges such able persons as yourselves to laugh;” and then remained silent to receive their compliments. He used to call this trying on his romance, as a tailor tries his coat. He was agreeable and diverting in all things, even in his complaints and passions. Whatever he conceived he immediately too freely expressed; but his amiable lady corrected him of this in three months after marriage.

He petitioned the queen, in his droll manner, to be permitted the honour of being her Sick-Man by right of office. These verses form a part of his address to her majesty:

Scarron, par la grace de Dieu,

Malade indigne de la reine,

Homme n’ayant ni feu, ni lieu,

Mais bien du mal et de la peine;

Hopital allant et venant,

Des jambes d’autrui cheminant,

Des sieunes n’ayant plus l’usage,

Souffrant beaucoup, dormant bien pen,

Et pourtant faisant par courage

Bonne mine et fort mauvais jeu.

“Scarron, by the grace of God, the unworthy Sick-Man of the Queen; a man without a house, though a moving hospital of disorders; walking only with other people’s legs, with great sufferings, but little sleep; and yet, in spite of all, very courageously showing a hearty countenance, though indeed he plays a losing game.”

She smiled, granted the title, and, what was better, added a small pension, which losing, by lampooning the minister Mazarin, Fouquet generously granted him a more considerable one.

The termination of the miseries of this facetious genius was now approaching. To one of his friends, who was taking leave of him for some time, Scarron said, “I shall soon die; the only regret I have in dying is not to be enabled to leave some property to my wife, who is possessed of infinite merit, and whom I have every reason imaginable to admire and to praise.”

One day he was seized with so violent a fit of the hiccough, that his friends now considered his prediction would soon be verified. When it was over, “If ever I recover,” cried Scarron, “I will write a bitter satire against the hiccough.” The satire, however, was never written, for he died soon after. A little before his death, when he observed his relations and domestics weeping and groaning, he was not much affected, but humorously told them, “My children, you will never weep for me so much as I have made you laugh.” A few moments before he died, he said, that “he never thought that it was so easy a matter to laugh at the approach of death.”

The burlesque compositions of Scarron are now neglected by the French. This species of writing was much in vogue till attacked by the critical Boileau, who annihilated such puny writers as D’Assoucy and Dulot, with their stupid admirers. It is said he spared Scarron because his merit, though it appeared but at intervals, was uncommon. Yet so much were burlesque verses the fashion after Scarron’s works, that the booksellers would not publish poems, but with the word “Burlesque” in the title-page. In 1649 appeared a poem, which shocked the pious, entitled, “The Passion of our Lord, in burlesque Verses.”

Swift, in his dotage, appears to have been gratified by such puerilities as Scarron frequently wrote. An ode which Swift calls “A Lilliputian Ode,” consisting of verses of three syllables, probably originated in a long epistle in verses of three syllables, which Scarron addressed to Sarrazin. It is pleasant, and the following lines will serve as a specimen:–

Epitre a M. Sarrazin.

Mon voisin,
Cher ami,
Qu’a demi,
Je ne voi,
Dont ma foi
J’ai depit
Un petit.
N’es-tu pas
Le Felon?

He describes himself–

Un pauvret,
Tres maigret;
Au col tors,
Dont le corps
Tout tortu,
Tout bossu,
Est reduit,
Jour et nuit,
A souffrir
Sans guerir
Des tourmens

He complains of Sarrazin’s not visiting him, threatens to reduce him into powder if he comes not quickly; and concludes,

Mais pourtant,
Si tu viens
Et tu tiens
Un moment
Avec nous,
Mon courroux

The Roman Comique of our author abounds with pleasantry, with wit and character. His “Virgile Travestie” it is impossible to read long: this we likewise feel in “Cotton’s Virgil travestied,” which has notwithstanding considerable merit. Buffoonery after a certain time exhausts our patience. It is the chaste actor only who can keep the attention awake for a length of time. It is said that Scarron intended to write a tragedy; this perhaps would not have been the least facetious of his burlesques.