Fevre, Nicolas Le

, or Nicolaus Faber, a very ingenious, learned, and pious man, was born at Paris, June 2, | 1544, or according to Perrault, July 4, 1543; and liberally educated by his mother, his father dying in his infancy. During the course of his studies, as he was cutting a pen, a piece of the quill flew into his eye, and gave him such excessive pain, that hastily lifting up his hand to it, he struck it out with the knife. Having finished his application to the languages, he was sent to study the civil law at Tholouse, Padua, and Bologna. He did not come back till he had travelled through Italy: and he resided eighteen months in Rome, about 1571, where he cultivated a friendship with Sigonius, Muretus, and other learned men. He there acquired his taste for the investigation of antiquities, and brought away with him many curiosities. Upon hi$ return to France, he applied himself wholly to letters, and would hear no mention of marriage. His mother and brother dying in 1581, he lived with Peter Pithoeus, with whom he was very intimate; and having no occupation but study, he employed himself in reading the ancients, in correcting them by Mss. of which he had a great number in his own library, and in writing notes upon them. He laboured particularly on Seneca the rhetorician, whom he published in 1587, with a learned preface and notes, an. edition which we do not find mentioned by Dibdin oc Clarke. He applied himself also to studies of a different kind, to the mathematics particularly; in which he succeeded so well, that he discovered immediately the defect in Scaliger’s demonstration of the quadrature of the circle. When Henry the Fourth of France became at length the peaceable possessor of the crown, he appointed Faber preceptor to the prince of Conde. During this important trust, he found time to labour upon some considerable works; and composed that fine preface to the fragments of Hilary, in which he discovered so many important facts relating to the history of Arianism, not known before. After the death of Henry IV. he was chosen, by the queen, preceptor to Louis XIII. He died in 1611, or according to Perrault, Nov. 4, 1612.

Though he laboured intensely all his life, he was one of those learned men who are not ambitious of the character of author, but content with studying for themselves and their friends. He applied himself in his youth to the belles lettres and history, which he never neglected. Civil law, philosophy, and morality, were afterwards his occu^ jnition: and at the latter part of life, he spent his time | chiefly among ecclesiastical antiquities. As he kept up a correspondence with all the learned of Europe, when he heard of any person about to publish an author, or to compose a work of his own, he was ever ready to assist him with Mss. and to furnish him with memoirs, but without suffering any mention to be made of his name, though his injunctions upon this point were not always observed. His own works, which were but few, were collected after his death by John le Begue, his friend, and printed at Paris, 1614, in a small volume, 4to. They consist of biblical criticism, questions on morals, and philological pieces in Latin and French.

The praises bestowed on Nicolas le Fevre, by Baillet, and almost all the critics of the time, are of the most exalted kind; an advantage which his very great merits would not perhaps have gained, had they not been enhanced by his modesty. He was admired and loved, but not feared. Lipsius pronounced him a perfect critic, almost the only one capable of correcting and polishing the works of others; and whose learning, judgment, and diligence, knew no other bounds than what his modesty prescribed. Of the same cast are the eulogies upon him, by Baronius, Scaevola Samarthanus, Sirmond, Pithceus, Lipsius, cardinal Perron, Isaac Casaubon, Sealiger, Scioppius, and others. 1


Dupin.Niceron, vol. VII. rerrault Les Homines lllustre*.