Home  »  Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men  »  Prince de Ligne

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

Prince de Ligne

  • [Karl Joseph, Prince de Ligne, an Austrian general and wit; born at Brussels, May 12, 1735; served in the Seven Years’ War; ambassador to Russia, 1782; field-marshal, 1808; died at Vienna, 1814, leaving memoirs, letters, and other works full of piquant anecdote.]
  • Le congrès danse, mais ne marche pas (The congress dances, but does not advance).

  • Always quoted in French; of the congress of sovereigns and plenipotentiaries at Vienna, opened in November, 1814, to rearrange the map of Europe after the abdication of Napoleon; interrupted by his return from Elba, February, 1815. Differing on many important points, the allied monarchs and ambassadors spent much time, after the opening of the congress, in the social festivities for which Vienna has always been celebrated. The prince added, “When they have exhausted all other entertainments, I will give them the spectacle of the funeral of a field-marshal.” As if to keep his promise, he died on the 13th of the following month; “and the Congress buried him without ceasing to dance.”
  • In love, it is only the commencement that charms. I am not surprised that we find pleasure in frequently recommencing.

  • Founded on the French proverb, L’amour est un vrai recommenceur.
  • One or two of the puns of the prince may here be given. When asked how he found the cardinal-archbishop of Sens, he replied, “Hors de son diocèse” (i.e., hors de Sens). He was mad.
  • The prince-royal of Prussia had a fainting-fit during a session of the Academy of Sciences at St. Petersburg. It gave occasion to the prince to say, “Le prince, au milieu de l’Académie, s’est trouvé sans connaissance” (The prince found himself in the midst of the Academy without consciousness; or, without acquaintance).