- Marot, Clément
- (1496-1544)French poet, son of a poet who wrote in the medieval rhétoriqueur style. Clément was early attracted to humanism and the evangelical religious style of his patron, Margaret of Navarre. About 1527 he abandoned traditional medieval verse forms and rhetorical practices and developed a simple but ele-gant poetic style that influenced subsequent French poetry. He was suspected of sympathy for Lutheran religious ideas and was arrested in 1526 on charges of breaking the Lenten fast and again in 1527 but was released on orders of Margaret's brother, King Francis I. With the encouragement of Margaret he made metrical translations of the Psalms. After the scandalous Affair of the Placards (1534), in which posters denouncing the Catholic mass as idolatrous were posted in and around the royal court, he sought safety from the ensuing repres-sion by withdrawing first to the kingdom of Navarre and then to Fer-rara, where the king's cousin Renée de France was duchess and a sympathizer with Martin Luther. At Ferrara he came under the in-fluence of Italian poets, including Petrarch and Pietro Bembo.In 1536 Marot abjured his doctrinal errors and returned to France. In 1538 he published his Oeuvres / Works, including several of his metrical Psalms, and in 1541 added several new translations and ded-icated the expanded edition to the king. In 1543 the Paris faculty of theology condemned his Cinquante Psaumes de David / Fifty Psalms of David, but the condemnation did not prevent their frequent repub-lication. Eventually they were adopted for use by many congrega-tions of the emerging Protestant movement. Late in 1542 he fled the country again, perhaps because the humanist printer Etienne Dolet had published his early allegorical satire L'Enfer /Hell. He lived for two years in Geneva and then moved to Savoy. He died suddenly at Turin in 1544. In addition to producing what are probably the first sonnets written in French, influencing the metrical structure of later French poetry, and publishing collections of poems organized by genre (an innovation in his time), in 1526 he edited the famous 13th-century French poem Romance of the Rose.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.