A poem "suffused with sensual imagery" written for the marriage of sixteen year-old Madeleine de Valois to James V of Scotland (page dimensions 148 × 95 mm) View larger
A poem "suffused with sensual imagery" written for the marriage of sixteen year-old Madeleine de Valois to James V of Scotland (page dimensions 148 × 95 mm)
[Saliat (Pierre), active 1537-1557]

Elegie nvptiale presentee a tresnoble & tresillustre Princesse Madame Magdaleine premiere fille de France, le lendemain de ses nopces & mariage celebré auec le Roy d’Escoce

Paris, Simon de Colines, 1537
Six copies are recorded of this plaquette, a poem (198 lines of decasyllabic couplets) written for the marriage of François I's eldest surviving daughter, Madeleine of Valois, to King James V of Scotland, solemnised in the cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris, on 1 January 1537.


Place Search request

Remove bookmark Add bookmark

Books sent to some EU destinations are experiencing customs delays
Literature, Neo-Latin - Early works to 1800
Saliat, Pierre, active 1537-1557
Colines, Simon de, 1480-1546
Other names
James V, King of Scotland, 1512-1542
Madeleine de Valois, Queen, consort of James V, King of Scotland, 1520-1537

[Saliat, Pierre]
fl. 1537–1557

Elegie nvptiale presentee a tresnoble & tresillustre Princesse Madame Magdaleine premiere fille de France, le lendemain de ses nopces & mariage celebré auec le Roy d’Escoce.

[Paris, Simon de Colines, 1537]

octavo (148 × 95 mm), (4) ff. signed A4, not paginated or foliated.

provenance Binoche et Giquello, ‘Bibliothèque Marie C.’, Paris, 17 November 2011, lot 224

Light waterstain in foremargins.

binding vellum wrapper (fashioned from a manuscript scrap)

This rare plaquette of four leaves is a poem written for the marriage of François i’s eldest surviving daughter, Madeleine of Valois, to King James v of Scotland, solem­nised in the cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris, on 1 January 1537.

The marriage of sixteen year-old Madeleine and James was seen by contemporaries as a love-match, and Saliat’s verses (198 lines of decasyllabic cou­plets) are suffused with sen­sual imagery. Saliat compares the red-haired King of Scots to the sun-god Phoebus (‘Ton blond Phebus, ton mignon coinct & doulx’), and warns Madeleine that ‘Venus herself might fall in love with his beauty and grace, preferring him to Adonis. The poet therefore advises her to guard him from the goddesses by clinging to him lovingly’.1 Owing to this rich repertoire of classical allusions the poem is ‘impressively avant-garde for 1537… a highly original and rich bringing together of myths, themes and stylistic traits which reveal a solidly educated humanist.’2

The theme of Madeleine’s departure from her fam­ily is also fully developed, in part because she faced a perilous sea-journey: it was rumoured in France that the King of England had sent ships along the coast of England, and also Flanders, to capture the King of Scots. The couple arrived in Scotland on 28 May 1537; preparations for their triumphal entry were changed abruptly into mourning, as Madeleine succumbed to tuberculosis, and died forty days later, on 5 July 1537.

Besides Saliat, four other poets celebrated her mar­riage: Clément Marot,3 Jean Le Blond,4 Charles de La Hueterie,5and the pseudonymous ‘Dipsosophe, prothonotaire de monsei­gneur le reverendissime Cardinal de Bourbon’.6 The rhétoriqueurs found greater inspiration in her death: Giles Corrozet wrote funerary verses in French,7 Latin epigraphs were pub­lished by Etienne Dolet, Nicolas Desfrenes, Jean Visagier, and an anonymous poet,8 and English verses by the Scottish chief herald David Lyndsay.9

Although the author’s name is withheld, and the Elegie nuptiale issued without the place or name of its printer, the work was soon attributed to Pierre Saliat, and associated with the press of Simon de Colines.10

Pierre Saliat is an enigmatic figure: the date and place of his place of birth, and the circum­stances of his early life, are unknown. It seems that the Élegie nuptiale was written at the beginning of his career, and was Saliat’s only attempt at writing poetry – his other publica­tions are all translations. These are two works of Erasmus (De pueris institu­endis and De ciuilitate morum puerilium), printed by Simon de Colines, 1537;11 works attributed to Sallust (Epistulae ad Caesarem senem de republica and Oratio (invectiva) in Ciceronem) together with one of Cicero’s Catilinarian orations, printed by Simon de Colines, 1537;12 pseudo-Aristotelian and Philonic treatises (De mundo) and Cicero (Somnium Scipionis), printed at Lyon in 1542;13 a life of François Galiot de Genouillac, seigneur d’Assier (d. 1544), prefaced to a Latin translation of Evagoras of Isocrates, printed at Paris in 1549;14 and a transla­tion of Herodotus (from the Latin of Valla), printed in 1551,15 1552,16 1556,17 1575,18 1580.19

It is possible that Saliat was working as a tutor when he composed the Elegie nuptiale, perhaps to the children of Jean-Jacques de Mesmes, seigneur de Roissy-en-France (1490–1569), to whom Saliat in 1537 dedicated his edition of Erasmus’s pedagogical works.20 He reputedly instructed François Galiot de Genouillac, who is memorialised in Saliat’s Vita Francisci Galioti (1549);21 a later employment as tutor to the children of Charles de Crussol, Vicomte d’Uzès (1510–1546), and Jeanne de Genouillac is more amply docu­mented.22 On the title-page of Saliat’s 1556 edition of Herodotus, he is identified as secre­tary to Cardinal Odet de Coligny de Châtillon (1515–1571). The same year he was appointed maître de l’hôpital de Tonnerre.23His subsequent activities and date of death are unrecorded. 24

Although issued without a title-page or colophon, all bibliographers consider the Elegie nuptiale to be an independent publication, not a fragment of another book. Six copies are known

● Autun, Bibliothèque municipale (Saône-et-Loire)25 ● Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, A.5.Tab. 1.L.3. 174/426 ● Bordeaux, Bibliothèque Municipale, Fonds Patrimoniaux, S 5338 / 3 Rés27 ● London, British Library, C.20.b.3028 ● Manchester, John Rylands University Library, Deansgate, 1697929 ● Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Rés YE 3955

references Philippe Renouard, Bibliographie des éditions de Simon de Colines, 1520–1546 (Paris 1894), p.416; John E. Clark, Élégie. The fortunes of a classical genre in sixteenth-century France (The Hague & Paris 1975), pp.47, 200 no. 10; Brigitte Moreau, Inventaire chronologique des éditions parisi­ennes du xvie siècle, v: 1536–1540 (Paris 2004), p.177 no. 486; French vernacular books: Books pub­lished in the French language before 1601, edited by Andrew Pettegree, Malcolm Walsby and Alexander Wilkinson (Leiden 2007), ii, p.332 no. 35802

1. Dana Bentley-Cranch and Rosalind K. Marshall, ‘Iconog­raphy and Literature in the Service of Diplo­macy: The Franco-Scottish Alliance, James v and Scotland’s two French Queens, Madeleine of France and Mary of Guise’ in Stewart Style, 1513–1542: Essays on the Court of James v, edited by Janet Hadley Williams (East Linton 1996), p.281.

2. John E. Clark, ‘Pierre Saliat’s Élégie nuptiale’ in Biblio­thèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance 36 (1974), pp.325–333 (quotation p.329).

3. ‘Chant nuptial du Roy d’Escoce, & de Madame Magdeleine Premiere Fille de France’ (first published in Clément Marot, Les Oeuvres, Lyon: Etienne Dolet, 1538); see Clément Marot, Oeuvres poétiques complètes. Tome 1, L’Adolescence clementine; La suite de l’Adolescence clementine, edited by Gérard Defaux (Paris 1990), pp.361–363, 772–777.

4. Jean Le Blond, sieur de Branville, Nuptiaulx virelays du mariage du roy Descoce et de madame Magdaleine pre­mière fille de France (Paris: [by Alain Lotrian] for Arnoul and Charles L’Angelier, [1537]). Moreau, op. cit., no. 559. Cf. Bentley-Cranch and Marshall, op. cit., fig. 6.

5. Charles de La Hueterie, Le Concile des dieux sur les trèsheureuses et très magnificques nopces de très hault et très puissant prince, James, par la grâce de Dieu, roy d'Escoce, et de très haulte dame et princesse madame Magdalene, fille aisnée du Roy (Paris: Olivier Mallard, 27 January 1537). Moreau, op. cit., no. 556.

6. Epithalame, ou vers nuptiaulx pour les nopces de serenissime roy d’Escosse et Madame Magdelaine de France’ (Bibliothèque de Soissons, Ms 202, f.224); see Anatole Courde de Montaiglon, Recueil des poésies fran­çoises des xve et xvie siècles (Paris 1865), ix, pp.184–188.

7. Déploration sur le trespas de très noble princesse madame Magdaleine de France, royne d'Escoce (Paris: [printed by Denis Janot, Olivier Mallard for] Jean André, Gilles Corrozet, [1537]). Moreau, op. cit., no. 461. Montaiglon, op. cit., v, pp.234–241.

8. Bentley-Cranch and Marshall, op. cit., p.282.

9. ‘The Deploratioun of The Deyth of Quene Magdalene’ is believed to have been printed at Edinburgh by Thomas Davidson, but the earliest extant text is that printed in Ane Dialog betuix Experience and ane Courteour (Rouen: [Jean Petit or successor], 1558); see The works of Sir David Lindsay of the Mount, 1490–1555, edited by Douglas Hamer (Edinburgh & London 1931–1934), i, pp.105–112 and iii, pp.127–130. Lyndsay was present at the marriage and his ‘Deploration’ ‘owes some general ideas’ to Saliat’s poem (ibid., p.127).

10. François Grudé, sieur de La Croix du Maine, Premier volume de la bibliothèque du Sieur de la Croix-du Maine (Paris 1584), p.413; Jean Antoine Rigoley de Juvigny, Les bibliothèques françoises de la Croix du Maine et de du Verdier (Paris 1772), ii, p.320. Michel Maittaire, Annales typographici ab artis inventæ origine ad annum md[– mdclxiv] (The Hague 1719–1741), iii/1 [1536–1557], pp.271–272.

11. Declamation contenant la maniere de bien instruire les enfans des leur commencement, auec vng petit Traicte de la ciuilité puerile (Paris: Simon de Colines, 2 August 1537); see Desiderius Erasmus, Declamatio de pueris statim ac liberaliter instituendis, edited by Jean-Claude Margolin (Geneva 1966), pp.154–158, 223–237. Renouard, op. cit., pp.283–284; Moreau, op. cit., no. 492.

12. Loraison que feit Crispe Saluste contre M. Tul. Ciceron. Plus l'oraison de M. Tul. Ciceron respon­sive a celle de Saluste. Avec deux aultres oraisons dudict Crispe Saluste a Jules Cesar, affin de redres­ser la Republique Romaine. Le tout translaté nouvellement de Latin en Francoys par Pierre Saliat (Paris: Simon de Colines, 1537); see Jacques Chocheyras, ‘En marge de la “Défense et Illustration”, Pierre Saliat: une préface critique de 1537’ in Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance 28 (1966), pp.675–679. Renouard, op. cit., pp.284–285; Moreau, op. cit., no. 664.

13. Aristote, du monde. Philon, du monde. Songe de Scipion. Le tout mis nouvellement de Grec en François (Lyon: Pierre de Tours, 1542); reprinted by Pierre de Tours, 1543. Pettegree, op. cit., nos. 1772–1773. Alison Adams, ‘In search of sixteenth-century French translations of Cicero’s Som­nium Scipionis’ in Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance 49 (1987), pp.103–106.

14. Vita Francisci Galioti Acieri, turmarum ductoris et fabrum machinarumque bellicarum in Gallia praefecti; additus est Isocratis Evagoras latinus factus, Petro Saliato hujus interprete, illius authore (Paris: Louis Begat, 1549). Philippe Renouard, Imprimeurs & libraires parisiens du xvie siècle (Paris 1979), pp.224–225 no. 293.

15. Les trois premiers livres des histoires d'Hérodote de Halicarnasse, père et prince des historiogra­phes grecz, nouvellement mis en françois, par Pierre Saliat (Paris: Arnoul L’Angelier, 1551).

16. Les trois premiers Liures des Histoires d’Herodote de Halicarnasse… Nouvellement mis de Grec en François par Pierre Saliat (Paris: Charles L’Angelier, 1552). The edition was shared between Charles and Arnoul L’Angelier; see Pettegree, op. cit., nos. 28796–28797.

17. Les Neuf Livres des Histoires de Herodote… intitulez du nom des Muses… Plus un recueil de George Gemiste dict Plethon, des choses avenues depuis la journée de Mantinée. Le tout traduict de Grec en François par Pierre Saliat (Paris: Estienne Groulleau, 1556). The edition was shared with Jean de Roigny; see Pettegree, op. cit., nos. 28798–28799. Annie Parent, Les Métiers du Livre à Paris au xvie siècle (1535–1560) (Geneva 1974), pp.105–106.

18. Histoire des neuf livres de Hérodote, plus un recueil de George Gémiste dict Pléthon des choses avenuës depuis la journée de Mantinée, le tout traduit de grec en françois par Pierre Saliat (Paris: Claude Micard, 1575); see Histoi­res d'Hérodote, traduction de Pierre Saliat; revue sur l'édition de 1575 avec corrections, notes, table analytique et glossaire par Eugène Talbot (Paris 1864).

19. Histoire des neuf livres de Herodote d’Alicarnasse, prince & premier des historiographes grecs, intitulez du nom des Muses, plus en recueil de George Gémiste dict Plethon, des choses avenuës depuis la iournee de Manti­nee; le tout traduict de grec en françois par Pierre Saliat (Paris: Claude Micard, 1580).

20. An epigram addressed to Saliat appeared in Nicolas Bourbon’s Nugarum libri octo, ab auctore recens aucti et recogniti (Lyon 1538), published while Bourbon was working as a tutor in Lyon.

21. François Galiot de Genouillac was instructed from an early age by Guillaume du Maine and after­wards by Saliat, ‘parmi ses professeurs’ in the Collège de Navarre, according to François de Vaux de Foletier, Galiot de Genouillac, maître de l’artillerie de France (1465–1546) (Paris 1925), pp.105–106; cf. Gilbert Gadoffre, La révolution culturelle dans la France des humanistes (Geneva 1997), p.131.

22. Charles Fontaine, Odes, enigmes, et epigrammes (Lyon 1557), p.55: ‘aux freres dudit Seigneur [Antoine] de Crussol ayans Saliat pour Precepteur’ (also a quatrain ‘a Pierre Saliat’, p.75). Fontaine had dedicated his Les épistres d'Ovide nouvellement mises en vers françois (Lyon 1552) to Antoine de Criussol, crediting Saliat for the introduction: ‘Saliat (homme rempli tant de bo[n]nes moeurs que de doctrine es trois langues, Grecque, latine & françoise, & grant amy mien & familier dès ma jeunesse auquel entre autres choses, je suis tenu de la congnoissance & familiarité que j’ay eue autresfois avec vous’ (pp.6–7). Verses addressed to Saliat appear also in Fontaine’s La Fontaine d’Amour, contenant Elegies, Epistres & Epigrammes (Lyon 1545), p.186; and Sensuyvent les Ruisseaux de Fontaine (Paris 1555), pp.73, 93, 124, 201, 332 (Jean Paul Barbier, Ma bibliothèque poétique, Quatrième Partie, Tome ii: Contemporains et successeurs de Ronsard: de Desportes à La Boétie, Geneva 2001, p.221 and index).

23. Jean Fromageot, Tonnerre et son comté: des origines à la Révolution de 1789 (Tonnerre 1973), pp.233–234, 460.

24. Margolin, op.cit., pp.231–237: ‘Qui est Pierre Saliat?’; Michel Simonin, ‘Saliat, Pierre’ in Diction­naire des Littératures de Langue Française, edited by Jean Pierre de Beaumarchais (Paris 1994), iv, pp.2259–2260.

25. Located by Moreau, op. cit. and by Pettegree, op. cit.

26. In a tract volume (A.5.Tab. 1.L.3. 174 / 1–6) including Saliat’s Loraison que feit Crispe Saluste contre M. Tul. Ciceron (Paris: Simon de Colines, 1537).

27. In a tract volume (Cote S 5338 / 1–3) together with Saliat’s Declamation contenant la maniere de bien instruire les enfans (Paris: Simon de Colines, 1537) and Loraison que feit Crispe Saluste contre M. Tul. Ciceron (Paris: Simon de Colines, 1537). ‘L'élégie nuptiale est reliée entre les f. 8 et 9 des oraisons’ (library opac).

28. Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, ‘Catalogue of the valuable and extensive library of the late John Scott, Esq. C.B., Halkshill, Largs, Ayrshire’, London, 27 March 1905 etc., p.227 lot 2162, sold to Quaritch, £4, for the — British Museum (acquisition date stamp 17 May 1905). Not entered in the Short-title catalogue of French Books (1924), nor its Supplement (1986).

29. In a tract volume together with Saliat’s Loraison que feit Crispe Saluste contre M. Tul. Ciceron (Paris: Simon de Colines, 1537) and Aristote, du monde. Philon, du monde. Songe de Scipion (Lyons: Pierre de Tours, 1542). Catalogue of the Printed Books and Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, Manchester, edited by E. Gordon Duff (Manchester 1899), i, p.605.