Ideal Courtiers, Real Courtiers


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Amadis Jamyn
French, 1538–1592
Les Œuvres Poétiques (Poetic Works)
Paris, 1575
Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library


Amadis Jamyn, also known as “Corydon,” served the poet Pierre de Ronsard as a page starting at the age of thirteen; he was himself a poet-courtier. His Poésies adressées à leurs majestez contains a particularly flattering epistle to the King Charles IX: “You are what a Monarch ought to be, and all the virtues you expect from a great prince like you are displayed in a hundred instances, etc.” (Vous estes tel qu’un Monarque doit être /Toutes vertus qu’un prince doit avoir /Grand comme vous, pour faire son devoir / En cent façons vous le faites paraître). But in 1575 the book is dedicated to Henri III, “King of France and Poland.” This reminds us that, during the reign of his brother, Charles IX, Henri de Valois had been crowned King of Poland (and Lithuania) by the local nobles in 1573. However, Charles died three months after Henri’s coronation and Henri secretly departed and returned to his country of origin, where he was crowned King of France on 13 February 1575, at Rheims Cathedral.