1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bertaut, Jean

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BERTAUT, JEAN (1552-1611), French poet, was born at Caen in 1552. He figures with Desportes in the disdainful couplet of Boileau on Ronsard:—

“Ce poète orgueilleux, trébuché de si haut,

Rendit plus retenus Desportes et Bertaut.”

He wrote light verse to celebrate the incidents of court life in the manner of Desportes, but his verse is more fantastic and fuller of conceits than his master’s. He early entered the church, and had a share in the conversion of Henry IV., a circumstance which assured his career. He was successively councillor of the parlement of Grenoble, secretary to the king, almoner to Marie de’ Medici, abbot of Aulnay and finally, in 1606, bishop of Sées. After his elevation to the bishopric he ceased to produce the light verse in which he excelled, though his scruples did not prevent him from preparing a new edition of his Recueil de quelques vers amoureux (1602) in 1606. The serious poems in which he celebrated the public events of his later years are dull and lifeless. Bertaut died at Sées on the 8th of June 1611. His works were edited by M. Ad. Chenevières in 1891.