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Penthesilea

The Amazon Queen, Penthesilea, to Marguerite, queen of Navarra

 

Setting

Marot was prominently present on the public scene in the Evangelical wonder years of 1533–34, supplying ammunition to the agitators (broadsheets against Beda, printed clandestinely in Lyon by Fr. Juste), materially helping Marguerite to get the Evangelical message through by concentrating on the essentials of faith (Psalm translation and prayers in the vernacular, printed officially in Paris in the last part of 1533, Instruction et Foy). To the list of supportive poems from this period I am inclined to add the Epistle to M. Bouchart, which refers to his imprisonment in 1526, but might well be a 1533/4 creation. Probably around the same time Marot sent an Epistle to Marguerite in which the Amazon Queen Penthesilea  promises her support against the attack from the ‘Sorbonne’: Epistre presentée à la Royne de Navarre par Madame Ysabeau et deux autres damoyselles habillées en Amazones en une mommerie (Defaux II, pp. 75–6, notes: pp. 846–51). As can be deduced from the title this epistle is actually the script for a small theatrical performance of three ladies, among whom Madame Ysabeau is the leading (speaking) actress. The three are ambassadors of the Amazon Queen (now residing in the Champs Elysees for which she thanks Christ). The nymphes also carry surprisingly christian names: Faith(fulness), Charity and Hope. They are sent to help Marguerite in defending herself against the "infernal attacks" from the Sorbonne... "Ces troys cy, croy moy, sont assez fortes / Pour des enfers rompre les doubles portes." [these three are strong enough to break the double gates of hell].
 

Occasion

This poem was never published. It was discovered by Guiffrey in the 19th Century. Guiffrey suggested that it was written for the wedding of Isabeau de Navarre (16 August 1534) and caused the first argument between Sagon and Marot. In this, he is followed by Mayer and (partly) Defaux; Pierre Villey criticises this superabundance of precision and suggested a more flexible dating: between October 1533 and August 1534. (Villey, Chronologie des oeuvres, pp. 93–4). I agree with Guiffrey. The content speaks against the occasion of a wedding, not to mention the bride performing the leading role on her own wedding. And... Sagon - present at that wedding - would certainly have referred to it in his description of his meeting with Marot and the subsequent fight (golden opportunity to nail Marot: the overt attack on the Sorbonne). Much easier it is to imagine Marot writing this little comforting piece sometime during Marguerite’s conflict with the Sorbonne concerning the publication of her Miroir.

  

Epistre presentée à la Royne de Navarre par Madame Ysabeau et deux autres damoyselles habillées en Amazones en une mommerie

"Epistle presented to the Queen of Navarra by Mad. Ysabeau and two other youngladies dressed like Amazones, a masquerade.

 

Penthazillée, Royne des Amazones, à Marguerite, Royne de Navarre

 

J'ay entendu, tres illustre compaigne,

Que contre toy se sont mys en campaigne

Les haulx quantons du lac pharisien:

Par quoy soudain du camp Elisien

J'ay faict sortir troys de mes damoyselles,

Pour te monstrer le plus grand de mes zelles,

Qui est d'oyr nouvelles briefvement

De la defaicte et prompt definement

De ceste race inutille et contraire

A ce bon Christ, lequel me vint retraire

Hors des enfers, lorsqu'il y descendit,

Et à repos en ce lieu me rendict.

C'est luy pour vray, tant liberal et large,

Qui m'a donné expressement la charge

De depescher ces troys nymphes armées,

Que Dieu son pere a faictes et formées.

L'une est Fealle, l'autre c'est Charité,

L'autre Esperance. O noble Margueritte,

Veulx tu sçavoir que la moindre feroit

En ung besoing? Tout ung camp deferoit.

Mais vraye amour de si pres les assemble

Que fault tousjours qu'elles voysent ensemble.

Or les reçoy, car en effaict ce sont

Celle qui tant de force et puissance ont

Que n'est maling qui ne fuie ou se rende.

J'eusse bien mys au camp toute ma bande:

Mais ces troys cy, croy moy, sont assez fortes

Pour des enfers rompre les doubles portes.

Regarde donc de ces petitz humains

Qu'elles feront, s'ilz tumbent en leurs mains:

Heureux seront, tant elles sont prisées.

Faict et escript aux beaulx champs Elisées.

 

Suscription

Lettres, prenez le chemin seur

Devers Marguerite, ma soeur.

 

J

 

 

 

 

   
zaterdag, 03 september 2016
 
 

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This site was last updated zaterdag, 03 september 2016