Martial d’Auvergne’s great poem
on Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years war.
The Robert Hoe copy, with ex-libris.
Paris, circa 1512.
Martial de Paris, dit d’Auvergne. S’ensuyt les Vigilles du roy Charles ou est contenu coment il conquit France sur les anglois. La duche de normandie Et la duche de guyenne…[in fine] : Cy finissent les vigilles de la mort du roy Charles septiesme…
Paris, Veuve J. Trepperel, vers 1512.
4to [190 x 128 mm] of I-CVII ll. on two columns and (1) l. ; 1 figure on the title, 1 large figure on the verso of the title repeated on the verso of the last leaf.
Green morocco, ribbed spine, title in gilt on spine, double gilt fillets on leading edges, inner gilt roll-stamp, gilt over marbled edges. Binding H. Duru.
Very few known copies of this edition – the first was printed in 1493 – of this poem by Martial d’Auvergne on Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years war.
An “exceedingly rare edition”.
“The title printed in red and black is decorated with a woodcut representing the “lis de justice”.”
The verso of the title contains a large plate representing Charles VII laid down on his tombstone.
This figure is repeated on the verso of the last leaf.
Brunet, III, 1482-1483 ; Tchemerzine, IV, 581.
This poem inspired by Jean Chartier’s chronicle is a vast chronicle in rime on the events of the Hundred Years war from 1407 to 1461 ; it includes the life of Joan of Arc.
“The passage that pertains to the French heroine is inspired, like the verses by Christine de Pisan, on the real images that the actions of the virgin heroin had printed of herself in the heart of France. But its style and versification are simpler. Martial d’Auvergne is one of those who managed to get the closest to this unachievable goal: compose verses on the Pucelle that matched the ones in prose.” (J. Lanéry d’Arc, Bibl. des ouvrages relatifs à Jeanne d’Arc, p.663)
This poem praising Charles VII is made up of nine narratives similar to psalms, and nine complaints or “lessons”. The book was gifted to Charles VIII.
The Vigiles copy the disposition of the Heures des défunts. The Psaumes tell the story of the late king Charles VII. And the Leçons are sort of lyrical interludes where the author manifests his regret of the past and his digust of the present.
“This book earned the author a good reputation. France, Peace, Pity, Justice, Church, everything is personified. The beauty of his sentiments shines in every page, especially when he is talking about the king.” (Bibliographie universelle)
Martial d’Auvergne narrates the episodes of the Hundred Years such as: “La mort du duc d’Orléans, La bataille d’Azincourt, Comment Rouen fut prise par les Anglais, (….) , Comment la Pucelle vint devant le roi, Comment les Anglais amenèrent la pucelle et la firent mourir, Comment le roi Henry fut couronné à Paris de deux couronnes…”
“This chronicle is precious for historians and antiquarians because it is contemporaneous to the facts. In the fourth psalms appears Joan of Arc. This psalm, or chant, better written than some of the others, seems to have been a favorite of Martial’s.” (Ch. Bataillard)
In regards to Joan of Arc, there is in the Vigiles the mention of a rehabilitation, the only one ever consigned in a French text from the 15th century.
Martial de Paris, or d’Auvergne (1440-1508) became a prosecutor in 1458.
“He was a man of his century who wrote better and with more spirit. The Vigiles earned him a very good reputation.” (E. T. du Tillet).
A precious copy.
Provenance : Bibliothèque Robert Hoe, with ex-libris.