Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux

[Boileau] (1 November 1636 – 13 March 1711 / Paris, France)

Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
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a French poet and critic.

Boileau was born in the rue de Jérusalem, in Paris, France. He was brought up to the law, but devoted to letters, associating himself with La Fontaine, Racine, and Molière. He is the author of Satires and Epistles, L'Art poétique and Le Lutrin, in which he attacked and employed his wit against what he perceived to be the bad taste of his time.

Boileau did much to reform the prevailing form of French poetry, as Blaise Pascal did to reform the prose, and was for long the law-giver of Parnassus. He was greatly influenced by Horace.

The surname "Despréaux" was derived from a small property at Crosne near ... more »

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  • ''However big the fool, there is always a bigger fool to admire him.''
    Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636-1711), French poet, critic. L'Art Poétique, cto. 1, l. 232 (1674).
  • ''No one who cannot limit himself has ever been able to write.''
    Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636-1711), French poet, critic. L'Art Poétique, cto. 1, l. 63 (1674).
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Best Poem of Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux

The Argument

An Owl instructed by the Night,
Cunningly counterfeits A Sprite :
In Pulpit close she lies Perdue,
And terrifies the Prelates Crew!
They Routed fly with heavy Clatter,
The Canto tells you, what's the matter ;
But Discord to Retrieve the sport
Rallies them soon in Warlike sort :
All Oppositions overpast,
They set the Pulpit up at last :
But fear not lest the Prelate Preacht in't ;
Alas he has a further reach in't !
To spight his Foes, yet for all's Feating,
The proof of th' Pudding's seen i'th' eating.

But Night in hast with her Dark ...

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