ORACLES OF NOSTRADAMUS - England
CHANGES OF GOVERNMENT IN ENGLAND (1501-1791). [I. 135.]
Century VI.--Quatrain 57.
You will see the British nation change seven times, stained with blood, in two hundred and ninety years; but not so France, thanks to the strength of its Germanic Kings [of the Capetian race]. The sign of the Ram will not know (doubte) the northern district (son pole Bastarnan), so changed will it be.
ENGLAND will change its government seven times in a period of 290 years, inundated with blood, says Le Pelletier,--making this long run of years commence at what he calls the Renaissance (1501-1791). Not so in France; thanks to the firmness of the Germanic kings, she will hold out till 1792, I take this to be, in effect, a French endeavour to chalk out a grand epoch in French annals. Poland (la Bastarnie) will be dismembered. The first partition took place in 1772. There will arise in the north of Europe;--Peter the Great ascending the Russian throne, 1682, and Lutheranism triumphing in Germany, 1517,--so that Aries cannot identify
the regions adjacent to its northern pole (son pole Bastarnan).
M. le Pelletier gives an elaborate statement of what he conceives to be the seven Revolutions in England (1501-1791). But starting from the Renaissance, at the fancy date 1501, he vitiates the whole of the interpretation as it relates to England; but for the last half of the quatrain he is excellent. His interpretation of the fourth line is masterly. Garencières gives a lengthy annotation, to me in the main unintelligible, but he makes the Period to run out about the year 1845; in which year I can see nothing to chronicle but the Maynooth Grant of £26,000 per annum. He says the two first lines refer to England, and he leaves the English nation to interpret them. We shall shortly try to do so.
(1) The Revolution Le Pelletier dates 1532, when Henry VIII. is proclaimed by Parliament the head of the Church; 1534 this should be. (2) Re-establishment of Popery under Queen Mary. (3) Elizabeth comes back to Protestantism. (4) Commonwealth follows upon death of Charles I. (5) Restoration under Charles II. (6) William III. takes the throne of James II. (7) The House of Hanover succeeds.
This is exceedingly faulty. It omits as one Revolution the most important of all, if consequences are to be regarded,. that is, the lapse of the Tudor race in Elizabeth and the succession of the Stuarts. Another very weak point is the commencing of the 290 years prior to the first issue of the quatrains. According to this, two of the Revolutions were already elapsed. A man does not prophesy of what is past, Nostradamus was writing in the reign of Queen Mary, so that the first Revolution would naturally count from 1558, when Elizabeth re-introduced Protestantism.
Now that we have contrived a firmer basis, let us see what this leads to.
No. 1. Elizabeth comes to the throne, November 17, 1558.
No. 2. James I. (Stuart succession), March 24, 1603. Queen Elizabeth dies exactly one hundred years after her namesake, Queen of Henry VII.
No. 3. Commonwealth on death of Charles I., January 30, 1649; Protectorate, Cromwell, December 16, 1653.
No. 4. Restoration, Charles II., May 29, 1660 (on his 30th birthday).
No. 5. William III. and Mary, November 5, 1668; Revolution (Gunpowder Day).
No. 6. Hanoverian succession, George I., May 21, 1714.
No. 7. Reform Bill, June 17, 1832. (Dulling the lustre of the Crown, as we shall see the French King mitré.)
Those who wish to prophesy pleasant things can do away with the disagreeable date of the Reform Bill, in part, because the No. 3 Revolution can fairly be interpreted as two Revolutions. Cromwell's usurpation belied the pretended principles of his whole life and conduct prior to that assumption, and can be called a new order of things. This arrangement will obviate the necessity of classifying the Reform Bill as the 7th Revolution. But the 290 years must end where they do, though you can regard the matter in what light you please. But I look upon Cromwell's treason, not to the King, but to himself as a man, as being practically part and parcel of the Commonwealth, or a horn growing out of the head of that rhinoceros or unicorn: nothing more. Given a popular revolt, a self-seeking horn always grows out of the forehead of the beast, till, with a ring in its nostril, it is driven whither its sublime liberties shall dictate.
Take it either way, it seems to me quite beyond the reach of the ordinary human mind, simply left to its own resources, to strike out four lines so pregnant as these, and await silently, for three hundred years, an interpretation, so
little forced or driven as this is. I may say that to even pack into the space of four lines a mass of assertions so pregnant with hints, is a feat in condensation that no poet has ever equalled. Tacitus, the tersest of historians, has never approached it. No précis writer of the most accomplished skill has ever reduced the facts furnished to him in a well-drawn manuscript to such a compass. He could not, and remain intelligible. To those who will merely look at it in this light it may afford endless matter of reflection and curious study. As a forecast, its appearance to me is purely miraculous. Let any one explain it otherwise who thinks he can; we shall all be ready to learn.
STUART DYNASTY (1603-1649). [I. 138.]
Century X.--Quatrain 40.
The young Prince of the Kingdom of Britain,
Whose dying father will have recommended him;
This one being dead, Lonole will perorate,
And snatch the kingdom from his very son.
James I. of England and VI. of Scotland was born June 19, 566: the son of Mary Stuart and Henry Lord Darnley; who, before his assassination by Bothwell, had commended the young prince to the fidelity of the Scotch lords. He ascended the throne of England in 1603, and under him England and Scotland were first denominated Great Britain
[paragraph continues] (au regne Britannique). 1 When King James I. dies (Iceluy mort), Lonole will seduce England with artificial rhetoric, and demand the kingdom and the life of his son Charles I.
Lonole is the right reading, according to the Texte-type; others read Doudlé, and Garencières reads Londre. He also, fancies that the prophecy concerns Charles II., because Charles I. commended him to the people of England. It is rather curious that Lonole should give the anagram of Olleon, or Ὀλλύων, as Napoleon does that of Ναπολλύων and Apollyon. Cromwell and he have many analogies and points of contact, whether in history, character, or prophecy. But a further anagram, still more wonderful, springs here into view, which, I believe, has hitherto escaped all the commentators. Ole Nol, or Old Noll, has always been the Protector's nickname, and in the first form is letter for letter Lonole. It may stand for Apollyon also, and as such for "Old Nick" too.
I ought not to pass away from this mass and congeries of singular hints and disclosures without pointing out. the remarkable fact or link connecting James I. with Nostradamus,
and the particular quatrain we are now dealing with. James I. was born June 19, 1566, and thirteen days after, July 2, 1566, Nostradamus breathed his last. This quatrain, once understood, is one of the clearest and most extraordinary of the forecasts of Nostradamus. The commencing event, the birth of James I., just touches his own death; and the last event, the death of Charles I., 1649, stretches to nearly a hundred years later.
Anagram seems to have been once a passion with the people. We find the white cloth of Lincoln in the thirteenth century alluded to as "Drap blanc de Nicole," that standing for Lincoln. [Le Roux de Lincy "Livre des Prov. Franc." i. 195.]
FALL OF CHARLES I. (MARCH 31, 1646). [I. 139.]
Century III.--Quatrain 80.
He who had the right to reign in England, shall be driven from the throne, his counsellor abandoned (mis a feu) to the fury of the populace (par ire). His adherents will follow so low a track that the usurper (le bastard) will come to be Protector (demy receu, or half King).
Garencières fancies this to relate to Charles II., and, that it is very clear. But evidently le digne dechassé is Charles I. Strafford was surrendered weakly to the unreasoning rage of the people (par ire). The Scotch, his countrymen (ses adherents), will sell him for £40,000 (Hume, vii. 76) to
the Independents with unexampled baseness (si bas tracer). After this Cromwell (le bastard) will become Protector, or half king (sera demy receu).
This could scarcely be made more remarkable than it is, had it been written historically after the event, as history, than it is now before it, as prophecy. Look, again, at the overwhelming insight and terseness: the King defeated, Strafford sacrificed, the Covenanters' money bargain, and the Protectorate chalked out in decisive outline nearly a century before the realization: and each event is contained in one metrical phrase.
EXECUTION OF CHARLES I. (JANUARY 30, 1649). [L 141.]
Century IX.--Quatrain 49.
Gand et Bruceles marcheront contre 1 Anvers,
Senat de Londres mettront à mort leur Roy:
Le set et vin luy seront à l'envers,
Pour eux avoir le regne en desarroy.
Gand and Brussels will march past Antwerp,
The Senate at London will put their King to death;
Salt and wine will be applied contrariwise,
So that they will set the whole kingdom in disarray.
Philip IV. in the Netherlands, being at war, will move Gand and Brussels towards Antwerp against Holland in revolt. Holland had, in 1579, detached itself from the Low Countries. Thus Antwerp became the border town of the Spanish possessions. Philip claimed rights over her till the treaty of Westphalia, or Munster, of which we have Terburg's curious portraiture in the National Gallery, con, eluded on October 14, 1648; three months only before the death of Charles I., so that the conjunction of the two events is extraordinarily definite and remarkable.
The second line is as definite and marvellous as anything that occurs in Nostradamus. By the treaty of Munster it fixes the date to within three months. Garencières says: "It is the most remarkable of all those [prophecies] that ever Nostradamus was author of." He notifies also, what I think nobody else has, that the number of this quatrain, 49, gives the very year of the occurrence in the seventeenth century For though we in England then called it 1648-49, Nostradamus, by the Gregorian Calendar used in France, would reckon it as 1649. We need lay no stress whatever upon this, for the quatrain wants nothing to strengthen it. Yet, be it the offspring of chance or intention, it is most singular. I have before said how much value lies in mere curiosities, and it is part of my business to point one out whenever I am able.
We have already handled the phrase vin sel at p. 133 and 135 [I. 119], but from a French, and not English point of view; yet even there the line is
L'Isle Britanne par vin set en souci.
--showing the consistency with which the visions must have shaped themselves in the mind of Nostradamus. The one we are treating of now appears in the ninth century of the prophet's quatrains, but the above line occurs in a quatrain of the tenth century. Still, what is said in the one is consistent with what is said in the other. If we call this chance, we shall have to admit an axiom far from self-evident; namely, that method is discernible in chance as well as in madness. Here, as. at disgraceful Old Pancras graveyard, there is clearly a slight derangement of epitaphs,
Bouys and nearly all the commentators treat the figure of le vin et sel, as representing force and wisdom, which were wanting to the King of England. I think we are not
at all necessitated to adopt this interpretation. Supposing salt and wine in a good sense to symbolize wisdom and power, before we settle that to be their application here, we shall have to understand what à l'envers means. In the first place, it is not the preposition envers, meaning for, or in regard to. It is a noun substantive, masculine, and stands for the wrong side of a fabric, as contrasted with, or opposed to, the right side, called l'endroit. It means that wisdom and power will present their wrong aspect at this juncture, and become intrigue and violence, and will so stand to him (lui seront à l'envers), as that they will convert into their opposites, intrigue and violence. It has the old sense of inversus, as in the Roman de la Rose. A person is there told that on going to bed no sleep will come, but tossing from one side to the other:
Une heure envers et l'autre adens
Come cil qui a mal aus dens.
Here it reads one hour on the back, another on the teeth. Molière says of a character (l'Et. ii. 14):
Vous serez toujours....
Un envers du bon sens, un jugement à gauche.
Nothing can better describe the mockery in Westminster Hall of the trial of the King than un jugement à gauche. The third line of the quatrain is the precise equivalent. Vin so nearly resembles vis that it is sure to mean force, the two extremes of which are power and violence, law and lawlessness. We see this very distinctly in the old French word vimaire, force majeure (vis major) and the word further signified storm, tempest, famine, and pestilence (vide Roquefort, s.v.). That wine does not at all definitely stand for power well directed, is plain enough from "the wine of fornication" (Rev. xvii. 2); and that salt is not to be taken
as wisdom personified with fixity may be gathered, if from nothing else, from the sanctification of the sacramental elements in the Church of Rome; where before salt is used, it is first exorcised, to purify it from the stain of original sin, that passed upon all creation at the fall (Auber's "Symbolisme," iii. 394). Whatever wisdom Godwin, Carlyle, and other modern revolutionists may suppose themselves to have discovered in the character of Cromwell, Nostradamus certainly had formed no such notion of him, as we shall immediately feel assured by the next quatrain. Nostradamus's opinion of Cromwell may determine nothing at all as to the final estimate of that man. I adduce it only to help to settle what he meant by the words we are studying, le sel et vin. The next line is plain enough. The Independents set the whole kingdom by the ears.
I think we have reached a point at which every line of this quatrain has become tolerably clear. A wiseacre, writing about it in the Quarterly Review (vol. xxvi. p. 189) says: "Œdipus himself could not give the sense of the whole verse." This is the way in which people treat a difficult, abstruse, and intricate subject. It is so easy to say we have made up our mind about a man; that he is unintelligible, a charlatan, an impostor; that his forecasts are oracular nonsense, meaning nothing, or that if at times they do light on something, chance has more to do with it than seership or vision. You would certainly think that a sane man, finding in a book,--that indubitably was in print,--in 1558 a line prophesying the death of the King of England nearly a hundred years after, "Senat de Londres mettront a Mort leur Roy," would be struck with astonishment at the clearness of that, rather than with the difficulty of making sense of the other three lines. But this is what prejudice can do with us all.
CROMWELL'S PROTECTORATE (1653-1658). [I. 142.]
Century VIII.--Quatrain 76.
A Butcher more than king rules England. A man of no birth will seize the government by violence. Of loose morals, without faith or law he will bleed the earth. The, hour approaches me so near that I breathe with difficulty.
Here we have a most remarkable forecast. It puts in a clear light what view Nostradamus had formed of Cromwell. There appears to have been visually present to him the butcher-like face of Cromwell, with its fleshly conch and hideous warts. This seems to have struck him with such a sense of vividness and horror, that he is willing to imagine that the time is very near at hand. A full century had, however, to elapse; but he sighs as with a present shudder, and the blood creeps:
Son temps s'approche si près que je souspire.
One of the most remarkable features throughout the work of Nostradamus, is the general absence of any sense of time, apart from the mere enumeration of years as an algebraic or arithmetical formula; further than this, he so regulates and controls his feelings as to appear almost impassable; but this announcement is of such unparalleled and terrific import that he departs from his usual practice and stands horror-stricken as in the presence of a fearful vision.
It was intended to treat here of the portraiture of Cromwell.
[paragraph continues] To complete, however, my observations, I had to go to Chequers Court, the Print Room, and the National Portrait Gallery. These and other necessary steps occupied so much time that the printers had to commence paging; then, as the enlarged matter could not find room here, there was no alternative but an Appendix, which will be found at p. 305. My remarks, which make so little show now that they are done, cost me far more trouble than ten time,, the mere amount of writing would. The final settlement depends on the cast at Florence, if still in existence. I have cleared the road for a decisive conclusion; which, though it is not much, is yet something.
Bouys specially comments (p. 109) upon the word Lasche in this quatrain, and takes it to mean cowardly, the same as lâche does in modern French. Both forms of the word are alike deduced from the Latin, laxare, laxatus, and then if might well mean of loose morals, as I have rendered it. That the Latin may mean this Bailey's "Facciolati" shows, s.v. Laxitas: "Liber membris cum mollibus fingitur, et liquoris feminei dissolutissimus laxitate"; and Cromwell's dissolute life in early youth has been insisted on by many, though, of course, contradicted by others. Frederic Harrison is the last of these, and passes over the charge of vice with a very light hand, saying that "Such testimony as theirs we cannot trust; but we cannot now refute it." Suffice it to say, I do not think cowardice was what Nostradamus meant to impute to Cromwell.
The obscure birth requires a moment's consideration, as none of the French commentators allude in any way to it. The household of Robert Cromwell, Oliver's father, in Huntingdon, was of the industrious, jog-trot, somewhat over-professingly pious, middle-class order, common enough then in the Eastern counties. What is most remarkable,
perhaps, is that the homestead, in which he was born, had been built upon the ruins of a convent of Augustine Friars, and that the two estates which came to him, one from his father and the other from his mother's brother, consisted of old church-lands. Oliver's branch of the family had rather fallen away from the county position which such inheritance infers. But it was always the more prominent families that stole, or possessed themselves of, the church-lands at the spoliation, and thus the Cromwells were married in and in with gentry. This scion of the robbers of the Church was soon to develop, on his own account, into a robber of the State; a man of violence and passion quite after the heart of Thomas Carlyle. Carlyle's notion of a hero, is a strong devil in a tantrum, mollifying, now and again, to the drone of a Psalm tune. Cromwell's branch seems to have drifted from the more courtly side to Calvinistic burghers and narrow-souled Independents; whilst Milton, who was born a London citizen, far away from gentry, was floated by his tastes and nature to the Court side of things, to the Bridgewaters, Ludlow Castle (see his deathless Masque of Comus), until a lofty idea of principle,--taken up by an unripe judgment, and dazzled by that false illusion, Liberty,--dashed him headlong into polemics, and irretrievably damaged the greatest poet ever born to England. They were exact opposites--these two. Milton sacrificed himself to his principles, Cromwell his principles to his person. Still, an old brewing concern at Huntingdon may well be designated by Nostradamus lieu obscur, as contrasted with Whitehall, and a burial, if you please, in Westminster Abbey, so wastefully extravagant as that it might well break a nation's treasury to meet it. Such prodigious pageantry belles the professions of the life, and can in no way be harmonized with "Take that bauble hence." Such empty, worthless show has less,
for me, of the saint and hero in it, than of the froth of beer, and of the littleness and vanity of man. If this is to be great, prythee, tell us, what is it to be little?
BRITISH ASCENDANCY OF THE SEA (OVER THREE CENTURIES). [I. 143.]
Century X.--Quatrain 100.
England the Pempotam (πᾶν potens) will rule the great empire (of the waters) for more than three hundred years. Great armies will pass by sea and land; the Portuguese will not be satisfied.
The French render this as meaning the destruction of England by large forces coming to overwhelm her by sea and land, but the reader will see that it does not at all necessarily show this. If we altered the colon, and put it at the end of the third line, it would simply mean that, whilst she was "all powerful" at sea, she moved large bodies of troops by both elements. I do not think it is very clear what the last line intends. But the three hundred years' dominion of the sea is a very palpable and most important object. That it is now drawing to a close is a somewhat melancholy subject for the contemplation of Englishmen, when we consider the searching revolution introduced by steam. If it really forebodes evil to England, it would involve dissatisfaction to the Lusitanians, as, if England fell, Portugal would be overwhelmed simultaneously by Spain.
The Invincible Armada of Philip II. was destroyed in 1588 by storms first, and the residue by Drake in Cadiz Bay.
[paragraph continues] From that epoch we naturally date the maritime supremacy of our country, which, according to Nostradamus, is to last for more than three centuries, but not four. Nelson's death at Trafalgar in 1805 was the culminating event of our naval history. Its salt-sea tale still stirs young hearts in far-off seaboard cottages on stormy nights in winter with a flush of heroism, and that yet more sacred thing, a solemn sense of duty. But the old sobriety and obedient spirit of reverence, that was common in English homes last century is greatly decadent under the rotten knowledge dropping widely from the Upas Board Schools,--with reverence banished and obedience lost. The bare three hundred years ended in 1888. What the plus may count for, with Revolt thus bred at every hearth, a wise Englishman might ask with some emotion now.
It is said, in James's "Naval History," that from 1793 to 1815--I have not referred to verify--two hundred ships of the line, and three to four hundred frigates were taken or destroyed of the fleets opposed to England; and of the sea as at the pouring out of the second vial, ἐγένετο αῖ᾽μα ὡς νεκροῦ, it became as the blood of a dead man (Rev. xvi. 3)This completely crushed out all chance of Napoleon's descent upon England; but, with the lying spirit that distinguished his administration at all times, he: managed to disguise the fact from Frenchmen at the time; so that we find Bouys, at p. 92, promising him--out of two misinterpreted quatrains--in 1806, when his fleet was annihilated, the empire of the sea and a conquest of England as complete as that of William the Conqueror. It only proves once more how far from truth is the wish that is father to the thought. Let him stand aloof who would read the future by the light of the lantern of his prejudices.
We are now at the end of the guidance of Le Pelletier.
[paragraph continues] Nevertheless, I will adduce several other quatrains to bring the English sequence down to the succession of the House of Hanover. They will perhaps not be devoid of instruction, though they will not be so remarkable as those already adduced. Several quatrains, more or less intelligibly wrought out, are enumerated in a pamphlet of the year 1715 by D. D. 1 The first relates to Queen Mary.
Century IV.--Quatrain 96.
La Sœur aisnee de L'Isle Britannique,
Quinze ans devant le frère aura naissance,
Par son promis, moyennant verrifique,
Succedera au Regne dc Balance.
The elder sister of the British Isle shall be born fifteen years before her brother; true to her intervening promise, she will succeed to the Kingdom of the Balance.
This means that Mary, elder sister of Edward VI., shall ascend the throne of England. She was not born fifteen years before him. Her birth took place February 18, 1516, whilst Edward VI. was born October 12, 1537, over twenty-one years later. The fulfilment of her truthful promise lay in carrying out her vow to reinstate the Papists, causing even her sister Elizabeth to be imprisoned in the Tower on a charge of conspiracy. Moyennant seems to refer to the temporary nature and duration of her papal restorations; en la moyenne, in the midst or interim, between the Protestantism of her young brother, and that of Elizabeth, who succeeded
her. Mary's birth was an event actually contemporary with Nostradamus; a very little inquiry, we may be sure, would have enabled him to have rendered it conformable to the facts of history. As exemplifying his method and procedure, it is very important to find that he took no trouble whatever to do so. It is evident that our prophet acted quite independently of external aids. He seems to have had methods and ways of his own, in which he had the most entire and implicit faith. In whatsoever manner the impressions reached him, he laid himself open to their reception, a reception to all appearance of pure passivity: he took the earliest moment of noting them down, more after the manner of an amanuensis under dictation than as being personally at all responsible for anything he committed to paper. The explanation of D. D. upon this passage is very singular, and implies somewhat of the insight of an adept into magical processes and fatidical language, of which we should be glad to know more. We must, however, content ourselves with it as it is; and even this little glimpse will be valued by those who love to study the human mind in all its byeways, and who are qualified to do so by thrusting aside from their own mind all private prejudice and vain prepossession. He says with regard to the discrepancy:
"But, if he has not known it, then has he either overheard it in raptu whilst his genius dictated unto him one year and three Heptades, or forgot it post raptum, and did write one year and two Heptades. The Lingua Demonum uses Septenarios in numerando, as we do Denarios."
Where he gets this intelligence from I have no idea. What he heard in raptu, could not have been one year and three heptades, for that would have represented twenty-two years, and we have to do with twenty-one years. What he might have heard, supposing we are right as to the lingua demonum, would be "one, plus two heptades," meaning three
heptades; and he might have supposed it to mean one year plus two heptades, or fifteen years. If not satisfactory, this at least, has something of plausibility about it.
The phrase Regne de Balance has much of importance attaching to it. Garencières translates the last line, "She shall succeed in the Kingdom of Libra," and he annotates that the princess, whom he does not recognize at all, born so long before her brother, shall be married to a King of France, which is signified by the "Kingdom of Libra." He also says that Louis XIII. was called The Just, because he was born under the sign Libra. I give this for the sake of its being curious, though quite beside the mark, so far as I am able to see.
The phrase Règne de Balance is one of those pithy pregnant sentences, ever and anon dropping instinctively from the pen of Nostradamus, on all topics treated by him or glanced at. The whole bent of England's policy, from Henry VII.'s day to the Treaty of Vienna, has been to maintain a European equipoise, and to provide that no State should grow so strong as to overwhelm the rest. The wise counsels of the statesmen of Elizabeth were all directed in the hope of fortifying it; and it was never seriously infringed until the first partition of Poland in 1772, which was completed by the third in 1795. Napoleon's false profession to restore it in 1806 may count--like all he said, "as false as dicers' oaths"--for nothing. England's permission of that crime,--that satanry of royal crowns, struck her with judicial blindness;--and hired publicists, the venal reptiles that preceded the journalists, soon sprang up in abundance, to confuse and smoke-dry the moral sense of Europe. Poland had established that most unworkable of all governmental schemes, an elective monarchy; an arrangement that insures periodical anarchy at every election, and generally
a wrong choice at last. The satanry of Split Eagles gave out, that the Poles could not govern themselves. But the fourth article in Peter the Great's will shows that they were not to be allowed to govern themselves. They were to be kept in continual jealousy, whilst the other powers were to be corrupted by gold, and a share of the plunder; till Russia could retake all. The bribers, the bribed, and the publicists succeeded so well that the very phrase "Balance of power" became, and stilt is, a topic of ridicule in common conversation. By this means its obvious rationality is excluded from any chance of a fair hearing. The Navigation Laws, Corn Laws, and Protection, have all been treated in the same way in our own time, and with the same revolutionary consequences, and loss of English supremacy. The Marquis de Bouillé, in his "Mémoires," ed. 1821, p. 8,--one of the few modern men who is entitled to be called a statesman,--says of England, that it is an empire whose support all other nations stand in need of, and that its happiness is intimately bound up with that of the world at large, but that if its thirst of gold should destroy its patriotism; or that bold demagogues and orators should get power to meddle with its fundamental laws, it would soon become chaotic and fall, leaving nothing behind it but another great ghost of empire perished, to glimmer as an historical beacon through the night of time. Again he says, at p. 24, that for thirty years (speaking about 1783) she has been the happy rival of France, and in some sort the arbitress of Europe. A little later on, when we crushed Napoleon by sea and land, and yet preserved France, we rose to our highest; but at Vienna the Règne de Balance 1 passed, probably for ever,
from the sceptre of England; just twenty years after the final partition of Poland. Cursed are those who, with arms in their hands, stand by and allow evil to be done! We repeated
the cowardice when France was under the heel of Prussia. If no virtue remained, the common policy of equalization should have weighed, to throw in aid to the weaker side.
QUEEN ELIZABETH (1533-1603).
Century VI.--Quatrain 74.
La dechassee au regne tournera,
Ses ennemies trouvez des conjurez;
Plusque jamais son temps triomphera,
Trois, et Septante, la mort, trop asseurez.
The rejected one shall at last reach the throne, her enemies found to have been traitors. More than ever shall her period be triumphant. At seventy she shall go assuredly to death, in the third year of the century.
Elizabeth was long withheld from the throne. When she reached it, of course all enemies were regarded as traitors, and no reign was ever more triumphant. She proved a thorn in the side of popery; overthrew the Armada; and crippled the power of Spain, despoiling it of a large tract of land in America, which has been called after her Virginia; and under Essex, in 1596, inflicted on it a loss of twenty million ducats or pieces of eight, in the Bay of Cadiz. The next
quatrain that we shall take seems to refer to the expedition by Essex.
The fourth line is a very singular one. It has no punctuation in the edition of 1558; so I introduce a comma between trois and septante. Septante is "seventy," a good old word that has dropped out of French usage, but which many French scholars think infinitely preferable to the clumsy circumlocution Soixante dix. Trois stands for 1603. Nostradamus often drops the thousands and hundreds from a date. We shall shortly come to a case in point, at the Fire of London, 1666. When Nostradamus describes the doomed city, he writes: "Bruslé par fond, de vingt-trois les six." The nought in 1603 cannot be given, so that, omitting the figures in the tens, hundreds, and thousands, the trois remaining gives the date; so that the line remains "In the third year [of the seventeenth century] and seventy years old, assured death comes." Elizabeth was born September 7, 1533, and she died March 24 (April 3, N.S.), 1603; fulfilling to a nicety the conditions of the line as thus set forth.
ATTACK ON CADIZ BAY (1596).
Century VIII.--Quatrain 94.
Devant le lac ou plus cher fut getté
De sept mois, et son ost desconfit
Seront Hispans par Albanois gastez,
Par delay perte en dormant le conflict.
Before the lake, where much treasure (plus cher) was stranded, after a seven months' voyage, and the host discomforted. Spaniards shall bc worsted by the English, by time lost before giving battle.
Garencières here takes Albanois for Albanians, which of course prevents him from reaching any conceivable meaning. It stands for English, as Albanies, or Albions. The quatrain may reasonably enough be interpreted of the
attack made by Essex, Howard, and Raleigh, June, 1596, on Cadiz Bay. They destroyed there thirteen ships of war, and forty huge South American galleons, part of the great "silver fleet," or "plate fleet." They had got stranded in their own harbour. Had the Spaniards been alert, they might have unloaded the treasure-ships, and so saved the cargoes. If they had attacked the English at once, instead of awaiting the onset, they might have beaten them off, or at least have kept them out of the harbour. But they were so supine that the Duke de Medina had at last to fire the ships to prevent their capture. The Spartans and Spaniards have been noted as being of small despatch: Mi venga la muerta di Spagna--"Let my death come from Spain, for then it will be sure to be long in coming" (Bacon's Essay on Despatch). Collins does not give this in his Spanish proverbs. But not only did Spaniards and Spartans procrastinate. "Business tomorrow," said the Theban Polymarch, in Plutarch, as he laid under his pillow some despatches relating to a conspiracy, and was killed before he read them. Copyslip wisdom saith "Delays are dangerous."
The bay and harbour of Cadiz may very well be called a lake, being twelve miles one way, and at least six the other, whilst the entrance to it from Rota to the Castle of St. Sebastian is a good six miles. When Essex got possession of the Castle of Puntales, he commanded the whole town and harbour. The idea of lake is actually expressed in the very name of Cadiz, which is derived from the Punic word Gaddir, an enclosed place. The Greeks corrupted this into γάδειρα, or γῆς δειρή, "neck of land." The Romans contracted either this or the Punic word into Gades, and the Spaniards into Xerez, by the help of their Arabic guttural.
Century VI.--Quatrain 22.
Dedans la terre du grand temple celique,
Nepueu à Londre par paix feincte meurtry:
La barque alors deviendra scismatique,
Liberté feincte sera an corn' et cry.
In the country of the great heavenly temple the nephew is murdered [by her who comes] to London under a feigned truce. The ship [of Peter] will then become schismatic, and feigned liberty become the hue and cry.
I cannot, I confess. altogether make this out. D. D. interprets it of the murder of Henry Stuart, I 567, and the final establishment of the Reformation. If it mean this, it will be a proof of the uncertainty, and almost caprice with which forecasts are concerned. It is strange that Henry Stuart's murder should find any representation, when, so far as I yet know, nothing is recorded of the fate of Mary Stuart herself. The heavenly temple is, according to D. D., the kingdom of the Angeli, Angels, or Angles, meaning the English. We are by no means forced to accept this interpretation, for Celique may stand for luminous, according to Le Pelletier's Glossary, where he derives the word from the Greek σίλας though I see no such word. Celique is generally considered to stand for celeste, cælitus, from cælum. We might read it as a misprint for Celtique. Then la terre du grand temple Celtique would be the island in which is placed the great Druid temple of Stonehenge--the island of Apollo, Templum Solis, as Bath is the fountain of the sun, Aqua Solis. I record these hints, not as possessing much value in themselves, but as being possible aids towards future elucidation.
La Barque, in Nostradamus, is no doubt usually to be interpreted of the Popedom, the ship of St. Peter; but if, as I think, the general reference of the quatrain be to England
and English affairs, then I should interpret La Barque as the Ship of State, becoming more and more schismatical, and in which the Puritans, Independents, and other Dissenters raise a great hue and cry about liberty, and liberty of conscience (au corn' et cry, or a cor et à cri, which is a variant of the early edition). The Puritans were becoming most troublesome both in England and Scotland all through the reigns of Elizabeth and Mary Stuart. Here D. D. insists upon what it is the business of his book to establish; that the accession of the House of Hanover to the throne of England is one distinct topic of the prophecies of Nostradamus. James I. was the great-grandfather of George I. His daughter Elizabeth married Frederic, the Elector Palatine, and had issue the Princess Sophia, Electress of Brunswick-Lunenberg, the mother of George I.
ENGLAND BECOMES GREAT BRITAIN (1603).
Century III.--Quatrain 70.
La grand Bretaigne comprinse d'Angleterre,
Viendra par eaux si 1 haut à inonder
La Ligue neuve d'Ausonne fera guerre,
Que contre eux ils se viendront bander.
Great Britain comprising England, will come to be inundated very forcibly by the waters. The new League in Italy will make war against all such as band together against any one of the cosignatories.
England was politically called Great Britain when Scotland was united to her at the accession of James I. in 1603. Still, in an indefinite way, the term, or kindred terms, had often been employed. To go no further than the "Faerie Queene" of Spenser (Book III. c. ii. § 7), we find:
Far fro my native soyle, that is by name
The Greater Brytayne, here to seeke for praise and fame.
In this passage, Church says, it means Wales, as distinguished from the Lesser Brittany in France. The Greater Brytayne would hardly be Wales, but England and Wales together before the Saxon Heptarchy. This, however, in no way interferes with the propriety of the distinction drawn by Nostradamus. His allusion is clearly to the time of James I., who assumed the title of "King of Great Britain" on October 24, 1604.
The floods spoken of commenced about the end of January, 1607. The principal damage occurred in Somersetshire, where the sea broke down the dykes, and overflowed the country for thirty miles in length and six miles inland, to the destruction of all property and most of the inhabitants. Bristol suffered. The east coast by Norfolk suffered in like manner, though not quite to so great an extent. A long account of it, giving curious details of the calamity, was hunted up by Garencières, and found in an old, almost forgotten Latin book, entitled "Rerum in Galliâ, Belgiâ, Hispaniâ, Angliâ, etc., gestarum anno 1607," à Nicolao Gotardo Artus Dantisco, VII., Book 2.
La Ligue neufve, D. D. says, was a renewal of the Liga Sancta first entered into in 1526 between the King of France, the Pope, and the Venetians. The renewal took place in 1606, and was simply defensive, precisely as the quatrain puts it. Thus the quatrain stretches over a space of three years, from October, 1604, establishing the title of "Great Britain;" the ratification of the Liga Sancta in 1606; and the inundations in Somerset and Norfolk in 1607. The alliance of 1526 goes by the name of the Treaty of Cognac (or Holy League). It was concluded on March 22, 1526, between the Pope, Francis I., Venice, Henry VIII., the Swiss, and Florence. The second or defensive alliance, according to D, D., was between three only of the original signatories;
[paragraph continues] France, the Pope, and the Venetians. I do not find it mentioned, but presume he is right. Garencières evidently writes in entire ignorance of both these treaties; but he says that the League will be of Bordeaux, which is called Ausone, from Ausonius, the famous Latin poet, who was born there. Here it certainly means Italy; but I mention it, as it is quite likely that Nostradamus might so employ the word, though he does not on this occasion. Ausone occurs once again, at least, in Quatrain 22 of Century VII., which I do not know that anybody has yet interpreted.
Century V.--Quatrain 93.
Soubs le terroir du rond globe lunaire,
Lors que sera dominateur Mercure:
L'isle d'Escosse fera un luminaire,
Qui les Anglois mettra à deconfiture. 1
Under the jurisdiction of the round globe of the moon, when Mercury shall be lord of the ascendant: the island of Scotland will produce a luminary (prince) that shall throw the English into a great discomfiture. 1
Garencières entirely misses the purpose of this, but re, marks that the prophecy must of necessity relate to the past, for since the Union nothing of the kind has happened, Charles I. was born at Dunfermline on November 19, 1600; in astrological language, when Mercury, lord of the horizon, was combust and following Saturn cosmically with the sun: the sun leaning to a conjunction with Mars, and the moon, in her worst location, in quadrature with Mars. He succeeded to the throne in 1625.
D. D. translates the quatrain, oddly enough, as follows:
In regione aëris sublunari,
Mercurius shall govern, p. 173
When a light shall be born in Scotland,
Which will put England into great disorder.
We have here the stars in their courses fighting against King Charles, and, as soon as we had disposed of the historical remarks appended to the quatrain by D. D., our intention was to have thrown together some of the fatalistic signs of the time and the ill omens that attended this unhappy monarch almost throughout life, but unfortunately this intention must be laid aside for the present.
In 1609 James I. tried to induce the Scotch to conform to some sort of uniformity in Church ceremony, but he stopped short of endeavouring to thrust it down their throats. Archbishop Laud was less moderate. With the zealous persistency of a shard-borne beetle flying against a stone wall, he, in 1637, advised Charles to introduce the English Liturgy into the churches of Scotland, auctoritate regis. It was flying in the face of Fate. Quem Deus vult perdere prius dementat.
Next to the folly of establishing it, was the folly of its public withdrawal in less than twelve months' time. It was established by royal mandate, July 23, 1637, and by royal proclamation, June 20, 1638, withdrawn; a further undertaking being given that no English ceremonies should be thrust upon the Church of Scotland. Any tyro in statesmanship would have known that this course was doomed to fall utterly. Having taken the first inconsiderate step, it should have received no other impulse from England; private instructions should have been communicated to the chief clergy that no proceedings would be taken to enforce the law, and it would have died down of itself. As it was, the concession came too late, and gave the Scotch time to enter into a covenant never to permit the establishment of the English ritual; or, as they called it, the English Service
[paragraph continues] Book. The fault was committed that, over and over again, the English commit as to Irish affairs; the yielding to outside pressure. Contentious opposition should be crushed by force first, and then conceded to as of grace. You will never get thanks from any party for having yielded to their threats. This only cemented disaffection; and, in 1643, England, puritanically urged, went further still, and established the Solemn League to like effect. This was a pure piece of political claptrap intended to secure general disaffection.
In 1641 the discontent had spread into Ireland, and, as usual in such cases, English reasoning and Scotch logic developed into bloodshed on the other side of St. George's Channel. The English often content themselves with ink and oratory, but an Irish Celt prefers to record his dissent in a rubric of blood. During the first four months of antagonism, the rebellion under Phelim O'Neil caused the massacre Of 40,000 English Protestants in Ulster: D. D. says 150,000, massacred by Papists, and they could be reckoned up by name. But where he got his list I do not know. His comment on this is: Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum. His quotation is not correct; I hope the same may be said of his statistics.
As we all know, Laud expiated his mistake with his head on Tower Hill, and the King himself was to follow on five years later at Whitehall, after being surrendered for money by the Scotch to the English. As Nostradamus puts it [II. 531, Du juste sang par pris damné sans crime.
King Charles was only twenty-five when he ascended the throne, labouring in that respect under almost the same disadvantage as Louis XVI. Both of these kings could derive but little wisdom from the Council-table. Charles's early acts consequently were rash, and those of the French King speculative rather than practical. Clarendon, in his History
[paragraph continues] (i. 23, ed. 1731), devotes a paragraph or two of great interest to the impeachment of the Earl of Middlesex (Lionel Cranfield). Clarendon admits him to have been "a man of great wit and understanding," and to have held every place with great ability. He had been raised by Buckingham from a city trader to a statesman, and in his success seems to have quite forgotten the patron to whom he owed it. The rash Buckingham, on his return from the Spanish Quixotism, influenced the House of Commons to impeach him; altogether overlooking the consequences of employing such a machinery to revenge a private pique, and he must needs drag in the young Prince Charles to help him. The King foresaw the evil. "The wise King," says Clarendon, "knew well enough the ill consequence," 1 and he sent for these two,--his son and Buckingham-to lecture them if possible into wisdom. He pointed out that it wounded the Crown and shook his authority, as Ministers would thus have to look to the House, and not to the King alone, as heretofore. At last he burst out in choler: "By God, Steenie, you are a fool, and will shortly repent this folly, and will find that, in this fit of popularity, you are making a rod with which you will be scourged yourself!" He then turned to the prince, and told him: "You will live to have your bellyfull of Parliament impeachments; and, when I shall be dead, you will have too much cause to remember how much you have contributed to the weakening of the Crown by the two precedents you are now so fond of," i.e. engaging the Parliament in the war, and the prosecution of Cranfield. It was, indeed, to teach the many-headed (which is equal to no head) beast to taste blood. Here, indeed, a King turns prophet; foreseeing,
from existing facts misdirected, what future evils will arise. This, of course, is quite different from Nostradamus. "Flambe exigue sortant de solitude" [I. 1], and all that can be got out of visions of the night by secret estude or otherwise.
CHARLES II.--CAPITULATION OF EDINBURGH (DECEMBER 12, 1650).
Century VIII.--Quatrain 40.
Le sang du Juste par 1 Taurer la daurade,
Pour se venger contre les Saturnins
Au nouveau lac plongeront la maynade,
Puis marcheront contre les Albanins.
The above is the reading in the texte-type, 1558. D. D.'s version runs as below:
Le sang du juste, par Tore et les Torads,
Pour se venger contre les Saturnins:
Au nouveau lac plongeront la Menade,
Puis marcheront contre les Albanins.
He translates thus--
The blood of the righteous, for Torah and Torees' sakes, cries for vengeance against the Saturnine rebels, who will plunge the priestess of Bacchus, la menade, into the sea of their novelties, and march afterwards against the Scotch.
D. D.'s idea of the interpretation of this is that, for the sake of the law-abiding people (the Torah and Torees), the King's blood cries for vengeance against the Saturnian Roundheads. The intoxicated people shall plunge into a new course of wickedness, and will then march against the Highlanders. He considers that this was fulfilled in 1650, when, after the capitulation, as he calls it, with the Scotch at Breda, Charles II. landed in Scotland on June 23, and joined the royal army, consisting mainly of Highlanders.
[paragraph continues] About the same moment Cromwell reached London from Ireland, and General Fairfax retired from the army. Cromwell, at this critical moment, jumps into his post, and, on June 29, heads the Parliamentary army against the Scots.
Without at all insisting upon the accuracy of this interpretation, I think it furnishes sufficient of curiosity to make it worthy of insertion. What follows, touching the Tories, I give in his own words:
"Some people stick to the Church of England discipline, even to a superstition, and to their last breath. These people had the nickname of Tories, cast on them by the Cromwellites; which is as much as to say some have the law of the Church put upon them, from the Hebrew Torah, which signifies the law, or the law of the Church of God. Perhaps did Cromwell himself, or some of his confident advocates and ministers, designedly invent that cursed name; as it is likely from what happened in the year 1651, when the Parliament ordered the law-books to be translated out of Latin into English, wherein the lawyers took a great deal of freedom by using the verbalia passiva very frequently, and almost on all occasions, according to their own fancy and pleasure. As, for instance, Apellans and Apellatus, they made an Apealer and an Apealee; the Arrestans and Arrestatus, the Challenger and the Challengee; as likewise the Warranter and the Warrantee; the Voucher and the Vouchee; the Leaser and the Leasee; in which manner they used likewise the terms of Torer and Toree; a Torer, in the first place--that is, a promoter of the Common Prayer and Church of England service; and an imposer of human traditions, instead of God's law; and, in the second place, a Toree; that is, one that submits and suffereth such laws to be imposed upon him. Which nomina verbalia passiva, so much in vogue amongst the English lawyers, are not at all
[paragraph continues] English but mere French, and the Participium Passivum itself; and more proper to the neat French than the corrupted Provincial Dialect; which last our Nostradamus very often mixes with his style; wherein they commonly used to say, Les confirmads, les restads, les escilads, instead of les confirmez, les restez, les exilez, etc. And according to this Dialect one must say, LES TORADS, instead of LES TOREZ, and thus does our Poet."
If what he says above has any value, the Toree would be the prelates and clergy; the Torads the laity, who adhere to the Church of England and its discipline and ritual. This in the context would have a greater appropriateness than D. D. himself seems to be aware of, for the word it is contrasted with in the context is les Saturnins. This word in Nostradamus is constantly used for pagans, in contradistinction to Albanins, Christians, robed in white albus. In this quatrain also the men of Albany, if we take them for Scotch, are fighting on the side of Church and State against the Roundheads. Saturne is often put for Antichrist by Nostradamus.
The French of this quatrain, as it stands, does not appear to be correct. The first two lines require a verb understood to connect them: "The blood of the king [cries] few vengeance," etc. The third line has an embarrassed construction: "They will plunge the Menade into a new lake." If Saturnins, again repeated, be understood, it is difficult to see what plunging their mad priestess into the lake can effect. If it could be read as les Menades, then the frantic Bacchantes would plunge into a fresh sea of evil or troubles, and, in their wild intoxication, march northwards. If we could put any interpretation upon Taurer that would be applicable to the rendering, the whole quatrain might then apply to the French Revolution, and not the English. I
think that the sang du Juste furnishes thus much of certainty as to the interpretation. It must relate to one of two periods; the death of Charles I. or Louis XVI. Then it would be that the Revolutionists, finding the Royalists to be seeking revenge, declared against the Church, and plunged madly into a new order of things. The Menade would be more appropriate to that period than to the earlier one. Bad as they were in England, there was more of lust, infidelity, and blood, corruption, vice, and madness, in France.
Menade. The μαινάδες were Bacchantes, the priestesses who celebrated the festivals of Bacchus. Stephanus says that it is to be explained not only as Bacchic, but as frantic; and this is unquestionably the meaning here. The Greek word appears to be connected with the Sanscrit man, to think; and thence the word manyu, anger, is said to be derived. They used to run dishevelled, half-naked, and, brandishing the thyrsus; in their fury they would kill and behead men whom they encountered by the way, and carry off their heads, leaping with rage and joy. According to Nonnus, they were virgins so careful of their chastity that they slept with a cincture of serpents. Juvenal attributes no great severity of virtue to them, but their pretensions to such superlative purism renders them all the fitter emblem of the canting Puritans who won Cromwell's battles for him. In Le Pelletier's Glossary maynade is given as a Romance word for "a child of four or five years;" but this throws no additional light on our difficulty.
THE BATTLE OF DUNBAR (SEPTEMBER 3, 1650).
Century VIII.--Quatrain 56.
The weak band shall occupy the knoll (or, if preferred, it can be, occupy the ground or field [after the battle]). The Highlanders (Ceux du haut lieu) shall raise horrible shouts (before they engage, and also after their defeat). The large force shall be hampered or cornered (d'estre en coin), and fall close to Edinburgh, their papers even falling into the victor's hands.
This is a very important forecast indeed. The little band on the knoll--for I prefer that reading--is clearly enough Cromwell's small force, very much in the condition he describes it to be in, in his letter to Haslerig at Newcastle, September 2, 1650 (Carlyle's "Cromwell Letters," ii. 201):
"We are upon an engagement very difficult. The enemy hath blocked up our way at the Pass at Copperspath, through which we cannot get without almost a miracle."
Before sunrise Lesley sends down on Monday his horse to cross the small Brocksburn. Whoso wishes to attack must first cross this little brook, in its deep ditch, as they then called it (the picturesque tourist would now say glen), forty feet deep. Lesley's army comes out and places itself in "rather narrow ground," says Carlyle (p. 202) in 1846; d'estre en coin, says Nostradamus in 1558; or 1546, if you like to have it so, for it was probably on paper a clean three hundred years before Carlyle commented; you may even translate him, "takes the trouble to put itself into a corner." "Hampered in narrow, sloping ground," says Carlyle again (p. 206).
The reader who wishes for it can here leave off to peruse Carlyle's very celebrated prose lyric, as they call it, about this "Dunbar Battle," with its "moon" that "gleams out, hard and blue, riding among hailclouds;" whatever "a blue
moon" may mean, or not mean. Carlyle makes Nol there, as the level sun shoots up over St. Abb's Head and across the sea, quote the sixty-eighth Psalm, in Rous's doggerel:
"Let God arise, and scattered
Let all His enemies be;
And let all those that do Him hate
Before His presence flee!"
Observe here that it is the Saturnins, in a frenzy of antichrist, who do this, according to Nostradamus. But you can take which side you please. "The Lord General made a halt," says Hodgson, "and sang the hundred-and-seventeenth Psalm" at the foot of Doon Hill; to the tune of Bangor or other, says Carlyle, "strong and great against the sky," this grand strain arises, in which the metre, like the Lord General himself, makes a halt too:
"O give ye praise unto the Lord,
All nations that be;
Likewise ye people all, accord
His name to magnify"--
which, to eke out the measure, has to be read, nay-shy-ons, and, for the rhyme's sake, magnifee. This energy is really not dramatic, but it is stagey; on the border-land of sublimity, it curls the lip of humour to a smile.
The poor Highlanders taken prisoners were sold, "not," says Cotton, "to perpetual servitude, but for six, or seven, or eight years, as we do our own" (blessed are they who are of the household of faith); "which is really a mild arrangement," in the estimation of "the Sage of Chelsea" (p. 358).
But now back to our exegesis let us go. Cromwell captured, on this occasion, the whole of the papers of the Scotch, War Office, as well as the Great Seal of Scotland, which he sent forward as a trophy to London. Cromwell's letter to
[paragraph continues] Speaker Lenthall excuses his making "no more frequent address to Parliament," but "it hath now pleased God to bestow a mercy upon you worthy of your knowledge;" and so he goes on, for a space occupying eight closely printed pages 8vo. He says he wishes to treat the Scotch very kindly, for that "God hath a people here fearing his name, though deceived;" and he concludes, in the dirty language of the godly of his century, that he has "offered much love unto such, in the bowels of Christ." His bowels, to the Highlanders made prisoner, awarded slavery, not perpetual, but for eight years only. Here are tender mercies and bowels commiserate for contemplation! sufficient, as we have seen, to make Nostradamus shudder at their approach.
Son temps s'approche si près que je souspire (viii. 76, p. 156).
All that was done here, however, could not prevent Charles from being crowned on January 1, 1654, at Scone, in Scotland. In the next summer he penetrated into England, and was pursued by Cromwell and his Ironsides.
D. D. follows up the Quatrain 56, which we have just treated, with Century VIII., Quatrain 57, which stands next to it:
De Soldat simple parviendra en Empire. [II. 171.]
D. D. interpreting it of Cromwell, as was most natural at that time. Garencières does the same, saying, "I never knew nor heard of anybody to whom this stanza might be better applied than to the late usurper Cromwell;" but unless it be a type of two handles, of the old ecclesiastical sort, I think it will apply still better to Napoleon; and I shall so apply it further on, giving the reasons why it is more appropriate to him than to the Protector. Further than this, as a general
rule in regard to the succession of the quatrains in Nostradamus, they have no more affinity to each other than that they lie together, as one bean touches another in a bushel measure. Still, the next we shall treat is in sequence with the two preceding.
CHARLES II. AFTER THE BATTLE OF WORCESTER. (SEPTEMBER 3, 1651).
Century VIII.--Quatrain 58.
Regne en querelle aux frères divisé,
Prendre les armes et le nom Britannique:
Titre Anglican sera tard avisé,
Surprins de nuict mener à l'air Gallique.
When a kingdom in quarrel divided between two brothers takes up arms. and the name of Great Britain: The King (Tiltre Anglican) too late advised, surprised at night (is forced) to seek the air of France.
It is rather harsh, but to make sense of this we shall be forced to understand the two brothers to be England and Scotland, or simply civil war. When Charles at last made up his mind to visit Scotland and fight for his crown, it was already too late. The Parliamentary side had developed a strength that he was never equal to cope with. The loss of the battle of Dunbar was a disaster that settled the question. He might as well have quilted the field to Cromwell at once. Instead of that, on the 3rd of September--ominous day! being the anniversary of the Dunbar fight--he engages him again at Worcester. Charles was completely routed and his cause hopelessly broken. He managed, under the cover of night, to escape from the city of Worcester, and, flying from place to place for weeks, as most romantically chronicled in the Boscobel Tracts, he at last, on the 20th of October, got well shipped for Dieppe, and finally rejoined his mother safely at St. Germain.
DEATH OF CROMWELL (SEPTEMBER 3, 1658).
KING CHARLES II.'S FLIGHT AND RESTORATION (SEPTEMBER 3, 1651-1660).
Century X.--Quatrain 4.
Sur la minuict conducteur de l'armée
Se sauvera, subit esvanouy,
Sept ans après la fame non blasmée;
A son retour ne dira one ouy. 1
Upon the stroke of midnight, the leader of the army (King Charles II.) shall Save himself (by flight), and suddenly evanish. For seven years longer that is, to a day, till the death of Cromwell, his reputation will survive unchallenged; at his Restoration no one will say anything but yes.
In other words, Nostradamus tells King Charles II. to continue to hope on, for that though he will have to fly by night from Worcester, his memory will be preserved without diminution till the death of his victor, seven years later to a day. Further, that when the day of his Restoration does come round, he will be received back with universal acclaim. Had it been given as neuf ans, it would have been more complete as regards Charles II. personally. But, as it is, the date to a day coinciding with the death of Cromwell, makes one suppose it to have been given to point to that interesting coincidence. It would have been no more wonderful than are many others amongst the quatrains, had this been intended; but whether it shall be so allowed or not rests with the reader,--now that he knows exactly how it stands,--to accept or to reject.
The French used always to engage in a battle willingly on St. Louis's Day, April ii, and the English upon St. George's Day, April 23. But September 3, St. Mansuetus's Day, was ruinous to the Royalists and prosperous to Cromwell. The Battle of Worcester, so decisive in its consequences,
was commenced at three o'clock in the afternoon on September 3, 1651; and at three o'clock in the afternoon of September 3, 1658, Cromwell died on what has been called his Fortunate Day: "Nature herself," says his last chronicler in the ninth edition of the 'Encyclopædia Britannica,' "seeming to prophesy, in the voice of the great tempest that swept over England, that a great power had passed away." 1 It was a tremendous tempest no doubt, and men at the time said the Devil had run away with Old Noll. Some say he died broken-hearted, when the last Parliament convened by him in January, 1658, refused to acknowledge his House of Peers. So great a burden "drank up his spirits," said Maidston.
CROMWELL DECLARED PROTECTOR (DECEMBER 16, 1653).
Century X.--Quatrain 22.
Pour ne vouloir consentir an divorce,
Qui puis après sera cogneu indigne,
Le Roy des isles sera chassé par force:
Mis à son lieu qui de Roy n'aura signe.
The King will agree to the divorce of his crown, which would afterwards have been regarded as an unworthy action, and hence will by force be expelled from the island. One who will have no sign of kingship will be put in his place.
Garencières was alive to the true sense of this and its fulfilment. The Republicans murdered the king, gave the government, if not the crown, to Cromwell, and drove Charles II. into France.
CROMWELL THE FOX.
Century VIII.--Quatrain 41.
A Fox shall be elected, uttering not a word, playing saint in public and helping himself to other people's property, in order to tyrannize after a while by a coup d'état, placing his foot on the throat of the greatest.
Garencières thinks this to apply to some Pope, but D. D. refers it much more aptly to Cromwell. If my proposed readings are allowed, the quatrain can fit no one so well, especially as it follows Quatrain 40, which we already have interpreted of the Commonwealth. D. D. reminds us that the Protector was a great Chiliast and Fifth Monarchy man, and certainly Faisant le saint public; even so as to gull, in this our late day, Thomas Carlyle, who allowed the heroism of violence, in this case, to dazzle him into the belief that the hypocrisy of Saintship was Godfearing. As to Cromwell, D. D. says truly, that he was moderate in diet. This he says to strengthen the barley bread, though I feel very strongly
that it is differently intended. It might even mean that he got his bread by barley, or John Barleycorn, from the Huntingdon brewery. He was more given to ambition than to pleasure, says D. D., as is the case with men of his saturnine complexion. This may, by such as choose to use it so, connect him with Quatrain 40 and les saturnins. "His fortunate star, Mars," writes D. D., "had brought him the glory of a valiant hero and general."
Here D. D. entertains us, somewhat at large, upon his notion of a "wig, or trimmer, that is, a wavering man or hypocrite, from the original words to wag and to trim about." We, however, know that this etymology is not worth very much.
Our next is a sequence of three quatrains, all of which seem to refer to English affairs.
THE FIRE OF LONDON--DUTCH WAR--PLAGUE (1665-1667).
Century II.--Quatrains 51, 52, 53.
Dans plusieurs nuits la terre tremblera:
Sur le printemps deux effors suite:
Corinthe, Ephèse aux deux mers nagera,
Guerre s'esmeut par deux vaillans de luite. 1
La grand peste de cité maritime
Ne cessera, que mort ne soit vengée
Du juste sang par pris damné sans crime,
De la grand dame 2 par feincte n'outragée.
The blood of the just shall be required of London, burnt by fireballs in thrice twenty and six; the old Cathedral shall fall from its high place, and many (edifices) of the same sort shall be destroyed.
Through many nights the earth shall tremble; in the spring two shocks follow each other; Corinth and Ephesus shall swim in the two seas, war arising between two combatants strong in battle.
The great Plague of the maritime city shall not diminish till death is sated for the just blood, basely sold (for £ 2,000,000), and condemned for no fault. The great Cathedral outraged by feigning (saints).
The first quatrain deals most remarkably with the great fire of London; noting the precise year, the burning of St. Paul's, and other injury to the Protestant interest.
The second shows that a bloody sea-war shall rage, the earth quaking under the cannonade from the ships, shaking the cliffs. There was such a war in 1665, 1666, and 1667, between England and the seven united provinces of the Netherlands. Cruising within the narrow seas, he likens to the Ægean waters between Corinth for England, and Ephesus for Antwerp. He describes them as they really occurred, commencing afresh with every ensuing spring,--sur le printemps. D. D. remarks that they were so obstinately contested, all these fights, that they would last for days on a stretch, or, as Nostradamus says, nights: plusieurs nuits la terre tremblera, according to the English custom of reckoning by a fortnight, and not fourteen days. Now the French
reckon the fortnight as a quinzaine, that is, up to the fifteenth day, which of course contains only fourteen nights; and you might say la terre tremblera, for the cannon reverberating between the cliffs would move them perceptibly. D. D. thinks that la grande dame in the last quatrain is the great city of London, the metropolis, or mother-city; an Eastern way of speaking. In his learned way, he adds: "The great fire has only metamorphosed the city--ex Ligneâ in Lateritiam," converting it from wood to brick.
The distance at which sounds may be heard seems variable. Captain Parry, in his "Third Voyage," p. 58, relates, it is said, that at Port Bowen a conversation could be carried on distinctly at 6696 feet, which is over a mile. Dr. Clark, in his Travels (ii. 331), whilst sailing from the Gulf of Glaucus to Alexandria, heard the firing of the English upon the fortress of Rachmanie, upon the Nile. All on board heard it, at a distance of 130 miles. The earthquake at Sumbawn, in 1815, was heard 970 miles away (Elliot's "Horæ. Apoc.," iv. 218). In Dereham's "Physico-Theology" (i. p. 185, ed. 1786), a Dr. Hearn is quoted as certifying that guns fired at Stockholm in 1685 were heard at a distance of 180 English miles; and in the above Dutch war, 1672, the guns were heard above two hundred miles (vide Philosophical Transactions, No. 113.) I remember reading, though I have not noted where, that the guns employed at Waterloo were heard, at Hythe in Kent, on the Sunday morning, so that it was known Wellington and Napoleon had engaged in battle somewhere; the fact was confirmed by intelligence shortly after. The buzz of London traffic in 1820 could be heard by putting the ear to the ground on the top of Putney Hill, as Sir Richard Phillips relates in his "Morning's Walk to Kew" (p. 152). But the whole south of Thames was then tricked out rurally in Nature's emerald vest, and herself at case, the
earth could transmit vibrations from the troubled town; but now she shudders with a like palsy of her own, and Putney is as rural as Clerkenwell Green. Much of the conveyance of sound depends upon the wind, no doubt. J. p. Malcolm ("Londinium Redivivum," iii. p. 117) has some interesting remarks upon St. Paul's bell. He lived in Somer's Town, and with a strong north-east wind he could hear every hour tolled as clear as if only a quarter of a mile distant, but with the wind east, south-west, or north, not a sound could be heard. Now Somer's Town is north-northwest from St. Paul's, which, in a straight line, is two miles and a half away; so that a north-east wind should convey the vibrations to Lambeth. He found that this wind carried away all the smoke, and so left the air free for the sound to travel through it. A south wind overwhelmed him with noise. He could distinctly hear the guard at St. James's Park beat the tattoo at eight, nine, ten, and eleven, to each distinct roll of the drum. One would judge from this that the wind was blowing nearly due east at Waterloo on that famous Sunday, the 18th of June. It was an east wind at Baalzephon that ruined Pharaoh. I have dwelt thus episodically upon sound to show, if possible, that this tremblement de terre was an effect of sound arising on the waters but vibrating upon land, and not the convulsion of an earthquake.
Quatrain 80 of Century III. we have already treated of by the help of Le Pelletier, and interpreted it of Charles I., and we there made the bastard to stand for Cromwell. D. D. takes the alternative reading of l'indigne, and understands James II. The bastard then is naturally the Duke of Monmouth, natural son of Charles II.; but he was never demy receu; and had it been intended to portray him, he would not have been mentioned after, but before, the abdication. Hence we prefer to leave it as we placed it at first.
WILLIAM III. AND THE REVOLUTION (1688),
Century IV.--Quatrain 89.
Thirty of London shall conspire secretly against their King; upon the bridge the plot shall be devised. These Satellites shall taste of death. A fair-haired King shall be elected, native of Friesland.
D. D. reads for trente, trained. Had the true reading been trained it would have been very wonderful, because the trained bands of London had not been thought of in Nostradamus's time. Garencières interprets the quatrain to refer to Charles I., and says it is well known that the plotters used to assemble at the Bear at the Bridge foot. This was a celebrated inn on the south side of London Bridge. It was pulled down 1761, when the houses were removed from London Bridge (Public Advertiser, December 26, 1761), "Hist. Sign.," p. 154.
The Quarterly Review (xxvi. 189), in some very disparaging remarks on Nostradamus, says of this particular quatrain that it predicts "the Revolution of 1688 with tolerable clearness," resting upon the last line, which it prints in italics. As, however, William III. was born at the Hague, he was not born in what is called Friesland, but South Holland. I do not know whether it formed a part of Friesland in Nostradamus's time. D. D. is puzzled with the word blonde, and suggests that perhaps William had fair hair in his youth, "or it might be an allusion to his name, Guillaume, because (sic?) of cil, signifying eyebrows." This vermicular
wriggle must be permitted to our highly excellent cleric, who is manifestly unable to get the quatrain to say what he wants it to say. We have had numerous quatrains that, when properly understood, have appeared to be clear enough, and which are disparaged as "perplexed verses" by the Quarterly. But this which they find expressed with "tolerable clearness," I do not find clear at all. I find no plot of thirty, no meeting of conspirators at the Bear at the Bridge foot, or at any other bridge, nor satellites who are executed, nor of a blond king, nor of a native of Friesland.
MARLBOROUGH AND THE CARDINAL DE BOUILLON.
Century VI.--Quatrain 53
Le grand Prélat Celtique à Roy suspect,
De nuict par cours sortira hors de regne:
Par Duc fertile à son grand Roy Bretaine,
Bisance à Cypres et Tunes insuspect.
The great Celtic Prelate suspected by the King,
Shall post with haste by night out of the realm,
Through Bisance, Ypres, and Bethune, undiscovered,
By aid of the duke fertile (in conquest) to the great King of Britain.
This refers to the Cardinal de Bouillon, Great Almoner of France, who was misrepresented to the French King to such an extent that he could not appear at Court. After some years he threw up his charge and determined to quit France. He was related to Prince Eugène, who was with Marlborough, near Arras. The Cardinal came over to them under cover of night, precisely as described by Nostradamus, under the protection of a strong convoy, sent by Marlborough to protect him from the scouts of Ypres and the other places named. When he reached Antwerp, he simply sent in his ribbon of the Order to the French Court, accompanied with his resignation. He is called "Prelat Celtique" as the
[paragraph continues] Duchy of Bouillon is in Gallia Celtica. D. D. holds that grand Roy is an abbreviation of Royaume. But the sense is better if taken literally as it stands.
I transcribe for the curious reader from D. D. the following passage; it is too singular to be neglected:
"But the allusion on the Duke of Marlborough is stilt prettier. Had his [Nostradamus's] genius dictated unto him Marnebourg, he might have understood and written down without hesitation, for the English Marl and the French Marne are one and the same. The Dæmons speak all sorts of languages, but Nostradamus did not understand the English, whence it came that at the hearing of the name Marlborough, he startled, and thought, 'Qu'est-ce que Marl?' Thereupon it was inspired to him, 'C'est une terre fertile et graisse,' whereby he is ascribing to him both Nomen and Omen at once; the Duke, by whose indefatigable zeal and incomparable valour the Kingdom of Great Britain should be fertile in conquests."
Century II.--Quatrain 68.
This has already been treated by Le Pelletier (i. 125) under Louis XIV., as fulfilled in the endeavour to re-establish James II. in Ireland. But D. D. refers it to March 23, 1708, when the Pretender cast anchor before Edinburgh, and nobody came out to him. He sailed away, narrowly escaping the English fleet. On this account an Act of Parliament was passed, declaring him a rebel, and setting a reward upon his head. D. D. says that from this time forth Nostradamus always designates him by the title of Rebel. As this quatrain, which we are upon, does not refer to the Pretender, the above remark would only show that Nostradamus always speaks of the Pretender as a rebel. Bouys interprets this, as we have said before, of Napoleon's victories at sea; as also that Bouys was blindly prophesying after the battle of Trafalgar, and in ignorance that such a decisive engagement had been fought. Garencières interprets it as fulfilled in Charles II.'s times: so that with four interpreters we have four interpretations. Sceptics can employ this fact
how they like; I am pleased to furnish them with the opportunity. The total of the interpretations seems to me so astounding that we can well afford to submit to deductions such as this. Besides which, I am not endeavouring to establish any point; I wish the facts to establish themselves. What they finally show to be tenable, let us adopt.
GEORGE I.'S SUCCESSION (OCTOBER 20, 1714).
Century VI.--Quatrain 64.
On ne tiendra pache aucune arresté,
Tous recevans iront per tromperie:
De paix et trefue, et terre et mer protesté.
Par Barcelone classe prins d'industrie
They will keep no treaty fixedly (arrested). All who have gained by cheating will go (free). Peace and truce are proclaimed by land and sea. Barcelona captured by the perseverance of the fleet.
This quatrain is exceedingly obscure, and very difficult even to translate adequately. D. D., who is writing only a year after the actual events,--the publishing date of his book being 1715,--makes sense of it thus: George I. is proclaimed King, October 20, 1714, and Nostradamus notifies that there shall be a general liberation of all prisoners for debt. But it is hard to extract that sense out of the first two lines, especially as not a word occurs about England, a king, or a throne. The other two lines approach the period well enough. The Peace of Utrecht was concluded in 1713, and the peace between Germany and France at Radstadt followed in March, 1714. The war between France and Spain also was concluded before King George ascended the throne; even Barcelona was taken, before he was crowned (October 20), by the French fleet for the King of Spain, September 12, 1714. At the intercession of Great Britain, honourable terms were conceded to the Catalonians in Barcelona,
so that the mention of that city by Nostradamus comes with much felicity and appropriateness, if we decide that he refers to George I. at all here. D. D.'s book must have been written before October 20, 1714, as he says it is hoped that on the Coronation Day the King will empty most of the prisons.
GEORGE 1. (1714).
Century II.--Quatrain 87.
Après viendra des extrèmes contrées,
Prince Germain, dessus le throsne doré;
La servitude et eaux rencontrées,
La dame serve, son temps plus n'adoré.
Afterwards shall come, from a distant land, a German prince upon the gilded throne. The slavery and waters shall meet. The lady shall serve, her time no more adored.
D. D. considers this to relate to King George, and he remarks that the King exercised a stronger control than it was possible for Queen Anne to do. The German prince ascending the throne of gold certainly seems to point to George I. But Brunswick is not a very far country. It might be said that modern constitutional government was established first by the Georges, so serfdom and les eaux, or the people and their so-called rights, met together, but then you would have to interpret figuratively the last line: authority (la dame) serves, or is to become subordinate to, the phantom. of Freedom, the time of reverence and good feeling having gone by. This, I say, might be so interpreted, but it does not carry much more conviction with it than does the meaning found by Garencières. He will have it to be a prophecy relating to Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, called German because of German ancestry. His gilded throne was the gilded ship he sailed in. He made slavery and waters meet,
because on landing he began to conquer Germania,--that lady who was no more worshipped afterwards as she had been before.
GEORGE I. AND PEACE (1714-1727).
Century X.--Quatrain 42.
Le regne humain d'Anglique geniture,
Fera son regne paix union tenir:
Captive guerre demy de sa closture,
Longtemps la paix leur fera maintenir.
The human throne of English geniture will make its rule to maintain peace and union. War will be captive, or at least confined to half its usual area. (George will contend only with Spain. Peace abroad and an endeavour to maintain union at home, against the Pretender's efforts.) Thus peace will be secured to the country for a long stretch of years.
We have already given our interpretation to D. D.'s next quatrain (III. 57, p. 166). He discovers from it that George shall never want for an heir to the throne up to the Day of Judgment. Myself I see nothing of the kind to be warranted out of Nostradamus. He seems here to be contrasting the numerous changes in Britain with the happy stability of France. I should have made no reference to this, but for the opportunity it affords of introducing some of D. D.'s curious remarks upon the astrological portion of the verses.
At the Creation the Gemini stood in the house or sign Aries, near the equinoctial colure, which has but its own one pole; but they are now in the fourth house called Cancer, near the solstial colure, which has a double pole, viz. Mundi et eclipticæ. Basharion is an Arabic word, and denotes Humanus. Bashar, a substantive Caro, hominis cutis, homo. In the three signs, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, which have successively formed the Caput Zodiaci, none but Gemini is of human figure; that sign must be intended by the word
[paragraph continues] Basharion (especially as the word is not Basharion at all, but Bastarnan); so that, till the age of the world is six or seven thousand years old, i.e., till the Day of Judgment, this will last; and when the great day comes there will be found a direct descendant of that great king sitting on the English throne.
He has taken no notice of the Pempotam and its duration of three hundred years, as a sort of measure of the seven changes, and Nostradamus nowhere says that the seventh change shall endure to the end of time. Like almost all interpreters, D. D. reads his own imagination into the prophecy.
The reader who cares about such explanations as these will find a great deal more of the same sort in Garencières' annotations upon this quatrain. He remarks that the sign of Aries doth govern France, and that by doubling his pole is meant his returning a second time to the same place, so that the stars do promise France a long continuance in exaltation. He adds that if he were a great astrologer himself he should work out exactly the whole calculation, and he thinks Aries should come to that pole in the year 1845. But Garencières seems to have had no inkling whatever of the French Revolution of 1789, as forecast by Nostradamus; nor yet of the second Revolution of 1848, though he translated all the quatrains into English.
146:1 Latin, gens, nation.
146:2 Franche, for gent Franche, French nation.
146:3 Latin, per, by reason of.
146:4 Latin; Aries sign of the Ram.
146:5 Bastarnie, corresponding to ancient Poland.
149:1 Romance, nay, né, born.
149:2 Lonole, anagram for Ὀλλύων, destroying, from the verb ὀλλύειν, to destroy. Destroyer.
149:3 Donra, for donnera, will give.
149:4 Topique, flowers of rhetoric, oratory.
When hempe is sponne,
When Elizabeth was in the flower of her age, Bacon remembered well to have heard the above; hempe standing for Henry, Edward, Mary and Philip, and Elizabeth. "Which," says he, "thanks be to God, is verified only in the change of name; for that the King's style is now no more of England but of Britain." Observe the wonderful propriety of the words used by Nostradamus. He noted at the right spot and instant a national change of name; a point of precision that nine out of ten lettered Englishmen would fail to reply to correctly, in answer to the sudden question, When was England first called Great Britain? It would be interesting to know the history of this "trivial prophecy" as his lordship calls it, for it has a good deal of the true spirit of forecast in it. It certainly was genuine, as it evidently was known to the narrator as being in circulation before it was accomplished.
151:1 Romance, dechassé, simply chassé.
151:2 Latin, per, by reason of.
151:3 Latin, ira, anger.
151:4 Romance, tracer, follow a road, track.
152:1 Contre, à côté de, opposite, or near to.
156:1 Italian, macellaio, butcher, from Latin macellum.
156:2 Romance, nay, né, born.
159:1 Pempotam, a shocking word made out of Greek and Latin πᾶν-potens, all powerful.
159:2 Latin, Copia, military forces.
159:3 Latin, Lusitani, Portuguese.
161:1 The full title runs: "The Prophecies of Nostradamus concerning the fate of all the Kings and Queens of Great Britain since the Reformation, and the succession of his present Majesty King George, and the continuation of the British Crown in his most serene Royal House to the last day of the world. Collected and explained by D. D., 1715." This book is In the British Museum. I do not know whether it is scarce or not. It is not common, for I never meet with it in booksellers catalogues.
164:1 Hume has very ably handled this important question in his Seventh Essay (Hume's "Philosophical Works," iii. 373, Edinburgh, 1826). He there sets out that it is no modern invention as some have maintained, for the Asiatics combined against the Medes and Persians, as Xenophon shows p. 165 in his "Institutions of Cyrus." Likewise Thucydides exhibits the league formed against Athens, which led to the Peloponnesian war, as being grounded on this principle. Afterwards, when Thebes and Lacedæmon disputed the supremacy, Athens always threw her strength into the lighter scale to preserve the balance. She was for Thebes against Sparta till Epaminondas won at Leuctra, and then she immediately changed sides, as of generosity, but really jealous to preserve the balance. If you will read Demosthenes, he says, in the oration for the Megapolitans you may "see the utmost refinements on this principle that ever entered into the head of a Venetian or English speculatist." On the rise of the crafty Macedonian he again bugled the alarm to Greece, which brought the banners together that fell at Chæronea. The principle was right, but the too great delay had knit Fate's smile into a frown. Envy (if you like to call it so, but I call it a jealous prudence) must in a community of States prevent any one from overtopping, as Athenian ostracism expelled the citizen who grew too lush and vigorous for a communion in equality. Flume points out with perspicuous beauty how England went too far. Her emulous antagonism to France made her so alert to defend her allies that they could count upon her as a force of their own. The expenses consequent upon this imprudent course led to funding, i.e. the National Debt; and that has led us into an absurd meekness, a dread of war, and the peace barkings of the Quaker Bright; so that England dares not fire a howitzer when Russia, contrary to her most solemn pledges, annexes Merv, Bokara, and Khiva, and cannot find one word to say when Germany has her foot on the throat of France. Blunders in extravagant advocacy, blunders in parsimonious neglect of a principle, do not diminish its importance; they only emphasize it. With a prophecy out of dry reason Hume says it will become "more prejudical another way, by begetting, as is usual, the opposite extreme, and rendering us totally careless and supine with regard to the fate of Europe." That is how we now stand. In a very recent French cyclopædia, l'équilibre Européan is said to be quite a modern idea, with nothing corresponding to it in antiquity. The writer pretends that it originated with the Church, and that Podichad the King of Bohemia sent Marini to Louis XI. to point out the necessity there was for a Parliament of Kings to adjust matters between the Church and people. This may be the first form of a Congress. Francis I. carried on the same policy, and Henri IV. extended it to an idea of a Christian republic of federated nations, as against v universal monarchy. This idea enabled Cromwell to meddle as European arbiter, whereas he ought only to have acted as moderator and equalizer of parties. Leibnitz called the House of Hapsburgh a continual conspiracy against the rights of the people, and Richelieu got the equilibrium established and introduced at the Treaty of Westphalia, as a principle of the law of nations, though with the concomitant of Congresses. The princes so assembled plotted against Poland, as might have been anticipated, and p. 166 in the course of seventy years they were enabled entirely to break up the Balance of Power in Europe. Cromwell, Richelieu, Napoleon, and Bismarck, by force, finesse, chicane, and brutal bluntness, have overturned the very groundwork of the principle. The English, having at first stirred up war by means of subventions, have now tumbled, only too laxly, into the stupid doctrine of non-intervention. Congresses should never have been allowed. These "Parliaments of Kings" can only do mischief, as they have no controlling power to refer to. They lack a King above the Parliaments, and as that is impossible, Congresses can only meet for evil. The strongest are irresistible in such congregations. The weaker can get no justice and no sympathy. If they take the field, everybody is against them; if they submit, they are despoiled without hope of a remedy: whereas, formerly, a wrong done might excite a feeling of justice in a neighbour, and so induce him to help; or, where justice was weak, fear of similar treatment might opportunely bring forth the required aid.
170:1 Si, for très.
172:1 Read, Qui mettra les Anglois en déconfiture.
175:1 Observe here how very different is Clarendon's estimate of James I. from the trash that Sir Walter Scott indulges in at the King's expense, in those romances of his from which half the world draw their notions of history.
176:1 Latin, per, during.
179:1 Variant, le tertre, the knoll or rising ground.
184:1 D. D. reads here ne dira t-on qu'ouy, and I think the sense requires it.
185:1 Historical discrepancies ought to be chronicled, for they confuse all investigation, and force every conscientious new comer to commence the whole work over again. A writer in the "Book of Days" pretends to be particularly accurate (ii 309), noting that "the storm in reality happened on Monday, August 30, and must have been pretty well spent before the Friday afternoon, when Oliver breathed his last." Rosse, in his "Index of Dates," says (v. Storms) that there was one on September 3. Carlyle ("Cromwell Letters," iii. 457) chronicles the stormy Monday, but not the stormy Friday. Hume says a violent tempest "immediately succeeded his death." Clarendon, who may be supposed to know better than any of them, writes (v. 648, ed. 1731:) "And this now was a day (i.e. the Friday) very memorable for the greatest storm of wind that had ever been known. for some hours before and after his death."
186:1 This, of course, is "living on barley bread," as everybody translates it. I think, however, it has reference to the phrase faire ses orges, to enrich one's self unscrupulously at the expense of others. If that be so, it becomes excellently applicable in the present context [Noël.] He had sown his wild oats, and now began à faire ses orges.
186:2 Tant, should, I think, be temps.
186:3 Greek, κόπτειν, to strike = coup; it may even stand here for a coup d'état. [Borel.]
186:4 Construction is mettant à des plus grands le pied sur la gorge.
187:1 Foudre metaphorically, saltpetre, here fireballs. The belief at the time was that the fire was the work of incendiaries, and it has never been disproved, though it has been ridiculed by those who set up for liberty and enlightenment. The Illuminati will not allow London to have been thus burnt by others; and it is quite certain that they themselves will never set the Thames on fire. What Nostradamus asserts here, history has asserted. That is enough for the present purpose.
187:2 La dame. Garencières takes this for St. Paul's, once dedicated to Diana, who is the ancient dame. We may take it for the mother Church, if we like; and it would not be using much violence if we read le dome, for that might very well mean, as in the Latin, doma, house or church, as St. Jerome uses it--Domus Dei, in fact.
187:3 Cherra, future of the verb choir, tomber, to fall.
187:4 Secte. By this Garencières thinks is meant the eighty-seven churches that were burnt with St. Paul's, belonging to the same Protestant sect. We might read sorte.
188:1 Luite, Romance, for lutte, battle.
188:2 See note on previous page.
191:1 Variant, Luy, satallites la mort degousteront.
191:2 Esteut, or esleu.