Magnon, John

, a French poet of the seventeenth century, was bred up as an advocate, and for some time followed that profession at Lyons. He then became a dramatic writer, and produced several pieces, of which the least bad is a tragedy called Artaxerxes; this has some plot, good sentiments, and characters tolerably supported. He then conceived the extraordinary project of writing an encyclopaedia in verse, which was to consist of ten volumes, each containing twenty thousand verses. Being asked, after some time, when this work would be finished “Very soon,” said he, “I have now only a hundred thousand verses to write.” His project, however, was cut off, notwithstanding this near approach to its conclusion, as he was murdered by thieves at Paris, in 1662. His verses were bad enough to account for his facility in producing them, yet he was a friend of Moliere. A part of his great work appeared in folio in 1663, with the magnificent title of “Science Universelle.” The preface was still more pompous: “Libraries,” says he, “will hereafter be for ornament only, not use.” Yet how few contain this wonderful work! 2


Moreri. —Dict. Hist. A copy of jhis “Science Undersells” is to the British Museum.