2004
Volume 138, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7550
  • E-ISSN: 2212-0521

Abstract

Abstract

In the first section (1-139) of his (1642) the Leyden student François le Bleu (ab.1620 – post 1655) tells the love story of Phillis and Amaril in various poetic forms. Probably the ‘Julia Monobiblos’ of Janus Secundus was his inspiration, as he also included ten ‘Kusjes’ (Basia) in the story. A second section (140-237) contains a number of poems and some ‘Thoughts’ in prose on Amarillis’ death, curiously dedicated to Cassandra, the poet’s new love. His enduring love for Amaril should prove to Cassandra that he will be faithful to her as well. The article discusses both the traditionality of the book as a kind of show case of erotic poetry as well as the surprising presentation of the love affair, and its autobiographical background. In that connection attention is given to Le Bleus literary friends, and especially his efforts to make the acquaintance of the poet Constantijn Huygens, secretary of the stadtholder Frederik Hendrik. One of Le Bleus friends, prof. Zuerius van Boxhorn wrote an introductory letter to Huygens, praising Le Bleu’s poetry. Huygens donates the usual amount of money for a laudatory poem on the prince. So encouraged, Le Bleu dedicates his to both Huygens and another highly placed poet Jacob Cats, curator of the university. Both poets are well known for their Calvinism and in their poetry there is rarely, if ever, place for pagan mythology. Probably they were not happy with a book of poems by a young student, full of classical mythology and without any Christian background, even in the poems on Amaril’s death and the funerary poetry as found in the second, more general part of the book (239-415). Maybe Le Bleu was disappointed about the lack of recognition from the dedicatees. In any case, he never published any other poetry.

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