Henri Auguste Barbier (1805-1882), French dramatist and poet, was born in Paris on the 29th of April 1805. Inspired by the revolution of July he poured forth a series of eager, vigorous poems, denouncing, crudely enough, the evils of the time. They are spoken of collectively as the Iambes (1831), though the designation is not strictly applicable to all. As the name suggests, they are modelled on the verse of André Chénier. They include La Curée, La Popularité, L'Idole, Paris, Dante, Quatre-vingt-treize and Varsovie. The rest of Barbier's poems are forgotten, and when, in 1869, he received the long delayed honour of admission to the Academy, Montalembert expressed the general sentiment in his Barbier? mais il est mort! It was even asserted, though without foundation, that he was not the real author of the Iambes. He died at Nice on the 13th of February 1882. He collaborated with Léon de Wailly in the libretto of Berlioz's opera, Benvenuto Cellini, and his works include two series of poems on the political and social troubles of Italy and England, printed in later editions of Iambes et poèmes.
See also Sainte-Beuve, Portraits Contemporains, vol. ii.