Go Urn Ay, Mary De Jars, Lady Of

, a French female wit, the daughter of William de Jars, lord of Neufoi and Gournay, was born either in Paris, or in Gascony, about 1565. From her infancy she had a strong turn to literature; and Montagne publishing his first essays about this time, she conceived an enthusiastic veneration for the author. These declarations soon reached the ears of Montagne, who returned her compliments by corresponding regard for her talents. Her esteem by degrees growing into a kind of filial affection for Montagne, when her father died she adopted him in his stead, even before she had seen him; and, when he was at Paris in 1588, she paid him a visit, and prevailed upon him to accompany her and her mother the lady Gournay, to their country mansion, where he passed two or three months. In short, our young devotee to the muses was so wedded to books of polite literature in general, and Montague’s Essays in particular, that she resolved never to have any other associate to her happiness. Nor was Montagne sparing to pay the just tribute of his gratitude, and foretold, in the second | book of his Essays, that she would be capable of great eminence in the republic of letters. Their affectionate i-egard extended through the family; Montagne’s daughter, the viscountess de Jamaches, always claimed mademoiselle de Jars as a sister; and the latter dedicated her piece, “Le Bouquet de Pinde,” to this sister. Thus she passed many years, happy in her new alliance, until she received the melancholy news of Montagne’s death, whet) she crossed almost the whole kingdom of France to mingle her tears and lamentations, which were excessive, with those of his widow and daughter. Nor did her filial regard stop here. She revised, corrected, and reprinted an edition of his “Essays” in 1634; to which she prefixed a preface, full of the strongest expressions of devotion for his memory.

She wrote several things in prose and verse, which were collected into one volume, and published by herlself in 1636, with this title, “Les avis et les presens de la Demoiselle de Gournai.” She died at Paris in 1645, and epitaphs were composed for her by Menage, Valois, Patio, La Mothe Vayer, and others. It is not, however, very easy to appreciate her real character from these. Living at a time when literature was not much cultivated by the females in France, it is probable that she earned her reputation at no great expence of talents, and it is certain that her writings are little calculated to perpetuate her fame. It appears equally certain that she was as frequently the subject of ridicule among the wits, as of admiration among the courtiers. Those, however, who think her character an object of curiosity, may find ample information in our authorities. 1

1 Gen. Dict. —Moreri in art. Jars de Gournai. —Niceron, vol. XVI.