Reasons not to be a king

This bracing statement by a jester still makes me smile, reducing royalty to two basic human functions, conducted contrary to the norm for ordinary people.  It also reduces the role of king to just another job.  Marais was jester to Louis XIII (r. 1610-43), and blithely offered his opinion on the drawbacks of kingship:

There are two things about your job I couldn’t handle… eating alone and shitting in company.


Il y a deux choses à votre métier dont je ne me pourrois accommoder… De manger tout seul et de chier en compagnie.

Marais was the jester who told some court musicians how to have the king reverse a decision to halve their pay … his ruse worked.

Source: Gédéon Tallemant des Réaux (1619-92), Historiettes, vol. 10, p. 77, quoted in A. Canel, Recherches Historiques sur les Fous des Rois de France (Paris: Kemerre, 1873), p. 238

Image credit: Chamber pot (Pot de chambre ovale), Sèvres Manufactory (1757-58); Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of R. Thornton Wilson, in memory of his wife, Florence Ellsworth Wilson, 1977, public domain


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