French poet, born in Angoulême in 1491 and died in Paris in 1558. He was son of the poet, grand rhetoriqueur and later Bishop of Angoulême Octaviano de Saint-Gelais (1466-1502). Considered as one the first humanists of the French Renaissance, introduced in the lyrics of his country the petrarquista current that dominated the European literature of the period and was a pioneer in the cultivation of some of its most characteristic, such as the sonnet and the madrigal formal moulds.
Under the direct influence of his father, felt very young a pronounced tilt toward literary creation and was sent to be educated in Italy, where soaked petrarquistas fashions and began to adapt, to their own language, the literary uses of the Italian Renaissance. Become a perfect model of humanist writer, he returned to France and was immediately admitted among the poets of the Court of Francisco I (1494-1547), where he soon won fame cult and inspired man and reached in charge of Royal librarian. Its ecclesiastical status allowed him to deal with, in addition, other Honorable dignities within the gala Court in the first half of the 16th century, as the chaplain of the Crown Prince (or "Dolphin").
Friend and literary accomplice of Clément Marot (1496-1544) - another great courtier poet who, like him, had to tour major cities in the Italy of the Cinquecento –, followed the example of this and was given to the composition of short poems epigramaticos. In them was well patent the influence of Italian, in aesthetic coordinates that the petrarquistas and estrambotistas, subject to criteria of balanced elegance and restrained classical composure, they already reveal a perfect assimilation of thematic and formal models of the Renaissance. In addition to introducing these novelties Strophic as the sonnet and the madrigal, Mellin de Saint-Gelais contributed mightily to the diffusion in France of Italian literature through the French translation of the first part of the classical tragedy, Sofonisba of Gian Giorgio Trissino (1478-1550), written in endecasilabos in its original Italian wording (in an attempt to adapt to the Romance literature of the time the Latin hexametro) and translated into prose by the humanist of Angoulême.