Desbillons, Francis Joseph Terrasse

, an elegant Latin poet, was a native of France, and born at Chateauneuf, in Berri, Jan. 25, 1711, and entered the order of the Jesuits, in whose schools he taught rhetoric for some years. When invited to Paris, to the college of Louis-le-Grand, he acquired great fame by his Latin poetry, which was thought so pure, that he was usually styled ultimus Romanorum. On the abolition of the order of the Jesuits in France, Desbillons found an honourable asylum with the elector palatine, who gave him a pension of a thousand crowns, and a place in the college of Manheim, | where he died March 19, 1789. He wrote Latin Iambics with great ease, and even wrote his will in that measure, in which he bequeathed his valuable library to the Lazarists. His works are: 1. “Fabulae libri XV.Paris, 1775, and 1778, elegantly printed by Barbou; but it is rather singular that the first five books of these fables were originally printed at Glasgow in 1754, and a second edition at Paris, in 1756; at which time the author acknowledged the work, and added five more books, the whole then containing about three hundred and fifty fables. The greater part are translated or paraphrased from the writings of the most eminent fabulists, ancient and modern, particularly among the moderns, La Fontaine; but there is a considerable number of originals. He afterwards increased the number of books to fifteen, as in the edition first mentioned. They have been also reprinted in Germany, and the author himself translated them into French, with the Latin text added, which edition, usually reckoned the best, was published at Manheim, 1769, 2 vols. 8vo. His Latin style is peculiarly chaste and unaffected. 2. “Nouveaux eclaircissemens sur la vie et les ouvrages de Guillaume Postel,1763, 8vo. 3. “Histoire de la vie et des exploits militaires de madame de St. Balmont,1773, 8vo. 4. “Ars bene valendi,1788, 8vo; a Latin poem in Iambics, on the preservation of health, in which the author inveighs against hot liquids, especially chocolate, tea, and coffee. Besides these, Desbillons published a very correct edition of “Phaxlrus,” with three dissertations on the life, fables, and editions of Phacdrus, and notes, Manheim, 1786, 8vo, and an edition of Thomas a Kempis. He wrote also some dramatic pieces in Latin, and a history of the Latin language, which is still in manuscript. In 1792 his “Miscellanea Posthuma” were published at Manheim, 8vo, containing a fifteenth and sixteenth book of Fables; “Monita Philosophica,” against the modern French philosophers; and a Latin comedy, “Schola Patrum, sive Patrum et Liberorum indoles emendata.1


Dict. Hist.—Month, Rev. vol. XXI.—Brit. Crit. vol. I.