- Sponde, Jean de
- (1557-1595)French poet, son of a Calvinist who served as secretary to the queen of Navarre. He studied at the University of Basel, graduating in 1580. In 1588 he published a se-ries of prose meditations on the Psalms. His poems are written in an elaborate style that is often called mannerist or baroque. His collec-tion of poems, Essay de quelques poèmes chrétiens (1588), centered on religious themes, especially the sharp contrast between man's in-significance and God's omnipotence. In this collection, Stances de la Cène shows a Calvinist position on the Eucharist, while the Sonnets de la mort have no particularly Calvinist viewpoint and emphasize in-stead the vanity of all worldly things. Sponde also wrote a substantial body of love poems, Les amours, published posthumously in 1597. French Protestant authors agonized about the propriety of producing anything but works devoted to the Bible, and Sponde's insistence on pursuing his own poetic direction may have been one cause of his conversion to Catholicism shortly before his death.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.