Rochefort, William De

, a modern French writer, was born in 1731, at Lyons. He had an employ ment in | the finances at Cette in Languedoc, which he held for ten years; but having more turn for literature than calculations, he went to Paris, and composed three tragedies upon the Greek models, but had no more success than others who have made similar experiments on the public taste. In prose he published a “Refutation du Systeme de la Nature;” a “Critical History of the opinions of the Ancients concerning Happiness, 1778,” 8vo; and a “Complete Translation of the Plays of Sophocles.” The last-named work gained him much credit by the elegance and fidelity of the version, and the judicious notes annexed to it. He undertook also a complete translation of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, of which the preliminary discourses and the notes obtained more applause than the version itself, which, however, he had splendidly printed at the royal press in 1781, in 4to. He was a member of the academy of inscriptions and belles lettres, to which he contributed several learned memoirs. He died in 1788, highly esteemed for a temper in which there was nothing unsocial or selfish. He was always, we are told, fonder of talking of other people’s works than of his own, a case, it is added, of some singularity in literary company. 1