Pierre de Ronsard - Early Life

Early Life

Pierre de Ronsard was born at the Manoir de la Possonnière, in the village of Couture-sur-Loir, Vendômois (in present-day Loir-et-Cher). Baudouin de Ronsard or Rossart was the founder of the French branch of the house, and made his mark in the early stages of the Hundred Years' War. The poet's father was Louis de Ronsard, and his mother was Jeanne de Chaudrier, of a family both noble and well connected. Pierre was the youngest son. Loys de Ronsard was maître d'hôtel du roi to Francis I, whose captivity after Pavia had just been softened by treaty, and he had to quit his home shortly after Pierre's birth.

The future poet was educated at home in his earliest years and sent to the Collège de Navarre in Paris at the age of nine. When Madeleine of France was married to James V of Scotland, Ronsard was attached as a page in the Scottish court, where he was encouraged in the idea of making French vernacular translations of classical authors. A year after the death of the queen, he returned to France, travelling back through England.

Further travel took him to Flanders, Holland, and again, for a short time, Scotland, on diplomatic missions under Claude d'Humieres, seigneur de Lassigny, until he was attached as secretary to the suite of Lazare de Baïf, the father of his future colleague in the Pléiade and his companion on this occasion, Antoine de Baïf, at the diet of Speyer. Afterwards he was attached in the same way to the suite of the cardinal du Bellay-Langey, and his mythical quarrel with François Rabelais dates from this period.

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