**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Poetical And Grammatical Deaths
by [?]

De Lagny, who was intended by his friends for the study of the law, having fallen on an Euclid, found it so congenial to his dispositions, that he devoted himself to mathematics. In his last moments, when he retained no further recollection of the friends who surrounded his bed, one of them, perhaps to make a philosophical experiment, thought proper to ask him the square of twelve: our dying mathematician instantly, and perhaps without knowing that he answered, replied, “One hundred and forty-four.”

The following anecdotes are of a different complexion, and may excite a smile.

Pere Bohours was a French grammarian, who had been justly accused of paying too scrupulous an attention to the minutiae of letters. He was more solicitous of his words than his thoughts. It is said, that when he was dying, he called out to his friends (a correct grammarian to the last), “Je VAS ou je VAIS mourir; l’un ou l’autre se dit!”

When Malherbe was dying, he reprimanded his nurse for making use of a solecism in her language; and when his confessor represented to him the felicities of a future state in low and trite expressions, the dying critic interrupted him:–“Hold your tongue,” he said; “your wretched style only makes me out of conceit with them!”

The favourite studies and amusements of the learned La Mothe le Vayer consisted in accounts of the most distant countries. He gave a striking proof of the influence of this master-passion, when death hung upon his lips. Bernier, the celebrated traveller, entering and drawing the curtains of his bed to take his eternal farewell, the dying man turning to him, with a faint voice inquired, “Well, my friend, what news from the Great Mogul?”


[Footnote 1: Barham, the author of the Ingoldsby Legends, wrote a similar death-bed lay in imitation of the older poets. It is termed “As I laye a-thinkynge.” Bewick, the wood-engraver, was last employed upon, and left unfinished at his death, a cut, the subject of which was “The old Horse waiting for Death.”]