Huygens, Constantijn

Huygens, Constantijn

(kônstäntīn` hoi`gəns), 1596–1687, Dutch humanist and poet, b. The Hague; father of Christiaan Huygens. He was broadly educated in languages, law, and social protocol to follow a public career. From 1625 he was secretary to the stadtholder, or the chief executive of the province of The Hague. Huygens wrote verse in seven languages as well as in Dutch. His poems, descriptive and satirical, were highly esteemed; both the English and the French monarchs knighted him in recognition of his genius. His verse is graceful, highly ornamented, and sometimes moralistic. In his collection Daghwerck (1627–38) he wrote of his love for his wife. One of his last works, Cluyswerck (1683) is semiautobiographical. Huygens was also an accomplished musician and composer of many works for strings. The thousands of his letters that survive attest to his wide acquaintance among contemporary scholars, including Descartes, Donne, Corneille, and Jean Louis Guez de Balzac.

Huygens, Constantijn

 

Born Sept. 4, 1596, in The Hague; died there Mar. 26, 1687. Dutch poet.

Huygens graduated from the University of Leiden in 1617. He held a number of important posts in the government. Huygens’ lyric narrative poems—for example, “Everyday Labor”—are didactic and philosophic in nature. In the epigrams and poems of the collection Cornflowers (1658) he mocked religious fanaticism and court life. Huygens’ other works include several comedies (Trintje Cornells).

REFERENCE

Bachrach, A. G. H. Sir Constantijn Huygens and the Art of 17th-century England and Holland. 1953.
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