Lorenzo (Jeremiah) da Ponte
Lorenzo (Jeremiah) da Ponte, born at Ceneda, Italy, 1749; died 1837. He belonged to a well-known Jewish family, which had produced the Italian-Turkish diplomatist, Dr. Israel Congeliano. He embraced Christianity, assuming the name of Da Ponte, in honour of a Catholic bishop who was his protector. At an early age he became professor of belles lettres at Treviso, and published various poems, including a political satire, which led to his exile. He went to England and was secretary to the Italian Opera Company in London. Then he went to America, where he wrote various plays, sonnets, critical essays, and a translation of the Psalms. But his best known work is his extremely interesting "Memoirs," which Zuckerman has compared to Franklin's Autobiography. They indicate that even in his youth he was proficient in Hebrew, and the impress of his ancestry and of his early Jewish studies has been discerned by critics of his works and views.