Fortunatus, Venantius Honorious Clementianus
b Treviso district, Venetia, N Italy c535, d Poitiers, France c600–610. Educated at Ravenna, N Italy, where he trained in oratory and poetry In his travels he would sometimes pay for his keep with a new song, mixing easily in elegant society. This was to change after he had escaped blindness by a remarkable healing, and c567 he became secretary to Queen Radegund (Rhadegunda) at her Poitiers convent, the Abbey of the Holy Cross. He was ordained, and eventually chosen as Bishop of Poitiers, c599–600. He produced a metrical biography of Martin of Tours, the lives (in prose) of 11 other Gallic figures, 11 books of fluent occasional verse, and some hymns which in English paraphrase have lasted well even though some have been called nearly untranslatable. One book, Hymns for all the Festivals of the Christian Year, has been lost. 6 versions of his texts appeared in the 1950 A&M. Routley is not alone in calling him ‘perhaps the greatest of all the early lyricists’. Nos.442, 475.