BAIF, JEAN ANTOINE DE (1532-1589), French poet and member of the Pleiade, was born at Venice, the natural son of the scholar Lazare de Baif, at that time French ambassador there. He was taught Latin by Charles Estienne, and Greek by Ange Vergece, the Cretan scholar and calligraphist who designed Greek types for Francis I. When he was 11 years old he was put under the care of the famous Jean Daurat (q.v.). Ronsard, who was eight years his senior, now began to share his studies. Claude Binet tells how young Baif, bred on Latin and Greek, smoothed out the tiresome beginnings of the Greek language for Ronsard, who in return initiated his companion into the mys teries of French versification. Baif possessed an extraordinary facility, and the mass of his work has injured his reputation. Besides a number of volumes of short poems of an amorous or congratulatory kind, he translated or paraphrased various pieces from Bion, Moschus, Theocritus, Anacreon, Catullus and Martial. He resided in Paris and enjoyed the continued favour of the court. He founded in 1567 an academie de musique et de poesie, with the idea of establishing a closer union between music and poetry ; his house became famous for the charming concerts which he gave, entertainments at which Charles IX. and Henry III. fre quently flattered him with their presence. Bail elaborated a sys tem for regulating French versification by quantity. In this he was not a pioneer. Jacques de la Taille had written in 1562 the Maniere de faire des vers en f rancais comme en grec et en latin (printed 1573), and other poets had made experiments in the same direction. Baif's innovations included a line of 15 syllables known as vers bai fin. He also meditated reforms in French spelling. His theories are exemplified in Etrenes de poezie Fran zoeze an vers mezures . His works were published in four volumes, entitled Oeuvres en rime (1573), consisting of Amours, Passetemps, et Poemes, containing, among much that is now hardly readable, some pieces of infinite grace and delicacy. Bali was the author of two comedies, L'Eunuque (1565, published a free translation of Terence, and Le Brave (1567), an imitation of the Miles Gloriosus, in which the characters of Plau tus are turned into Frenchmen, the action taking place at Orleans. Baif published a collection of Latin verse in 1577, and in 1576 a popular volume of Mimes, enseignemens et proverbes.
His father, LAZARE DE BAiF, published a translation of the Electra of Sophocles in 1537, and afterwards a version of the Hecuba; he was an elegant writer of Latin verse.