Pontus de Tyard

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Pontus de Tyard (c. 1521 - September 23, 1605) was a French poet and priest, a member of "La Pléiade".

He was born at Bissy in Burgundy, of which he was seigneur, but the exact year of his birth is uncertain. He became a friend of Antoine Héroet and Maurice Scève. His first published work, Erreurs amoureuses 1549, was augmented with other poems in successive editions till 1573. His work anticipated that of Pierre de Ronsard and Joachim du Bellay, but on the whole his poetry is inferior to that of his companions. However, he was one of the first to write sonnets in the French language (preceded by Melin de Saint-Gelais). He is also said to have introduced the sestine, originally a Provençal invention, into French poetry.

In his later years he devoted himself to the study of mathematics and philosophy. He became Bishop of Châlons-sur-Saône in 1578, and in 1587 published his Discours philosophiques. He was a zealous defender of King Henry III of France against the claims of the House of Guise. This attitude led to his persecution; he was driven from Châlons and his château at Bissy was plundered. Nevertheless, he survived all the other members of the Pléiade and lived to see the onslaught made on their doctrines by Francois de Malherbe. Pontus resigned his bishopric in 1594, and retired to the Château de Bragny, where he died.

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