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Summary and chronology of Marot's Psalm project

For more information, see chapter 2: "Tracing Marot's Psalm paraphrases", in D. Wursten, Clément Marot and religion (Brill: Leiden, 2010). The scheme below is derived from the summary concluding this chapter (pp. 103-104).

a more extensive extract, can be read here

  •  Early 1530-s: at an unknown date and at an unknown occasion Marot began to translate his first Psalm into French verse (almost certainly Psalm 6). This Psalm appeared - printed as a booklet ("plaquette") - in Lyon (after 1529, before 1532) and was afterwards incorporated in Marguerite's de Navarre's devotional prayer(book), Le Miroir de treschrestienne Princesse Marguerite de France (second Augereau edition, Paris 1533). It appears that under the aegis of Marguerite this verse translation became a project which in 1535 was continued under the auspices of Renée in Ferrara, the result of which Marot shared with his friends. After his return from exile (winter 1536-37) he must have continued working on the translation in silence.

  • Marot's Psalms paraphrases were copied and distributed in manuscript. Perhaps Jean Girard was the first to print a collection of them around 1538 (mentioned during an inquiry in 1539;  no copy is known). A collection of thirty Psalms was put together based on different sources in Ms. 2337. The most ancient text is present in this manuscript sous rature, crossed-out.

  • Part of this collection appeared in print with music notes in 1539 (Strasbourg - Aulcuns Pseaulmes et cantiques, edited by John Calvin, at the time minister in Strasbourg).

  • In 1541 the Antwerp printer Antoine des Gois printed a booklet with 45 Psalm translations, containing 30 Psalms by Marot, the second edition also containing the dedicatory epistle to King François Ier. This publication seems to have been unauthorised.

  • The collector(s) and editor(s) of Ms. 2336 probably worked with a partly revised version of the Trente Pseaulmes, to which Arguments (summary of and info about the Psalm in question) and hints for their proper use above the text were added.

  • Estienne Roffet (Paris) printed the first official (i.e., authorised) edition of Marot's thirty Psalm translations, Trente Pseaulmes, publication winter 1541/1542. The text is a thorough revision of the unauthorised Antwerp edition, not seldom along the lines of Ms. 2336; almost always the same (or very similar) Arguments and applications are included.

  • In 1542 the Strasbourg Psalter was printed once more, based on the Antwerp edition of 1541, but enlarged to form a complete church book, containing for instance Marot's 30 Psalm translations. A similar (but not identical) edition appeared in print the same year in Geneva. For this edition the melodies from the 1539 Strasbourg edition were revised and melodies for all new Marot's Psalms were included (probably composed by the cantor of St. Pierre, Guillaume Franc).

  • In November/December 1542 Marot arrived in Geneva and committed himself to continuing the metrical translation of biblical Psalms.

  • March 1543: Marot dispatched twenty new Psalm paraphrases (Vingt Pseaulmesnineteen Psalms + Nunc dimittis ) to the King accompanied by an epigram (huitain). Roffet also received a copy and tried once more to obtain a printing privilege and a theological nihil obstat.

  • June 1543: in Geneva Jean Girard printed a new service book including Cinquante Pseaumes and some canticles. In all probability this officially appeared after the removal of the French translation of the first part of the Ave Maria, the Salutation Angelique. This edition was printed with music notes, but no copy of the Psalter part is known.

  • In August 1543 Marot finished his Epistre aux Dames de France, which together with the text of the Cinquante Pseaumes including the prayers (Decalogue, Les Commandements de Dieu" , Creed "Les Articles de la Foy" , Pater noster, purified Ave Maria "Salutation angelique", and two Prayers (before and after the meal) was published anonymously (but in fact printed by Jean Girard in Geneva); for the Geneva edition (both the ecclesial as the secular) the 30 Psalms were apparently once more revised.

  • Estienne Roffet (Paris) reprinted the Trente Pseaulmes (unrevised version of 1541) together with the Vingt Pseaulmes, nouvellement envoyées au Roy towards the end of 1543 (royal privilege 31 October 1543); with the exception of the Decalogue (Les Commandements de Dieu), all prayers from the anonymous (but Genevan) edition by Girard. He published it with the curious title Trente deux Pseaulmes, Plus vingt autres.

  • Towards the end of 1543, Marot had left Geneva.

 

 
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