Page:Moralreflection00stangoog.djvu/11

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LIFE

OF

FRANCIS, DUKE OF ROCHEFOUCAULD.

Francis, Duke of Rochefoucauld, Prince of Marsillac, a distinguished wit and nobleman of the reign of Louis XIV., was born in 1613. He distinguished himself as the most brilliant nobleman about the court, and by his share in the good graces of the celebrated Duchess of Longueville, was involved in the civil wars of the Fronde. He signalized his courage at the battle of St, Antoine, in Paris, and received a shot which for some time deprived him of his sight. At a more advanced period, his house was the resort of the best company at Paris, including Boileau, Racine, and the Mesdames Sevigné and La Fayette. By the former of these ladies, he is spoken of as holding the first rank in "courage, merit, tenderness, and good sense." The letters of Madame de Maintenon, also, speak of him with high, but inconsistent praise. Huet describes him as possessing a nervous temperament, which would not allow him to accept a seat in the French Academy, owing to his want of courage to make a public speech. The Duke de Rochefoucauld died with philosophic tranquillity, at Paris, in 1680, in his sixty-eighth year. This nobleman wrote "Mémoires de la Règne d'Anne d'Autriche," 2 vols. 12mo., 1713, an energetic and faithful representation of that fretful