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folio MS. in the British Museum [Harl. 4431], which well deserves notice.
Christine was an Italian by birth, and followed her father at the age of five years, in 1368, to the court of Charles V., where she afterwards married, at an early period of her life, Chastel, the king's historiographer, by whom she was left in poverty, a widow with three children, when only twenty-five. She sought her consolation in literary pursuits, and became celebrated for the variety and beauty of her compositions. France has not done justice to this amiable woman, whose works possess a degree of merit far above the age in which she lived.
The collection contains a hundred ballads, in the
Ne les ay faits pour meriter
The piece that reflects most honour on the character of this lady is her address of moral advice to her son; who, it is said, was brought over by the earl of Salisbury, under Richard II., to be educated with his own son in England, whither Christine herself was afterwards ineffectually invited by Henry IV. We shall select a few stanzas.
Fils, je n' ai mie grand tresor
Ayme Dieu de toute ta force,
Se tu viens en prosperité
Tiens ta promesse et très peu jure,
Si tu veulx vivre à court en paix,
Voy et escoutes, e si te tais;
Ne te corrouces de legier,
Ja que dangereux ne soit ton mangier..
Tiens tes filles trop mieux vestues,
Se tu scays que l'on te diffame,
Ne laisse pas que Dieu servir,
Christine is also the author of several prose pieces; and she was engaged at her death in writing the life of Charles V., at the request of Philip duke of Burgundy. Further particulars of her history may be found in the Mem. de 1'Acad. II. 762; in the collection of French poets above referred to; and in Walpole's Catalogue of Royal and Noble Authors. Her moral proverbs were translated into English by that Earl Rivers, who, previous to the accession of Richard III., "lay shorter by the head at Pomfret."
Ce moys de May tout se rejoye,
Helas! reviens tost mon amy'
En ce doulx mois ou tout verdoye,
Tu scez bien ou—a voix simplette
Helas! reviens tost mon amy!
This month of May hath joys for all,
Him, once so near to me, I mourn,
He was a gentle, noble love,
Whom thus the adverse fates remove :—
In this fair month, when all things bloom,
Where joyous ply the merry larks
Thou know'st the spot :—with plaintive strain
Again I sigh, I cry again,
O soon return, my love!
Le plus bel des fleurs de liz,
Et pour ce je m'embeliz En s'amour dont suis esprise;Si ne doy estre reprize Se ay choisy pour tous deliz Le plus bel des fleurs de liz.
The choicest of the fleurs de lis,
Therefore it is my spirit's pride
Orsus! orsus! pensez de bien amer,