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6. RUMANIAN obligeană

Like many other Rumanian names of plants, obligeană or abligeană ('the galangal' or 'galingale') is derived from the Turkish language, in which the plant is named khovlinjan. The Turkish word itself is borrowed from the Persian, into which it is supposed to have come from the Chinese, as the species is a native of the Far East. Curiously enough English galangal (galingale) is cognate with the Rumanian word, since it is ultimately derived from Khālanjān, another form of the Arabic (Turkish and Persian) word. (See The Oxford Dictionary.) Whether obligeană is also the name of another aromatic, the sweet flag (Acorus calamus), as given by Tiktin (Rumänisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch, Vol. II, p. 1071), to the exclusion of the meaning given above, the present writer does not know. The two plants, to be sure, are similar in several respects, both as to appearance and use.




IN reprinting poems written by Jodelle in honor of his friend

Claude Colet, neither of the former's modern editors1 has referred to the prose preface2 that accompanies one of them, though it contains information about the tastes and opinions of both these poets.

Facts about Colet have been collected chiefly by La Croix du

1 Marty-Laveaux, La Pléiade françoise, les œuvres et meslanges poétiques d'Estienne Iodelle sieur du Lymodin, Paris, Alphonse Lemerre, 1868, 1870, 2 vols., 8°; and Ad. Van Bever, Les Amours et autres poésies d'Estienne Jodelle sieur du Lymodin, Paris, E. Sansot et Cie, 1907, 8°.

2 The preface is mentioned by Brunet and in the catalogues of the British Museum and the Bibliothèque Nationale. It is published with a French and a Latin poem as an introduction to L'Histoire Palladienne traitant des gestes et genereux faitz d'armes et d'amours de plusieurs grandz princes et seigneurs, specialement de Palladien filz du roy Milanor d'Angleterre et de la belle Selerine sœur du Roy de Portugal; nouuellement mise en nostre Vulgaire Françoys, par feu Cl. Colet Champenois, Paris, 1555, f°, printed by Grouleau, some copies pour Ian Dallier, others pour Vincent Serteuas; reprinted at Antwerp, 1562, 4°, and again at Paris, 1573, 8°.

Maine and the Abbé Goujet. He was born near Troyes, at Rumilly, was known as poet, orator, and "maitre d'hôtel de Madame la Marquise de Nesle." He was on friendly terms not only with Jodelle, but with Marot, Muret, d'Aurigny, Olivier de Magny, Pasquier. His first work, l'Oraison de Mars aux dames de la court, was published in 15446 and, in enlarged form, in 1548. It contains versified harangues in praise of war and of peace, followed by a number of epigrammes, elegies, and epistles, in some of which Goujet detects a talent for satire. He subsequently devoted himself mainly to translation, publishing fragments of Clitophon and Leucippes and the ninth book of Amadis. The Histoire Palladienne, already mentioned, appeared after his death. An Histoire Ethiopique d'Héliodore, Paris, 1549, 8°, is assigned to him by Rigoley de Juvigny.10 Other productions are referred to when Colet informs a friend that manuscripts have been stolen from him,11 and when Jodelle, in his preface to the Histoire Palladienne, declares that Colet has written works "plus doctes et plus proffitables que ne sont les Romants." Of his death it has been merely stated that he must have lived as late as 1553. Jodelle's evidence fixes the date by referring in the same preface, written in 1555,12 to his friend's having died two years before.


In spite of Colet's interest in romances, which to an enthusiastic humanist like Jodelle made him seem a continuer of the middle ages, and notwithstanding the difference there must have been 3 Rigoley de Juvigny, les Bibliothèques françoises de La Croix du Maine et de Du Verdier, Paris, 1772, i, 134 and iii, 329.

4 Bibliothèque françoise, Paris, 1741-1756, vol. xi, pp. 165, 178–184, vol. xii, p. 25.

5 Poems by Magny and Pasquier are published with Colet's translation of Amadis.

6 Paris, Chr. Wechel, 4°.

7 Paris, Chr. Wechel, 8°.

8 Les deuis amoureux, Paris, Gilles Corrozet, 1545, 8°; cf. Graesse, loc. cit. Le nevfiesme liure d'Amadis de Gaule, Paris, Vincent Serteuas, 1553, f°. Graesse, op. cit., vol. i, p. 94, puts the first edition in 1552, and agrees with LaCroix du Maine that Colet merely corrected this translation, originally made by Gilles Boileau.

10 Op. cit., vol. i, p. 134. Is this Amyot's translation, one edition of which appeared in 1549?

11 Cf. Goujet, op. cit., vol. xi, p. 182.

12 The achevé d'imprimer is dated September 20.

between their ages, for Colet's Oraison was published when Jodelle was only twelve years old, his charm of manner so attracted the younger poet that the latter left all pleasant company for his. Discussions over the value of the novels Colet was translating provoked Jodelle's vigorous criticism. He considered them "moysis à demy," "menteries espagnoles," "entrelassez de mile auantures aussi peu vray-semblables que vrayes," "la resuerie de nos peres, la corruption de nostre ieunesse, la perte du temps, le iargon des valetz de boutique, le tesmoignage de nostre ignorance." It is easy to make Amadis talk, yet for such amusements intelligent men in France are giving up eloquence and philosophy, though these have been only half treated by the ancients.

Colet answered this diatribe with familiar arguments of precedent and utility, citing the usage of Heliodorus, Apuleius, Homer, Vergil, Ariosto, the Greek orators, arguing that there is truth in fiction, that recitals of combats encourage youths, that a pleasant tale teaches more effectively than history, especially in the case of nobles, who avoid other forms of mental discipline. Jodelle, temporarily convinced, seeing one day Colet's translation of Amadis lying ready for the press, dictated to him an "ode Françoise de gayeté de cueur et sus le pié, comme i'ay de coustume."13 It is thus poem which was published with the Amadis and now figures in Marty-Laveaux's edition of Jodelle. 14 It makes an appeal to Colet to work on in spite of public neglect. Jodelle, though only twentyone, forgetful of the recent success of his Cléopâtre, feels that he, too, is not appreciated:

Ne sçais-tu pas que i'emprisonne
Les graces que le ciel me donne
Dessous vn silence obstiné?

Bien que ie sente en moy la gloire
Et Poëtique et Oratoire:

13 A confirmation of Charles de la Mothe's statement: "Tout ce que l'on voit et que l'on verra composé par Jodelle n'a jamais esté faict que promptement, sans estude et sans labeur. . . . Nous luy avons veu en sa premiere adolescence composer et escrire en une seule nuict, par gageure, cinq cens bons vers latins, sur le sujet que promptement ou luy bailloit." Cf. Van Bever, op. cit., p. 29 n. 14 Vol. ii, pp. 208-211.

Bien que le Ciel m'ayt destiné
Pour plus haulte philosophie
Et bien que, braue, ie me fie

D'estre au monde heureusement né.

However neglectful the public may have been, Colet was so highly pleased with his friend's effusion that he asked him to write something to accompany his Histoire Palladienne. A bargain was struck. Jodelle agreed to write an introductory poem for this romance; Colet promised that after its publication he would devote himself to more substantial things.

Thus it happened that when, two years after Colet's death, the publishers brought out the book, Jodelle found himself obliged to contribute not only the introductory poem, but a preface explaining why he should thus associate his name with a romance after having made fun "en mile bonnes compagnies de ce fabuleux genre d'escrire," which serves only "d'amusement ou d'espouentail aux indoctes." His apology for his friend and himself covers four folio pages, although he tells us that long prefaces are as useless as Ionic or Doric porches before a barn. These pages are largely filled with the explanations and characterizations I have summarized. The candor with which he refers to Colet's romance is remarkable, if not unique, among prefaces to a dead friend's work. He would not praise the book "si fort qu'on disoit bien, mais pour prier affectueusement toute la France de le traiter le plus doucement qu'elle pourra." If they will deal kindly with this romance, they will soon have a rich reward, for in return Jodelle will consent to hasten the publication of his own works, so long awaited by the reader.

In the meanwhile he publishes with the Histoire Palladienne his ode "Aux Cendres de Claude Colet,"15 and a Latin epitaph treating in language none too delicate the delicate question whether Colet's death by the plague was due to his labor or his love. As Marty-Laveaux and Van Bever make no reference to this production, I reprint it in full:

15 Reprinted by Marty-Laveaux, op. cit., vol. ii, pp. 211-213; Van Bever, op. cit., pp. 206-208.


Qui Traecis oriundus eram,16 qui natus in agro
Rumilio, vixi doctus, inops perij,

Vita satis nota est, vitam abstulit inuida pestis,
Pestis Amor causa est, vel mihi causa labor:
Dira lues aderat, poteram fugisse, Cupido,

Vel solitus potuit me tenuisse labor.

Ergo meo carmen tumulo sic sorte legendum est,
Vel forte inuerso carmine verus ero.


Iodelius P.



16 Sprung from the Trecae, the Gallic tribe from whom Troyes derives its


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