Lot n° 238
4000 - 5000 EUR
Result with fees
FRÉDÉRIC II (1712-1786) Roi de Prusse
L.S. "Federic" with 3 autograph lines, Potsdam 3 January 1773, in VOLTAIRE; 4 pages in-4 (small stain on the last page).
Very beautiful letter to Voltaire about glory.
He opens his letter with an ironic homage of 16 verses, to Nicolas THIERIOT, his "literary correspondent", who died on November 23, 1772: "Que Tiriot a de l'esprit
Since the trepas made a skeleton of him, But when he vegetated in this cursed world
From the French Parnassus composing the gazette
He had neither glory nor credit" .
The merit of a man can only be judged after his death: "Instead of often sending me an unreadable jumble of excerpts from bad books, Tyriot should have regaled me with such verses, in front of which the best that I happen to make lower the flag, so much so that he despised glory, to the point that he disdained to enjoy it. This ascetic philosophy surpasses, I confess, my strengths"... However, glory is reduced to little, and there is nothing to be proud of in being judged by fools, but reputation encourages work, and one is sensitive to the judgments of posterity, especially kings, who do not fear other courts. "If one wanted to collect all the prejudices that govern the world, this catalogue would fill a big in folio. Let us be content to fight those who harm society, and let us not destroy the errors that are useful as well as pleasing"...
Frederick places great authors above good princes, because their benefits are perennial: "the name of Aristotle resounds more in schools than that of Alexander, Cicero is read and reread more often than Caesar's Commentaries. The good authors of the last century have made the reign of Louis XIV more famous than the victories of the Conqueror"... He quotes other great classics of Antiquity and England, superior to the exploits of their times, to prove that "you Tutors of the human race, if you aspire to glory, your expectations are fulfilled, instead of our expectations often being deceived, because we work only for our contemporaries and you for all the centuries. We no longer live with us, when a little earth has covered our ashes, instead we converse with all the beautiful spirits of antiquity who speak to us through their books. Notwithstanding all that I have just told you, I shall work no less for glory, should I die in vain, because one is incorrigible at 61 years of age, and because it is proved that he who does not desire the esteem of his contemporaries, If the Patriarch of Fernex, who thinks like me, judges my case to be a mortal sin, I ask him for absolution. I will humbly await his sentence, and if even he condemns me, I will love him no less. May he live the thousandth part of what his reputation will last, he will pass the age of the patriarchs, this is what the Philosopher of Sans-Souci wishes for him: valè" . He adds, with his own hand: "I have my letters copied because my hand is beginning to tremble and writing in a very small print can tire your eyes."
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