Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

MADAME DACIER.

THIS celebrated Lady was born in the year 1651, at Saumur, where her father, Tanneguy Le Fevre, taught the belles lettres. In the evenings he instructed his son, to whom Anne, his younger sister, whispered the responses when his memory failed him. This being perceived by Le Fevre, he examined his daughter, then only eleven years of age, conceived she was born to become eminent in literature, and, from that moment, made her quit her needle to commence her studies almost at the same time, of the Latin and Greek tongues. The Italian language followed by way of recreation; and, in a little time, the scholar became the instructor of her professor.

In the year 1672, her father died. In the year following, Madle. Le Fevre went to Paris, where the Duke de Monpensier, engaged her to prepare editions of Latin authors, for the use of the Dauphin. Two years afterwards, she published her Florus, of which she sent a copy to the Queen Christina, of Sweden, who, in a complimentary letter, urged her to become a catholic.

In 1683, she married M. Dacier, and soon after, they renounced the protestant religion, which being known to Louis the Fourteenth, he granted her a pension of 2000

livres.

Her reputation being now established by the works already mentioned, by an edition of Callimachus, and

her Commentaries on several authors, Mad. Dacier successively translated, into French, the best pieces of Plautus and Aristophanes. The Terence, which she published some time after, was preferred to that of Mile de Portroyal; and her translations of Anacreon, and of Sappho, were followed by those of the Iliad and the Odyssey. This gave rise to a literary dispute between La Motte, Hardouin, and Mad. Dacier, who, in her defence of Homer, did not, at all times, avail herself of the goodness of her cause.

A good mother, a sincere friend, and virtuous wife; Madame Dacier was a model of tenderness and prudence, of modesty and erudition, of frankness and of piety. She was never vain of her writings, nor did she ever, in her conversation, render apparent the advantage she might have displayed over those with whom she associated. She was equally reserved in matters of religion: she pretended, that things of such importance were above the reach of females, who ought to rest satisfied with adoring the divinity and doing good. She had two daughters and a son; and such was her benevolence, that her husband was compelled to restrain her liberality, which often exceeded their revenue.

Towards the end of life, Mad. Dacier suffered great bodily affliction, which she bore with the greatest resigpation; and was lost to the literary world, on the 17th of August, 1720, at the age of sixty-nine.

« PoprzedniaDalej »