Ancourt, Florent-Carton D'

, an eminent French actor and dramatic writer, was born at Fontainbleau, Nov. 1, 1661. He studied in the Jesuits’ college at Paris, under father de la Rue; who, discovering in him a remarkable quickness and capacity for learning, was extremely desirous of engaging him in their order, but d’Ancourt’s aversion to a religious life rendered all his efforts ineffectual. After he had gone through a course of philosophy, he applied himself to the civil law, and was admitted advocate at seventeen years of age, but falling in love with an actress, he went upon the stage; and, in 1680, married this woman. As he had all the qualifications necessary for the theatre, he soon greatly distinguished himself, and began to write pieces for the stage, many of which had such success, that most of the players grew rich from the profits of them. His merit in this way procured him a very favourable reception at court, where Lewis XIV. shewed him many marks of his favour. Ais sprightly conversation and polite behaviour made his company agreeable to all the men of figure both at court and in the city, and the most considerable persons were extremely pleased to have him at their houses. Having taken a journey to Dunkirk, to see his eldest daughter who lived there, he took the opportunity of paying his compliments to the elector of Bavaria, who was then at Brussels. This prince received him with the utmost civility; and, having retained him a considerable time, dismissed him, with a present of | a diamond valued at a thousand pistoles; he likewise rewarded him in a very generous manner, when, upon his coming to Paris, d’Ancourt composed an entertainment for his diversion. At length grown weary of the theatre, which he quitted in Lent, 1718, he retired to his estate of Courcelles le Roy, in Berry; where he applied himself wholly to devotion, and composed a translation of David’s psalms in verse, and a sacred tragedy, which were never printed. He died the 16th of December, 1726, 65 years of age. His plays consist of fifty-two, of which twentyfive are said to keep their reputation on the stage. They were published in 1710 and 1750, in 9 vols. 12mo, and the best of them in 3 vols. 12mo, under the title of “Chefsd‘œuvre de d’Ancourt.1


Dict. Hist.orique Gen. Dict. —Moreri.