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HILARY (fl. 1125), mediæval Latin poet, is supposed to have been a native of England from the fact that one of his poems narrates the life of Eva, an English recluse, who died in Anjou, as well as from various allusions in other of his poems, some of which are addressed to English friends. Hilary went to France to study at Paris under Abelard, whose disciple he calls himself, and to whom he addressed a poem on the occasion of his retirement to the Paraclete in 1125. From Paris Hilary went to Angers, and there became a canon of Ronceray. The majority of his poems, fifteen in number, are contained in a manuscript now in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris. The most important are three scriptural dramas upon a miracle of St. Nicholas, the raising of Lazarus, and the history of Daniel. They are written in Latin, interspersed with lines of French in the early style of the mysteries and miracle plays. The shorter poems are for the most part on serious or religious subjects, though some of them are of a lighter and even licentious character. One is a violent satirical attack on the pope, another is written in praise of Caliastrum (Chalautre-la-Petite) in the diocese of Sens. The poem addressed to Abelard refers to a misunderstanding that had arisen between him and his pupils through the indiscretions of a servant. Besides these poems the volume contains a mystical interpretation of the name Jerusalem, which M. Champollion-Figeac attributed to Hilary, and a satirical charter in another hand, printed in ‘Collections des Documents relatifs a l'Histoire de la France.’ These poems were edited by M. Champollion-Figeac, and printed at Paris in 1838, ‘Hilarii Versus et Ludi.’ French translations of the ‘Daniel’ and ‘Lazarus’ are given in the ‘Dictionnaire des Mystères,’ pp. 279–84 and 490–1. The poem to Abelard is printed in Duchesne's edition of Abelard's works in 1616, and in Migne's ‘Patrologia,’ clxxviii. Part of it is in Wright's ‘Biographia Britannica Literaria,’ ii. 91–4, together with extracts from some other of Hilary's shorter poems. M. Marchegay has been able to identify as Hilary's a poetical version of a dispute in which the nuns of Ronceray were concerned, and which is entitled ‘Judicium de Calumnia molendini Briesarti;’ this piece is contained in a cartulary of Ronceray, and the author, who calls himself Hilarius, is probably the ‘Hilarius Canonicus’ mentioned in other places in the cartulary. This piece is printed in the ‘Bibliothèque de l'Ecole des Chartes,’ xxxvii. 250–2. M. Marchegay thinks Hilary must have been at Angers before 1122. The manuscript containing the only copy known to exist of the poems of Hilary was first referred to by Duchesne, and was again quoted by Mabillon in 1713, after which it seems to have disappeared until it was brought to light at M. de Rosny's sale in 1837 and acquired for the Bibliothèque Nationale.

[Mabillon's Annales ordinis sancti Benedicti, v. 315; Histoire Littéraire de la France, xii. 251–254, xx. 627–30, by M. Paulin Paris; Champollion-Figeac's Preface; Wright's Biog. Brit. Lit. Anglo-Norman, pp. 91–4; Biographie Universelle, xix. ed. 1857; Douhet's Dictionnaire des Mystères, pp. 279–84, 406–7, 489–92, in Migne's Encyclopédie Théologique; Bibliothèque de l'Ecole des Chartes, xxxvii. 245–52; see also Misnet's Lettres Chrétiennes (1882), v. 225; Petit de Julleville's Mystères, i. 38–40, 55–7, 72–4.]

J. G. F.