1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Moreau, Hégésippe

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

MOREAU, HÉGÉSIPPE (1810–1838), French lyric poet, was born in Paris on the 9th of April 1810. In his early youth his parents, who were poor, migrated to Provins, where the mother went into service and the father took the post of usher in a public school. He went to Paris before 1830, and lived a Bohemian life. He was habitually ho useless, and exposed himself to the dangers of a cholera hospital in the great epidemic of 1832 simply to obtain shelter and food. Then he revisited Provins and published a kind of satirical serial called Diogéne. Some years of this life entirely ruined his health, and it was only just before his death that he succeeded in getting his collected poems published, selling the copyright for £4 sterling and 80 copies of the book. This volume, Myosotis, was received not unfavourably, but the author’s death on the 20th of December 1838, in a refuge of the destitute, created an interest in it which was proportionately excessive. Moreau’s work has a strong note of imitation, especially in his earlier songs, distinguished from those of his model, Béranger, chiefly by their elegiac note. Some of his poems, such as the elegy La Voulzie (1837) and the charming romance La Fermière (1835), have great sweetness and show incontestable poetic power. Moreau wrote some charming prose stories: Le Gui de chêne, La Souris blanche, &c: