Online Encyclopedia

JEAN PASSERAT (1534–1602)

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Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 886 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JEAN PASSERAT (1534–1602), French poet, was born at Troyes, on the 18th of October 1534. He studied at the university of Paris, and is said to have had some curious adventures —at one time working in a mine. He was, however, a scholar by natural taste, and became eventually a teacher at the College de Plessis, and on the death of Ramus was made professor of Latin in 1572 in the College de France. In the meanwhile Passerat had studied law, and had composed much agreeable poetry in the Pleiade style, the best pieces being his short ode Du Premier jour de mai, and the charming villanelle, J'ai perdu ma tourlerelle. His exact share in the Sayre menippee (Tours, 1594), the great manifesto of the politique or Moderate Royalist party when it had declared itself for Henry of Navarre, is differently stated; but it is agreed that he wrote most of the verse, and the harangue of the guerrilla chief Rieux is sometimes attributed to him. The famous lines Sur la journee de Senlis, in which he commends the duc d'Aumale's ability in running away, is one of the most celebrated political songs in French. Towards the end of his life he became blind. He died in Paris on the 14th of September 1602. See a notice by P. Blanchemain prefixed to his edition of Passerat's Poesies francaises (188o). Among his Latin works should be noticed Kalendae januariae et varia quaedam poemata (2 vols., 1606), ad-dressed chiefly to his friend and patron Henri de Mesmes. For the Satyre menippee see the edition of Charles Read (1876).
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