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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 336 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIEUR DE FOUILLETOURTE CLAUDE BOUTHILLIER (1581-1652), French statesman, began life as an advocate. In 1613 he was councillor in the parlement of Paris, and in 1619 became councillor of state and a secretary to the queen-mother, Marie de' Medici. The connexion of his father, Denis Bouthillier (d. 1622), with Cardinal Richelieu secured for him the title of secretary of state in 1628, and he was able to remain on good terms with both Marie de' Medici and Richelieu, in spite of their rivalry. In 1632 he became superintendent of finances. But his great role was in diplomacy. Richelieu employed him on many diplomatic missions, and the success of his foreign policy was due in no small degree to Bouthillier's ability and devotion. In 163o he had taken part at Regensburg in arranging the abortive treaty between the emperor and France. From 1633 to 164o he was continually busied with secret missions in Germany, sometimes alone, sometimes with Father Joseph. Following Richelieu's instructions, he negotiated the alliances which brought France into the Thirty Years' War. Meanwhile, at home, his tact and amiable disposition, as well as his reputation for straightforwardness, had secured for him a unique position of influence in a court torn by jealousies and intrigues. Trusted by the king, the confidant of Richelieu, the friend of Marie de' Medici, and through his son, Leon Bouthillier, who was appointed in 1635 chancellor to Gaston d'Orleans, able to bring his influence to bear on that prince, he was an invaluable mediator; and the personal influence thus exercised, combined with the fact that he was at the head of both the finances and the foreign policy of France, made him, next to the cardinal, the most powerful man in the kingdom. Richelieu made him executor of his will, and Louis XIII. named him a member of the council of regency which he intended should govern the kingdom after his death.335 But the. king's last plans were not carried out, and Bouthillier was obliged to retire into private life, giving up his office of superintendent of finances in June 1643. He died in Paris on the 13th of March 1652. His son, LEON BOUTHILLIER (1608-1652), comte de Chavigny, was early associated with his father, who took him with him from 1629 to 1632 to all the great courts of Europe, instructing him in diplomacy. In 1632 he was named secretary of state and seconded his father's work, so that it is not easy always to distinguish their respective parts. After the death of Louis XIII. he had to give up his office; but was sent as plenipotentiary to the negotiations at Munster. He showed himself incapable, however, giving himself up to pleasure and fetes, and returned to France to intrigue against Mazarin. Arrested twice during the Fronde, and then for a short time in power during Mazarin's exile (April 1651), he busied himself with small intrigues which came to nothing. BOUTS-RIMS, literally (from the French) " rhymed ends," the name given in all literatures to a kind of verses of which no better definition can be found than was made by Addison, in the Spectator, when he described them as " lists of words that rhyme to one another, drawn up by another hand, and given to a poet, who was to make a poem to the rhymes in the same order that they were placed upon the list." The more odd and perplexing the rhymes are, the more ingenuity is required to give a semblance of common-sense to the production. For instance, the rhymes breeze, elephant, squeeze, pant, scant, please, hope, pope are submitted, and the following stanza is the result: Escaping from the Indian breeze, The vast, sententious elephant Through groves of sandal loves to squeeze And in their fragrant shade to pant; Although the shelter there be scant, The vivid odours soothe and please, And while he yields to dreams of hope, Adoring beasts surround their Pope. The invention of bouts-rimes is attributed to a minor French poet of the 17th century, Dulot, of whom little else is remembered. According to the Menagiana, about the year 1648, Dulot was complaining one day that he had been robbed of a number of valuable papers, and, in particular, of three hundred sonnets. Surprise being expressed at his having written so many, Dulot explained that they were all " blank sonnets," that is to say, that he had put down the rhymes and nothing else. The idea struck every one as amusing, and what Dulot had done seriously was taken up as a jest. Bouts-rimes became the fashion, and in 1654 no less a person than Sarrasin composed a satire against them, entitled La Defaite des bouts-rimes, which enjoyed a great success. Nevertheless, they continued to be abundantly composed in France throughout the 17th century and a great part of the 18th century. In 1701 Etienne Mallemans (d. 1716) published a collection of serious sonnets, all written to rhymes selected for him by the duchess of Maine. Neither Piron, nor Marmontel, nor La Motte disdained this ingenious exercise, and early in the 19th century the fashion was revived. The most curious incident, however, in the history of bouts-rimes is the fact that the elder Alexandre Dumas, in 1864, took them under his protection. He issued an invitation to all the poets of France to display their skill by composing to sets of rhymes selected for the purpose by the poet, Joseph Wry (1798-1866). No fewer than 350 writers responded to the appeal, and Dumas published the result, as a volume, in 1865. W. M. Rossetti, in the memoir of his brother prefixed to D. G. Rossetti's Collected Works (1886), mentions that, especially in 1848 and 1849, he and Dante Gabriel Rossetti constantly practised their pens in writing sonnets to bouts-rimes, each giving the other the rhymes for a sonnet, and Dante Gabriel writing off these exercises in verse-making at the rate of a sonnet in five or eight minutes. Most of W. M. Rossetti's poems in The Germ were bouts-rimes experiments. Many of Dante Gabriel's, a little touched up, remained in his brother's possession, but were not included in the Collected Works. (E. G.)

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