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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Chevalier Bayard

  • [Pierre de Terrail, the Chevalier sans peur et sans reproche, born 1475; accompanied Charles VIII. and Louis XII. in their Italian wars; having assumed command of the French army against the Imperialists, was mortally wounded at Ivrea, while effecting a retreat, and died on the field, 1524.]
  • Glorious sword.

  • Francis I. of France insisted that the honor of knighthood, which had never been conferred upon him, should be given him by Bayard, after the battle of Marignano, September, 1515. When the ceremony had been performed, the Chevalier apostrophized his sword, “Glorious sword, who hast been honored by conferring knighthood on the greatest king in the world, I will never use thee again, save against the infidel, the enemy of the Christian name!”—After his surrender at Pavia, Francis exclaimed, “Ah, Bayard! if I had you, I should not be here now!” It was a similar cry to that of Gordon of Glenbucket, at the battle of Sheriffmuir, Nov. 13, 1715, between the Scotch rebels under the Earl of Mar, and the royalists commanded by Argyle. During the heat of the conflict, Gordon called for the terrible Grahame of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, who fell at the pass of Killiecrankie, 1689, “Oh for an hour of Dundee!” which Wordsworth has versified,—
  • “Oh for a single hour of that Dundee
  • Who on that day the word of onset gave!”
  • Sonnet in the Pass of Killiecrankie.
  • Several maxims and proverbial expressions are recorded of Bayard; as, “What the gauntlet gains, the gorget consumes” (Ce que le gantelet gagne, le gorgerin le mange).
  • Being asked the difference between a wise man and a fool, he replied, “The same that there is between a sick man and his doctor.”
  • He said to two boys whom he was punishing for swearing, “A bad habit contracted in youth is no little thing, but a great thing indeed.”
  • He answered the question, “What should a father leave his children?” by saying, “The father should leave that which fears no rain, tempest, or the force of man, or the weakness of human justice,—that is, wisdom and virtue; like indeed unto him who would plant a garden, and put therein good seed and sound trees.”
  • “No place is weak,” he said, “where there are men capable of defending it.”
  • A man who fights against his country deserves pity more than I.

  • His last words; to the Duc de Bourbon, of the opposing army, who had abandoned the cause of France for the service of the Emperor Charles V., and visited Bayard upon the battle-field, under the tree where the wounded knight had directed himself to be placed, saying, “Let me die facing the enemy.”
  • Francis Marion, an American general of the Revolution, replied to a British officer who pitied the half-starved condition of the partisan leader and his men, “Pity me not. I am happier than you; for I am fighting to be free, while you are striving to enslave your countrymen.”
  • Thiers called Marshal MacMahon “the Bayard of our time.”