Feutry: Verse for Franklin’s Portrait8
DS: American Philosophical Society
Passy, ce 27 avril, 1777.
Vers à mettre sous le Portrait de Monsieur de Franklin etc.
Honneur du Nouveau Monde et de L’humanité,
ce sage aimable et vrai Les guide et les éclaire;
comme un autre Mentor, il cache à L’oeil vulgaire,
sous les traits d’un Mortel, une Divinité.
Par son très sincere et très humble admirateur
8. Augustin de Saint-Aubin, engraver for the King’s library, was making the print, based on a sketch by Charles-Nicolas Cochin. These verses were designed for that engraving, but it went on sale the following June without them; they were later attached to another, by Juste Chevillet from the Duplessis portrait painted in 1778. Charles C. Sellers, Benjamin Franklin in Portraiture (New Haven and London, 1962), pp. 227–8, 247–9. BF sent the Chevillet print to Mrs. Jay, with the comment that “the Verses at the Bottom are truly extravagant. But you must know that the Desire of pleasing by a perpetual use of Compliments in this polite Nation, has so us’d up all the common Expressions of Approbation, that they are become flat and insipid, and to use them almost implies Censure.” To John Jay, June 13, 1780, Columbia University Library.