“En cette année 1427, vint à Paris une femme nommée Margot, assez jeune, comme de 28 à 30 ans, qui était du pays de Hainaut, laquelle jouait le mieux à la paume qu’oncques homme eût vu, et avec ce jouait devant main derrière main très puissamment, très malicieusement, très habilement, comme pouvait faire un homme, et peu venait d’hommes à qui elle ne gagnât, si ce n’était les plus puissants joueurs.”
“In this year 1427 came to Paris a woman named Margot, quite young, around 28 or 30 years old, from the country of Hainaut, and she played the jeu de paume quite strongly, quite maliciously, quite skilfully, as a men, and there were few men she didn’t beat, outside of the best players”
Paragraphe 472 du Journal d’un bourgeois de Paris, rééd. 1990, Paris, Le livre de poche
Qui nourrissent des cœurs les folles passions,
Je veux prendre aujourd’hui la vérité pour guide.
Par elle encouragé dans un âge timide,
De l’illustre Prosper j’ose suivre les pas.
Puissé-je comme lui confondre les ingrats !
Poème en quatre chants
The second son of the dramatist Jean Racine, Louis Racine was born in Paris. Interested in poetry from childhood, he had been dissuaded from trying to make it his career by Boileau on the grounds that the gift never existed in two successive generations. In 1722, Louis Racine’s small means induced him to accept a position in the revenue in Provence, but a marriage with a certain Mademoiselle Presle secured his independence. In 1755 he lost his son in the disasters consequent on the Lisbon earthquake. This misfortune, commemorated by Écouchard Lebrun, broke Racine’s spirit. He sold his library, and gave himself up to the practice of religion.
In 1719 he had become a member of the Académie des Inscriptions, but had never offered himself as a member of the Académie Française, for fear, it is said, of incurring refusal on account of his Jansenist opinions. La Grace (1720) and Religion (1742), his most important work, are inspired by a sincere piety, and are written in verse of uniform clearness and excellence. His other works include epistles, odes, among which the Ode sur l’harmonie (1736) should be mentioned, Mémoires (1747) of Jean Racine, and a prose translation of Paradise Lost (1755).