Epître à mon fils, sur les voyages

Title Epître à mon fils, sur les voyages
in Poésies diverses de deux amis, ou Pièces fugitives de M. M. D. D. et de M. F. D. N. E. L.
Date 1768
Place Amsterdam, Paris, and Dijon
Publisher Delalain
Type Academic prize contest entry
Physical Description 8°, pp. 143.
Language French
Content Moral considerations of travel
General discussion of the utility of travel
National characters and manners
Advice on educational benefits of travel
Praise of travel literature
NotesText in verse.

Although written as 'advice from a father', this poem is the work of child poet prodigy Nicolas François and his friend J. B. Mailly. It was written for the prize contest of the Academy of Marseille 'Les voyages' in 1764, and received the second prize (accessit).

Mostly repeating established wisdom, the text contains some interesting points, and has a pleasant style. A versified geography suggests destinations to visit. Contemporary readers retained the suggestion that happiness should be sought not in the palaces, but 'under thatched roof' - an idea probably inspired by classical texts read in school.

It was first published by the Académie de Marseille, in 'Recueil des pièces couronnées en MDCCLXV par l’Académie des Belles-Lettres de Marseille', Marseille, Antoine Favet, 1765, pp. 131-17. (copy available in the Alcazar library, Marseille). This contains the versions of the prize-winning poems submitted to the Academy - for this poem, there are no changes.

Anonymously published, but its authorship is well established.

Some bibliographies list as published in Paris or Dijon, by Coignard et Frantin

Master Copy: BNF YE-9820

Digital Copy Web Link
Gallica, reproduction of BNF copy.