Page images

thirst, asked for drink. Combat between thirty English and thirty Bretons (March 27, 1351). La Bataille de trente Anglais et de trente Bretons.

Bon roi, roi avare. J'aime mieux

être ridicule aux courtisans que lourd au peuple. (An avaricious king is a good king. I prefer being ridiculous to the courtiers than oppressive to the people.)

Saying of LOUIS XII (1462-1515). He added: Le menu du peuple est la proye du gentilhomme et du soldat, et ceux-ci sont la proye du diable. (The lower classes are the prey of the gentleman and the soldier, and these are the prey of the devil) Brûler n'est pas répondre. (Burn

ing is not replying.)—Moniteur, Jan. 10, 1794, p. 446. Words quoted by CAMILLE DESMOULINS (1762-94) to ROBESpierre, Jan. 7, 1794.-"C'est fort bien dit, Robespierre; mais je te répondrai comme Rousseau: 'Brûler n'est pas répondre.' (It is very well said, Robespierre; but I shall answer with Rousseau that Burning, etc.). Grimm (under date Sep. 15, 1762) says that a brochure entitled Mes doutes sur la mort des jésuites has been burnt by order of Parliament, but that the author [said to be the Abbé de Caveirac] says, "Brûler n'est pas répondre."

Ça fait tant de plaisir et ça coûte si peu. (That gives so much pleasure, and costs so little.)

Saying derived from a remark by Mlle. GAUSSIN (d. 1767, aged 56), a celebrated actress of the ComédieFrançaise. "Que voulez-vous? cela leur fait tant de plaisir, et il m'en coûte si peu. (Under date Jan. 30, 1762)-Bachaumont, Mémoires, vol. I, p. 34 note a (1777).

[ocr errors]

Also mentioned in Grimm's Correspondance, June 15, 1767, and Jan. 1778.

Ça ira. (That will succeed). See (La Révolution française, pp. 513-29, June 4, 1899).

Title of a Revolutionary song (1790), in France, the authorship of which is uncertain. By some it is attributed to DUPUIS (1742-1809), by others to LADRÉ, a street singer. The tune was taken from the Carillon National (air de contredanse), composed by BÉCOURT. It is said that the expression is derived from a saying of FRANKLIN (1706-90), who, when asked what would become of the American Republic, answered, "Ca ira, ça ira."Chronique de Paris, May 4, 1792, p. 499. Franklin's words are given as "Ça ira, ça tiendra" (That will succeed, that will last), in G. de Cassagnac's Histoire des Girondins, etc. (E. Dentu) vol. I, p. 373. Camille, tu ne m'en veux pas;

nous avons dès le commen-
cement défendu la même
cause; je fais des vœux
pour que tu n'en sois pas
la victime ainsi que moi.
(Camille, thou art not angry
with me;
we have defended
the same cause from the be-
I pray that thou
mayest not be the victim of it
as well as I.)

BARNAVE (1761-93) to CAMILLE DESMOULINS, after being condemned to death by the revolutionary tribunal (1793).

Car tel est notre plaisir. (For such is our pleasure.)

Formula appended to edicts, proclamations, orders, etc., of French monarchs, and first used in the reign (1461-83) of LOUIS XI. Suppressed in the reign (1830-48) of Louis-Philippe. The phrase underwent various modifications in suc

cessive reigns. Another form, often quoted, is "Car tel est notre bon plaisir," and there are instances of its use in the reign of Louis XVI. in 1787-8.

Catilina est aux portes de Rome


et l'on délibère! (Catilina is
at the gates of Rome and you
are deliberating !)

Honoré Gabriel Riquetti, COMTE
MIRABEAU (1749-91)—in a
speech to the Constituent Assembly.
See Hannibal ad portas.
Ce fanfaron de crimes. (This

boaster of crimes.)-St. Simon,
Mémoires, vol. vi., p. 268.

LOUIS XIV (1638-1715)—of his nephew, the duc d'Orléans, afterwards Regent of France. Ce gros garçon gâtera tout.

(This fat fellow will spoil all.) LOUIS XII. (1462-1515)—of his son-in-law, the comte d' Angouleme (afterwards Francis I.), who borrowed large sums on the strength of his royal relationship. See François Ier., apres tout &c.

Cela fera un bel effet. (That will have a fine effect.) Derniers momens, p. 258.

GENERAL C.-F. DE MALET(17541812) on the road to the scaffold, when passing the place des Invalides, Paris, referring to the dome of the Hôtel des Invalides, then being gilded.

Cela ne va pas ; cela s'en va. (It

doesn't go; it's going away.) FONTENELLE (1657-1757), when dying, was asked "Comment cela va-t-il?" (How goes it?) and replied as above-a jeu de mots. Cela ne va pas si vite, Père Joseph. (Not so fast as that, Father Joseph.)

CARDINAL RICHELIEU (15851642) to PÈRE JOSEPH à propos of a military expedition, the latter making troops move on a map without taking obstacles into account. "Cela ne va pas si vite, Père Joseph; où passeront les troupes?" (Not so fast as that, Father Joseph; where will the troops pass?)

Ce livre est un ramas de chefsd'œuvres. (This book is a heap of master-pieces.)

VOLTAIRE (1694-1778), when Frederick II (1712-86) was praising them, had said that not one of La Fontaine's fables would escape On criticism if judged calmly. reading them, however, he impatiently threw down the book saying the above words.

Ce mâtin-là remue tout Paris quand il prêche. (That rascal stirs all Paris when he preaches). Said of BOURDALOUE (1632-1704) by a woman of the people, on seeing the crowd flocking to hear him preach.

Ce n'est pas moi qu'il faut pleurer, c'est la mort de ce grand homme. (It isn't for me that you should weep, but for the death of this great man.) Mémoires de Saint Hilaire, 1766, vol. i, p. 205.

SAINT HILAIRE, lieutenantgeneral of artillery-to his son. A bullet took off Saint Hilaire's arm and mortally wounded TURENNE, who fell dead (1675).

Ce n'est pas parler en roi. (That is not speaking like a king.) BERNARD PALISSY, (1510-90) had embraced the Protestant faith and King Henry III, wishing to save him from the Leaguers, visited him in his prison to persuade him to be converted. "Sire," replied Palissy, vous m'avez dit plusieurs


fois que vous aviez pitié de moi, mais, moi, j'ai pitié de vous qui avez prononcé ces mots : J'y suis contraint! Ce n'est pas parler en roi." (Sire, you have several times told me you pitied me; but I pity you who have uttered these words: I am compelled to do it! That is not speaking like a king). Palissy died in prison at the age of 80 (1590).

Cependant, sire, la postérité dis

tinguera toujours Louis le Grand de Louis le Gros. (Still, sire, posterity will always distinguish between Louis le Grand [Great] and Louis le Gros [Fat].)

Remark made by BOILEAU (16361711) to Louis XIV concerning the preference of the latter for the word Gros in place of Grand.

Ce sera la meilleure des républiques. (It will be the best of the republics.)— Mémoires posthumes d'Odilon Barrot.

Attributed to GENERAL LA FAYETTE (1757-1834) at his interview with the Duke of Orleans (afterwards Louis-Philippe), Aug. 1, 1830. The words ". . . c'est la meilleure des républiques" (it is &c.) are given in the Moniteur universel of Aug. 8, 1830, as having been said by Lafay ette the day before, and M. Louis Blanc (Histoire de dix ans, vol. i, p. 347, 1841 edition) attributes to ODILON BARROT the phrase duc d'Orleans est la meilleure des republiqnes" (The Duke of Orleans, &c) and as said on July 30, 1830, in reply to the republicans sent to the Hôtel de Ville by the Lointier meeting.


Ces gens tremblent, ils sont à

nous. (These people tremble, they are ours.)

Attributed to the Duc ANNE DE JOYEUSE (1561-87), on seeing the king of Navarre's soldiers kneel

down to pray before the battle of Coutras (1587). The duke thought they were on their knees for pardon.

CHARLES THE BOLD (1433-77) is said to have made a similar remark at the battle of Granson (1476) on seeing the Swiss kneel.

C'est à pareille époque que j'ai

fait instituer le Tribunal révolutionnaire ; j'en demande pardon à Dieu et aux hommes. (It is at such a time that I have caused the revolutionary tribunal to be instituted; I ask forgiveness for it of God and men.) H. Riouffe, Mémoires d'un détenu (Didot) p.


DANTON (1759-94)-when awaiting the decision of the tribunal as to his own fate.

C'est assez de gémir sur la perte d'un fils dont je n'ai pas assez pleuré la naissance. (It is enough grieving over the loss of a son over whose birth I have not wept enough.)

MME. DE LA VALLIÈRE (c. 16421710) on learning the death of her son Louis de Bourbon, comte de Vermandois.

C'est bien, mais il y a des lon

gueurs. (It is well, but there are lengthy portions.) Esprit de Rivarol, 1808, p. 161. Reply by RIVAROL (1753-1801) when asked his opinion of a distich. Also attributed to TURGOT (172781).

C'est de la boue dans un bas de soie. (It is mud in a silk stocking.) Chateaubriand, Mémoires d'outre tombe, 1849, vol. 5, p. 402.

Attributed to LORD GRANVILLE, (1815-91) by Chateaubriand, alluding to TALLEYRAND.-In a footnote on the above-named page

Chateaubriand says, "J'affaiblis l'expression" (I soften the expression). Fournier (p. 424 note) says that the phrase is also attributed to Fox. C.-A. Ste-Beuve, in M. de Talleyrand, (Lévy, 1870, p. 37 note) gives it as "C'est un bas de soie rempli de boue" (It is a silk stocking filled with mud) and as having been said by LORD GRANVILLE, but that General Bertrand, in an account of a scene that he had witnessed between Napoleon and Talleyrand, added that the last words were: "Tenez, monsieur, vous n'êtes que de la m dans un bas de soie." (Look here, in a sir, you are only silk stocking). EARL OF LAUDERDALE (1759-1839), minister to France in 1806 is also credited with the phrase. All agree, however, that Talleyrand is alluded to. C'est dommage de s'en aller; ça


commence à devenir amusant. (It is a pity to go away : it is beginning to be amusing.) Death bed utterance of JOSEPHLOUIS GAY LUSSAC (1778-1850) -alluding to the various new scientific discoveries and inventions then being made.

C'est fini, messieurs, je pars pour le grand voyage. (It is ended, I gentlemen ; start for the great journey.)

GONTAUT-BIRON (1562-1602)— when condemned to death (beheaded, July 31, 1602). He is also said to have offered a glass of wine to the executioner, saying, “Prenez, vous devez avoir besoin du courage au metier que vous faites." (Take some, you must need courage for the work you do)

C'est grand' pitie quand le valet chasse le maître. (It is a great pity when the valet turns out the master.)-L'Estoile.

ACHILLE DE HARLAY (15361616) chief president of the Paris Parliament, used these words to the DE GUISE after the day of the Barricades when the victorious duke came to him in the hope of obtaining his adhesion.


C'est l'acteur qui m'empêche de

vous entendre. (It is the
actor who prevents my hearing
you.) Goizet, Hist. anecdo-
tique, &c. 1867, p. 56.

Attributed to ALEXIS PIRON (1689-1773). The poet was annoyed by some one next him humming all the tunes of Rousseau's Devin du village beforehand, and made an unOn the complimentary remark. person in question asking whether this was addressed to him, Piron replied, "Oh, non ! monsieur, c'est à l'acteur, &c. (Oh, no sir, it is to the actor, &c.) A similar anecdote, however, is found in Mélange amusant, &c. vol 12, p. 452 (1829). C'est le commencement de la fin !

(It is the beginning of the end!) Attributed to TALLEYRAND(17541838) by Sainte-Beuve (see his work on M. de Talleyrand, ch. 3) alluding to the disasters of the Russian Lockhart (in campaign, in 1812.

his Life of Napoleon, vol. 2, p. 205) also credits Talleyrand with the phrase, but Fournier (L'Esprit dans 'Histoire) says that it was suggested to him by M. de Vitrolles. Also quoted, Voilà le commencement de la fin. (There's the beginning of the end)

C'est le lapin qui a commencé. (The rabbit began it.)

The story goes that a dog passing through a market killed a rabbit and although its master offered to pay ten times the value of the rabbit, the rabbit's owner insisted on going before the police commissary. A

boy, hearing the dispute, undertook for a consideration, to depose that the rabbit began it. The phrase attained equal popularity in Ger


C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est

pas la guerre (It is magnificent, but it is not war.) GENERAL BOSQUET (1810-61), afterwards marshal of France, refering to the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava, Oct. 28, 1854.

C'est ma guerre à moi. (It is my war.)


Attributed to the EUGENIE (b. 1826) wife of Napoleon III, referring to the declaration of war between France and Germany in 1870. It is said, however, that it originates from a remark made by a politician at the time : C'est la guerre à l'impératrice. (It is the Empress's war)

C'est nous qui sommes


ancêtres. (It is we who are ancestors.) Le Clairon, March II, 1882.

Attributed to MARSHAL SOULT (1769-1851), the Duc de Montmorency having said to him, "Vous êtes duc, mais vous n'avez pas d'ancêtres." (You are a duke, but you have no ancestors) "C'est vrai," replied Soult, "c'est nous," &c. (That is true, it is we, &c.,) Another version (A. Combes, Hist. &c., de Soult, 1869, p. 102) gives the phrase as "Est-ce que je ne suis pas un ancêtre, moi?" (Am I not an ancestor ?)

C'est par la gloire que les peuples

libres sont menés à l'esclavage. (It is through glory that free nations are brought to slavery.)

CHATEAUBRIAND (1761-1848)— in the French Chamber, March 2, 1818. Cf. Fabre d' Eglantine, Le

Triomphe de Grétry: "Le cri d'un peuple libre est celui de la gloire." (A free people's cry is that of glory). C'est par le travail qu'on règne. (It is by work that one reigns.) Saying of Louis XIV (1638-1715). C'est plus qu'un crime, c'est une faute. (It is more than a crime,

it is a blunder.)

Attributed both to JOSEPH FOUCHÉ (1763-1820) and TALLEYRAND* (1754-1838), referring to the death of the duc d'Enghien, who was tried by court-martial at II p.m., one day, found guilty and condemned to death at 2 a.m., and shot between 4 and 5 a.m., the next morning (Mar. 21, 1804). Fouché, in his Mémoires, says: "Je ne fus



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

pas celui qui osa s'exprimer avec "le moins de ménagement sur cet attentat contre le droit des nations et de l'humanité. 'C'est plus qu'un 'crime, dis-je, c'est une faute!' paroles que je rapporte parce qu'elles ont été répétées et attri"buées à d'autres." (I was not he who dared to express himself with the least moderation regarding this violation of the rights of nations and of humanity. "It is more than a crime, I say it is a blunder!" words that I record because they have been repeated and attributed to others) Napoleon, in his Mémorial, refers to 'Fouché as being the Talleyrand "of the clubs, and Talleyrand, the "Fouché of the Salons.' Ste. Beuve, M. de Talleyrand (1870) ch. 2. p. 79, quotes the phrase as C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute" and (pp. 79-80) says that he has been assured that it was in reality uttered by BOULAY (de la Meurthe). Boulay de la Meurthe, in les Dernières anneés du duc d'Enghien, says (referring to his execution) "Dans ce milieu où depuis long.

[ocr errors]

*But see Histoire des deux Restaurations, vol, 1, p. 92, 1858.

« PreviousContinue »