Religious experience was such an important part of life in Jean Desmarets's time that it is somewhat arbitrary to separate his devotional poetry from his other verse. Following the death of Cardinal Richelieu he had abandoned writing for the theatre; and before Aspasie he had begun writing Clovis — a poem whose royalism and nationalism are steeped in once-dominant French Catholic ideology, as are his late biblical epics. Desmarets's earliest devotional poems — the ‘Œuvres chrestiennes’ collected in the Œuvres poëtiques — date from the final years of the reign of Louis XIII, to whom they are dedicated. His two small volumes of posthumous Maximes chrestiennes were probably written after 1654, perhaps long after; but the time of their composition is not known.
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