Ninon de Lenclos? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: Ninon de Lenclos (also L’enclos) was a famous French author and courtesan who died in 1705. Her friends valued her perceptiveness, and one man asked her for guidance because he was infatuated with his paramour. Lenclos warned that his ardor would cool if he spent too much time with the lady. There exist at least three different versions of her advice:
1) Love never dies of want, but often of indigestion.
2) Love never dies of starvation, but often of indigestion.
3) Love never dies from desire but often from indigestion.
Would you please clarify this topic?
Quote Investigator: The three statements above are alternative translations of a remark written by Ninon de Lenclos. A collection of her letters in French was published in a 1750 edition. The following statement appeared in letter number forty-one: 1
L’amour ne meurt jamais de besoin, mais souvent d’indigestion.
The first expression listed by the questioner was a reasonable direct translation. The second statement was less direct but more stylish. The French remark did not mention “starvation”, but that word provided an appropriate semantic complement to the word “indigestion”.
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