Page:EB1911 - Volume 11.djvu/259

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246
FROME—FROMENTIN

et dou levrier, written during his journey in Scotland; the Diliie de la flour de la Margherite; a Dillie d'amour called L’Orlose amoureus, in which he compares himself, the imaginary lover, with a clock; the Espinette amoureuse, which contains a sketch of his early life, freely and pleasantly drawn, accompanied by rondeaux and virelays; the Buisson de jonesce, in which he returns to the recollections of his own youth; and various smaller pieces. The verses are monotonous; the thoughts are not without poetical grace, but they are expressed at tedious length. It would be, however, absurd to expect in Froissart the vigour and verve possessed by none of his predecessors. The time was gone when Marie de France, Ruteboeuf and Thibaut de Champagne made the 13th-century language a medium for verse of which any literature might be proud. Briefly, Froissart’s poetry, unless the unpublished portion be better than that before us, is monotonous and mechanical. The chief merit it possesses is in simplicity of diction, This not infrequently produces a pleasing effect.

As for the character of his Chronicle, little need be said. There has never been any difference of opinion on the distinctive merits of this great work. It presents a vivid and faithful drawing of the things done in the 14th century. No more graphic account exists of any age. No historian has drawn so many and such faithful portraits. They are, it is true. portraits of men as they seemed to the writer, not of men as they were. Froissart was uncritical; he accepted princes by their appearance. Who, for instance, would recognize in his portrait of Gaston Phoebus de Foix the cruel voluptuary, stained with the blood of his own son, which we know him to have been? Froissart, again, had no sense of historical responsibility; he was no judge to inquire into motives and condemn actions; he was simply a chronicler. He has been accused by French authors of lacking patriotism. Yet it must be remembered that he was neither a Frenchman nor an Englishman, but a Fleming. He has been accused of insensibility to suffering. Indignation against oppression was not, however, common in the 14th century; why demand of Froissart a quality which is rare enough even in our own time? Yet there are moments when, as in describing the massacre of Limoges, he speaks with tears in his voice.

Let him be judged by his own aims. “Before I commence this book,” he says, “I pray the Saviour of all the world, who created every thing out of nothing, that He will also create and put in me sense and understanding of so much worth, that this book, which I have begun, I may continue and persevere in, so that all those who shall read, see, and hear it may and in it delight and pleasance.” To give delight and pleasure, then, was his sole design.

As regards his personal character, Froissart depicts it himself for us. Such as he was in youth, he tells us, so he remained in more advanced life; rejoicing mightily in dances and carols, in hearing minstrels and poems; inclined to love all those who love dogs and hawks; pricking up his ears at the uncorking of bottles,—“Car au voire prens grand plaisir”; pleased with good cheer, gorgeous apparel and joyous society, but no commonplace reveller or greedy voluptuary,—everything in Froissart was ruled by the good manners which he set before all else; and always eager to listen to tales of war and battle. As we have said above, he shows, not only by his success at courts, but also by the whole tone of his writings, that he possessed a singularly winning manner and strong personal character. He lived wholly in the present, and had no thought of the coming changes. Born when chivalrous ideas were most widely spread, but the spirit of chivalry itself, as inculcated by the best writers, in its decadence, he is penetrated with the sense of knightly honour, and ascribes to all his heroes alike those qualities which only the ideal knight possessed.

The first edition of Froissart's Chronicles was published in Paris. It bears no date; the next editions are those of the years 1505, 1514, 1518 and 1520. The edition of Buchon, 1824, was a continuation of one commenced by Dacier. The best modern editions are those of Kervyn de Lettenhove (Brussels, 1863-1877) and Siméon Luce (Pans, 1869-1888); for bibliography see Potthast, Bibliotheca hist. medii aevi, i. (Berlin, 1896). An abridgment was made in Latin by Belleforest, and published in 1672. An English translation was made by Bouchier, Lord Berners, and published in London, 1525, See the “Tudor Translations ” edition of Berners (Nutt, 1901), with introduction by W. P. Ker; and the “Globe” edition, with introduction by G. C. Macaulay. The translation by Thomas Johnes was originally published in 1802-1805. For Froissart's poems see Scheler’s text in K. de Lettenhove's complete edition; Méliador has been edited by Longnon for the Societe des Anciens Textes (1895-1899). See also Madame Darmesteter (Duclaux), Froissart (1894).

(W. Be.)

FROME, a market town in the Frome parliamentary division of Somersetshire, England, 107 m. W. by S. of London by the Great Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 11,057. It is unevenly built on high ground above the river Frome, which is here crossed by a stone bridge of five arches. It was formerly called Frome or Froome Selwood, after the neighbouring forest of Selwood; and the country round is still richly wooded and picturesque. The parish church of St John the Baptist, with its line tower and spire, was built about the close of the 14th century, and, though largely restored, has a beautiful chancel, Lady chapel and baptistery. Fragments of Norman work are left; the interior is elaborately adorned with sculptures and stained glass. The market-hall, museum, school of art, and a free grammar school, founded under Edward VI., may be noted among buildings and institutions. The chief industries are brewing and art metal-working, also printing, metal-founding, and the manufacture of cloth, silk, tools and cards for wool-dressing. Dairy farming is largely practised in the neighbourhood. Selwood forest was long a favourite haunt of brigands, and even in the 18th century gave shelter to a gang of coiners and highwaymen.

The Saxon occupation of Frome (From) is the earliest of which there is evidence, the settlement being due to the foundation of a monastery by Aldhelm in 705. A witenagemot was held there in 934, so that Frome must already have been a place of some size. At the time of the Domesday Survey the manor was owned by King William. Local tradition asserts that Frome was a medieval borough, and the reeve of Frome is occasionally mentioned in documents after the reign of Edward I., but there is no direct evidence that Frome was a borough and no trace of any charter granted to it. It was not represented in parliament until given one member by the Reform Act of 1832. Separate representation ceased in 1885. Frome was never incorporated. A charter of Henry VII. to Edmund Leversedge, then lord of the manor, granted the right to have fairs on the 22nd of July and the 21st of September. In the 18th century two other fairs on the 24th of February and the 25th of November were held. Cattle fairs are now held on the last Wednesday in February and November, and a cheese fair on the last Wednesday in September. The Wednesday market is held under the charter of Henry VII. There is also a Saturday cattle market. The manufacture of woollen cloth has been established since the 15th century, Frome being the only Somerset town in which this staple industry has nourished continuously.


FROMENTIN, EUGÈNE (1820-1876), French painter, was born at La Rochelle in December 1820. After leaving school he studied for some years under Louis Cabat, the landscape painter. Frornentin was one of the earliest pictorial interpreters of Algeria, having been able, while quite young, to visit the land and people that suggested the subjects of most of his works, and to store his memory as well as his portfolio with the picturesque and characteristic details of North African life. In 1849 he obtained a medal of the second class. In 1852 he paid a second visit to Algeria, accompanying an archaeological mission, and then completed that minute study of the scenery of the country and of the habits of its people which enabled him to give to his after-work the realistic accuracy that comes from intimate knowledge. In a certain sense his works are not more artistic results than contributions to ethnological science. His first great success was produced at the Salon of 1847, by the “Gorges de la China.” Among his more important works are—“La Place de la bréche 5. Constantine” (1849); “Enterrement