ORACLES OF NOSTRADAMUS - Epistle to Henry II
Epistle to Henry II
To the most invincible, very puissant, and most Christian Henry King of France the Second: Michael Nostradamus, his most humble, most obedient servant and subject, wishes victory and happiness.
For that sovereign observation that I had, O most Christian and very victorious King, since that my face, long obscured with cloud, presented itself before the deity of your measureless Majesty, since that in that I have been perpetually dazzled, never failing to honour and worthily revere that day, when first before it, as before a singularly humane majesty, I presented myself. I searched for some occasion by which to manifest good heart and frank courage, by the means of which I might grow into greater knowledge of your serene Majesty. I soon found in effect it was impossible for me to declare it, considering the contrast of the solitariness of my long obnubilation and obscurity, and my being suddenly thrust into brilliancy, and transported into the presence of the sovereign eye of the first monarch of the universe. Likewise I have long hung in doubt as to whom I ought to dedicate these three Centuries to, the remainder of my Prophecies amounting now to a thousand. I have long meditated on an act of such audacity. I have at last ventured to address your Majesty, and was not daunted from it as Plutarch, that grave author, relates in the life of Lycurgus, that, seeing the gifts and presents that were made in the way of sacrifice at the temples of the immortal gods so
in that age, many were staggered at the expense, and dared not approach the temple to present anything.
Notwithstanding this, I saw your royal splendour to be accompanied with an incomparable humanity, and paid my addresses to it, not as to those Kings of Persia whom it was not permissible to approach. But to a very prudent and very wise Prince I have dedicated my nocturnal and prophetic calculations, composed out of a natural instinct, and accompanied by a poetic fervour, rather than according to the strict rules of poetry. Most part, indeed, has been composed and adjusted by astronomical calculation corresponding to the years, months, and weeks, of the regions, countries, and for the most part towns and cities, throughout Europe, Africa, and a part of Asia, which nearest approach [or resemble] each other in all these climates, and this is composed in a natural manner. Possibly some may answer--who, if so, had better blow his nose [that he may see the clearer by it]--that the rhythm is as easy to be understood, as the sense is hard to get at. Therefore, O most gracious King, the bulk of the prophetic quatrains are so rude, that there is no making way through them, nor is there any interpreter of them. Nevertheless, being always anxious to set down the years, towns, and regions cited, where the events are to occur, even from the year 1585, and the year 1606, dating from the present time, which is the 14th of March, 1557.
Then passing far beyond to things which shall happen at the commencement of the seventh millenary, deeply calculated, so far as my astronomic calculus, and other knowledge, has been able to reach, to the time when the adversaries of Jesus Christ and of His Church shall begin to multiply in great force. The whole has been composed and calculated on days and hours of best election and disposition,
and with all the accuracy I could attain to at a moment [blessed] "Minerva libera et non invita," 1 my calculations looking forward to events through a space of time to come that nearly equals that of the past even up to the present, and by this they will know in the lapse of time and in all regions what is to happen, all written down thus particularly, immingled with nothing superfluous.
Notwithstanding that some say, "Quod de futuris non est determinata omnino veritas," 2 I will confess, Sire, that I believed myself capable of presage from the natural instinct I inherit of my ancestors, adjusted and regulated by elaborate calculation, and the endeavour to free the soul, mind, and heart from all care, solicitude, and anxiety, by resting and tranquilizing the spirit, which finally has all to be completed and perfected in one respect tripode æneo [by the brazen tripod]. With all this there will be many to attribute to me as mine, things no more mine than nothing. The Almighty alone, who strictly searches the human heart, pious, just, and pitiful, is the true Judge; to Him I pray to defend me from the calumny of wicked men. Such persons, with equal calumny, will bring into question how all your ancient progenitors the Kings of France have cured the evil; how those of other nations have cured the bite of serpents; others have had a certain instinct in the art of divination, and other faculties that would be too long to recount here. Notwithstanding such as cannot be restrained from the exercise of the malignancy of the evil spirit, [there is hope that] by the lapse of time, and after my extinction here on earth, my writings will be more valued than during my lifetime.
However, if I err in calculation of ages, or find myself
unable to please all the world, may it please your Imperial Majesty to forgive me, for I protest before God and His saints, that I purpose to insert nothing whatever in writing this present Epistle that shall militate against the true Catholic Faith, whilst consulting the astronomical calculations to the very best of my knowledge. For the stretch of time of our forefathers [i.e. the age of the world] which has gone before is such, submitting myself to the direction of the soundest chronologists, that the first man, Adam, was about one thousand two hundred and forty years before Noah, not computing time by Gentile records, such as Varro has committed to writing, but taking simply the Sacred Scriptures for the guide in my astronomic reckonings, to the best of my feeble understanding. After Noah, from him and the universal deluge, about one thousand and fourscore years, came Abraham, who was a sovereign astrologer according to some; he first invented the Chaldæan alphabet. Then came Moses, about five hundred and fifteen or sixteen years later. Between the time of David and Moses five hundred and seventy years elapsed. Then after the time of David and the time of our Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, born of a pure Virgin, there elapsed (according to some chronographers) one thousand three hundred and fifty years.
Some, indeed, may object to this supputation as not true, because it varies from that of Eusebius. Since the time of the human redemption to the hateful apostacy of the Saracens, there have been six hundred and twenty-one years, or thereabouts. Now, from this it is easy to gather what time has elapsed if my supputation be not good and available for all nations, for that all is calculated by the celestial courses, associated in my case with an emotion that steals over me at certain subsecival hours from an emotional tendency handed down to me from a line of ancestors. But the injuriousness
of our time, O most serene Sovereign, requires that such secret events should not transpire, except in enigmatic sentences, having but one sense and one only meaning, and quite unmingled with calculation that is of ambiguity or amphibology. Say, rather, under a veiled obscurity from some natural emotional effusion, that resembles the sentential delivery of the thousand and two Prophets, that have been from the Creation of the world, according to the calculation and Punic Chronicle of Joel: "Effundum spiritum meum super omnem carnem, et prophetabunt filii vestri, et filiæ vestræ." 1 But this prophecy proceeded from the mouth of the Holy Spirit, which was the sovereign power eternal, in conjunction with the celestial bodies, has caused some of the number to predict great and marvellous events.
As to myself in this place, I set up no claim to such a title--never, please God. I fully confess that all proceeds from God, and for that I return Him thanks, honour, and immortal praise, and have mingled nothing with it of the divination which proceeds à fato, but à Deo à naturâ, 2 and for the most part accompanied with the movement of the celestial courses. Much as, if looking into a burning mirror [we see], as with darkened vision, the great events, sad or portentous, and calamitous occurrences that are about to fall upon the principal worshippers. First upon the temples of God, secondly upon such as have their support from the earth [i.e. by the kings], this decadence draweth nigh, with a thousand other calamitous incidents that in the course of time will be known to happen.
For God will take notice of the long barrenness of the great Dame, who afterwards will conceive two principal children. But, she being in great danger, the girl she will
give birth to with risk at her age of death in the eighteenth year, and not possible to outlive the thirty-sixth, will leave three males and one female, and he will have two who never had any of the same father. The three brothers will be so different, though united and agreed, that the three and four parts of Europe will tremble. By the youngest in years will the Christian monarchy be sustained and augmented; heresies spring up and suddenly cast down, the Arabs driven back, kingdoms united, and new laws promulgated. Of the other children the first shall possess the furious crowned Lions, holding their paws upon the bold escutcheon. The second, accompanied by the Latins, shall penetrate so far that a second trembling and furious descent shall he made, descending Mons Jovis [at Barcelona] to mount the Pyrenees, shall not he translated to the antique monarchy, and a third inundation of human blood shall arise, and March for a long while will not be found in Lent. The daughter shall be given for the preservation of the Christian Church, the dominator falling into the Pagan sect of new infidels, and she will have two children, the one fidelity, the other infidelity, by the confirmation of the Catholic Church. The other, who to his great confusion and tardy repentance wished to ruin her, will have three regions over a wide extent of leagues, that is to say, Roumania, Germany, and Spain, which will entail great intricacy of military handling, stretching from the 50th to the 52nd degree of latitude. And they will have to respect the more distant religions of Europe and the north above the 48th degree of latitude, which at first in a vain timidity will tremble, and then the more western, southern, and eastern will tremble. Their power will become such, that what is brought about by union and concord will prove insuperable by warlike conquest. By nature they will be equal, but exceedingly different in faith.
After this the sterile Dame, of greater power than the second, shall be received by two nations, by the first made obstinate by him who had power over all, by the second, and third, that shall extend his forces towards; the circuit of the east of Europe; [arrived] there his standards will stop and succumb, but by sea he will run on to Trinacria and the Adriatic with his mirmidons. The Germans will succumb wholly and the Barbaric sect will be disquieted and driven back by the whole of the Latin race. Then shall begin the grand Empire of Antichrist in the Atila and Xerxes, [who is] to descend with innumerable multitudes, so that the coming of the Holy Spirit, issuing from the 48th degree, shall make a transmigration, chasing away the abomination of Antichrist, that made war upon the royal person of the great vicar of Jesus Christ, and against His Church, and reign per tempus, et in occasione temporis [for a time, and to the end of time]. This will be preceded by an eclipse of the sun, more obscure and tenebrose than has ever been since the creation of the world, up to the death and passion of Jesus Christ, and from thence till now. There will be in the month of October a grand revolution [translation] made, such that one would think that the librating body of the earth had lost its natural movement in the abyss of perpetual darkness. There will be seen precursive signs in the spring-time, and after extreme changes ensuing, reversal of kingdoms, and great earthquakes [i.e. wars]. All this accompanied with the procreations of the New Babylon [Paris], a miserable prostitute big with the abomination of the first holocaust [death of Louis XVI.]. It will only continue for seventy-three years seven months.
Then there will issue from the stock so long time barren, proceeding from the 50th degree, [one] who will renovate the whole Christian Church. A great peace, union, and concord
will then spring up between some of the children of races [long] opposed to each other and separated by diverse kingdoms. Such a peace shall be set up, that the Instigator and promoter of military faction by means of the diversity of religions, shall dwell attached to the bottom of the abyss, and united to the kingdom of the furious, who shall counterfeit the wise. The countries, towns, cities, and provinces that had forsaken their old customs to free themselves, enthralling themselves more deeply, shall become secretly weary of their liberty, and, true religion lost, shall commence by striking off to the left, to return more than ever to the right.
Then replacing holiness, so long desecrated by their former writings [circulating slanders], afterwards the result will be that the great dog will issue as an irresistible mastiff [Napoleon?] who will destroy everything, even to all that may have been prepared in time past, till the churches will be restored as at first, and the clergy reinstated in their pristine condition; till it lapses again into whoredom and luxury, to commit and perpetrate a thousand crimes. And, drawing near to another desolation, then, when she shall be at her highest and sublimest point of dignity, the kings and generals [mains militaires] will come up [against her], and her two swords will be taken from her, and nothing will be left her but the semblance of them. [The following paragraph I can make nothing of, so I give it in the words of Garencières and in inverted commas.] "From which by the means of the crookedness that draweth them, the people causing it to go straight, and not willing to submit unto them by the end opposite to the sharp hand that toucheth the ground they shall provoke." Until there shall be born unto the branch a long time sterile, one who shall deliver the French people from the benign slavery that they voluntarily
submitted to, putting himself under the protection of Mars, and stripping Jupiter [Napoleon I.] of all his honours and dignities, for the city constituted free and seated in another narrow Mesopotamia. The chief and governor shall be cast from the midst, and set in a place of the air, ignorant of the conspiracy of the conspirators [Fouché, Duc d'Otranto, etc.] with the second Thrasibulus, who for a long time had prepared all this. Then shall the impurities and abominations be with great shame set forth and manifested to the darkness of the veiled light, shall cease towards the end of his reign, and the chiefs of the Church shall evince but little of the love of God, whilst many of them shall apostatize from the true faith.
Of the three sects [Lutheran, Catholic, and Mahometan], that which is in the middle, by the action of its own worshippers, will be thrown a little into decadence. The first totally throughout Europe, and the chief part of Africa exterminated by the third, by means of the poor in spirit, who by the madness engendered of libidinous luxury, will commit adultery [i.e. apostatize]. The people will pull down the pillar, and chase away the adherents of the legislators, and it shall seem, from the kingdoms weakened by the Orientals, that God the Creator has loosed Satan from the infernal prisons, to make room for the great Dog and Dohan [Gog and Magog], which will make so great and injurious a breach in the Churches, that neither the reds nor the whites, who are without eyes and without hands [meaning the latter Bourbons, "who learn nothing and forget nothing", cannot judge of the situation, and their power will be taken from them. Then shall commence a persecution of the Church such as never was before. Whilst this is enacting, such a pestilence shall spring up that out of three parts of mankind two shall be removed. To such a length will this
proceed that one will neither know nor recognize the fields or houses, and grass will grow in the streets of the cities as high as a man's knees. To the clergy there shall be a total desolation, and the martial men shall usurp what shall come back from the City of the Sun [Rome], and from Malta and the Islands of Hières [off Marseilles], and the great chain of the port shall be opened that takes its name from the marine ox [Bosphorus].
A new incursion shall be made from the maritime shores, eager to give the leap of liberty since the first taking by the Mahometans. Their assaults shall not be at all in vain, and in the place where the habitation of Abraham was, it shall be assailed by those who hold the Jovialists [followers of Jupiter (Napoleon I.?)] in reverence. The city of Achem [in the Island of Sumatra] shall be encompassed and assaulted on all sides by a great force of armed men. Their maritime forces shall be weakened by the Westerns. Upon this kingdom a great desolation shall come, and the great cities shall be depopulated, and such as enter in shall come under the vengeance of the wrath of God. The Holy Sepulchre, for so long a period an object of great veneration, shall remain exposed to the blighting dew of evening under the stars of heaven, and of the sun and moon. The holy place shall be converted into a stable for cattle small and large, and applied to other base purposes. Oh, what a calamitous time will that be for women with child! for then the Sultan of the East will be vanquished, driven for the most part by the Northern and Western men, who will kill him, overthrow him, and put the rest to flight, and his children, the offspring of many women, imprisoned. Then will come to its fulfilment the prophecy of the Royal Prophet, "Ut audiret gemitus compeditorum, et solveret filios interemptorum." 1
What great oppression shall then fall upon the princes and rulers of kingdoms, even on those who are maritime and Oriental, their tongues intermingled from all nations of the earth! Tongues of the Latin nations, mingled with Arabic and North-African communication. All the Eastern kings will be driven away, overthrown, and exterminated, not at all by means of the kings of the North and the drawing near of our age, but by means of the three secretly united who seek out death and snares by ambush sprung upon one another. The renewal of this Triumvirate shall endure for seven years, while its renown shall spread all over the world, and the sacrifice of the holy and immaculate wafer shall be upheld. Then shall two lords of the North conquer the Orientals, and so great report and tumultuary warfare shall issue from these that all the East shall tremble at the noise of these two brothers of the North, who are yet not brothers. And because, Sire, by this discourse I almost introduce confusion into these predictions as to the time when the event of each shall fall out; for the detailed account of the time that follows is very little conformable, if at all, to what I gave above, that indeed could not err, being by astronomic rule and consonant with the Holy Scriptures themselves.
Had I wished to give to every quatrain its detailed date, it could easily have been done, but it would not have been agreeable to all, and still less to interpret them, Sire, until your Majesty should have fully sanctioned me to do this, in order not to furnish calumniators with an opportunity to injure me. Always reckoning the years since the creation of the world to the birth of Noah as being 1506 years, and from that to the completion of the building of the ark at the period of the universal deluge 600 years elapsed (let them be solar years, or lunar, or mixed), I hold that the Scripture
takes them to be solar. At the conclusion of this 600 years, Noah entered the ark to escape the deluge. The deluge was universal over the earth, and lasted one year and two months, From the conclusion of the deluge to the birth of Abraham there elapsed 295 years, and 100 years from that to the birth of Isaac. From Isaac to Jacob 60 years. From the time he went into Egypt until his coming out of it was 130 years, and from the entry of Jacob into Egypt to his exit was 436 years; and from that to the building of the Temple by Solomon in the fortieth year of his reign, makes 480 years. From the building of the Temple to Jesus Christ, according to the supputation of the Hierographs, there passed 490 years. Thus by this calculation that I have made, collecting it out of the sacred writings, there are about 4173 years and eight months less or more. Now, from Jesus Christ, in that there is such a diversity of opinion, I pass it by, and having calculated the present prophecies in accordance with the order of the chain which contains the revolution, and the whole by astronomical rule, together with my own hereditary instinct. After some time, and including in it the period Saturn takes to turn between the 7th of April up to the 25th of August; Jupiter from the 14th of June to the 7th of October; Mars from the 17th of April to the 22nd of June; Venus from the 9th of April to the 22nd of May; Mercury from the 3rd of February to the 24th of the same; afterwards from the 1st of June to the 24th of the same; and from the 25th of September to the 16th of October, Saturn in Capricorn, Jupiter in Aquarius, Mars in Scorpio, Venus in Pisces, Mercury within a month in Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces; the moon in Aquarius, the Dragon's head in Libra, the tail in her sign opposite. Following the conjunction of Jupiter to Mercury, with a quadrin aspect of Mars
to Mercury, and the head of the Dragon shall be with a conjunction of Sol with Jupiter, the year shall be peaceful without eclipse.
Then will be the commencement [of a period] that will comprehend in itself what will long endure [i.e. the vulgar advent of the French Revolution], and in its first year there shall be a great persecution of the Christian Church, fiercer than that in Africa [by the Vandals from 1439 to 15341, and this will burst out [durera] the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two; they will think it to be a renovation of time. After this the people of Rome will begin to reconstitute themselves [in 1804, when Napoleon is emperor], and to chase away the obscurity of darkness, recovering some share of their ancient brightness, but not without much division and continual changes. Venice after that, in great force and power, shall raise her wings very high, not much short of the force of ancient Rome. At that time great Bysantine sails, associated with the Piedmontese by the help and power of the North, will so restrain them that the two Cretans will not be able to maintain their faith. The arks built by the ancient warriors will accompany them to the waves of Neptune. In the Adriatic there will be such permutations, that what was united will be separated, and that will be reduced to a house which before was a great city, including the Pampotan and Mesopotamia of Europe, to 45, and others to 41, 42, and 47. And in that time and those countries the infernal power will set the power of the adversaries of its law against the Church of Jesus Christ. This will constitute the second Antichrist, which will persecute that Church and its true vicar, by means of the power of the temporal kings, who in their ignorance will be reduced by tongues that will cut more than any sword in the hands of a madman.
The said reign of Antichrist will only last to the death of him who was born near the [commencement] of the century, and of the other in the city of Plancus [Lyons], accompanied by him the elect of Modena, Fulcy by Ferara, upheld by the Adriatic Piedmontese, and the proximity of the great Trinacria [Sicily]. Afterwards the Gallic Ogmion shall pass the Mount Jovis [Barcelona], accompanied by so great a number that from afar the Empire shall be presented with its grand law, and then and for some time after shall be profusely shed the blood of the innocent by the guilty recently elevated to power. Then by great deluges the memory of things contained in such instruments shall suffer incalculable loss, even to the Alphabet itself. This will happen among the Northerns. By the Divine Will once again Satan will be bound, and universal peace established amongst mankind, and the Church of Jesus Christ delivered from all tribulation, although the Azostains [debauched voluptuaries] would desire to mix with the honey the gall of their pestilent seduction. This will be near the seventh millenary, when the sanctuary of Jesus Christ will no longer be trodden down by the infidels who come from the North; the world [will be then] approaching its great conflagration, although by my supputation in my prophecies, the course of time runs much farther on.
In the epistle that some years since I dedicated to my son César Nostradamus, I have openly enough declared some points without presage. But here, Sire, are comprised many great and marvellous events to come, which those who follow after us shall see. And during the said astrological supputation, harmonized with the sacred Scriptures, the persecution of the Ecclesiastics shall take its rise in the power of the kings of the North, united with the Easterns. And this persecution shall last eleven years, or somewhat less, by
which time the chief Northern king shall pass away, which years being run, a united Southern king shall succeed, which shall still more fiercely persecute the clergy of the Church for the space of three years by the Apostolical seduction of one who will take away all the absolute power from the Church Militant, and holy people of God who observe its ritual, and the whole order of religion shall be greatly persecuted and so afflicted that the blood of true ecclesiastics shall float everywhere. To one of those horrible temporal kings such praise shall be given by his adherents that he will have shed more human blood of innocent ecclesiastics, than any could do of wine. This king will commit crimes against the Church that are incredible. Human blood will flow in the public streets and churches, like water after impetuous rain, and will crimson with blood the neighbouring rivers, and by another naval war redden the sea to such a degree that one king shall say to another, "Bellis rubuit navalibus æquor." 1 Then in the same year and those following there will ensue the most horrible pestilence and the most astonishing on account of the famine that will precede, and such tribulation that nothing approaching it ever happened since the first foundation of the Christian Church; this also throughout all the Latin regions, leaving traces in all the countries under the rule of Spain.
Then the third King of the North [Russia?], hearing the complaint of the people from [whom he derives] his principal title, will raise up a mighty army, and pass through the limits [destroits] of his last progenitors and great-grandfathers, to him who will [qui for lui qui] replace almost everything in its old condition. The great Vicar of the Cope shall be put back to his pristine state; but, desolated and abandoned by all, will return to the sanctuary [that was]
destroyed by paganism, when the Old and New Testament will be thrust out and burnt. After that Antichrist will be the infernal prince. Then at this last epoch, all the kingdoms of Christianity, as well as of the infidel world, will be shaken during the space of twenty-five years, and the wars and battles will be more grievous, and the towns, cities, castles, and all other edifices will be burnt, desolated, and destroyed with much effusion of vestal blood, married women and widows violated, sucking children dashed and broken against the walls of town; and so many evils will be committed by means of Satan, the prince infernal, that nearly all the world will become undone and desolated. Before the events occur certain strange birds [imperial eagles] will cry in the air, "To-day! to-day!" and after a given time will disappear [June, 1815]. After this has endured for a certain length of time [twenty-five years he has said before, 1790 to 1815], there will be almost renewed another reign of Saturn, the age of gold [this might be the discovery of California, but for what follows]. God the Creator shall say, hearing the affliction of His people, Satan shall be precipitated and bound in the bottomless abyss, and then shall commence between God and men a universal peace. There he shall abide for the space of a thousand years, and shall turn his greatest force against the power of the Church, and shall then be bound again.
How justly are all these figures adapted by the divine letters to visible celestial things, that is to say, by Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars, and others in conjunction with them, as may be seen more at large by some of the quatrains! I would have calculated it more deeply, and adapted the one to the other; but, seeing, O most serene King, that some who are given to censure will raise a difficulty, I shall take the opportunity to retire my pen and seek my nocturnal repose.
[paragraph continues] "Multa etiam, O Rex potentissime præclara, et sane in brevi ventura, sed omnia in hâc tuâ Epistola, innectere non possumus, nec volumus, sed ad intellegenda quædam facta, horrida fata pauca libanda sunt, quamvis tanta sit in omnes tua amplitudo et humanitas homines, deosque pietas, ut solos amplissimo et Christianissimo Regis nomine, et ad quem summa totius religionis auctoritas deferatur dignus esse videare." 1 But I shall only beseech you, O most clement King, by this your singular and most prudent goodness, to understand rather the desire of my heart, and the sovereign wish I have to obey your most excellent Majesty, ever since my eyes approached so nearly to your solar splendour, than the grandeur of my work can attain to or acquire.
Faciebat MICHAEL NOSTRADAMUS.
Solonæ Petræ Provincæ.
From Salon this 27th June, 1558.
52:1 "When Minerva was free and favourable."
52:2 "There can be no truth entirely determined for certain which concerns the future."
54:1 See Joel ii. 28.
54:2 Which proceeds from fate, but from God, and nature.
59:1 "Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee. to release the children of death" (Ps. lxxviii. 11).
64:1 "The sea blushed red with the blood of naval fights."
66:1 "Many things, O most potent king of all, of the most remarkable kind are shortly to happen, that I neither could nor would interweave them all into this epistle; but in order to comprehend certain facts, a few horrible destinies must be set down in extract, although your amplitude and humanity towards all men is so great, and your piety to the gods, and that you alone seem worthy of the grand title of the most Christian King, and to whom the highest authority in all religion should be deferred."