Isaac de Benserade

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Isaac de Benserade
Isaac de Benserade - Versailles MV 2927.jpg
Born(1613-11-05)5 November 1613
Lyons-la-Forêt, Kingdom of France
Died10 October 1691(1691-10-10) (aged 77)
Notable awardsAcadémie française

Isaac de Benserade (French: [bɛ̃.sʁad]; baptized 5 November 1613 – 10 October 1691) was a French poet.

Born in Lyons-la-Forêt in the Province of Normandy, his family appears to have been connected with Richelieu, who bestowed on him a pension of 600 livres. He began his literary career with the tragedy of Cléopâtre (1635), which was followed by four other pieces. On Richelieu's death Benserade lost his pension, but became more and more a favourite at court, especially with Anne of Austria.[1]

Benserade provided the words for the court ballets, and was, in 1674, admitted to the Academy, where he wielded considerable influence. In 1675 he provided the quatrains to accompany the thirty nine hydraulic sculpture groups depicting Aesop's fables in the labyrinth of Versailles. In 1676 the failure of his Métamorphoses d'Ovide in the form of rondeaux gave a blow to his reputation, but by no means destroyed his vogue with his contemporaries. Benserade may be best known for his sonnet on Job (1651). This sonnet, which he sent to a young lady with his paraphrase on Job, having been placed in competition with the Urania of Voiture, led to a dispute on their relative merits which long divided the whole court and the wits into two parties, styled respectively the Jobelins and the Uranists. The partisans of Benserade were headed by the prince de Conti and Mlle de Scudéry, while Mme de Montausier and Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac took the side of Voiture.[1]

Some years before his death, Benserade retired to Gentilly, and devoted himself to a translation of the Psalms, which he nearly completed.[1]


  • 1636 Cléopâtre
  • 1637 La Mort d’Achille et la Dispute de ses armes
  • 1637 Gustaphe ou l’Heureuse Ambition
  • 1637 Iphis et Iante
  • 1640 Méléagre
  • 1648 Le Sonnet de Job
  • 1651 Ballet de Cassandre
  • 1651 Ballet des Fêtes de Bacchus
  • 1653 Ballet de la Nuit
  • 1654 Ballet des Proverbes
  • 1654 Ballet des Noces de Pélée et de Thétis
  • 1654 Ballet du Temps
  • 1655 Ballet des Plaisirs
  • 1655 Grand Ballet des Bienvenus
  • 1656 Ballet de Psyché
  • 1657 Ballet de l’Amour malade
  • 1658 Ballet royal d’Alcidiane
  • 1659 Ballet de la Raillerie
  • 1661 Ballet royal de l’Impatience
  • 1661 Ballet des Saisons
  • 1663 Ballet des Arts
  • 1664 Ballet des Amours déguisés
  • 1664 Les Plaisirs de l'île enchantée
  • 1665 Ballet royal de la Naissance de Vénus
  • 1666 Ballet des Muses
  • 1669 Ballet royal de Flore
  • 1676 Métamorphoses d’Ovide en rondeaux
  • 1678 Fables d'Ésope en quatrains
  • 1681 Ballet du Triomphe de l’Amour
  • 1682 Labyrinte de Versailles
  • Stances


  1. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Benserade, Isaac de". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 744.

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