Saturday, November 21, 2020

Beers & Books XXIX

Voltaire – Frederick II

Voltaire (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778)

Friedrich II ("the Great") 24 January 1712 – 17 August 1786)


  1. A correspondence (and a beer) I was unaware of. There is so much that you are aware of that I am unaware of. It sounds like somewhat of a "Bro-mance" to use current parlance, for I read the following after briefly consulting the almost infinite mind of Professor Google: "At last, in September 1740, the French playwright/poet/ philosopher Francois-Marie Arouet, adopted name Voltaire, aged 45, was to meet Frederick, newly crowned king of Prussia, 28. Plans were laid; expectancy soared. "I am sure to faint from joy," wrote Voltaire. Responded Frederick, "I believe I shall die from it."

  2. Ach, dearest of all Scottish Dons in this universe and those yet to discover, it was the time of letters, and according to George Peabody Gooch there does not exist anything like this in the history of literature.
    While their love-hate relationship lasted 42 years, they met only five times more than we did, my valiant Don.
    Why would I come to fondly think of you, dearest Don when reading Voltaire writing on November 11th, 1740:
    Hélas, grand roi, qu'eussiez-vous cru,
    En voyant ma faible figure
    Chevauchant tristement à cru
    Un coursier de mon encolure?
    C'est ainsi qu'on vît autrefois
    Ce héros vanté par Cervante,
    Son écuyer et Rossinante,
    Ègaré au milieu de bois.
    Ils ont fait de brillants exploits,
    Mais j'aime mieux ma destinée;
    Ils ne servaient que Dulcinée,
    Et je sers le meilleur des rois.

    Waiting for Madame Claude to put this poesy into English rhymes, I wrap you into my arms, most eloquent of all Scot(t)s, and climb a ladder to kiss your shiny baldness.
    In tenderly esteem
    Always your stalwart and loving squire

    1. Good heavens, should such embrace occur I believe I shall faint in your arms... (with a very bemused Dulcinea looking on...)

    2. And if it were only to bemuse Dulcinea, there should a way be found to make this happen.

  3. Just saw my name with Voltaire. Never been very fond of the guy. Not sure I could succeed in translating him. And I know so well that traduttore is traditore, But give me a few days. And I'll come to you with my efforts. The poor man might never forgive me.