Guyet, Francis

, an eminent critic, was born of a good family at Angers, in 1575. He lost his father and mother when a child; and the small estate they left him was wasted by the imprudence of his guardians. He applied himself, however, intensely to books; and, with a view to improve himself by the conversation of learned men, he took a journey to Paris in 1599. The acquaintance he formed with the sons of Claudius du Puy proved very advantageous to him; for, the most learned persons in Paris frequently visited these brothers, and many of them met every day in the house of Thuanus, where Mess, du Puy received company. After the death of that president, they held those conferences in the same place; and Guyet constantly made one. He went to Rome in 1608, and applied himself to the Italian tongue with such success as to be able to write Italian verses. He was much esteemed by cardinal du Perron and several great personages. He returned to Paris by the way of Germany, and was taken into the house of the duke d’Epernon, to teach the abbot de Granselve, who was made cardinal de la V alette in 1621. His noble pupil, who conceived so great an esteem for him as always to entrust him with his most important affairs, took him to Rome, and procured him a good benefice; but Guyet, after his return to Paris, chose to live a private life rather than in the house of the cardinal, and resided in Burgundy college. Here he spent the remainder of his life, employed in his studies; and wrote a dissertation, in | which he pretended to shew that the Latin tongue was derived from the Greek, and that all the primitive words of the latter consisted only of one syllable; but of this they found, after his death, only a vast compilation of Greek and Latin words, without any order or coherence, and without any preface to explain his project. But the reading of the ancient authors was his favourite employment, and the margins of his classics were full of notes, many of which have been published. Those upon Hesiod were imparted to Graevius, who inserted them in his edition of that author, 1667. The most complete collection found among his papers was his notes upon Terence; and therefore they were sent to Boeclerus, and afterwards printed. He took great liberties as a critic: for he rejected as supposititious all such verses as seemed to him not to savour of the author’s genius. Thus he struck out many verses of Virgil discarded the first ode in Horace and would not admit the secret history of Procopius. Notwithstanding the boldness of his criticisms, and his free manner of speaking in conversation, he was afraid of the public; and dreaded Salmasius in particular, who threatened to write a book against him if he published hjs thoughts about some passages in ancient authors. He was generally accounted a man of great learning, and is said to have been a sincere and honest man. He was cut for the stone in 1636; excepting which, his long life was hardly attended with any illness. He died of a catarrh, after three days illness, in the arms of James du Puy, and Menage his countryman, April 12, 1655, aged eighty. His life is written in Latin, with great judgment and politeness, by Mr. Portner, a senator of Ratisbon, who took the supposititious name of Antonius Periander Rhaetus; and is prefixed to his notes upon Terence, printed with those of Boeclerus, at Strasburg, in 1657, an edition in no great estimation. 1


Gen. Dict. —Moreri. Saxii Onoinast.