Colardeau, Charles Peter

, a French poet, was born at Janville in the Orleanois in 1735, and was a votary of the muses from his very infancy. He made his first appearance in the literary world in 1758, by a poetical translation of Pope’s Eloisa to Ahelard; in which he was said to have retained the warmth of the original, with the richness of its images. His tragedies of Astarbe and Calisto, the one performed in 1758, and the other in 1760, were not so successful. The complexion of them is indeed sorrowful, and even gloomy, but never tragical. The “Temple of Guides,” and two of the “Nights” of Young, in French verse, the epistle to M. Duhamel, and the poem of Prometheus, which appeared afterwards, are in general versified in a soft and harmonious manner. The epistle to M. Duhamel, which is replete with rural descriptions and sentiments of beneficence, has been ranked by many of its enthusiastic admirers with the best epistles of Boileau. These several performances excited the attention of the French academy towards the author, who elected him a meaaber at the beginning of 1776; but before he had pronounced his inaugural discourse, he was snatched away by death, in the flower of his age, the 7th of April in the same year, after he had risen from his bed in a state of extreme Weakness, and burnt what he had written of a translation of Tasso. This poet, who has so well described the charms of nature in his poems, and who even understood the art of drawing, yet in all the variety of colours saw only white and black, and only the different combinations of light and shade. This singular organization, however, did not weaken the charms of his imagination. His works were collected in two vols. 8vo, Paris, 1779, and have been since reprinted in 12mo. Among these is a comedy entitled “Les perfidies a la mode,” in which are some agreeable verses, two or three characters well enough drawn, but not a single spark of the vis comica. 1


Dict. Hist.—D’Israeli’s Curiosities, vol. I. p. 85.