Bertaut Jean

Bertaut Jean a French bishop and poet, was born at Caen in 1552. He was the sbn of Francois Bertaut, originally from the parish of Donnai, and his father wished to take charge of the education of his son, who became familiar with the Greek and Latin authors; he assumed the style of French poetry by reading the works of Ronsard and Desportes. The early essays of the youth charmed the court of Henry III. This prince accorded to him the charge of counselling the Parliament of Grenoble; which he afterwards resigned. He greatly aided the cardinal Du Perron, with whom he had been a disciple, according to the Gallia Christiana, at the conversion of Henry IV, who in 1604 gave him the rich abbey of Aunay, in the diocese of Bayeux. At that time Marie de Medicis, mounting the throne, espoused Henry IV, and chose Bertaut for first chaplain. At length in 1606 he was appointed bishop of Seez. The year following he assisted at the baptism of the Dauphin (Louis XIII) at Fontainebleau, and in 1610 carried the body of Henry IV to St. Denis. He was the uncle of Madame de Motteville, author of Memoires upon queen Anna of Austria, whom Voltaire has often eulogized. Bertaut had, while very young, composed some light poems which had met with considerable success, and when he was raised to the episcopacy he sought to suppress them, but this was impossible. His early writings possessed a charm and harmony which well merited the praise bestowed upon them. The Recueil de Quelques Vers Amoureux, published in 1602, contained several very remarkable pieces. Many of his poems were translated into Greek and Latin. He died June 8, 1611. See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.; Chalmers, Biog. Dict. s.v.; Biog. Universelle, s.v.

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