Saturday, April 20, 2019


With His Last Breath

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953), Avril, Being Essays on the Poetry of the French Renaissance (1904; rpt. London: Duckworth, 1931), pp. 131-132 (on Malherbe):
His zeal for his tongue was real. As he lay upon his death-bed making his confession after so vigorous a life, he heard his nurse say something to herself which sounded ungrammatical and, turning round from the priest, he put her right in a manner most violent and sudden. His confessor, startled, said: "The time is not relevant." "All times are relevant!" he answered, sinking back. "I will defend with my last breath the purity and grandeur of the French tongue."
On the following page (133) of this edition is a quotation from Malherbe disfigured by a typographical error:
Vouloir ce que Dieu vent est la seule Science
                   Qui nous met en repos.
For vent read veut. The first edition is correct.

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