||Drama in poetic form reminiscent of Racine's tragedy Athalie. It is an original work based Racine’s French drama and Pietro Metastasio’s Italian Gioas ré di Giuda (Joash, King of Judah) combined into one by David Franco-Mendes. Although much of the work is an elaboration of the earlier works, it is more than a translation, but an elaboration based on the earlier models. The story is based on II Kings 11 where Athalia, queen mother of Ahaziah, seizes the throne after her son’s death and kills all the princes excepting Joash, who is hidden in the Temple by his aunt. At the end there is a revolt, the usurper is killed, and Joash rules. The play is in three acts which are subdivided into scenes. The drama develops the biblical story skillfully emphasizing Athalia’s turbulent soul. There are moving and remorseful monologues by her in a biblical style with Talmudic words and even medieval expressions. The meter follows that of R. Moses Hayyim Luzzatto. There are approbations from R. Solomon Shalem, R. Saul Levinstam, verse in praise of the work and its author from R. Simha Climani of Venice, R. Abraham Shiminis of Ferrara, and R. Samuel Baruch Venevineti. One page in Dutch. There is an introduction and the text, which is in vocalized Hebrew.
David Franco-Mendes (Hofshi-Mendes; 1713–1792), Hebrew poet of the early Haskalah period. Born into an esteemed and affluent Portuguese family in Amsterdam, he received an excellent education and had a command of six languages besides Hebrew. In honor of his marriage to Rachel da Fonseca in 1750, his friend Benjamin Raphael Dias Brandon composed "Keter Torah," an epithalamium. Franco-Mendes was considered an outstanding talmudic scholar and often handed down halakhic decisions. He was a leading Hebrew poet of his time and was greatly influenced by M. H. Luzzatto during his stay in Amsterdam (from 1735). A central figure among a group of Dutch Hebrew poets even prior to the appearance of Ha-Me’assef in 1784, he became a member of Amadores das Musas, a Jewish literary society in 1769, and conducted an extensive correspondence with many Jewish literary personalities abroad. In the same year, he was also appointed honorary secretary of the Sephardi community of Amsterdam. A businessman, he was reduced to poverty in 1778, and compelled from then on to earn his living copying manuscripts. Franco-Mendes was one of the most zealous collaborators in the publication of Ha-Me'assef; Ahavat David (Ha-Me’assef (1785), 48), an article detailing a project for an encyclopedia in Hebrew, is one of his most noteworthy contributions to the periodical. Franco-Mendes was a prolific writer. Many of his biographies of famous Sephardi Jews were published in Ha-Me'assef (1785ff.), and posthumously in Ha-Maggid (1860–66); some of his poems were also published in Ha-Me'assef, but the bulk is still in manuscript. Nir-le-David, responsa from the years 1735 to 1792, was partly published in She'elot u-Teshuvot of the yeshivah Ets Hayyim. Sefer Tikkunim is a critical work on some of the writings of Maimonides. His works on the Portuguese and Spanish Jews of Amsterdam (still in manuscript) are of historical value.