Pierre Corneille

(1606-1684 / Rouen)

Pierre Corneille
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Pierre Corneille (6 June 1606 – 1 October 1684) was a French tragedian who was one of the three great seventeenth-century French dramatists, along with Molière and Racine. He has been called “the founder of French tragedy” and produced plays for nearly forty years.

Early life and plays

Corneille was born at Rouen, France, to Marte le pesant and Pierre Corneille (a minor administrative official). He was given a rigorous Jesuit education and at 18 began to study law. His practical legal endeavors were largely unsuccessful. Corneille’s father secured two magisterial posts for him with the Rouen department of Forests and Rivers. During his time with the department he wrote ... more »

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Pierre Corneille Quotations

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  • ''Oh! how many actions, how many fabulous exploits remain without glory in the midst of the night.''
    Pierre Corneille (1606-1684), French playwright. Don Diègue, in The Cid, act 4, sc. 3 (1637). Don Diègue in despair at being too old to fight a du...
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  • ''It is only blood that can wash away such an outrage; die or kill.''
    Pierre Corneille (1606-1684), French playwright. Don Diègue, in The Cid, act 1, sc. 5 (1637). Don Diègue tells his son to avenge him.
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  • ''Treachery is noble when aimed at tyranny.''
    Pierre Corneille (1606-1684), French playwright. Emilia, in Cinna, act 3, sc. 4 (1641).
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  • ''A monarch must sometimes rule even himself: he who wants everything must risk very little.''
    Pierre Corneille (1606-1684), French playwright. Emperor Titus, in Titus and Berenice (Tite et Bérénice), act 4, sc. 5 (1670).
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  • ''To die for one's country is such a worthy fate that all compete for so beautiful a death.''
    Pierre Corneille (1606-1684), French playwright. Horace, in Horace, act 2, sc. 3 (1641).
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Best Poem of Pierre Corneille

Sur La Mort Du Roi Louis Xiii

Sous ce marbre repose un monarque sans vice,
Dont la seule bonté déplut aux bons François,
Et qui pour tout péché ne fit qu'un mauvais choix
Dont il fut trop longtemps innocemment complice.

L'ambition, l'orgueil, l'audace, l'avarice,
Saisis de son pouvoir, nous donnèrent des lois ;
Et bien qu'il fût en soi le plus juste des rois,
Son règne fut pourtant celui de l'injustice.

Vainqueur de toutes parts, esclave dans sa cour,
Son tyran et le nôtre à peine perd le jour,
Que jusque dans la tombe il le force à le suivre.

Jamais de tels malheurs ...

Read the full of Sur La Mort Du Roi Louis Xiii
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