Benci, Francis

, an Italian orator and poet, was born at Aquapendente in 1542, and received his early education from his father. He was then sent to Rome, anu in 1563 began to attend the Jesuits’ college for the study of philosophy and jurisprudence, which he pursued for six years. His master was the celebrated Muretus, but for some time, as his biographer informs us, the love of the world predominated, notwithstanding the voice of conscience, to which, however, at length he listened, and, in 1570, entered into the society of the Jesuits, going through the regular probations. He now changed his name, which was Plautus, to that of Francis, a practice usual among the religious of that order. Yet still his new engagements did not interrupt his favourite studies, which led him to high reputation as an orator and poet. For many years likewise he taught rhetoric at Sienna, Perugia, and Rome, and was regarded by his learned contemporaries, as another Muretus. Flattered, however, as he might have been by these lavish praises, and encouraged to hope for preferment adequate to such acknowledgments of his merit, he is said to have been a man of great modesty, and entirely free from ambition. Muretus had admitted him to the closest intimacy, and Benci no further presumed on his friendship than to request he would introduce more of the Christian in his life and writings than had yet been visible. Muretus acknowledges this very handsomely in the dedication to Benci, of his Latin translation of Aristotle’s rhetoric. Benci died in the Jesuits’ college at Rome, May 6, 1594. An edition of his works was published at Lyons in 1603, but most of them had been separately and very often printed. | They consist of orations, Latin dramas and poems, and some religious treatises, enumerated by Moreri. 1