Margaret Of Valois

, queen of Navarre, and sister to Francis I. of France, celebrated as an author yet more than for her rank, was born at Angouleme, April 11, 1492; being the daughter of Charles of Orleans, duke of Angouleme, and Louisa of Savoy. In 1509 she married Charles the last duke of Alen^on, who died at Lyons, after the battle of Pavia, in 1525. The widow, inconsolable at once for the loss of her husband, and the captivity of her beloved brother, removed to Madrid, to attend the latter during his illness. She was there of the greatest service to her brother, by her firmness obliging Charles and his ministers to treat him as his rank demanded. His love and gratitude were equal to her merits, and he warmly promoted her marriage with Henry d‘Albret, king of Navarre. The offspring of this marriage was Joan d’Albret, mother of Henry IV. Margaret filled the character of a queen with exemplary goodness; encouraging arts, agriculture, and learning, and advancing by every means the prosperity of the kingdom. She died at the castle of Odos, in Bigorre, Dec. 2, 1549. She had conversed with protestant ministers, and had the sagacity to perceive the justness of their reasonings; and their opinions were countenanced by her in a little work entitled “Le Miroir de l’Ame pecheresse,” published in 1533, and condemned by the Sorbonne as heretical; but on her complaining to the king, these pliant doctors withdrew their censure. The Roman catholic writers say, that she was completely re-converted before she died. The positive absolution of the Romish priests is certainly a great temptation to pious minds in the hour of weakness and decline. Margaret is described as an assemblage of virtues and perfections, among which, | that of chastity was by no means the least complete, notwithstanding the freedom, and, to our ideas, licence of some of her tales. Such is the difference of manners. She wrote well both in verse and prose, and was celebrated in both. She was called the tenth muse and the Margaret, or pearl, surpassing all the pearls of the east. Of her works, we have now extant, 1. her “Heptameron,” or, Novels of the queen of Navarre, 1559, and 1560, in 4to, and several times re-published. They are tales in the style of Boccace, and are told with a spirit, genius, and simplicity, which have been often serviceable to Fontaine in his tales. Several editions have been printed with cuts, of which the most valued are that of Amsterdam, in 1698j in 2 vols. 8vo, with cuts by Roinain de Hooge; the reprints of this edition in 1700 and 1708, are not quite so much valued, yet are expensive, as are the editions with Chodoviechi’s cuts, Berne, 1780 1, 3 vols. 8vo; Paris, 1784, and 1790. 2. “Les Marguerites de la Marguerite des Princesses;” a collection of her productions, formed by John de la Haye, her valet de chambre, and published at Lyons, in 1547, 8vo; a very rare edition, as is that of 1554. In this collection there are four mysteries, or sacred comedies, and two farces, according to the taste of the times. A long poem entitled “The Triumph of the Lamb,” and “The Complaints of a Prisoner,” apparently intended for Francis I. 1


Gen. Dict. —Dict. Hist.