St. Louis: Kings should make themselves loved by their people, and never lie, not even to the enemy

March 11, 2013

King St. Louis IX of France giving advice to his son

This holy man [St. Louis the King] loved God with all his heart, and followed Him in His acts; and this appeared in that, as God died for the love He bore His people, so did the king put his body in peril, and that several times, for the love he bore to his people; and such peril he might well have avoided, as you shall be told hereafter.

The great love that he bore to his people appeared in what he said during a very sore sickness that he had at Fontainebleau, unto my lord Louis, his eldest son. “Fair son,” he said, “I pray thee to make thyself beloved of the people of thy kingdom; for truly I would rather that a Scot should come out of Scotland and govern the people of the kingdom well and equitably than that thou shouldest govern it ill in the sight of all men.” The holy king so loved truth, that, as you shall hear hereafter, he would never consent to lie to the Saracens as to any covenant that he had made with them.

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Geoffroy de Villehardouin and Jean de Joinville, Memoirs of the Crusades, trans. Sir Frank Marzials (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., n.d.), 139.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 263

 

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