Marot, Clement

, son of the preceding, was born at Cahors, in Querci, about 1496. In his youth he was page to seigneur Nicholas de Neusville, secretary of state; and afterwards to princess Margaret, the king’s sister, and the duke of Alen.con’s wife. He followed the duke to the army in 1521, and was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of Pavia. While Francis I. was Charles the Fifth’s’ prisoner in Spain, Marot was imprisoned at the instigation of Dr. Bouchard, who accused him of being a protestant; but in an epistle to that doctor, he assured him that he was orthodox, and a very good catholic. After his release he retired to his old mistress, the duchess of Alen^on, who was then become queen of Navarre, by her marriage with John d’Albret. In 1536 he obtained leave of Francis I. to return; but, being suspected for a follower of the new opinions, he was obliged to make his escape to Geneva, where, whatever his religious principles might be, his moral conduct was highly exceptionable. After remaining here some years, he went into Piedmont, where he died at Turin, in 1544, in his forty-ninth year; and as some say, very poor.

Marot, according to an expression of the sieur de Vauprivas, was the poet of the princes, and the prince of poets, during his time in France. It is agreed on all hands, not only that the French poetry had never before appeared with the charms and beauties with which he adorned it, but that, even during the sixteenth century, there appeared nothing that could be compared with the happy turn, the native graces, and the wit, that was every-where scattered through his works, and which compose what is called the Marotic style. This has had many imitators, particularly La Fontaine and Rousseau. We find, by the judgments which have been collected upon Marot, that the French poets are obliged to him for the rondeau; and that to him they likewise owe, in same measure, the modern form of the sonnet and madrigal, and of some other of the smaller forms of poetry. His works, however, are highly censureable on the score of indecency. The wonder is, that, with such libertine propensities, he should employ his genius on a translation of the Psalms. Of these he first translated thirty, which he obtained a privilege to publish, | about 1540, and dedicated them to Francis I. His translation was censured by the faculty of divinity at Paris, who carried matters so far as to make remonstrances and complaints to that monarch. The king, who had a great value for Marot on account of his genius, put them off with delays, testifying how acceptable this specimen was to him, and desiring to see the whole finished. However, after several remonstrances had been made to the king, the publication of them was prohibited; which, as usually happens in such cases, made them sell faster than the printers could work them off. After he had retired to Geneva, he translated twenty more Psalms, which in 1543 were printed there with the other thirty; together with a preface written by Calvin. Marot’s works have been collected and printed several times, and in various beautiful forms. Two of the best editions are those of the Hague, 1700, 2 vols. 12mo; and 1731, 4 vols. 4to. 1


Niceron, vol. XVI. Gen. Dict. —Moreri.