He was commanded to preach before the king at the convent of Vincennes, when the success of his sermon on the love of God, and of a funeral oration on the poet Ronsard, induced him to take orders.
What is universally admitted is that Chenier was a very great artist, who like Ronsard opened up sources of poetry in France which had long seemed dried up. In England it is easier to feel his attraction than that of some far greater reputations in French poetry, for, rhetorical though he nearly always is, he yet reveals something of that quality which to the Northern mind has always been of the very essence of poetry, that quality which made SainteBeuve say of him that he was the first great poet "personnel et reveur" in France since La Fontaine.
He was a contemporary of Ronsard, and his first essays were published when the innovations of the Pleiade had fully established themselves.
It was probably in 1547 that du Bellay met Ronsard in an inn on the way to Poitiers, an event which may justly be regarded as the starting-point of the French school of Renaissance poetry.
Du Bellay returned with Ronsard to Paris to join the circle of students of the humanities attached to Jean Daurat at the College de Coqueret.