Parny, Evariste-Desire-Desforges, Chevalier, and afterwards Vicomte de Parny, a French writer, needs mention here for his profanity, immoral tendency, and vile blasphemy of the Bible and its teachings. He was born in the Isle of Bourbon Feb. 6, 1753. At the age of nine he was sent to France and placed at the College of Rennes; but he appears to have shown considerable indifference to the course of studies which was followed there. His imagination, which even at an early age had taken the almost entire guidance of his conduct, impressed him as he grew up with the belief that he was called upon to embrace the ecclesiastical profession, and it is said that he attempted to join the brotherhood of La Trappe. An effort of imprudent zeal, however, on the part of the confessor whom he had chosen as his spiritual guide, produced a rapid change in the mind of the young convert, and he is related to have fallen into an opposite extreme of conduct, and soon after, entering into all the dissipations of youth, finally to have enrolled himself in the military profession. He returned to his native island at the age of twenty, where he became acquainted with a young creole lady, the Eleonore of his verse, which acquaintance his fervent imagination soon converted into the most ardent attachment. Their mutual love inspired his first poetical effusions, which paint with grace and freshness, though perhaps in too vivid colors, the all absorbing passion of his soul. The affections, however of the lady were of an evanescent nature; a marriage of interest, which she contracted at the desire of her parents, induced Parny to return to France. Distance and time were unable to efface his sad reminiscences, and he there continued to translate into the language of poetry the feelings which appear to have taken a lasting possession of his mind. In 1775 was published his first collection of elegiac poems, which have been so much admired by his countrymen that they have earned for him the title of the French Tibullus. On the breaking, out of the French Revolution he became deprived of the property which he had inherited from his father, and he was compelled to obtain a livelihood by the cultivation of his talents. A painful and striking change now appears in his writings, which he had the weakness to adapt to the prevalent taste of a corrupt age. The rival of Tibullus became the feeble copyist of Voltaire, and his Paradis perdu, Galanteries de la Bible, and
Guerre des Dieux, by their disgusting profaneness and absence of genuine poetical feeling, will only be remembered by posterity as indications of the state of society at a period when "everything evil was rank and luxuriant." So strong indeed was the feeling excited against Parny even in France on account of the last mentioned of these three poems that his name was repeatedly passed over among the candidates for the honors of the Institute. However, he was admitted into it in 1803, in the place of Devaines. Most of his other poems are, with few exceptions, inferior to his early productions. He died in Paris Dec. 5, 1814. His works have been published in 5. vols. 18mo by. Didot, Paris, 1808, and at Brussels, in 2- vols. 8vo. The best edition, however, is that by M. Boissonnade in the Collection de Classiques Francais (Lefevre, Paris, 1827). A. volume was published, in 1826, entitled Les Poesies inedites de Parny, with a notice of his life and writings by M. Tissot. See English Cyclop. s.v.; St. Beuve, Causeries du Lundi, 15:285 sq.; Tissot, Notice sur la Vie et les Ouvrages de M. de Parny (1826).