The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 7

Author: Bossuet  | Date: 1686


On the Death of the Great Cond*

But draw near, especially ye who run, with such ardor, the career of glory—intrepid and warrior spirits! Who was more worthy to command you, and in whom did ye find command more honorable? Mourn, then, that great captain, and weeping, say: "Here is a man that led us through all hazards, under whom were formed so many renowned captains, raised by his example, to the highest honors of war; his shadow might yet gain battles; and lo! in his silence his very name animates us, and at the same time warns us, that to find, at death, some rest from our toils, and not arrive unprepared at our eternal dwelling, we must, with an earthly king, yet serve the King of Heaven." Serve, then, that immortal and ever-merciful King, who will value a sigh, or a cup of cold water, given in His name, more than all others will value the shedding of your blood. And begin to reckon the time of your useful services from the day on which you gave yourselves to so beneficent a Master. Will not ye, too, come—ye whom he honored by making you his friends? To whatever extent you enjoyed this confidence, come all of you, and surround this tomb. Mingle your prayers with your tears: and while admiring, inso great a prince, a friendship so excellent, an intercourse so sweet, preserve the remembrance of a hero whose goodness equaled his courage. Thus may he ever prove your cherished instructor; thus may you profit by his virtues and may his death, which you deplore, serve you at once for consolation and example.

*Bossuet’s works, in the best French edition (that of Lachat), comprise thirty-one volumes. His "Funeral Orations" are now perhaps the most celebrated of his writings. In this branch of oratory he is usually acknowledged to have been the first great master, as also its creator. Besides the one on the great Cond, from which passages are here given, two others are famous—those on Henrietta of England and her daughter, the Duchess of Orleans. "Bossuet," says H. Morse Stephens, "in the simple grandeur of his language, stands alone among the orators of the golden age of French pulpit eloquence."

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Chicago: Bossuet, The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 7 in The World’s Famous Orations, ed. William Jennings Bryan (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, December, 1906), 66–67. Original Sources, accessed February 27, 2020,

MLA: Bossuet. The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 7, in The World’s Famous Orations, edited by William Jennings Bryan, Vol. 7, New York, Funk and Wagnalls, December, 1906, pp. 66–67. Original Sources. 27 Feb. 2020.

Harvard: Bossuet, The World’s Famous Orations, Vol 7. cited in December, 1906, The World’s Famous Orations, ed. , Funk and Wagnalls, New York, pp.66–67. Original Sources, retrieved 27 February 2020, from