Amboise, Francis D'

lived in the latter end of the sixteenth, and beginning of the seventeenth centuries, and acquired in his own time considerable fame upon account of his learning, and some portion of the spirit of literary research. He was the son of a surgeon, but became a great favourite in the courts of Charles IX. of France, and his brother Henry III. and was gradually advanced to offices of high trust in the state. From his childhood, he said, he had been always fond of looking into old libraries, and turning over dusty manuscripts. In some of these researches he laid his hands on the letters of Abelard and Heloise, which he read with much pleasure, and was induced to pursue his inquiries. He found other works of the same author; but they were ill-written, and not to be unravelled without great labour, yet nothing can withstand the indefatigable toil of a true antiquary. Amboise procured other manuscripts; collated them together, and finally produced one fair copy, which made ample compensation, he says, for all the labour he had endured. Even posterity, he thinks, will be grateful to him, and know how to value the pleasure and the profit, they will derive from his researches. Not satisfied, however, with the copy he possessed, he still wished to enlarge it. He applied to different monasteries, and he again searched the libraries in Paris, and not without success. His friends applauded his zeal, and gave him their assistance. His manuscripts swelled to a large bulk, and he read, arranged, and selected what pleased him best. The rising sun, he says, often found him at his task. So far fortune had smiled upon his labours, but somewhat was wanting to give them the last finish. He went over to the Paraclet, where the abbess, Madame de Rochefoucauld, received him with the greatest politeness. He declared the motive of his journey; she took him by the hand, and led him to the tomb of Abelard and Heloise. Together they examined the library of the abbey, and she shewed him many hymns, and prayers, and homilies, written by their founder, which were still used in their church. Amboise then returned to Paris, | and prepared his work for the press. As the reputation of his author, he knew, had been much aspersed by some contemporary writers, he wished to remove the undeserved stigma, and to present him as immaculate as might be, before the eyes of a more discerning age. With this view he wrote a long “Apologetic preface,” which he meant should be prefixed to the work. In this preface, an inelegant and affected composition, he labours much to shew that Abelard was the greatest and best man, and Heloise the greatest and best woman, whom the annals of human kind had recorded. He first, very fairly, brings the testimony of those, who had spoken evil of them, whom he endeavours to combat and refute. To these succeeds a list of their admirers. He dwells on their every word, and gives more weight to their expressions, and the result is what we might expect from the pen of Amboise. The compilation, however, although unsuccessful in its main design, contains. some curious matter, and may be read with, pleasure. But he did not live to see it published, for it was not printed till the year 1616. He died before this, but the exact time is not known. The editor of the Dictiounaire Historique places his death in 1620, which must be a mistake. His works are, 1. “Notable Discours, en forme de dialogue, touchant la vraie et parfaicte amitie,” translated from the Italian of Piccolomini, Lyons, 1577, 16mo. 2. “Dialogue et Devis des Damoiselles, pour les rendre vertueuses et bienheureuses en la vraye et parfaicte amitie.Paris, 1581 and 1583, 16mo. 3. “Regrets facetieux et plaisantes Harangues funebres sur la mort de divers animaulx,” from the Italian of Ortensio Lando, Paris, 1576, 1583. These three works were published under the name of Thierri de Thymophile, a gentleman ofPicardy, which has procured him a place in Baillet’s catalogue of disguised authors. 4. “Les Neapolitaines,” a French comedy, Paris, 1584, 16mo. 5. An edition of the works of Abelard. 6. “Desesperades, ou Eglogues amourouses,Paris, 1572, 8vo. His yourrger brother Adrian, who was born at Paris 1551, and died bishop of Treguier, July 28, 1616, wrote in his youth, a species of sacred drama, entitled “Holophernes,” printed at Paris, 1580, 8vo. 1


Gen. Dict. Preface to Berrington’s Hist, of Abelard. Biog. Universelle,