When the house of Claude Sanguin, a 17th Century French poet, was struck by lightning and burned down, he wrote the following ingenious letter to Louise XIV. The King felt the poet’s suffering through his poem. So, he ordered to give Sanguin one thousand crowns, which was the amount the poet requested in his poem.
To engage in your matters belongs not to me,
This, Sire, inexcusable freedom would be;
But yet, when reviewing my miseries past,
Of your majesty’s income the total I cast;
All counted, (I’ve still the remembrance quite clear,)
Your revenue’s one hundred millions a year;
Hence one hundred thousand per day in your pow’r,
Divided, brings four thousand crowns to each hour,
To answer the calls of my present distress,
Which lightning has caused in my country recess,
May I be allow’d to request, noble Sire,
Of your time fifteen minutes, before I expire?
(Note: The original French version of this poem can be found in Nouveau Dictionnaire François: Contenant Generalement Tous les Mots, Anciens et Moderni de la Langue Françoise, Vol. 2, 1710.)
The Monthly Visitor, Vol. 8, December 1799