Small 12mo (121 x 70 mm). 48 pp. Woodcut title ornament. Small stain to lower fore-edge of title-leaf. 19th-century jansenist green morocco, turn-ins gilt, gilt edges (by Duru, binder’s stamp erased from front flyleaf), extremities scuffed, spotting to binder’s flyleaves. Provenance: Armand Bertin (1801-1854), sale, Paris, Techener, 4 May 1854, lot 575; Félix Solar (1811-1870), sale, Paris, Techener, part 1, 19 Nov. 1860, lot 2039). ***
Rare expanded edition, probably printed in Holland, of a satirical pamphlet containing dialogues defining the court as a pit of corruption. In the first piece, the “Questions de la cour,” the unknown author spreads his venom generally, e.g., “What is a King? - A man who is always deceived, a Master who doesn’t know his job”; “What is a Monk? - A bogeyman [épouvantail] for children, and the meanest man in the world”; “What is Money? - That which one loses when young and hunts for when old, and the prime mover of the world.” It concludes with the city everyone loved to hate: “What is Paris? - Paradise for women, purgatory for men, and Hell for horses.”
The second piece, “Instruction à la Loy Mazarine,” sinks its teeth into Cardinal Mazarin himself: “What is the sign of Mazarin? - The sign of the Cross, printed on gold and silver. How is it made? - By taking with both hands in the name of the King.” Mazarin’s “credo, profession of faith, and ten commandments” are equally vicious. Having targeted the Jesuits in the first piece (”What is a Jesuit? - A political sage, who uses Religion skilfully”), the Jansenists are blasted in the third, “Autre Catéchisme, à l’usage de la Cour Ecclesiastique de France Contre le Jansenisme.”
Originally published in 8 pages in 1649 and 1652, during the first wave of Mazarinades (under different titles: Catechisme des courtisans de la cour de Mazarin and Definitions sur l'estat et condition d'vn chacun), the pamphlet’s glib nastiness made it popular, and after Mazarin’s death it was reprinted with additional material, in 1668 and 1672 (a 1669 edition contains only 18 pages and seems to have been a chapbook pamphlet). The miscellaneous extra poems in this edition include an imaginary dialogue between Colbert, Fouquet, and other high-ranking officials, Fouquet’s satirical “confession,” a rhyming “Request for protection from the King by the rats of Paris,” two sonnets on the Great Fire of London, a few genuinely laudatory poems on Colbert, and one praising the King’s choice of the duc de Montausier as tutor to his eldest son (the Dauphin), a charge Montausier filled from 1668 to 1680.
A fine copy from the libraries of two bibliophiles, both journalists and editors. From 1848 to 1851 Armand Bertin was the highly respected editor of the long-running Journal des Débats.
McGill holds a copy of this edition. Other editions are held by U. Wisconsin (Catéchisme, 1649) Harvard (Definitions sur l'estat, undated, Yale and Folger (Catéchisme, 1668).
Gay-Lemonnyer 1: 494-495; Moreau, Mazarinades 1: 651 (1649 edition); Brunet I:1656 (1668 edition). Item #4267