Page images

2106. Il ne faut point parler corde dans la famille d'un pendu. (Fr.) Prov.-Do not talk rope in the family of one who has been hanged.

2107. Il ne s'agit pas de consuls, et je ne veux pas être votre aide-de-camp. (Fr.)—It is no question of consuls, and I don't choose to be your aide-de-camp. Sieyès to Bonaparte in 1800 on resigning the post of Second Consul.

2108. Il ne sait sur quel pied danser. (Fr.) Prov.-He knows not on which foot to dance. He knows not how to act.

2109. Il ne se faut jamais moquer des miserables,

Car qui peut s'assurer d'être toujours heureux?

(Fr.) La Font. Renard et L'Écureuil.

Of men in misfortune no ridicule make,

For who can be sure of good luck without break?-Ed.

In the end the bragging Fox is killed, the Squirrel looking on :-
Il le voit, mais il n'en rit pas,

Instruit par sa propre misère.

These last lines are often quoted in circumstances which, though ridiculous in themselves, touch one too nearly to be made subjects of joking. The Fable does not occur in La Fontaine, but will be found in the Recueil de Conrart, vol. ii. p. 533 (Bibliothèque de L'Arsenal).

2110. Il n'est bon bec que de Paris. (Fr.)-Good talkers are only found in Paris. From an old ballad of Villon, Femmes

de Paris.

2111. Il n'est pas besoin de tenir les choses pour en raisonner. (Fr.) Beaum. Mar. de Figaro, Act v.—It is not necessary to believe things, in order to argue about them.

2112. Il n'est pas d'homme nécessaire. (Fr.)?—There is no such thing as a necessary man. The best servant of the state can be replaced.

2113. Il n'est pas échappé qui traine son lien. (Fr.) Prov.— The man is not escaped who still drags his chain after him.

2114. Il n'est pas encore temps de le dire, les verités sont des fruits qui ne doivent être cueillis que bien murs. (Fr.) Voltaire-The time has not yet arrived for saying it: truths are a fruit which ought not to be gathered until they are full ripe.

2115. Il n'est sauce que d'appétit. (Fr.) Prov.-There is no sauce like a good appetite. Hunger is the best sauce.

2116. Il n'y a de nouveau que ce qui a vieilli. (Fr.)—There is nothing new except that which has become antiquated. Motto of the Revue Rétrospective.

(Fr.)--There is Attributed to

2117. Il n'y a de nouveau que ce qui est oublié. nothing new except what is forgotten. Mdlle. Bertin, Milliner to Marie-Antoinette.


2118. Il n'y a de place dans l'histoire que pour le vrai, et tout ce qui n'est vraisemblable doit être renvoyé aux espaces imaginaires des romans et des fictions poétiques. (Fr.) Griffet?-History can only admit what is true, and mere probabilities must be relegated to the imaginary field of romance and poetical fiction.

2119. Il n'y a pas à dire.

(Fr.)—There is nothing to be said. It

is not to be controverted.

2120. Il n'y a pas de gens plus affairés que ceux qui n'ont rien à faire. (Fr.) Prov.-There are no people so busy as those who have nothing to do.

2121. Il n'y a pas de héros pour son valet-de-chambre. (Fr.) Mme. Cornuel (see Letters of Mdlle. Aissé, Dentu, Paris 1853, p. 166).—No man is a hero to his valet de chambre. Montaigne says (Essays 3, 2), Peu d'hommes ont esté admirez par leurs domestiques.-Few men have been admired by their servants; and La Bruy. (Car. ?) Plus on approche des grands hommes, plus on trouve qu'ils sont hommes. Rarement ils sont grands vis-à-vis de leurs valets-de-chambre. -The nearer one approaches to great persons, the more one sees that they are but men. Rarely are they great in the eyes of their valets. Heine says, somewhere, "No author is a man of genius to his publisher." (See Büchmann, Gefl. W. p. 372, 373.)

2122. Il n'y a pas de mauvaise chaussure qui ne trouve sa pareille. (Fr.) Breton Prov.-The worst shoe will find its match.

2123. Il n'y a pas de petit ennemi. (Fr.) Breton Prov.-There is no such thing as a little enemy. All are to be


2124. Il n'y a pas moins d'invention à bien appliquer une pensée que l'on trouve dans un livre, qu'à être le premier auteur de cette pensée. (Fr.) Bayle-There is as much ingenuity in making a felicitous application of a sentiment discovered in some author, as in being the first to conceive it. A happy application of a line of Virgil is, according to the Cardinal du Perron, a talent in itself.

2125. Il n'y a plus de Pyrénées. (Fr.)-The Pyrenees have ceased to exist.

Mot with which Louis XIV. is credited on the departure of the D. of Anjou from Paris in 1700, to assume the Crown of Spain. According to M. Fournier (L'esprit dans l'histoire, p. 188), the phrase seems to have originated not with Louis but with the Spanish ambassador, who said on the occasion, that from that moment the Pyrenees had melted away (fondues).

2126. Il n'y a point au monde un si pénible métier que celui de se faire un grand nom. La vie s'achève que l'on a à peine ébauché son ouvrage. (Fr.) La Bruy. Car. vol. i. cap. 2.-There is not a more arduous task in the world than that of making a great name: life comes to an end before one has hardly sketched out one's work.

2127. Il n'y a point de chemin trop long à qui marche lentement et sans se presser, il n'y a point d'avantages trop éloignés à qui s'y prépare par la patience. (Fr.) La Bruy. Car. vol. ii. cap. 12.-No road is too long for the man who will travel slowly and without hurry, and no attainment beyond his grasp if he will set himself about acquiring it with patience.

2128. Il n'y a point de patrie dans le despotique; d'autres choses y suppléent, l'intérêt, la gloire, le service du prince. (Fr.) La Bruy. Car. vol. i. p. 186.-Under a despotic government the idea of country falls altogether out of men's minds, and its place is supplied in other ways, by private interests, public fame, and the service of the sovereign.

2129. Il n'y a point de prince en si mauvais état, que celui qui ne pouvant toujours faire par soi-même les choses à quoi il est obligé, a de la peine à souffrir qu'elles soient faites par autrui: et être capable de se laisser servir n'est pas une des moindres qualités que puisse avoir un grand roi. (Fr.) Richelieu, Test. Politique.-No prince is in so miserable a position as he who, not having it in his power to perform all the royal acts in his own person, is yet unwilling that they should be done by any one else: and it is far from being the least of the qualities distinguishing a great monarch, that he has the ability to let others

[blocks in formation]

2130. Il n'y a que le premier pas qui coûte. (Fr.) Prov.-It is only the first step which costs anything.

Gibbon, vol. vii. cap. 39, appends a note referring to the account of S. Dionysius walking from Montmartre to S. Denis with his head in his hand, and adds that "a lady of his acquaintance" (presumably Mme. Necker or Mme. de Stael) observed thereupon: La distance n'y fait rien; il n'y a que le premier pas qui coûte," The distance is nothing, it is only the first step which signifies. By Quitard (Dictionnaire des Proverbes) the remark is attributed to Mme. du Deffant in reply to the Cardinal de Polignac on the same subject (vide Büchmann, pp. 377, 378).

2131. Il n'y a que les honteux qui perdent. (Fr.) Prov.-None but the bashful lose.

2132. Il n'y a rien de changé en France: il n'y a qu'un Français de plus. (Fr.)-Nothing is changed in France, there is only one Frenchman more than before. Celebrated mot of the Comte d'Artois at the Restoration, and concocted for him by Beugnot, the writer of the article in the Moniteur of the day, describing the entry into Paris, etc. 2133. Il n'y a rien que la crainte et l'espérance ne persuadent aux hommes. (Fr.) Vauvenargues.-There is nothing that fear and hope will not persuade men to.

2134. Il paraît qu'on n'apprend pas à mourir en tuant les autres. (Fr.) Chateaub. Mém. d'outre Tombe.-It does not appear that killing other people teaches one how to, die one's self.

2135. Il passa par la gloire, il passa par le crime, et n'est arrivé qu'au malheur. (Fr.) V. Hugo-He passed through

glory, and then through crime, only to end in misfortune. Said of Napoleon III.

2136. Il plaît à tout le monde et ne saurait se plaire. (Fr.) Boil. Sat. 2.-He pleases all the world but cannot please himself. Said of Molière, who himself acknowledged the truth of the last half of the line.

2137. Il porte le deuil de sa blanchisseuse.

(Fr.) Prov.-He

wears mourning for his laundress. His linen is dirty. 2138. Il rit bien qui rit le dernier. (Fr.)-He laughs best who laughs the last.

2139. Ils chantent, ils payeront. (Fr.) Mazarin.-Let them sing, they will have to pay.

"Le Cardinal Mazarin disoit: 'La nation française est la plus folle
du monde ils crient et chantent contre moi, et me laissent faire:
moi, je les laisse crier et chanter et je fais ce que je veux.'
velles Lettres de la Duchesse d'Orléans, 1853, p. 249.


[blocks in formation]

2140. Il se croit superieur à moi de toute la hauteur de sa bêtize. (Fr.) The towering height of his own natural folly makes him think it the measure of his superiority to me. Said of a conceited opponent. (The French is perfectly untranslatable.)

2141. Il se fait entendre, à force de se faire ecouter. (Fr.)-He makes himself understood, by making men listen to him. Said by M. Villenain of Andrieux, the Professor of Literature at the Collége de France, 1800; but Beaumarchais had forestalled him in Deux amis, 1, 1: "Une actrice se fait toujours entendre, lorsqu'elle a ce talent de se faire écouter."

2142. Il sent le fagot.


Prov. He smells of the heretic's faggot. He is a fellow to be suspected.

2143. Il s'est coupé le bras gauche avec le bras droit.


J. B. Say. He has cut off his left arm with his right. Attributed to Queen Christina of Sweden à propos of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV.

2144. Ils n'ont rien appris, ni rien oublié. (Fr.)—They have learnt nothing, and forgotten nothing.

Said originally of the Emigrés by Talleyrand (?), and since frequently applied to the Bourbons. But it appears first in a letter of the Chevalier de Panat to Mallet du Pan, written from London 1796, on the royalist refugees then in England.


n'est corrigé; personne n'a su ni rien oublier, ni rien apprendre." (Memoirs of M. du Pan, 2, 197.)

2145. Ils sont trop verts: et bons pour les goujats! (Fr.) La Font. 3, 11.-They are too green, and only good for fools.

2146. Il trouverait à tondre sur un œuf. (Fr.) Prov.-He would Á skinflint. find something to shave on an egg.

2147. Il vaut mieux être fou avec tous, que sage tout seul. (Fr.) Prov.-It is better to be mad in company with everybody, than wise all alone.

2148. Il vero punge, e la bugia unge. (It.) Prov.-Truth stings and falsehood heals.

2149. Il volto sciolto, i pensieri stretti. (It.)-The countenance open, the thoughts reserved.

2150. Il y a bien de gens qu'on estime, parce qu'on ne les connoit point. (Fr.)-Many people are esteemed merely because they are not known.

« PreviousContinue »