Titon, Verard

, the projector of a French Parnassus, was the son of one of the king’s secretaries, and born at Paris in 1677. He studied at the Jesuits’ college in Paris, where he acquired a taste for the belles lettres that predominated during the whole of his life. Being destined for the military profession, he had in his fifteenth year a company of 100 fuzileers, which bore his name; and was afterwards a captain of dragoons. After | the peace of Ryswick, he purchased the place of maitre d‘hotel to the dauphiness, the mother of Louis XV. Losing this situation at her death, he took a trip to Italy, and there improved his taste in painting, of which he was esteemed a connoisseur. On his return he was appointed provincial commissary at war, an office in which he conducted himself with uncommon generosity. His attachment to Louis XIV. and his admiration of the men of genius of that monarch’s time, induced him, in 1708, to project a Parnassus, in bronze, to commemorate the glories of his sovereign, and the genius of the most celebrated poets and musicians. This was no hasty performance, however, for he did not complete his plan before 1713. This Parnassus was nothing else than a mountain, with a good elevation, on which appeared Louis XIV. in the character of Apollo, crowned with laurels, and holding a lyre in his hand. Beneath him were the three French graces, madame de la Suze, madame des Houlieres, and mademoiselle de Scuderi. Round this Parnassus was a grand terras, on which were eight poets and a musician; namely, Peter Corneille, Moliere, Racan, Segrais, La Fontaine, Chapelle, Racine, Boileau, and Lully. Inferior poets were commemorated by medallions. Boileau is said to have been Tillet’s adviser in some part of this scheme, and, his biographer says, it were to be wished that celebrated poet had likewise advised him as to the selection of those on whom he was conferring immortality. His next object was to get this Parnassus erected in some public place or garden. He proposed the scheme therefore to Desforts, the minister then at the head of the ’finances, and asked only, by way of bonus, the place of farmer-general; but Desforts contented himself with praising his disinterestedness. Disappointed in this, he published, in 1727, a description of his work under the title of “Le Parnasse Francois,1732, fol. and afterwards three supplements, the last in 1760, containing the lives of the poets down to the last date; but the grand scheme remained unexecuted. Titon, who is represented as a generous patron of literary merit, died Dec. 26, 1762, at the advanced age of eighty- five. Besides the description of his Parnassus, he published an “Essai sur les honneurs accordés aux Savaiis,” 12mo. 1