Often compared to Lord Byron, Alphonse Lamartine (1790–1869) is one of the best-known of the French Romantic poets. He was born and grew up in Milly (now called Milly-Lamartine), about 15km west of Mâcon, and published his first poetic work, Méditations poétiques, in 1820. After the 1830 Revolution in Paris, he became involved in politics and was elected to the Chambre des Députés in 1833.

Lamartine, having acquired a reputation as a powerful orator on the weighty questions of the day, like the abolition of slavery and capital punishment, had his finest hour was as the leading figure in the provisional government of the Second Republic, which was proclaimed from the Hôtel de Ville in Paris on February 23, 1848. He withdrew from politics when reactionary forces let the army loose on the protesting workers of Paris and Marseille in June 1848. Retiring to St-Point, he continued to write and publish until his death in 1869.

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