Faerno, Gabriel

, an elegant Latin poet and philologist, was born at Cremona in the early part of the six* teenth century, and by his accomplishments in polite literature, gained the esteem and friendship of the cardinal de Medicis, afterwards pope Pius IV. and of his nephew the cardinal Borromeo. Having acquired a critical knowledge of the Latin language, he was enabled to display much judgment in the correction of the Roman classics, and in the collation of ancient manuscripts on which he was frequently employed, and indeed had an office of that kind in the Vatican library. Ghilini says that he was equally learned in the Greek language, but Muret asserts that he was quite unacquainted with the Greek. That he was a very elegant Latin poet, however, is amply proved by his “Fables,” and perhaps his being accused of stealing from Phgedrus may be regarded as a compliment to his style. Thuanus appears to have first suggested this | accusation. He says that the learned world was greatly obliged to him, yet had been more so, if, instead of suppressing, he had been content with imitating the Fables of Phaedrus, and asserts that Faeruo dealt unfairly with the public concerning Phoedrus, who was then unknown; having a manuscript of that author, which he concealed from the world for fear of lessening the value of the Latin fables he had made in imitation of Æsop. Perrault, however, who published a translation of Faerno’s Fables into French verse at Paris in 1699, has defended his author from Thuanus’s imputation. His words in the preface are as follow “Faerno has been called a second Phsedrus, by reason of the excellent style of his Fables, though he never saw Phaedrus, who did not come to our knowledge till above thirty years after his death; for Pithoeus, having found that manuscript in the dust of an old library, published it in the beginning of this century, Thuanus, who makes very honourable mention of our author in his history, pretends, that Phcedrus was not unknown to him; and even blames him for having suppressed that author, to conceal what he had stolen from him. But there is no ground for what he says; and it is only the effect of the strong persuasion of all those who are so great admirers of antiquity as to think that a modern author can do nothing that i* excellent, unless he has an ancient author for his model. Out of the hundred fables which Faerno published in Latin verse, there are but five that had been treated by Phsedrus $ and out of those five there are but one or two that have been managed nearly in the same manner: which happened only because it is impossible that two men, who treat on the same subject, should not agree sometimes in the same thoughts, or in the same expressions.

Faerno died in the prime of life, at Rome, Nov. 17,1561. Plow much might have been expected from his talents and habits of study, had he lived longer, ntay appear from, what he left: 1. “Terentii Comcediae,Florence, 15.65, 2 vols. 8vo, a valuable and rare edition. There is no ancient editor to whom Terence is more indebted than to Faerno; who, by a judicious collation of ancient manuscripts and editions, especially the one belonging to Bembus (examined by Politian, and unknown to all preceding editors), has restored the true reading of his author 4n many important passages. Faerno’s edition became the basis of almost every subsequent one, and Dr. Bentley | bad such an opinion of his notes that he reprinted them entire in his edition. 2. “Ciceronis Orationes Philippicae,Rome, 1563, 8vo, very highly praised by Graevius. 3. “Centum Fabulae ex antiquis Autoribus delectae, et carminibus explicate,Rome, 1564, 4to, with prints, from which it is said that the subjects for the fountains at Versailles were taken. There is another edition of London, 1743, 4to, very beautiful, but not so much valued as the former. It is said that this work was occasioned by a wish expressed by the pope that he would make a collection of the best of Esop’s fables, and those of other ancient authors, and put them into Latin verse for the instruction of the young. 4. “Censura emendationum Livianarum Sigonii.” Among the collections of Latin poetry written by Italian scholars are some attributed to Faerno, as “In Lutheranos, sectam Germanicam” “Ad Homobonum Hoffredum” a Physician of Cremona; “In Maledicum,” &c. 1

1

Niceron, vol. XXIII. Morori.—Tiraboschi.Saxii Onomast. Dibdin’s Classics.