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MALET—MALIBRAN

sweetest characters of the 18th century; though no man of action, hardly a man of the world, by his charity and unfeigned goodness he became one of the most popular men in France, and it was an act of truest self-devotion in him to sacrifice himself for a king who had done little or nothing for him.

There are in print several scientific works of Malesherbes of varying value, of which the most interesting is his Observations sur Buffon et Daubenton, written when he was very young, and published with a notice by Abeille in 1798. There exist also his Mémoire pour Louis XVI., his Mémoire sur la liberté de la presse (published 1809) and extracts from his remonstrances, published as Œuvres choisies de Malesherbes in 1809. For his life should be read the Notice historique (3rd ed., 1806) of Dubois, the Eloge historique (1805) of Gaillard, and the interesting Essai sur la vie, les écrits et les opinions de M. de Malesherbes (in 2 vols., 1818), of F. A. de Boissy d'Anglas. There are also many éloges on him in print, of which the best-known is that of M. Dupin, which was delivered at the Academy in 1841, and was reviewed with much light on Malesherbes's control of the press by Sainte-Beuve in the 2nd volume of the Causeries dn lundi. The protest of the cour des aides has been published with translation by G. Robinson in the Translations and Reprints of the University of Pennsylvania (1900). For his defence of Louis XVI. see Marquis e Beaucourt, Captivité et derniers moments de Louis XVI. (2 vols., 1892, Soc. d'hist. contemp.), and A. Tuetey, Répertoire général des sources manuscrites de l’hist. de Paris pendant la Rev. fr., vol. viii. (1908).


MALET, LUCAS, the pen-name of Mary St Leger Harrison (1852–), English novelist. She was the eldest daughter of Charles Kingsley, and was born at Eversley on the 4th of June 1852. She studied at the Slade school and at University College, London, and married in 1876 William Harrison, rector of Clovelly. After her husband's death in 1897 she eventually settled in London. She had already written several books-M rs Lorirner (1882), Colonel Enderby's Wife (1885), Little Peter (1887), A Counsel of Perfection (1888)-when she published her powerful story, The Wages of Sin (1891), which attracted great attention. Her History of Sir Richard Calmady (1901) had an even' greater success. Her other novels include The Carissirna (1896), The Gateless Barrier (1900), On the For Horizon (1906).


MALHERBE, FRANÇOIS DE (1555–1628), French poet, critic and translator, was born at Caen in 1555. His family was of some position, though it seems not to have been able to establish to the satisfaction of heralds the claims which it made to nobility older than the 16th century. The poet was the eldest son of another François de Malherbe, conseiller du roi in the magistracy of Caen. He himself was elaborately educated at Caen, at Paris, at Heidelberg and at Basel. At the age of twenty-one, preferring arms to the gown, he entered the household of Henri d'Angoulême, grand prior of France, the natural son of Henry II. He served this prince as secretary in Provence, and married there in 1581. It seems that he wrote verses at this period, but, to judge from a quotation of Tallemant des Réaux, they must have been very bad ones. His patron died when Malherbe was on a visit in his native province, and for a time he had no particular employment, though by some servile verses he obtained a considerable gift of money from Henry III., whom he afterwards libelled. He lived partly in Provence and partly in Normandy for many years after this event; but very little is known of his life during this period. His Larmes de Saint Pierre, imitated from Luigi Tansillo, appeared in 1587.

It was in the year parting the two centuries (1600) that he presented to Marie de' Medici an ode of welcome, the first of his remarkable poems. But four or five years more passed before his fortune, which had hitherto been indifferent, turned. He was presented by his countryman, the Cardinal Du Perron, to Henry IV.; and, though that economical prince did not at first show any great eagerness to entertain the poet, he was at last summoned to court and endowed after one fashion or another. It is said that the pension promised him was not paid till the next reign. His father died in 1606, and he came into his inheritance. From this time forward he lived at court, corresponding affectionately with his wife, but seeing her only twice in some twenty years. His old age was saddened by a great misfortune. His son, Marc Antoine, a young man of promise, fell in a duel in 1626. His father used his utmost influence to have the guilty parties (for more than one were concerned, and there are grounds for thinking that it was not a fair duel) brought to justice. But he died before the suit was decided (it is said in consequence of disease caught at the camp of La Rochelle, whither he had gone to petition the king), in Paris, on the 16th of October, 1628, at the age of seventy three.

The personal character of Malherbe was far from amiable, but he exercised, or at least indicated the exercise of, a great and enduring effect upon French literature, though by no means a wholly beneficial one. The lines of Boileau beginning Enfin Malherbe vint are rendered only partially applicable by the extraordinary ignorance of older French poetry which distinguished that peremptory critic. But the good as well as bad side of Malherbe's theory and practice is excellently described by his contemporary and superior Regnier, who was animated against him, not merely by reason of his own devotion to Ronsard but because of Malherbe's discourtesy towards Regnier's uncle P. Desportes, whom the Norman poet had at first distinctly copied. These are the lines:—
    “ Cependant leur savoir ne s'étend nullement
      Qu'à régratter un mot douteuse au jugement,
      Prendre garde qu'un qui ne heurte une diphtongue,
      Epier si des vers la rime est brève on longue,
      On bien si la voyelle a l'autre s'unissant
      Ne rend point à l'oreille un vers trop languissant.
              .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .
      C'est proser de la rime et rimer de la prose.”
This is perfectly true, and from the time of Malherbe dates that great and deplorable falling off of French poetry in its more poetic qualities, which was not made good till 1830. Nevertheless the critical and restraining tendency of Malherbe was not ill in place after the luxuriant importation and innovation of the Pléiade; and if he had confined himself to preaching greater technical perfection, and especially greater simplicity and purity in vocabulary and versification, instead of superciliously striking his pen through the great Works of his predecessors, he would have deserved wholly well. As it was, his reforms helped to elaborate the kind of verse necessary for the classical tragedy, and that is the most that can be said for him. His own poetical work is scanty in amount, and for the most part frigid and devoid of inspiration. The beautiful Consolation à Duperier, in which occurs the famous line—
          Et, rose, elle a vécu ce que vivent les roses—
the odes to Marie de' Medici and to Louis XIII., and a few other pieces comprise all that is really worth remembering of him. His prose work is much more abundant, not less remarkable for care as to style and expression, and of greater positive value. It consists of some translations of Livy and Seneca, and of a. very large number of interesting and admirably written letters, many of which are addressed to Peiresc, the man of science of whom Gassendi has left a delightful Latin life. It contains also a most curious commentary on Desportes, in which Malherbe's minute and carping style of verbal criticism is displayed on the great scale.

The chief authorities for the biography of Malherbe are the Vie de Malherbe by his friend and pupil Racan, and the long Historiette which Tallemant des Réaux has devoted to him. The standard edition is the admirable one of Ludovic Lalanne (5 vols., Paris, 1862–1869). Of the poems only, there is an excellent and handsome little issue in the Nouvelle collection Jannet (Paris, 1874). Of modern works devoted to him, La Doctrine de Malherbe, by G. Brunot (1891), is not only the most important but a work altogether capital in regard to the study of French language and literature. Others are A. Gasté, La Jeunesse de Malherbe (1890); V. Bourrienne, Points obscurs dans la vie normande de Malherbe (1895); and the duc de Broglie's “ Malherbe ” in Les Grands écrivains français. On his position in French and general critical history, G. Saintsbury's History of Criticism, vol. ii., may be consulted.  (G. Sa.) 


MALIBRAN, MARIE FELICITE (1808–1836), operatic singer, daughter of Manoel Garcia, was born in Paris on the 24th of March 1808. Her father was then a member of the company of the Théatre des Italiens, and she accompanied him to Italy and London. She possessed a soprano voice of unusual beauty and