Daurat, John

, an. eminent French poet, was born near the head of the Vienne, in the Limousin, about 1507. Removing to the capital of the kingdom to finish his studies, he distinguished himself in such a manner by his skill in Greek, and his talent at poetry, that he became one of the professors of the university of Paris. In 1560 he succeeded John Stracellus in the post of king’s reader and professor of Greek; but before this he had been principal of the college of Coqueret, and tutor to John Antony de Baif, in the house of his father Lazarus de Baif, who was master of the requests. He continued to instruct this young pupil in the college of Coqueret; and he had also the famous Ronsard for his scholar there, during the space of seven years. His highest praise is, that his school produced a great number of able men; but imprudent generosity and want of management reduced him to poverty, and procured him a place in | the list of those learned men, whose talents have been of little benefit to themselves. In the reign of Henry II. he had been preceptor to the king’s pages and Charles IX. honoured him with the title of his poet, took great delight in conversing with him, and endeavoured to support him in his old age. It will not now be thought much in his favour that Daurat had an uncommon partiality for anagrams, of which he was the first restorer. It is pretended, that he found the model of them in Lycophron, and brought them so much into vogue, that several illustrious persons gave him their names to anagrammatise. He undertook also to explain the centuries of Nostradamus, and with such imposing plausibility as to be considered in the light of his interpreter or subprophet. When he was near 80, having lost his first wife, he married a young girl; and by her had a son, for whom he shewed his fondness by a thousand ridiculous actions. In excuse for this marriage, he said that he would rather die by a bright sword than a rusty one. He had by his first wife, among other children, a son, who was the author of some French verses, printed in a collection of his own poems; and a daughter, whom he married to a learned man, named Nicolas Goulu, in whose favour he resigned his place of regius professor of Greek. He wrote a great many verses in Latin, Greek, and French, in some of which he attacked the protestants; and no book was printed, nor did any person of consequence die, without his producing some verses on the subject; as if he had been poet in ordinary to the kingdom, or his muse had been a general mourner. The odes, epigrams, hymns, and other poems in Greek and Latin, composed by Daurat, have been estimated at the gross sum of 50,000 verses; Scaliger had such an opinion of him as a critic, that he said he knew none but him and Cujacius, who had abilities sufficient to restore ancient authors; but he has presented the public with no specimen of that talent, except some remarks on the Sybilline verses in Opsopseus’s edition. Scaliger tells us, with some ridicule, however, that he spent the latter part of his life in endeavouring to find all the Bible in Homer. He died at Paris, Nov. 1, 1588, aged Si. His principal collection of verses is entitled “Joannis Aurati, Lemovicis, Poetse et interprets regii, Poematia, hoc est, Poematum libri quinque; Epigrammatum libri tres; Anagrammatum liber unus; Funerum liber unus; Odarum libri duo; Epithalamiorum liber unus; Eclogarum libri duo; | Variarum rerum liber unus,Paris, 1586, 8vo, a very singular collection, although of no great merit as to taste or versification. He deserves more praise as one of the revivers of Greek literature in France, and in that character his memory was honoured, in 1775, hy an eloge, written by the abbe Vitrac, professor of humanity at Limoges. 1


Moreri in Doraf. —Niceron, vol. XXVI. Gen. Dict. Baillet Jugemens.