Regnier, Mathurin

, a satirical French poet, was the son of a citizen of Chartres, by a sister of the abbe Desportes, a famous poet also, and was born there in 1573. He was brought up to the church, and no man more unfit or unworthy, for such were his debaucheries, that as we learn from himself, he had at thirty all the infirmities of old age. Yet this did not prevent his obtaining the patronage of cardinal Joyeuse, and the ambassador Philip de Bethune, with whom he was twice at Rome, in 1593 and 1601. In | 1604, by their influence, he obtained a canonry in the church of Chartres; and had other benefices, and also a pension of 2000 livres, which Henry IV. settled on him in 1606, all which he spent on his licentious pleasures. He died at Rouen in 1613, at the age of forty, completely debilitated and worn out.

He was the first among the French who succeeded in satire; and, if Boileau has had the glory of raising that species of composition to perfection among them, it may be said of Regnier, that he laid the foundation, and was perhaps more an original writer than Boileau. He is supposed to have taken Juvenal and Persius for his model: it is certain, that he has in some places imitated Ovid, and borrowed largely from the Italians. While pretending, however, to expose vice, much of that impurity, which ran through his life, crept also into his writings. Seventeen of his satires, with other poems, were printed at Rouen in 1614. There is a neat Elzevir edition of his works at Leyden, 1652, 12mo; but the best are those of Rouen, 1729, 4to, with short notes by M. Brossette and of London, 1733, with notes by Lenglet du Fresnoy, one of Tonson’s handsome books 4to, of which there are large paper copies. 1


Niceron, vol. XI. XX. —Dict. Hist.