Boyer, Claude

, of the French academy, was born at Alby in 1618. He came young to Paris, where he cultivated his talent for eloquence; but, having preached with little success, he quitted the pulpit for the stage, which he had been declaiming against, and now devoted himself to it for life, always satisfied with himself, but seldom with the public. Born with an imagination which submitted to no restraint, he made choice of subjects strangely complicated, and equivocal heroes who had no character whatever. Aiming always at the sublime, where the simplicity of nature was required, he fell into a strain of bombast, unintelligible perhaps to himself. He is the author of two-and-twenty dramatic pieces, full of fustian, and | conducted without any knowledge of the drama. His Judith had a transient success. The epigram it produced from Racine is generally known. “Je pleure, helas! pour ce pauvre Holopherne, si mechamment mis a mort par Judith.” This piece, applauded during a whole Lent, was hissed off the stage in the Easter holidays. Champmeslee, asking the reason of the fickleness of the pit, was answered, that the hissers had been at Versailles at the sermons of the abbe Boileau, who had ridiculed him. Boyer, at length disheartened by this constant run of ill-success, brought out his tragedy of Agamemnon under a borrowed name, andRacine, his grand tormentor, applauded the piece. Boyer could not refrain from crying out in the pit, “It is however Boyer’s, in spite of Mons. de Racine;” but this transport cost him dear, for his tragedy was hissed at the next performance. He died at Paris, July 22, 1698, aged eighty. 1


Dict. Hiat, —Moreri,