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

Louis XII.

  • [King of France; born at Blois, 1462; succeeded his cousin, Charles VIII., 1498; conquered Milan; prosecuted his claim to Naples, until driven out of Italy by Pope Julius II.; died Jan. 1, 1515.]
  • The King of France does not avenge the injuries of the Duc d’Orleans (Le roi de France ne venge pas les injures du Duc d’Orléans).

  • Generously dismissing, on his accession to the throne, the suggestion of punishing the city of Orleans, which had incurred his displeasure while he was heir presumptive. He was anticipated in the utterance of a thought so worthy a king by Philip, Comte de Bresse, who became Duc de Savoie in 1497, and said, “It would be shameful as duke to avenge the injuries of the count” (Il serait honteux au duc de renger les injures faites au comte). The Emperor Hadrian used but one word to express the same idea. Meeting, on the first day of his accession to power, an ancient enemy, and noticing his embarrassment, he passed him, saying simply “Evasisti” (Thou hast escaped).
  • Is it his business to curse? (Et quoi, est-ce son emploi de maudire?)
  • During the contest for the possession of Naples, when Louis heard that the Pope intended to excommunicate him. Thus Theano, priestess of the temple of Agraule, replied to those who urged her to curse Alcibiades, “I am priestess to bless, not to curse.”
  • Louis XII. gained great popularity by an abatement of taxes, and was pleased that his subjects remarked upon his simplicity of dress and royal establishment. “I would rather my people,” he said, “smiled at my parsimony, than wept over it.” He carried the name of “father of the people” to the grave; for on the night of his death the watchmen of Paris called the hour of midnight on their rounds, adding, “The good king Louis, father of his people, is dead!” The king had foreseen the change in the condition of his subjects which the luxurious tendencies of the prince, later Francis I., would cause; and used to remark, “That big boy will spoil all.”