Agenda format 12mo (168 x 69 mm). , 304; 392,  pp. 2 parts, with alphabetical index and final errata page. Woodcut title-page ornaments and tailpieces, type-ornament headpieces. Light foxing to first few leaves. Contemporary speckled sheep, gilt edges, marbled pastedown endpapers, very worn, spine completely abraded with loss at top, paper lettering-piece barely legible (Livre de Cantiques). ***
A rare hymnal, with a catechism and prayers, for the small French Huguenot community who had taken refuge in Sweden. Most had fled to Sweden after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, although a few French Calvinists had settled there earlier. They were not warmly welcomed by the Swedes, who tried to amalgamate them with the English and German reformed groups. A small community persisted, and in 1700 a first hymnal was published in Stockholm to meet their needs. This second edition was substantially revised and enlarged.
The hymns are in French, with headings in Swedish and (usually) German, all indexed in the final table. Containing more hymns than psalms, this is among the earlier French Lutheran hymnals. The Genevan reformist and poet Benedict Pictet was the first to advocate adding hymns to the psalters of the Reformed French communities, but only in Germany did this truly catch on, after about 1705. This Stockholm edition clearly follows the German model.
In a prefatory letter to the reader, the editor Laurent Arnell, then pastor of the French Lutheran church in Stockholm, explains that he decided to publish this because so few copies remained of the 1700 edition. As the latter contained an insufficient number of hymns, he added 85 new ones, and along the way he couldn’t resist improving some of the wording, the result being that he spent far more time on this revised edition than intended. Ars longa ... Part 1 contains 224 hymns, of which numbers 17-58 correspond to 38 psalms, including four given in two versions. The French text of the psalms may derive from various sources: during the late 17th and 18th centuries a plethora of different French paraphrases of the psalms appeared: “A côté de la soixantaine de poètes qui ont donné une traduction complète en vers de l’ensemble des 150 psaumes, plus de 250 noms peuvent être cités pour la paraphrase de quelques psaumes seulement” (Le Chant de David, Les Pseaumes en vers français, exhibition at the Bibliothèque Part-Dieu Lyon, Sept-Dec. 2010). As opposed to the psalms, many of the present hymns were probably either written or heavily revised by Arnell. Printed as prose, without music, many include verbal indications of melodies, referring to tunes used for other hymns (e.g., “Sur l’air du N. 163”), which were already firmly associated with a melody. The work opens with “Catechism in the form of hymns” ("Le Catéchisme en forme de cantiques"). Citing its rather clumsy verses, Puaux remarked that it was rather foolhardy of Arnell to undertake his revision.
Part 2 contains the Gospels and Epistles for every Sunday and feast day, and also includes a “Catéchisme de Luther” (pp. 233-252) in more traditional question and answer form, including advice on explaining to children the Ten Commandments, Articles of Faith, Sacrament, and other ceremonies and symbols. Further instructive material includes biblical passages on the duties of various social states (women, husbands, parents, etc.) and a prose account of the Passion. Prayers for various occasions and social groups and the Litany conclude the edition. There is an index of incipits in French, Swedish, and German.
OCLC locates 5 copies, of which one in the US (Yale), with no US copies of the 1700 edition.
Bibliographie des Psaumes Imprimés en Vers Français (1525-1900) (apparently still unpublished) no. 1537 (cf. BM Lyon online catalogue entry for this edition). Cf. F. Puaux, Histoire de l'établissement des protestants français en Suède (1892), p. 66. Item #2731