Jean Daurat Biography | Poet
DAURAT (or Dorat), JEAN (in Lat. Auratus), (1508-1588), French poet and scholar, and member of the Pléiade, was born at Limoges in 1508. His name was originally Dinemandy. He belonged to a noble family, and, after studying at the college of Limoges, came up to Paris to be presented to Francis I., who made him tutor to his pages. He rapidly gained an immense reputation as a classical scholar. As a private tutor in the house of Lazare de Baïf, he had J. A. de Baïf for his pupil. His son, Louis, showed great precocity, and at the age of ten translated into French verse one of his father’s Latin pieces; his poems were published with his father’s. Jean Daurat became the director of the Collège de Coqueret, where he had among his pupils, besides Baïf, Ronsard, Remy, Belleau and Pontus de Tyard. Joachim du Bellay was added by Ronsard to this group; and these five young poets, under the direction of Daurat, formed a society for the reformation of the French language and literature. They increased their number to seven by the initiation of the dramatist Étienne Jodelle, and thereupon they named themselves La Pléiade, in emulation of the seven Greek poets of Alexandria. The election of Daurat as their president proved the weight of his personal influence, and the value his pupils set on the learning to which he introduced them, but as a writer of French verse he is the least important of the seven. Meanwhile he collected around him a sort of Academy, and stimulated the students on all sides to a passionate study of Greek and Latin poetry. He himself wrote incessantly in both those languages, and was styled the Modern Pindar. His influence extended beyond the bounds of his own country, and he was famous as a scholar in England, Italy and Germany. In 1556 he was appointed professor of Greek at the Collège Royale, a post which he continued to hold until, in 1567, he resigned it in favour of his nephew, Nicolas Goulu. Charles IX. gave him the title of poeta regius. His flow of language was the wonder of his time; he is said to have composed more than 15,000 Greek and Latin verses. The best of these he published at Paris in 1586 as J. Aurati Lemovicis poëtae et interpretis regii poëmata. He died at Paris on the 1st of November 1588, having survived all his illustrious pupils of the Pléiade, except Pontus de Tyard. He was a little, restless man, of untiring energy, rustic in manner and appearance. His unequalled personal influence over the most graceful minds of his age gives him an importance in the history of literature for which his own somewhat vapid writings do not fully account.
The Œuvres poétiques in the vernacular of Jean Daurat were edited (1875) with biographical notice and bibliography by Ch. Marty-Laveaux in his Pléiade française.
Jean Daurat: Poems
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