Monnoye, Bernard De La

, a learned French poet, was born in Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, June 15, 1641, He was a man of parts and learning, had a decided taste for poetry; and, in 1671, had a fair opportunity of displaying his talents. The subject of the prize of poetry, founded by the members of the French academy at this time, was, “The Suppressing of Duelling by Lewis XIV.” As this was the first contest of the kind, the candidates were numerous and eager; but la Monnoye succeeded, and had the honour of being the first who won the prize Founded by the French academy; by which he gained a | reputation that increased ever after. In 1673, he was a candidate for the new prize, the subject of which was, “The protection with which his Gallic majesty honoured the French academy;” but his poem came too late. He won the prize in 1675, on “The glory of arms and learning under Lewis XIV;” and that also of 1677, on “The Education of the Dauphin.” On this occasion, the highest compliment was made him by the abbe* Regnier; who said, that “it would be proper for the French academy to elect Mr. de la Monnoye upon the first vacancy, because, as he would thereby be disqualified from writing any more, such as should then be candidates would be encouraged to write.” It was indeed said, that he discontinued to write for these prizes at the solicitation of the academy; a circumstance which, if true, reflects higher honour on him than a thousand prizes. He wrote many other successful pieces, and was no less applauded in Latin poetry than in the French. Menage and Bayle have both bestowed the highest encomiums on his Latin poetry. His Greek and Italian poems are likewise much commended by the French critics.

But poetry was not la Monnoye’s only province: to a perfect skill in poetry, he joined a very accurate and extensive knowledge of the languages. He was also an acute critic: and no man applied himself with greater assiduity to the study of history, ancient and modern. He was perfectly acquainted with all the scarce books, that had anything curious in them, and was well versed in literary history. He wrote “Remarks on the Menagiana:” in the last edition of which, printed in 1715, in 4 vols. 12mo, are included several pieces of his poetry, and a curious dissertation on the famous book “De tribus Impostoribus.” His “Dissertation on Pomponius Laetus,” at least an extract of it, is inserted in the new edition of Baillet’s “Jugemens des Sgavans,” published in 1722, with a great nnmber of remarks and corrections by la Monnoye. He also embellished the “Anti-Baillet of Menage;” with corrections and notes. He was a great benefactor to literature, by his own productions, and the assistance which he communicatd very freely, upon all occasions, to other authors. Among others, he favoured Bayle with a great number of curious particulars for his “Dictionary,” which was liberally acknowledged. He died at Paris, Oct. 15, 1728, in his 88th year. | Mr. de Sallingre published at the HagueA Collection of Poems by la Monnoye,” with his eulogium, to which we owe many of the particulars given above. He also left behind him “A Collection of Letters,” mostly critical several curious “Dissertations” three hundred “Select Epigrams from Martial, and other Poets-, ancient and modern, in French verse;” and several other works in prose and verse, in French, Latin, and Greek, ready for the press. A collection of his works in 3 vols. 8vo, was published in 1769. He deserved that the French academy should admit into their list a person on whom they had so often bestowed their laurels, and he might, doubtless, have obtained that honour sooner, had he sued for it: but, as he declined sueh solicitation, he was not elected till 1713, on the death of abbe Regner des Marias. He married Claude Henriot, whom he survived, after living many years with her in the strictest amity; as appears from a copy of his verses, and also from the epitaph he wrote for himself and his wife. He had accumulated a very curious and valuable library, but was obliged, by the failure of the Missisippi scheme, to propose selling it, in order to support his family. This the duke de Villeroi hearing, settled an annual pension of 6000 livres upon him; for which he expressed his gratitude, in a poem addressed to that nobleman. It is said, however, that the duke did it only upon condition, that himself should inherit the library after the death of la Monnoye, who accepted the terms. 1


Gen. Dict. —Moreri.