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married to Arthur, prince of Wales, son to Henry VII., of England. He died April 2d, 1502, and his widow was then betrothed to his brother Henry, then only eleven years old, as Henry VII. was unwilling to return the dowry of Catharine. In his fifteenth year the prince publicly protested against the marriage; but, overpowered by the solicitations of his council, he at length agreed to ratify it, and gave his hand to Catharine, June 3d, 1505, immediately after his accession to the throne; having first obtained a dispensation from the pope, to enable him to marry his brother's widow.
The queen, by her sweetness of manners, good sense, and superior endowments, contrived to retain the affections of this fickle and capricious monarch for nearly twenty years. She was devoted to literature, and was the patroness of literary men. She bore several children, but all, excepting a daughter, afterwards queen Mary, died in their infancy. Scruples, real or pretended, at length arose in the mind of Henry concerning the legality of their union, and they were powerfully enforced by his passion for Anne Boleyn. In 1527, he resolved to obtain a divorce from Catharine on the grounds of the nullity of their marriage, as contrary to the Divine Laws. Pope Clement VII. seemed at first disposed to listen to his application, but overawed by Charles V., emperor of Germany and nephew to Catharine, he caused the negotiation to be so protracted, that Henry became very impatient. Catharine conducted herself with gentleness, yet firmness, in this trying emergency, and could not be induced to consent to an act which would stain her with the imputation of incest, and render her daughter illegitimate.
Being cited before the papal legates, Wolsey and Campeggio, who had opened their court at London, in May 1529, to try the validity of the king's marriage, she rose, and kneeling before her husband, reminded him, in a pathetic yet resolute speech, of her lonely and unprotected state, and of her constant devotion to him, in proof of which she appealed to his own heart; then protesting against the proceedings of the court, she rose and withdrew, nor could she ever be induced to appear again. She was declared contumacious, although she appealed to Rome. The pope's subterfuges and delays induced enry to take the matter in his own hands: he threw off his submission to the court of Rome, declared himself head of the Church of England, had his marriage formally annulled by archbishop Cranmer, and in 1532 married Anne Boleyn.
Catharine took up her abode at Ampthill in Bedfordshire, and afterwards at Kimbolton-castle in Huntingdonshire. She persisted in retaining the title of queen, and in demanding the honours of royalty from her attendants; but in other respects employing herself chiefly in her religious duties, and bearing her lot with resignation. She died in January, 1536. The following letter, which she wrote to the king on her death-bed, drew tears from her husband, who always spoke in the highest terms of his injured consort.
"My King and Dearest Spouse,—
"Insomuch as already the hour of my death approacheth, the love and affection I bear you causeth me to conjure you to have a care of the eternal salvation of your soul, which you ought to prefer before mortal things, or all worldly blessings. It is for this immortal spirit you must neglect the care of your body, for the love of which you have thrown me headlong into many calamities, and your own self into infinite disturbances. But I forgive you with all my heart, humbly beseeching Almighty God he will in heaven confirm the pardon I on earth give you. I recommend unto you our most dear Mary, your daughter and mine, praying you to be a better father to her than you have been a husband to me. Remember also the three poor maids, companions of my retirement, as likewise all the rest of my servants, giving them a whole year's wages besides what is their due, that so they may be a little recompensed for the good service they have done me; protesting unto you, in the conclusion of this my letter and life, that my eyes love you, and desire to see you more than any thing mortal."
By her will she appointed her body to be privately interred in a convent of observant friars who had suffered in her cause; five hundred masses were to be performed for her soul; and a pilgrimage undertaken, to our lady of Walsingham, by a person who, on his way, was to distribute twenty nobles to the poor. She bequeathed considerable legacies to her servants, and requested that her robes might be converted into ornaments for the church, in which her remains were to be deposited. The king religiously performed her injunctions, excepting that which respected the disposal of her body, resenting, probably, the opposition which the convent had given to his divorce. The corpse was interred in the abbey church at Peterburgh, with the honours due to the birth of Catharine.
It is recorded by lord Herbert, in his history of Henry VIII., that, from respect to the memory of Catharine, Henry not only spared this church at the general dissolution of religious houses, but advanced it to be a cathedral.
NATURAL daughter of Galeas Sforza, duke of Milan, in 1466 acquired celebrity for her courage and presence of mind. She married Jerome Riario, prince of Forli, who was some time after assassinated by Francis Del Orsa, who had revolted against him. Catharine, with her children, fell into the hands of Orsa, but contrived to escape to Rimini, which still continued faithful to her, which she defended with such determined bravery against her enemies, who threatened to put her children to death if she did not surrender, that at last she restored herself to sovereign power. She then married John de Medicis, a man of noble family, but not particularly distinguished for talents or courage. Catharine still had to sustain herself; and, in 1500, ably defended Forli against Cæsar Borgia, duke Valentino, the illegitimate son of pope Alexander VI. Being obliged to sur
render, she was confined in the castle of San Angelo, but soon set at liberty, though never restored to her dominions. She died soon after. She is praised by a French historian for her talents, courage, military powers, and her beauty.
SFORZA, ISABELLA, of the same family as the preceding, was distinguished in the sixteenth century for her learning. Her letters possessed great merit. One of them is a letter of consolation, written to Bonna Sforza, widow of the king of Poland; and one was in vindication of poetry.
DAUGHTER of Charles VI. of France, and Isabella of Bavaria, married Henry V. of England, and after his death, Owen Tudor, a Welshman, by whom she had Edmund, the father of Henry VII. She died in 1438. She was celebrated for her beauty.
Was born at Sienna, in 1847. The monks relate of this saint, that she became a nun of St. Dominic at the age of seven, that she saw numberless visions, and wrought many miracles while quite young, and that she conversed face to face with Christ, and was actually married to him. Her influence was so great that she reconciled pope Gregory XI. to the people of Avignon, in 1376, after he had excommunicated them; and in 1377, she prevailed on him to re-establish the pontifical seat at Rome, seventy years after Clement V. had removed it to France. She died April 30th, 1380, aged thirty-three, and was canonized by Pius II., in 1461. Her works consist of letters, poems, and devotional pieces.
WAS a noble virgin of Alexandria. Having been instructed in literature and the sciences, she was afterwards converted to Christianity, and by order of the emperor Maximinian she disputed with fifty heathen philosophers, who, being reduced to silence by her arguments and her eloquence, were all to a man converted, and suffered martyrdom
in consequence. From this circumstance, and her great learning, she is considered in the Romish church as the patron saint of philosophy, literature, and schools. She was afterwards condemned to suffer death, and the emperor ordered her to be crushed between wheels of iron, armed with sharp blades; the wheels, however, were marvellously broken asunder, as the monks declare, and, all other means of death being rendered abortive, she was beheaded in the year 310, at the age of eighteen. Her body being afterwards discovered on Mount Sinai, gave rise to the order of the Knights of St. Catharine.
CATHARINE OF VALOIS,
SURNAMED the Fair, was the youngest child of Charles VI. and Isabeau of Bavaria. She was born October 27th, 1401, at the Hotel de St. Paul, Paris, during her father's interval of insanity. She was entirely neglected by her mother, who joined with the king's brother, the duke of Orleans, in pilfering the revenues of the household. On the recovery of Charles, Isabeau fled with the duke of Orleans to Milan, followed by her children, who were pursued and brought back by the duke of Burgundy. Catharine was educated in the convent at Poissy, where her sister Marie was consecrated, and was married to Henry V. of England, June 3, 1420. Henry V. had previously conquered nearly the whole of France, and received with his bride the promise of the regency of France, as the king was again insane, and on the death of Charles VI. the sovereignty of that country, to the exclusion of Catharine's brother and three older sisters. Catharine was crowned in 1421, and her son, afterwards Henry VI., was born at Windsor in the same year, during the absence of Henry V. in France. The queen joined her husband at Paris in 1422 leaving her infant son in England, and was with him, when he died, at the Castle of Vincennes, in August 1422. Some years afterwards Catharine married Owen Tudor, an officer of Welsh extraction, who was clerk of the queen's wardrobe. This marriage was kept concealed several years, and Catharine, who was a devoted mother, seems to have lived very happily with her husband. The guardians of her son, the young Henry VI., at length suspected it, and exhibited such violent resentment, that Catharine either took refuge, during the summer of 1436, in the abbey of Bermondsey, or was sent there under some restraint. Her children (she had four by Owen Tudor) were torn from her, which cruelty probably hastened the death of the poor queen. She was ill during the summer and autumn, and died January, 1437. The nuns, who piously attended her, declared she was a sincere penitent. She had disregarded the injunctions of her royal husband, Henry V., in choosing Windsor as the birth-place of the heir of England; and she had never believed the prediction, that "Henry of Windsor shall lose all that Henry of Monmouth had gained." But during her illness she became fearful of the result, and sorely repented her disobedience of her husband.
A SAINT of the Romish church canonized by pope Clement VII. She was born at Bologna in 1413, and admitted a nun at Ferrara, in 1432. She was afterwards abbess of a convent at Bologna, where she died in 1463. She wrote a book of "Revelations," and several pieces in Latin and Italian.
| France, sent orders that these disturbances should be repressed by force if necessary; but Chrodielde, at the head of her banditti, made such a valiant resistance, that it was with difficulty the king's orders were executed. The abbess of St. Radegonde was tried by the tribunal of bishops, on the charges of severity, ill-treatment, and sacrilege, which Chrodielde had preferred against her, and found entirely innocent of everything but too great indulgence. Chrodielde and her followers were excommunicated on account of their violent conduct, and their attack on the convent, and on the abbess Leubovére, and the nuns, whom they had maltreated and wounded, even in their oratories. Leubovére they had drawn through the streets by the hair, and afterwards imprisoned.
LAURA, an Italian lady, born at Brescia, eminent for her knowledge of philosophy and the learned languages. She became a widow early in life, and then devoted herself entirely to literary labours. Her Latin letters appeared at Padua in 1680. She died in 1498, aged twenty-nine. Her husband's name was Pedro Serini.
A NUN of the convent founded by Radegonde at Poitiers, was the cause of the temporary dispersion of this powerful community. Soon after Radegonde's death, which occurred in 590, Chrodielde, who pretended that she was the daughter of the late king Cheribert, induced many of the nuns to take an oath, that as soon as she succeeded in forcing the abbess Leubovére to leave the convent, by accusing her of several crimes, they would place her at their head. She then, with more than forty nuns, among whom was Basine, daughter of Chilperic, went to Tours, where she wished to place her companions under the care of Gregory, bishop of Tours, while she went to lay her complaint before Gentran, king of Burgundy. Gregory advised her to return, but in vain; and Chrodielde went to make her petition to the king, who promised to examine into the cause of her dissatisfaction. Chrodielde would not return to the cloister, but went with her companions into the cathedral of St. Hilary, while the bishops, whom the king had sent, were investigating the affair. Here she collected around her for her defence, thieves, murderers, and criminals of all kinds, who drove away with violence the bishops who came to disperse them. Childebert, king of
A NATIVE of Assisi, in Italy, of respectable parentage, early devoted herself to a religious and recluse life. Her example was followed by her sister Agnes, and other female friends. She obtained from St. Francis d'Assisi the church of Damain, and became abbess of a new order of nuns, which she there established. She died in 1193, aged one hundred, and was canonized by Alexander IV.
A YOUNG Roman girl, whose courage and patriotism entitle her to a place among the distinguished of her sex. She was one of ten virgins who were sent as hostages by the Roman senate to Porsena. The young Clelia hated the enemies of her people, and resolved not to live among them. One day while walking near the Tiber with her companions, she persuaded them to throw themselves with her in the river, swim to the opposite shore, and then return to Rome. Her eloquence prevailed upon them, and they all reached their home in safety, although they had to accomplish the feat amidst a shower of arrows that were poured upon them by the enemy. But the consul, Publicola, did not approve of the bold deed, and sent the poor maidens back to king Porsena's camp. Porsena was moved by the courage of the girls and the generosity of the Romans, and gave them their liberty; and to Clelia in addition, as a mark of his particular esteem, a noble charger splendidly caparisoned. Rome then erected, in the Via Sacra, an equestrian statue in honour of the fair heroine, which Plutarch mentions in his writings.
WIFE of Clovis, king of France, was the daughter of Chilperic, third son of Gandive, king of Burgundy. Gandive dying in 470, left his kingdom to his four sons, who were for three years engaged in a constant contest to obtain the entire control of the country. At length the two elder princes succeeded. Chilperic and Godemar were murdered, Chilperic's wife was drowned, his two sons killed, his eldest daughter placed in a convent, and Clotilde, still very young, confined in a castle. Clovis, hearing of her beauty, virtues,
and misfortunes, and besides wishing to have an excuse for extending his dominions, sent to demand her in marriage of her uncle, who was afraid to refuse the alliance, though he foresaw the disasters it might bring on his country. Clotilde was married to Clovis in 493, at Soissons. She then devoted her whole life to the fulfilment of two great designs; one was to convert her husband, still a pagan, to the Christian faith; and the other to revenge on her uncle Gondebaud, the deaths of her father, mother, and brothers. She at length succeeded in the first object, and Clovis was baptized in 496, together with his sister Alboflede and three thousand warriors, on the occasion of a victory he obtained through the intercession of the god of Clotilde, as he thought. Clovis next turned his arms against Gondebaud, and conquered him, but left him in possession of his kingdom. Clovis died in 511, and Clotilde retired to Tours, but used all her influence to induce her three sons to revenge her injuries still more effectually; and in a battle with the Burgundians her eldest and best-beloved son Chlodomir was slain. He left three young sons, of whom Clotilde took charge, intending to educate them, and put them in possession of their father's inheritance. She brought them with her to Paris, when her two remaining sons obtained possession of them, and sent to her to know whether they should place them in a monastery or put them to death. Overcome by distress, Clotilde exclaimed, "Let them perish by the sword rather than live ignominiously in a cloister." The two elder children were killed, but the younger one was saved, and died a priest. After this catastrophe, Clotilde again retired to Tours, where she passed her time in acts of devotion. She died in 545. She was buried at Paris, by the side of her husband and St. Genevieve, and was canonized after her death.
THE unfortunate queen of the Goths, was daughter of Clovis and Clotilde of France. She married Amalaric, who was an Arian, while she was a pious Catholic. She was so persecuted by her subjects for her faith, that her life was in danger, while her bigoted husband united with her foes in abusing her. She at last applied to her three brothers, who then governed the divided kingdom of the Franks, sending to Chilperic, king of Paris, her eldest brother, a handkerchief saturated with the blood drawn from her by the blows of her barbarous husband. Her brothers took up arms to revenge her cause, and in this bloody war the cruel Amalaric was slain. Clotilde returned to her native France, and died soon after, about 535. She was a pious and amiable woman.
VITTORIA, daughter of Fabricio, duke of Paliano, was born at Marino in 1490, and married in 1507, Francesco, Marquis of Pescara. Her poems have often been published, and are highly and deservedly admired. Her husband died in 1525, and she determined to spend the remainder of her
life in religious seclusion, although various proposals of marriage were made to her. Her beauty, talents, and virtue, were extolled by her contemporaries, among others by Michael Angelo and Ariosto. She died in 1547, at Rome. She was affianced to the Marquis of Pescara in childhood, and as they grew up a very tender affection increased with their years. Congenial in tastes, of the same age, their union was the model of a happy marriage. Circumstances showed whose mind was of the firmer texture and higher tone. Francesco having exhibited extraordinary valour and generalship at the battle of Pavia, was thought of importance enough to be bribed; a negotiation was set on foot to offer him the crown of Naples, if he would betray the sovereign to whom he had sworn fealty. The lure was powerful, and Francesco lent a willing ear to these propositions, when Vittoria came to the aid of his yielding virtue. She sent him that remarkable letter, where, among other things, she says, "Your virtue may raise you above the glory of being king. The sort of honour that goes down to our children with real lustre is derived from our deeds and qualities, not from power or titles. For myself, I do not wish to be the wife of a king, but of a general who can make himself superior to the greatest king, not only by courage, but by magnanimity, and superiority to any less elevated motive than duty."
with which she has set them off, are so much above the ordinary understanding of women, that one is almost ready to doubt whether she was indeed the author of those books. It is certain that we cannot read her descriptions of countries, towns, rivers, mountains, battles, sieges, her reflections upon particular events, the judgments she passes on human actions, and the digressions she makes on many occasions, without perceiving that she must have been very well skilled in grammar, rhetoric, philosophy, mathematics, physic and divinity; all of which is very uncommon in any of that sex."
DAUGHTER of Conan, duke of Brittany, wife of Geoffrey Plantagenet, son of Henry II., king of England. She was contracted to him while they were both in the cradle, and, by her right, Geoffrey became duke of Brittany. By him she had two children, Eleanor, called the Maid of Brittany, and Arthur, who was born after the death of his father. She afterwards married Ralph Blundeville, earl of Chester, who suspected her of an intrigue with John of England, his most bitter enemy. He obtained a divorce, and Constance married Guy, brother of the viscount de Thouars. She had by him a daughter, Alix, whom the Bretons, on the refusal of John to set free her elder sister, elected for their sovereign. The king of France, and Richard Coeur de Lion, king of England, both claimed Brittany as a fief. Constance, to keep it in her own name, fomented divisions between the sovereigns. On the death of Richard, it was found that he had left the kingdom to his brother John, instead of his nephew Arthur, to whom it rightfully belonged. Constance resented this injustice, and being a woman of judgment and courage, might have reinstated her son in his rights, if she had not died before she had an opportunity of asserting his claims. She died in 1202. Her eldest daughter was kept all her life in prison.
GABRIELLO CATTERINA, of Agolfio. No exact date of her birth is to be procured; that she lived towards the end of the fifteenth century is indubitable. She possessed a very fertile vein of poetic fancy. Her poetry manifests natural facility in composing, as well as considerable erudition. She was distinguished for her pleasing manners and solid virtues. Her works are, "Life of St. Francesco," a poem; "Life of St. Waldo," a poem; five odes, seven canzonets, and some occasional poems.
ELENA or CECILIA, of Perugia, born 1425, died 1500. This learned woman was the daughter of Francesco Coppoli. In the twenty-seventh year of her age she entered the religious house of Santa Lucia, and became a member of the sisterhood. She was an intimate friend of the famous Porcellio, who addressed many Latin poems to her. She was not only mistress of the Greek and Latin, but well acquainted with elegant literature. She
has left some Latin poems, "Ascetic Letters," a manuscript life of a certain sister Eustachia of Messina, and a History of the Monastery of St. Lucia."
ISABELLA DE, a beautiful, rich, and accomplished lady, mistress of the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, took her degree in theology, with the title of doctor.
CATERINA, queen of Cyprus. At the court of James IV., king of Cyprus, resided a Venetian gentleman, exiled for some youthful indiscretions. He found especial favour with his adopted monarch, and rose to an intimate intercourse with him. One day, happening to stoop, he let fall a miniature, which represented so beautiful a face that the king eagerly inquired about the original. After stimulating his curiosity by affecting a discreet reserve, he acknowledged it to be the likeness of his niece. In subsequent conversations he artfully praised this young lady, and so wrought upon the sovereign that he resolved to take her for his wife. This honourable proposal being transmitted to Venice, she was adopted by the state, and sent as a daughter of the republic-a mode often adopted by that oligarchy for forming alliances with foreign powers. The fine climate and rich soil of Cyprus
an island so favoured by nature, that the ancients dedicated it to the queen of beauty and love-had made it always a coveted spot of earth. After the dominion of the Ptolemies, it was governed successively by the Arabs, the Comneni, and the Templars. In 1192, it fell into the possession of Guy de Lusignan. Fourteen kings of that house kept the dominion for 240 years, until the accession of John III., a weak man, who resigned all power to his wife Elena, a woman of haughty disposition, and an object of public dislike. This king had two children, a daughter, Carlotta, married to John of Portugal, and residing in the island, and a son who was illegitimate, James. Elena, that there might be no danger of his rivalling her daughter in the succession, had