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greatest works was that for supplying Montpelier with water from sources at the distance of three leagues. For this and other services the king honoured him with the order of St. Michael. He died in 1771, at the age of seventy-six."
PITS, or PITSEUS (John), an English biographer, was born at Alton, in Hampshire, in 1560; and at eleven; sent to. Wykeham's school near Winchester. He was elected thence probationer fellow of New college in Oxford, at eighteen; but, in less than two years, left the kingdom as a voluntary Romish exile, and went to Douay, where he was kindly received by Dr. Thomas Stapleton, who gave him advice relating to his studies. Pursuant to this, he passed from Douay to Rheims; and, after one year spent in the English college there, was sent to the English college at Rome, where he studied seven years, and was then ordained priest. Returning to Rheims about 1589, he held the office of professor of rhetoric and Greek for two years. Towards the latter end of 1590, being appointed governor to a young nobleman, he travelled with him into Lorraine; and, at Pont-a-Mousson, he took the degree of master of arts, and soon after that of bachelor of divinity. Next, going into Upper Germany, he resided a year and a half at Triers; and afterwards removed to Ingolstadt in Bavaria, where he resided three years, and took the degree of doctor of divinity. After having travelled through Italy as well as Germany, and made himself master of the languages of both countries, he went back to Lorraine ; where, being much noticed by Charles cardinal of Lorraine, he was preferred by him to a canonry of Verdun. When he had passed two years there, Antonia, daughter to the duke of Lorraine, who was married to the duke of Cleves, invited him to be her confessor; and, that he might be the more serviceable to her, he learned the French language with so much success, that he often preached in it. In her service he continued twelve years; during which time he studied the bistories of England, ecclesiastical and civil, whence he made large collections and observations concerning the most illustrious personages. On the death of the duchess of Cleves he returned a third time to Lorraine, where, by the favour of John bishop of Toul, formerly his scholar, he was promoted to the deanery of Liverdun, a city of Lorraine, which was of considerable
value. This, with a canonry and an officialship of the same church, he held to the day of his death, which happened at Liverdun in 1616. He published three treatises : “ De Legibus," Triers, 1592; “ De Beatitudine," Ingolst. 1595; «De Peregrinatione,” Dusseld. 1604.
During the leisure he enjoyed, while confessor to the duchess of Cleves, he employed himself in that work which alone has made him known to posterity, in compiling “The Lives of the Kings, Bishops, Apostolical Men, and Writers of England." They were comprised in four large volumes; the first containing the lives of the kings; the second, of the bishops ; the third, of the apostolical men; and the fourth, of the writers. The three first are preserved in the archives of the collegiate church of Verdun: the fourth only was published, and that after his decease, at Paris, 1619, and 1623, in 4to, under the title of “ J. Pitsei Angli, &c. Relationum Historicarum de Rebus Anglicis tomus primus ;' but the running title, and by which it is oftenest quoted, is, “De Illustribus Angliæ Scriptoribus.” It is divided into four parts; the first of which is preliminary matter, “ De laudibus Historiæ, de Antiquitate Ecclesiæ Britannicæ, de Academiis tam antiquis Britonum quam recentioribus Anglorum.". The second part contains the lives and characters of three hundred English writers; the third is an “ Appendix of some Writers, in alphabetical order, and divided into four Centuries," together with “An Index of English Books, written by unknown Authors.” The last part consists of “ Fifteen Alphabetical Indexes,” forming a kind of epitome of the wbole work. Pits appears to have acted in a very disingenuous manner, especially in the second part of this work; the greater part of which he has taken without any acknowledgment from Bale's book “ De Scriptoribus majoris Britanniæ,” while he takes every opportunity to shew his abhorrence both of Bale and his work. He pretends also to follow, and familiarly quotes, Leland's “ Collectanea de Scriptoribus Angliæ;" whereas the truth is, as Wood and others have observed, he never saw them, being but twenty years of age, or little more, when he left the nation : neither - was it in his power afterwards, if he had been in England, because they were kept in such private hands, that few pro-testant antiquaries, and none of those of the church of Rome, could see or peruse them. What therefore he pretends to have from Leland, he takes at second-hand from Bale. His work is also full of partiality: for he entirely
leaves out Wickliffe and his followers, together with the Scots and Irish writers, who are for the most part commemorated by Bale; and in their room gives an account of the Roman catholic writers, such especially as had left the kingdom, after the Reformation in queen Elizabeth's reign, and sheltered themselves at Rome, Douay, Louvain, &c. This, however, is the best and most valuable part of Pits's work.-Pits was a man of abilities and learning. His style is clear, easy, and elegant; but he wants accuracy, and has fallen into many mistakes in his accounts of the British writers. His work, however, will always be thought of use, if it be only that “ Historia quoquo modo scripta delectat.'
PITT (CHRISTOPHER), an English poet, was born in 1699 at Blandford, the son of a physician much esteemed. He was, in 1714, received as a scholar into Winchester college, where he was distinguished by exercises of uncommon elegance; and, at his removal to New college in 1719, presented to the electors, as the product of his private and voluntary studies, a complete version of Lucan's poem, which he did not then know to have been translated by Rowe. This is an instance of early diligence which well deserves to be recorded. The suppression of such a work, recommended by such uncommon circumstances, is to be regretted. It is indeed culpable, to load libraries with superfluous books; but incitements to early excellence are never superfluous, and from this example the danger is not great of many imitations. When he had resided at bis college three years, he was presented to the rectory of Pimpern in Dorsetshire, 1722, by his relation, Mr. Pitt of Stratfeildsea in Hampshire ; and, resigning his fellowship, continued at Oxford two years longer, till he became M. A. 1724. He probably about this time translated “ Vida's Art of Poetry," which Tristram's elegant edition had then made popular. In this translation he distinguished himself, both by the general elegance of his style, and by the skilful adaptation of his numbers to the images expressed ; a beauty which Vida has with great ardour enforced and exemplified. He then retired to his living, a place very pleasing by its situation, and therefore likely to excite the imagination of a poet ; where he passed the rest of his life, reverenced for his virtue, and beloved for the softness of his temper, and the easiness of his man
I Ath. Ox. vol. I.-Biog. Brit.-Dodd's Church History.
ners. Before strangers he had something of the scholar's timidity and diffidence; but, when he became familiar, he was in a very high degree cheerful and entertaining. His general benevolence procured general respect; and he passed a life placid and honourable, neither too great for the kindness of the low, nor too low for the notice of the great. At what time he composed his “ Miscellany,” published in 1727, it is not easy nor necessary to know: those poems which have dates appear to have been very early productions. The success of his “Vida" animated him to a higher undertaking; and in his thirtieth year he published a version of the first book of the Æneid. This being commended by his friends, he some time afterwards added three or four more; with an advertisement in which he represents himself as translating with great indifference, and with a progress of which himself was hardly conscious. At last, without any further contention with his modesty, or any awe of the name of Dryden, he gave a complete English “ Æneid,” which we advise our readers to peruse with that of Dryden. It will be pleasing to have an op
perOLIUTAT Dortunity of comparing the two best translations that
Theus were ever produced by one nation of the same author. txo Pitt, engaging as a rival with Dryden, naturally observed
his failures and avoided them; and, as he wrote after Pope's Log Iliad, he had an example of an exact, equable, and splen
did versification. With these advantages, seconded by great diligence, he might successfully labour particular passages, and escape many errors. If the two versions are compared, perhaps the result will be, that Dryden leads the reader forward by his general vigour and sprightliness, and Pitt often stops him to contemplate the excellence of a single couplet; that Dryden's faults are forgotten in the hurry of delight, and that Pitt's beauties are neglected in the languor of a cold and listless perusal ; that Pitt pleases the critics, and Dryden the people; that Pitt, is quoted, and Dryden read. He did not long enjoy the reputation which this great work deservedly conferred; for he died April 15, 1743, and lies buried under a stone at Blandford, with an inscription, which celebrates his candour, and primitive simplicity of manners; and says that he lived innocent, and died beloved; an encomium neither slight nor common, though modestly expressed.
| Johnson's Lives. Preface to Warton's Virgil.
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Palsgrave, John... .68