Pisan, Christina De

, an Italian by birth, but the author of many compositions in French prose and verse, was born at Venice about 1363, being the daughter of Thomas Pisan, of Bologna, much celebrated at that time as an astrologer. When she was five years old, her father settled with her in France, and her extraordinary beauty and wit procured her an excellent husband by the time she was fifteen. After ten years she lost this husband, Stephen Castel, by whom she was most tenderly beloved, and found her chief resource for comfort and subsistence in her pen; her husband’s fortune being entangled in several law-suits. Charles VI. of France, and other princes, noticed and assisted her on account of her talents, and provided for her children. When she died is uncertain. Some of her poems, which are full of tenderness, were printed at Paris in 1529, others remain in manuscript in the royal library. “The Life of Charles V.” written by desire of Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, is considered as her best performance in prose. It is preserved in ms. in the library of the king of France, but a transcript was published by the abbé Le Beuf in the third volume of “Dissertations on the Ecclesiastical History of Paris,” where he gives a Life of Cnristina. She wrote also “An hundred Stories of Troy,” in rhyme “The Treasure of the City of Dames,Paris, 1497The Long Way,” translated by John Chaperon, 1549, under the title of “Le Chemin de long etendue.” In the Harleian collection of Mss. (No. 219, 5) is a piece by Christina entitled “Epistre d’Otnea deese de Prudence a Hector, &c. Mis en vers Francois, et dedie a Charles V. de France.” Anthony WidviSle, earl Rivers, | translated a work of hers, we know not whether included in any of the above, entitled “The Moral Proverbs of Christian of Pyse,” printed by Caxton. Lord Orford, who has noticed this work in his account of WidviUe, has also introduced an account of Christina, which, although written in his flippant and sarcastic manner, contains some interesting particulars of her history. 1


Dict. Hist.—Lord Orford’s Works, vol. I. p. 288 and 553.