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Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues
(1715 - 1747) France

Luc Vauvenargues



Born at Aix-en-Provence, author of Maximes, where he shows being optimistically confident in human heart and in his passions. A youth of noble family, Vauvenargues entered the regiment of the King at an early age. He seems to have been a gentle, wise character, much beloved by his comrades.

During the French invasion of Bohemia, in 174I, when he was about 26, he met Hippolyte de Seytres, who belonged to the same regiment, and who was only 18 years of age. A warm friendship sprang up between the two, but lasted for a brief time only. DeSeytres died during the privations of the terrible Siege of Prague in 1742. Vauvenargues escaped, but with the loss of his health, as well as of his friend.

He took to literature, and wrote some philosophic works, and became correspondent and friend of Voltaire, but died in 1747 at the early age of 32.


The devotion of Vauvenargues to his friend De Seytres is immortalized by the eloge he wrote on the occasion of the latter's death. In his eloge he speaks of his friend as follows -

"By nature full of grace, his movements natural, his manners frank, his features noble and grave, his expression sweet and penetrating- one could not look upon him with indifference. From the first his loveable exterior won all hearts in his favor, and whoever was in the position to know his character could not but admire the beauty of his disposition.

"Never did he despise or envy or hate any one. He understood all the passions and opinions, even the most singular, that the world blames. They did not surprise him: he penetrated their cause, and found in his own reflexions the means of explaining them.

"And so Hippolyte, I was destined to be the survivor in our friendship - just when I was hoping that it would mitigate all the sufferings and ennui of my life even to my latest breath. At the moment when my heart, full of security, placed blind confidence in thy strength and youth, and abandoned itself to gladness

"O Misery! in that moment a mighty hand was extinguishing the sources of life in thy blood. Death was creeping into thy heart, and harboring in thy bosom
O pardon me once more; for never canst thou have doubted the depth of my attachment. I loved thee before I was able to know thee. I have never loved but thee
I was ignorant of thy very name and life, but my heart adored thee, spoke with thee, saw thee and sought thee in solitude. Thou knewest me but for a moment; and when we did become acquainted, already a thousand times had I paid homage in secret to thy virtues.
Shade worthy of heaven, whither hast thou fled! Do my sighs reach thee? I tremble - O abyss profound, O woe, O death, O grave I Dark veil and viewless night, and mystery of Eternity!"

It is said that Vauvenargues thought more of this memorial inscription to his friend than of any other of his works, and constantly worked at and perfected it.


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