Lot n° 26
800 - 1000
CHAPELAIN Jean (1595-1674) poète ; membre fondateur de l'Académie française, où il joua un rôle important, en rédigeant notamment ses statuts [AF 1634, 7e f].
L.A.S. "Chapelain", Paris July 17, 1647, to Mademoiselle de SCUDÉRY in Marseille; 3 pages in-4, address with small red wax seals on pink silk lakes (engraved portrait enclosed).
On his heroic poem La Pucelle, ou la France délivrée, which Mlle de Scudéry defended.
"It was necessary not less than the great reproaches that I received in the last of your letters to Madlle Paulet, to oblige me to give you thanks by mine for the glorious fight that you have made for the honor of my Pucelle. Unless I were provoked with insults, and accused of incivility and ingratitude, I would never have resolved to write you anything about your courageous work, for fear that by thanking you for the good things you said about her or rather about me, it would seem that I was agreeing with you and receiving your praise under the guise of refusing it. You know, Mademoiselle, that there is an ambitious modesty, which is worse than uncovered vanity, and you would not want me to ever do anything that might make me rightly suspect it. This consideration is the real cause of my silence, because for my gratitude you could not ignore it if Monsr CONRART had fulfilled what he had promised me, which I cannot believe he has forgotten. But, Mademoiselle, since you are ignoring this in order to mortify me, I will tell you here that the gratitude I have for this favor could not be greater, either for the interest of La Pucelle or for mine, and that I value to such an extent the beautiful and rare things that you wanted to say about our subject, that I am no longer in pain about her reputation or mine, and that when what I have tried to say about her virtue and her value should be lost before myself, I will not let myself hope to see her glory preserved in what you have written about her, and my name consecrated to immortality, because you have deigned to enshrine it there. After all, I am not responsible for the passion to which you so gallantly impute my silence, and I leave that to Miss Robineau, to whom I could equally displease, by avoiding or disavowing her. She is too perfect a person for anyone to doubt that she could not make a much more difficult conquest, and on the other hand she is too severe not to find it wrong to confess to being her slave.
He thanks the brother of his correspondent (Georges de SCUDÉRY) "for his memory and for the beautiful and generous sonnet of which he judged me worthy in the small number of those which he wanted to gratify in this Court".
L'Académie française au fil des lettres, p. 38-41.
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