Prince de Ligne and his concern for posterity
Miss Frances Williams Wynn is today writing mainly about General Alava, the Spanish ambassador and great friend of the Duke of Wellington, and of some undiplomatic activity by an English envoy at the court of Catherine the Great, but the line that I enjoyed was about the Prince de Ligne:
"Who for fourscore years had lived with every person of distinction in Europe, and who, to the last moment, preserved not only every useful faculty, but wit and gaiety besides. He preserved also to the last a singular facility of versification, and was particularly fond of writing epitaphs on himself. They say that he must have written above 500, generally impromptus, and of course worthless."
Prince Charles Joseph de Ligne has got a rather neat website, which includes a bibliography, and describes him thus:
"He was a grand aristocrat, a talented military man, an entertaining writer, a brilliant conversationalist, a great garden fancier, a moralist and a memoirist. Anyone interested in the years of his long lifetime - from 1735 to 1814 - will find him "unavoidable." The Prince de Ligne witnessed the fall of Napoleon, who fascinated him but whom he refused to meet. He died during the Congress of Vienna, which redrew the map of Europe to the accompaniment of balls and intrigues."