Dolet, Stephen

, a voluminous French writer, who was burnt for his religious opinions at Paris, was born at Orleans about 1509, of a good family. Some have reported that he was the natural son of Francis L but this does not agree with the age of that monarch, who was born in 1494. Dolet began his studies at Orleans, and was sent to continue them at Paris when twelve years old. He applied with particular diligence to the belles lettres, and to rhetoric under Nicholas Berauld. His taste for these studies induced him to go to Padua, where he remained for three years, and made great progress under the instructions of Simon de Villa Nova, with whom he contracted an intimate friendship, and not only dedicated some of his poetical pieces to him, but on his death in 1530, composed some pieces to his memory, and wrote his epitaph. After the death of this friend, he intended to have returned to France, but John de Langeac, the Venetian ambassador, engaged him as his secretary. During his residence at Venice, he received some instructions from Baptiste F,griatio, who commented on Lucretius and Cicero’s Offices, and he became enamoured of a young lady whose charms and death he has celebrated in his Latin poems. On his return to France with the ambassador, he pursued his study of Cicero, who became his favourite author; and he began to make collections for his commentaries on the Latin language. His friends having about this time advised him to study law, as a profession, he went to Toulouse, and divided his time between law and the belles lettres. Toulouse was then famous for law studies, and as it was frequented by students of all nations, | each had its little society, and its orator or president. The French scholars chose Doiet into this office, and he, with the rashness which adhered to him all his life, commenced hy a harangue in which he praised the French at the expence of the Toulousians, whom he accused of ignorance and barbarism, because the parliament of Toulouse wished to prohibit these societies. This was answered by Peter Pinache, to whom JJolet replied with such aggravated contempt for the Toulousians, that in 1533 he was imprisoned for a month, and then banished from the city. Some think he harboured Lutheran opinions, which was the cause of his imprisonment and banishment, but there is not much in his writings to justify this supposition, except his occasional sneers at ecclesiastics. As soon, however, as he reached Lyons, he took his revenge by publishing his harangues against the Toulousians, with some satirical verses on those whom he considered as the most active promoters of his disgrace; and that he might have something to plead against the consequences of such publications, he pretended that they had been stolen from him and given to the press without his knowledge. The verses were, however, inserted in the collection of his Latin poems printed in 1538.

After residing for some time at Lyons, Dolet came to Paris in October 1534, and published some new works; and was about to have returned to Lyons in 1536, but was obliged to abscond for a time, having killed a person who had attacked him. He then came to Paris, and presented himself to Francis L who received him graciously, and granted him a pardon, by which he was enabled to return to Lyons. All these incidents he has introduced in his poems. It appears to have been on his return to Lyons at this time that he commenced the business of printer, and the first work which came from his press in 1538, was the four books of his Latin poems. He also married about the same time, and had a son, Claude, born to him in 1539. whose birth he celebrates in a Latin poem printed the same year. From some parts of his poems in his “Second Enfer,” it would appear that the imprisonment we have mentioned, was not all he suffered, and that he was imprisoned twice at Lyons, and once at Paris, before that final imprisonment which ended in his death. For all these we are unable to account; his being confined at Paris appears to have been for his religious opinions, but after | fifteen months he was released by the interest of Peter Castellanus, or Du Chatel, then bishop of Tulles. He was not, however, long at large, being arrested at Lyons, Jan. 1, 1544, from which he contrived to make his escape, and took refuge in Piemont, when he wrote the nine epistles which form his “Deuxieme Enfer.” We are not told whether he ever returned to Lyons publicly, but only that he was again apprehended in 1545, and condemned to be burnt as a heretic, or rather as an atheist, which sentence was executed at Paris, Aug. 3, 1516. On this occasion it is said by some that he made profession of the catholic faith by invoking the saints but others doubt this fact. Whether pursuant to his sentence, or as a remission of the most horrible part of it, we know not, but he was first strangled, and then burnt. Authors diii’er much as to the real cause of his death; some attributing it to the frequent attacks he had made on the superstitions and licentious lives of the ecclesiastics; others to his being a heretic, or Lutheran; and others to his impiety, or atheism. Jortin, in his Life of Erasmus, and in his “Tracts,” contends for the latter, and seems disinclined to do justice to Dolec in any respect. Dolet certainly had the art of making enemies; he was presumptuous, indiscreet, and violent in his resentments, but we have no direct proof of the cause for which he suffered. On one occasion a solemn censure was pronounced against him by the assembly of divines at Paris, for having inserted the following words in a translation of Plato VAxiochus, from the Latin version into I’Yench “Apres la mort tu tie seras rien clu tout,” and this is said to have produced his condemnation but, barbarous as the times then were, we should be inclined to doubt whether the persecutors would have condemned a man of acknowledged learning and genius for a single expression, and that merely a translation. On the other hand, we know not how to admit Dolet among the protestant martyrs, as Calvin, and others who lived at the time, and must have known his character, represent him as a man of no religion. Dolet contributed not a little to the restoration of classical literature in France, and particularly to the reformation of the Latin style, to which he, had applied most of his attention. He appears to have known little of Greek literature but through the medium of translations, and his own Latin style is by some thought very laboured, and composed of expressions and half sentences, a sort of | cento, borrowed from his favourite Cicero and otber authors. He wrote much, considering that his life was short, and much of it spent in vexatious removals and in active employments. His works are: l.“S. Doleti orationes diue in Tholosam; ejusdem epistolarum hbri duo; ejusdem canninum libri duo; ad eundem epistolarum amicorum liber,” 8vo, without date, but most probably in 1534, when he had been driven from Toulouse and was at Lyons, as mentioned above. 2. “Dialogus de imitutione Ciceroniana, adversus Desiderium Erasmum pro Christophoro Longolio,Lyons, 1535, 4to. This was an attack on Erasmus in defence of Longolius, in which he had been partly anticipated by Scaliger in his “O ratio pro Cicerone contra Erasmum.” 3. “Commentariorum linguce Latinse tomi duo,Lyons, 1536 and 1588, fol. This is a kind of Latin dictionary, in the manner of a common-place book, and evidently a work of great labour. He began it in his sixteenth year. An abridgment of it was published at Basil in 1537, 8vo. 4. “De re navali liber ad Lazarum Bayfium,Lyons, 1537, 4to, and inserted by Gronovius in vol. XL of his Greek antiquities. 5. “S. Doleti Galli Aurelii Carminum libri quatuor,” printed by himself at Lyons, 1538, 4to. Dolet’s Latin verses have been too much undervalued by Jortin and others. 6. “Genethliacon Claudii Doleti, Stephani Doleti nlii; liber vitae communi in primis utilis et necessarius; autore patre, Lugduni, apud eundem Doletum,1539, 4to. A French translation was printed by the author in the same year. 7. “Formulas Latinarum locutionum illustriorum in tres partes divisae,Lyons, 1539, folio, and with additions by Sturmius and Susannasus, Strasburgh, 1596, 4to. 8. “Francisci Valesii, Gallorum regis, fata, ubi rein omnem celebriorem a Gallis gestam noscas, ab anno 1513 ad annum 1539,Lyons, 1539, 4to. This which is in Latin verse, was translated by the author into French prose, and printed in 1540, 4to, 1543, 8vo, and Paris, 1546, 8vo. 9. “Observationes in Terentii Andriam et Eunuchum,Lyons, 1540, 8vo. 10. “La maniere de bien traduire d’une langue en une autre de la ponctuation Francoise, &c.Lyons, 1540, 8vo. 11. “Liber de imitatione Ciceroniana adversus Floridum Sabinum Responsio ad convitia ejusdem Sabini; Epigrammata in eundem,Lyons, 1540, 4to. Dolet was unfortunately not content with arguing with his antagonists, but more frequently exasperated them by his sarcastic | attacks. 12. “Libri tres de legato, de immunitate legatorum, et de Joannis Langiachi Lemovicensis episcopi Legationibus,Lyons, 1541, 4to. 13. “Les epitres et evangiles des cinquante-deux dimanches, &,c. avec brieve exposition,Lyons, 1541, 8vo. 14. A translation of Erasmus’s “Miles Christianus,Lyons, 1542, 16mo. 15, “Claudii Cotersei Turonensis de jure et privilegiismilitum libri tres, et de officio imperatoris liber unus,Lyons, 1539, folio. 16. “On Confession,” translated from Erasmus, ibid. 1542, 16mo. 17. “Discotirs contenant le seul et vrai moyen, par lequel un serviteur favorise et constitue” au service d’un prince, peut conserver sa felicite eternelle et temporelle, &c.“Lyons, 1542, 8vo. 18.” Exhortation, a la lecture des saintes lettres,“ibid. 1542, 16rno. 19.” La paraphrase de Jean Campensis sur les psalmes de David, &c. faite Frangoise,“ibid. 1542. 20.” Bref discours de la republique Fran^oise, desirant la lecture des livres de la sainte ecriture lui etre loisible en sa langue vulgaire,“in verse, Lyons, 1544, 16mo. 21. A translation of Plato’s Axiochus and Hipparchus, Lyons, 1544, I6mo. This was addressed to Francis I. in a prose epistle, in which the author promises a translation of all the works of Plato, accuses his country of ingratitude, and supplicates the king to permit him to return to Lyons, being now imprisoned. 22.” Second Enfer d’Etienne Dolet,“in French verse, Lyons, 1544, 8vo. This consists of nine poetical letters addressed to Francis I. the duke of Orleans, the duchess d’Estampes, the queen of Navarre, the cardinal Lorraine, cardinal Tournon, the parliament of Paris, the judges of Lyons, and his friends. The whole is a defence of the conduct for which he was imprisoned at Lyons in the beginning of 1544. He had written a first” Enfer," consisting of memorials respecting his imprisonment at Paris, and was about to have published it when he was arrested at Lyons, but it never appeared. Besides these, he published translations into French of Cicero’s Tusculan Questions and his Familiar Epistles, which went through several editions. Almost all Dolet’s works are scarce, owing to

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their having been burnt by sentence of the divines of Paris, whose decisions on them may be seen in D’Argentre’s “Collectio judiciorum de novis erroribus.” In 1779, M. Nee, a bookseller at Paris, published a curious Life of Dolet, 8vo, by an anonymous author, which we Vol. XII. P | have not seen, but many additional particulars to our sketch may be found in our authorities. 1

1 Moreri. —Niceron, vol. XXI. Gen. Dict.Baillet Jngemens. Clement Bib!. Curieuse. Joitin’s Erasmus. Maittaire’s Annales Typographic!, vol. IV. Tliree letters in the —Gent. Mag. vol. LXI. LXIII. and’LXIV. Saxii Onomasucou.