Clément Marot was a French poet who made a considerable contribution to music as a lyricist, particularly for composers of the so-called Parisian chanson that flourished from about 1526 through the 1540s. Among those who set his work are Clément Jannequin, Claude Goudimel, and Orlande de Lassus, but his main-man was Claudin de Sermisy. Marot was the most graceful, witty, and natural poet of his time; he liquefied the frozen, conventionalized language of French poetry. In his career, Marot followed his father Jean, who was also a talented court poet. Starting with a sound education in humanities and verse-making, Marot mastered the affected noble style early on, and by about age 20 he'd become attached to the French court. The year 1526, with a charge of heresy against him and subsequent year-long imprisonment, brought the first of many troubles for Marot, who was often immodest and sharp-tongued, to his own detriment; his Protestantism didn't help much in Catholic France, either. After appointment as Francis I's valet de chambre in 1528 and his marriage in 1530, he was again imprisoned for a while in 1531 for trying to rescue a prisoner. His first collection of poems, Adolescence Clémentine (1532), included many of the poems composers set to music. In 1535, although by then he had such immanence in French letters that poets styled themselves "Marotique" or "Sagontique" (after one of his rivals, Sagon), Marot was embroiled in yet another religious scandal and fled to Ferrara, and eventually to Venice. A few years later (1539), he was allowed a conditional return, and Francis I granted him a house and land. He also published translations of the Psalms that year, in vernacular French. This unfortunately aroused more thunder; his enemies at the Sorbonne condemned his translations as heretical, and as a result he spent his last unhappy year in constant flight: Lyons, Geneva, Piedmont, and finally Turin, where he died in 1544.
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