Heerkens, Gerard Nicholas

, a native of Groningen, was one of the most elegant Latin poets that part of Europe has produced for a century past. Of his early life we have no memorials. In 1760 he went to Italy, and became acquainted with the most eminent scholars of that period, and seems to have joined the cultivation of the modern Italian, with that of the ancient classical taste, which he had before imbibed, and of which be gave an excellent specimen in his work “De Valetudine Literatorum,Leyden, 1749, 8vo, and again more decidedly in his “Satyra de moribus Parhisiorumet FrUiae,1750, 4to; “De Oflicio mectici poema, dedicated to cardinal Quirini,” Groningen, 1752, 8vo; “Iter Veiietum,” which he published at Venice, when on | his tour in 1760, and which displays the feeling, tajte, and sentiment of a refined scholar. At Rome he was elected a member of the Arcadi, and under the name which he assumed in compliance with the usual practice of that society, he published in the above-mentioned year “Marii Curulli Groningensia satyræ,” 8vo. In this his satire is free and poignant, yet without merciless severity, and his Latin uncommonly pure. In 1764, after his return home, he published his “Notabilia,” 2 books, and two more under the same title in 1770, containing many anecdotes of the Italian literati, and notices of his own history and opinions. His other publications are, “Anni rustici Januarius,” Groningen, 1767; and “Aves Frisicse,Rotterdam, 1787, in which he describes in Ovidian style, and with a happy imitation of that poet, ten different birds; the lark, the crossbill, the inagpy, &c. The notes to this poem evince a great knowledge of natural history, and many facts respecting these birds which are not generally known. Heerkens was a physician, but of his character or practice in that profession we have no information. The Diet. Hist, mentions is death as having taken place in 1780, which must be wrong, as in the last-mentioned publication he promises a continuation. It does not appear that he was dead in 1803, when Saxius published his last volume. 1


Dict. Hist. Saxii Onovnast. Month. Rev. vol. LXXVII.