S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.
The Great Condé
[Louis II. de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, commonly called “the great;” born in Paris, 1621; gained a victory over the Spaniards at Rocroi, 1643; and over the Germans at Nordlingen, 1645; commanded the royalists in the Fronde, until arrested and imprisoned in the Bastille; having been sentenced to death, entered the service of Spain, until the treaty of the Pyrenees, 1659; died 1686.]
Would to God it were Molière bringing me yours! (J’aimerais mieux que ce fût lui qui me présentât la vôtre!)
To a versifier who brought him an epitaph he had composed for Molière.Demonax replied to Admetus, a bad poet, who showed him an epitaph he had written upon himself in one verse, “It is so pretty, I wish it were there already!”The manners of the great Condé partook more of the camp than of the court. One day the son of the Duc d’Epernon spoke several times of his own father, prefixing in each case the word “Monsieur.” Disgusted by so unnecessary a use of titles, Condé called out, “Monsieur the master of horse, tell monsieur my coachman to harness messieurs my horses to my carriage” (M. l’écuyer, allez dire à M. mon cocher qu’il mette MM. mes chevaux à mon carosse).Boileau, who used great freedom with Louis XIV., quailed before Condé. “I can argue before the king,” he said, “but am silent before Condé;” and on another occasion he referred to the tone of a victorious general which the hero of Nordlingen carried into literary circles: “Henceforth I shall agree with M. le prince, especially when he is wrong.”Condé and Turenne were opposed to one another during the troubles of the Fronde; and Condé was asked why he did not take his antagonist prisoner, he was near him so often. “I am afraid he’ll take me,” was the frank reply.
Your majesty is the master, but I pray him to make me the janitor.
When the king claimed a right to the prince’s château of Chantilly, under the treaty with Spain, which country Condé had supported. Louis XIV. understood the answer to his question what the price of it was, and dropped the subject. The estate is now owned by the Duc d’Aumale, son of Louis Philippe.When asked in his last days to write his memoirs, the prince replied, “All that I have done is worthy only of oblivion: write the king’s history, then all other memoirs will be superfluous.”