Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Beranger, Pierre Jean de, was born at Paris of mediocre parentage in 1780. He was in early life apprenticed to a printer at Peronne, from whom he seems to have picked up a taste for versifying. Coming to Paris, he was struggling against poverty when Lucien Bonaparte generously took him up, and he also got a humble clerkship in the office of the university. Some of his most sparkling songs and fugitive pieces were composed at this time, and began to get in vogue. He was in 1813 admitted to the Caveau Moderne, and became the rival of Desangiers. A democrat in principle, but not insensible to the glamour of Napoleon's career, he dealt playfully with politics until the restoration, but he then assailed the government with bitterness, and was imprisoned. The revolution of 1830 found him at the height of his popularity, and he was sent to the Constituent Assembly in 1848 as deputy for the department of the Seine. He soon retired from public life, and spent his remaining years in literary work and in the society of his devoted friends. He died in 1857. Politically Beranger's poems did much to keep alive the Napoleonic tradition and prepare for the Second Empire. They stand almost alone in their particular department of the lyric art. They are almost as carefully polished as the odes of Horace, and yet they are always addressed to a popular audience. Now and then his wit is inclined to indecency and profanity, but he is generally stirred by pure and kindly emotions, while he occasionally displays tragic pathos.