Everard, Joannes Secundus

, and more generally known by these last names, was born at the Hague in 1511, and received the first impressions of virtue and knowledge from his father. On what account our author, as he was not the second son, was called Secundus, is not known. Perhaps the name was not given him till he became eminent, and was in poetry nemini sccundus. Poetry, however, was not the profession which his father wished him to follow. He intended him for the law, and when he could no longer direct his studies himself, placed him under the care of Jacobus Valcardus, or Volcardus. This gentleman, the author of a treatise “de usu eloquentix in obeundis muncribus publicis,” is said to hare been every way qualified to discharge the important trust that was committed to him; and he certainly gained the affection of his pupil, who, in one of his poems, mentions his death with every appearance of unfeigned sorrow. Another tutor, Stenemola of Mechlin, was soon provided, but it does not appear that Secundus devoted much of his time to legal pursuits. Poetry, and the sister arts of painting and sculpture, had engaged his mind at a very early period. He is said to have written verses when but ten years old; and | from the vast quantity which he left behind him, we have reason to conclude that such writing was his principal employment.

Secundus having nearly attained the age of twenty-one, and being determined, as it would seem; to comply as far as possible with the wishes of his father, quitted Mechlin, and went to France, where at Bourges, a city in the Orleanois, he studied the civil law under the celebrated Andreas Alciatus, who was particularly endeared to our author by his general acquaintance with polite literature, and especially by his taste in poetry. Having studied a year tinder this eminent civilian, and taken his degrees, he returned to Mechlin, where he remained only a very few months. In 1533 he went into Spain with warm recommendations to the count of Nassau and other persons of high rank; and soon afterwards became secretary to the cardinal archbishop of Toledo, in a department of business which required no other qualifications than what he possessed in a very eminent degree, a facility in writing with elegance the Latin language. It was during his residence with this cardinal that he wrote his “Basia,” a series of amatory poems, of which the fitih, seventh, and ninth carmina of Catullus seem to have given the hint. Secundus was not, however, a servile imitator of Catullus. His expressions seem to be borrowed rather from Tibullus and Propertius; and in the warmth of his descriptions he has the disgrace to exceed all former writers.

In 1535 he accompanied the emperor Charles V. to the siege of Tunis, but gained no laurels as a soldier. The hardships which were endured at that memorable siege were but little suited to the soft disposition of a votary of Venus and the Muses; and upon an enterprise which might have furnished ample matter for an epic poem, it is remarkable that Secundus wrote nothing which has been deemed worthy of preservation. Having returned from his martial expedition, he was sent by the cardinal to Rome to congratulate the pope upon the success of the emperor’s arms; but was taken so ill on the road, that he was not able to complete his journey. But being advised to seek without a moment’s delay, the benefit of his native air, he soon recovered. Having now quitted the service of the archbishop of Toledo, he was employed in the same office of secretary to the bishop of Utrecht; and so much had he jhitherto distinguished himself by the classical elegance of | his compositions, that he was soon called upon to fill the important post of private Latin secretary to the emperor, who was then in Italy. This was the most honourable office to which our author was ever appointed; but before he could enter upon it, death put a stop to his labours. Having arrived at St. Arnaud, in the district of Tournay, in order to meet, upon business, with the bishop of Utrecht, he was on Oct. 8, 1536, cut off by a violent fever, in the very flower of his age, not having quite completed his twenty-fifth year. He was interred in the church of the Benedictines, and his relations erected to his memory a marble monument, with a plain Latin inscription.

The works of Secundus have gone through several editions, of which the most copious is that of Scriverius, published at Leyden, 1631. It consists of the “Basia,” and of epigrams, elegies, &c. &c. A French critic who maintains that the genius of Secundus never p’roduced anything that was not excellent in its kind, adds with too much truth, “Mais sa muse est un peu trop lascive.” His “Basia” were first translated into English by Mr. Stanley,- author of the “Lives of the Philosophers,” but he omitted the 8th, loth, llth, 12th, and 14th. In 1731, a translation of the whole was published by an anonymous writer, who adopted a poetical version of the first and second by Elijah l‘enton, and of the I’th and iNsth by Mr. Ward. This translation is accompanied with the original Latin, and embellished with the cuts of Secundus and Julia from the Scriverian edition, for Secundus appears to have been somewhat of an engraver, and the cut of his mistress Julia is said to have been executed by him. A superior translation appeared at London in 1775, with a life of the author, of which we have availed ourselves. Secundus excelled his brothers in the elegance and classical purity of his Latin poetry, as much as he fell short of them in respect for decency. 1

1 Life as above. —Moreri Nircron, vol. XVI. Fopptn, Bibl. Belg Burman’s Sylloge Epist. Saxii Ouomaat.