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church of Bisignano, in Calabria, where he died three years after, in 1667. He wrote several controversial and theological works; two dictionaries, one, “ Latin and Persian;" the other, “ Armenian and Latin ;” “An Armenian Grammar;" and "A Directory;" all of which have. been esteemed of great utility.'
PIRON (Alexis), a French dramatic poet, was born at Dijon in 1689, where he lived till he was past thirty, in all the dissipation of a young man of pleasure. At length, baving given great offence to his countrymen by an ode which he produced, be removed to Paris ; where, as his relations could not give bim much assistance, he supported himself by his talent of writing an admirable hand. He was first secretary to M. Bellisle, and afterwards to a financier, who little suspected that he had such a genius in his house. By degrees be became known, from producing several small pieces, full of originality, at a little theatre in Paris; till the comedy called “ Metromanie,” esteemed one of the best produced in the last century, raised his fame to the highest point. His very singular talent for conversation, in which he was always lively, and inexhaustible in wit, contributed to enhance his popularity; and as his coinpany was more courted for a time than that of Voltaire, who trad less good humour, he was inclined to fancy himself superior to that writer. Many traits of his wit are related, which convey, at the same time, the notion that he estimated himself very highly.
At the first represeutation of Voltaire's Semiramis, which was ill received, the author asked him in the theatre what he thought of it? “ I think,” said he, “that you would be very glad that I had written it.” The actors wishing him to alter one of his pieces, affronted him by using the word “ corrections," instead of alterations. They pleaded that Voltaire always listened to their wishes in that respect. 6. What then ?” replied Piron, “ Voltaire works cabinet-work, I cast in bronze.” The satirical turn of Piron kept him from a seat in the academy. “I never could make nine-and-thirty people,” said be, “think as I do, still less could I ever think with them.” He sought, however, a species of revenge, in the epitaph which he wrote for himself :
Cy gît Piron, qui ne fut rien,
Pas même Academicien. “Here lies Piron, who was nothing, not even an academician."
? Dici. Hist.
He died of the effects of a fall, Jan. 21, 1773. His works have been collected in seven vols. 8vo, and nine 12mo. But it is agreed, that out of the seven, five at least might be spared ; since, besides his “ Metromapie," his “ Gustavus," a tragedy; his “ Courses de Tempe,” a pastoral piece ; some odes, about twenty epigrams, and one or two tales, there is very little in the whole collection that is above mediocrity. His comedies are reckoned better than his tragedies; and the prefaces to his dramas, though not excellent in point of style, are full of new and agreeable thoughts, with natural and happy turns of wit and expression."
PISAN (CHRISTINA DE), an Italian by birth, but the author of many compositions in French prose and verse, was horn at Venice about 1363, being the daughter of Thomas Pisan, of Bologna, much celebrated at that time as an astrologer. When she was five years old, her father settled with her in France, and her extraordinary beauty and wit procured her an excellent husband by the time she was fifteen. After ten years she lost this husband, Stephen Castel, by whom she was most tenderly beloved, and found her chief resource for comfort and subsistence in her pen; her husband's fortune being entangled in several law-suits. Charles VI. of France, and other princes, noticed and assisted her on account of her talents, and provided for her children. When she died is uncertain. Some of her poems, which are full of tenderness, were printed at Paris in 1529, others remain in manuscript in the royal library. “ The Life of Charles V.” written by desire of Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, is considered as her best performance in prose. It is preserved in MS. in the library of the king of France, but a transcript was published by the abbé Le Beuf in the third volume of " Dissertations on the Ecclesiastical History of Paris," where he gives a Life of Christina. She wrote also “ An hundred Stories of
Troy,” in rhyme; “ The Treasure of the City of Dames,' Paris, 1497; “ The Long Way,” translated by John Chraperon, 1549, under the title of “Le Chemin de long étendue." In the Harleian collection of MSS. (No. 219, 5) is a piece by Christina entitled “ Epistre d’Othea deese de Prudence a Hector, &c. Mis en vers François, et dedié a Charles. V. de France.” Anthony Widville, earl Rivers, translated a work of hers, we know not whether included in any of the above, entitled “ The Moral Proverbs of Christian of Pyse," printed by Caxton. Lord Orford, who has noticed this work in his account of Widville, has also introduced an account of Christina, wbich, although written in his flippant and sarcastic manner, contains some interesting particulars of her history.
1 Dict. Hist.-Necrologie pour aunee 1774.
PISCATOR (John), a protestant German divine, was born at Strasburgh in 1546. In his early studies he acquired the character of an able philosopher, but was most approved as a commentator on the scriptures. He inclined at first to the Lutheran opinions, but afterwards embraced those of Calvin, and lastly endeavoured to give an Arminian modification of some of the Calvinistic opinions respecting original sin, grace, and predestination, which, as usual, pleased neither party. He was for some time professor of divinity in the newly-established university of Herborn, where he died in 1626, in the eightieth year of his age. Besides a translation of the Bible into German, he wrote commentaries, in Latin, on the Bible, first printed in 8vo, afterwards in 4 vols. fol. 1643, &c. and many controversial treatises.
PISO. See POIS.
PISTORIUS (John), a learned divine, was born February 4, 1546, at Nidda. He first took a doctor's degree in physic, but, as he did not succeed according to his hopes, he studied the law, and was counsellor to Ernest Frederic, margrave of Baden Dourlach, whom he persuaded to embrace the protestant religion, but turned catholic himself sometime after. After the death of his wife he was admitted doctor in divinity, was made counsellor to the emperor, provost of the cathedral at Breslaw, and domestic prelate of the abbey of Fulde. He died in 1608, at Friburg. He left several controversial tracts against the Lutherans, “ Scriptores Rerum Polonicarum,” 1582, 3 vols. fol.; “ Scriptores de Rebus Germanicis," 1607, 1613, 3 vols. fol. a curious collection, which Struvius very much improved in a new edition published at Ratisbon in 1726, 3 vols. fol. Pistorius also published an edition of “ Artis cabalisticæ Scriptores," Basil, 1587, fol.
PITCAIRNE (ARCHIBALD), an eminent Scotch physician' of the mechanical sect, was descended from an ancient family in the county of Fife, and born at Edinburgh Dec. 25, 1652. After some classical education at the school of Dalkeith, he was removed in 1668 to the univera sity of Edinburgh; where, baving gone through a course of philosophy, he obtained in 1671 his degree of M. A. and studied first divinity, which does not appear to have been to his taste, and then the civil law, which was more seriously the object of his choice, and he pursued it with so much intenseness as to impair his health. He was then advised to travel to Montpelier in France, but found himself recovered by the time he reached Paris. He determined to pursue the study of the law in the university there ; but there being no able professor of it, and meeting with some of his countrymen, who were students in physic, he went with them to the lectures and hospitals. A few months after, he was called home by his father; and now, having laid in the first elements of all the three professions, he found himself absolutely undetermined which to follow. In the mean time he applied himself to the mathematics, in which he made a very great progress; and an acquaintance which he formed with Dr. David Gregory, the celebrated mathematical professor, probably conduced to cherish his natural aptitude for this study. At length, struck with the charms of mathematical truth which been lately introduced into the philosophy of medicine, and hoping to reduce the healing art to geometrical method, be unalterably determined in favour of medicine as a profession. As there was however at this time no medical school in Edinburgh, no hospital, nor opportunity of improvement but the chamber and the shop, he returned to Paris about 1675, and cultivated the object of his pursuit with diligence and steadiness. Among his various occupations, the study of the ancient physicians seems to have had a principal share. This appears from a treatise which he published some time after his return, “ Solutio problematis de inventoribus, which shews that he wisely determined to know the progress of medicine from its earliest periods, before he attempted to reform and improve that science. 1680 he received from the faculty of Rheims the degree of Doctor, which in 1699 was likewise conferred on him by the uviversity of Aberdeen, and he was likewise appointed a member of the college of surgeons of Edinburgh in 1701. He was before chosen a member of the royal college of physicians of Edinburgh from the time it was established by charter in 1681,
1 Dict. Hist.-Iord Orford's Works, vol. I. p. 288 and 553." 2 Freheri Thea'rum.-Mosheim, and particularly the translator's notes. 3 Moreri.--Dict. Hist.
In August On bis return to Edinburgh, which was about the time of the revolution, he presently came into good business, and acquired an extensive reputation. Such, however, was his attachment to the exiled James II, that he became excluded from public honours and promotion at home, and therefore, having in 1692 received an invitation from the curators of the university of Leyden, to be professor of physic there, he accepted it, and went and made his inauguration speech the 26th of April that year, entitled “ Oratio qua ostenditur medicinam ab omni pbilosophorum secta esse liberam.” He continued there little more than a year; during which short space he published several dissertations, chiefly with a view of shewing the usefulness of mathematics to physic. Pitcairne was the first who introduced the me. chanic principles into that art, now so generally exploded, but they do not appear to have influenced his practice, which did not differ essentially from the present.
He returned to Scotland in 1693, to discharge an engagement to a young lady, who became his second wife, the daughter of sir Archibald Stephenson; an eminent physician in Edinburgh ; and, being soon after married to her, was fully resolved to set out again for Holland; but, the lady's parents being unwilling to part with her, he settled at Edinburgh, and wrote a valedictory letter to the university of Leyden. His lady did not survive her marriage many years; yet she brought him a daughter, who was in 1731 married to the earl of Kelly.
In 1701 he republished his “ Dissertationes Medicæ," with some new ones; and dedicated them to Bellini, professor at Pisa, in return to the same compliment, which Bellini had made him, when he published his “ Opuscula.” They were printed at Rotterdam in one volume 4to, under this title, « Disputationes Medicæ," of which there are eight. The last edition published in' his life-time came out at Edinburgh, a few months before his death, which happened Oct. 13, 1713. Afterwards were published, in 1717, bis lectures to his scholars, under the title of “ Elementa Medicine Physico-Mathematica," although he had taken great pains to prevent the publication of any thing in that
way. He even shews some concern about this in his Dissertation “ de Circulatione Sanguinis in animalibus genitis, et non genitis.” There are editions of his whole works at Venice, 1733, and Leyden, 1737, 4to. In 1996, being hindered by sickness from attending the