Opits, Martin

, in Latin Opitius, reckoned the father of German poetry, was born at Bunzlau, in Silesia, 1597. His parents had but a moderate fortune; but his father, observing his genius, educated him carefully in grammar, in which he soon made great proficiency: and, after some time, went to Breslaw for farther improvement, and thence to Francfort upon the Oder. He spent a year in that university, and then removed to Heidelberg, where fce studied with remarkable assiduity: but the fame of the celebrated Bernegger drew him, after some time, to Strasbourg and Bernegger was so struck with the learning and wit of Opits, that he pronounced he would one day become the Virgil of Germany. At length be returned, by the way of Tubingen, to Heidelberg; but, the plague beginning to appear in the Palatinate, this, together with the troubles in Bohemia, disposed our. student to travel with a Danish gentleman into the Low Countries; and thence he went to Holstein, where he wrote his books of “Constancy.” As soon as the troubles of Bohemia were a little calmed, he returned to his own country and, that he might not live in obscurity, he frequented the cour$. Bethlem Gabor, prince of Transilvania, having founded a school at Weissenberg, Opits was recommended by Gaspar Conrade, a famous physician and poet at Breslaw, to that prince, who appointed him the school-master or professor; and there he read lectures upon Horace and Seneca. ; Puring his residence in Transilvania, he inquired into the original of the Daci, and the Roman antiquities there. He made also exact researches after the ancient Roman inscriptions, which he sometimes recovered, and sent them to Gruter, Grotius, and Bernegger. Some time after his return home, he was meditating a journey to France, when a burgrave, who was in the emperor’s service, made him his secretary, in which office he contrived to keep up a regular correspondence with Grotius, Heinsius, Salmasius, Rigaltius, and other learned men; and his employer having not only consented to, but furnished him with all the necessaries for his journey to France, he became intimate with Grotius, who then resided at Paris, and in this journey also he collected a good number of manuscripts and curious medals.

Upon the death of his patron the burgrave, he entered into the service of the count of Lignitz, and continued there some time but at last, resolving to retire, he chose | for his residence the town of Dantzic, where he finished his work of the ancient “Daei,” and died of the plague, 1639. He wrote many other pieces besides the abovementioned, the titles of some of which are, “Sylvarum libri duo;” “Epigrammatum liber unus;” “Vesuvius, Poema Germanicum” “Barclay’s Argenis,” translated into German verse a German translation of “Grotius de Veritate,” &c.; “Opera poetica” “Prosodia Germanica;” “The Psalms of David,” translated into German verse. His poems, in correctness and elegance of versification, were so much superior to those of his predecessors, as to obtain for him the title of father of German poetry, but it does not appear that his example was for some time followed. 1