“Interpretez seront les extipices”
On the Correct Interpretation of Nostradamus
Part the Second
by Roger Prentiss Claremont
Independent Sovereign Scholar
In Part the First of this series, we discussed the basis of our new interpretation of the prophetic verses of Michel de Nostredame (1503-1566), usually known as Nostradamus. His verses have eluded definitive interpretation for several centuries, and this series shows that that is because earlier interpretations made the basic error of assuming his verses were in French. In fact, they are better interpreted as English encoded in French.
As previously mentioned, Nostradamus’ major collection of prophetic verses contains ten Centuries of 100 quatrains each, followed by two Centuries or compilations of other verses, some in sextet form. One verse was selected randomly from each Century for interpretation. This part gives the proper interpretation of the selected quatrains from Centuries V-VIII. For each quatrain the French text, a public-domain translation, the English transcribed phonetically by the French, and the interpretation are given.
§ § §
Tout à l’entour de la grande cité,
Seront soldats logez par champs & ville,
Donner l’assaut Paris, Rome incité,
Sur le pont lors sera faite grand pille,
All around the great city
Soldiers will be lodged throughout the fields and towns:
To give the assault Paris, Rome incited,
Then upon the bridge great pillage will be carried out.
Too tall on tour the logger on the settee
Serving, sold all of the portions he will.
Done ale at supper, a romance at tea,
Surly upon lore as a rough fate, grumpy, ill.
This quatrain presents an overview of Abraham Lincoln’s career. The references to his height (“too tall”) and log-splitting prowess (“logger”) are obvious; “on tour” is a clear reference to his 16 years travelling the law circuit of Illinois, while the second line alludes to his earlier career in 1832 running a general store, after which he sold out his share of the business—the occasion for one of the more amusing exchanges in the Lincoln-Douglas debates. The third line seems to be a reference to his various courtships, while the last line is a depressing but accurate picture of Mary Todd Lincoln after his assassination.
§ § §
Ceux qui estoient en regne pour sçauoir
Au Royal change deuiendront appouuris :
Vns exilez sans appuy, or n’auoir,
Lettres & lettres ne seront à grand pris.
Those who were in the realm for knowledge
Will become impoverished at the change of King:
Some exiled without support, having no gold,
The lettered and letters will not be at a high premium.
Sucky at waiting, rain pours off wear,
Oriole shuns the dove yonder, on top ovary:
Unsexy lace-ons up, we are enough aware,
Let her raise ale at runs or on the grand prix.
This quatrain surveys the history of French republicanism as symbolized by Marianne and, by extension, the Statue of Liberty. “Sucky at waiting” refers to the fact that the Jacobins took power and spattered everyone with a rain of blood (“rain pours off wear,” also a reference to the lines “Qu’un sang impur / Abreuve nos sillons” of the Marseillaise) when reforms did not proceed quickly enough; the oriole, a symbol of positive energy and thus of the levée en masse, refuses the dove, the symbol of peace, and prefers to carry the war into other nations to further the revolutionary movement (hence, “on top ovary” = preferring to birth revolution). The third line refers to Marianne, primarily as shown in the famous painting by Delacroix but also, one suspects, in the many other portrayals of Marianne in various states of dishabille, and to the use of her figure as a pseudo-feminist ploy of the French republican state to titillate the masses into anti-monarchism. The fourth line refers to the American custom of using the Statue of Liberty to advertise every sort of public event, however undignified, for once Americans realized during the renovation of the Statue of Liberty in the 1980s just how great the expense is in maintaining a French woman in her accustomed style, we put her to work selling booze to earn her keep. Granted this is a jaundiced view of republicanism, but no more could be expected from a dyed-in-the-wool monarchist like Nostradamus.
§ § §
Le Duc de Langres assiegé dedans Dole,
Accompagné d’Ostun & Lyonnois :
Ceneue, Auspourg ioinct ceux de Mirandole,
Passer les monts conter les Anconnois.
The Duke of Langres besieged at Dôle
accompanied by people from Autun and Lyons.
Geneva, Augsburg allied to those of Mirandola,
to cross the mountains against the people of Ancona.
Ludd duke, dull, angry, sissy, jaded, on dole,
Accompanied to a stone alien way:
Gin of host purged, go on sudden errand old,
Pass a lame monk on the less sunken way.
Here we find a quatrain that appears to predict the future, and what a bright future it is, too! The first line is an eerily accurate description of Prince Charles: a luddite, dull, angry at the modern world, a sissy, jaded, and feeding at the public teat; calling him “duke” rather than “prince” highlights his unfitness to reign. The second and third lines appear to predict that on a junket to Stonehenge, he will get publicly sick from too much drink and slink away on suddenly remembered old business, after which he will retire quicker than a lame monk (presumably referring to any number of former prime ministers) onto a path of semi-obscurity (“the less sunken way”).
§ § §
Champ Perusin ô l’enorme deffaite
Et le conflict tout aupres de Rauenne
Passage sacre lors qu’on fera la feste,
Vainqueur vaincu cheual manger l’auenne.
Oh what a huge defeat on the Perugian battlefield
and the conflict very close to Ravenna.
A holy passage when they will celebrate the feast,
the conqueror banished to eat horse meat.
Shown perusing wholly normed-to-fit
Elegant fleet too-taupe, raider of fun:
Passage Acapulco and fa-re-la-fa’d,
Vain curve and cuchi, of all men she’s lovin’.
This quatrain is most easily interpreted starting with the last line, which indubitably refers to Charo, well known in a less demanding, more decrepit era for her comic persona of a curvy but not so bright (empty, hence “vain”) woman who enjoyed the company of men (hence the last half of the line), and for her trademark refrain, “Cuchi cuchi.” While she single-handedly handled far more than her fair share of the necessary acting scutwork of 70s network TV, it is possible to determine more closely which event or occasion this quatrain references from the second line: “elegant fleet too-taupe, raider of fun” makes it clear Nostradamus is referring to one of her ten episodes of The Love Boat. It is unclear if “too-taupe” refers to the terminally taupe 70s decorating scheme of the ship or the tans of the passengers, though most likely both; “raider of fun” posits cruise liners as neo-colonialist ventures taking unnaturally too-taupe Americans on fun cruises to places they would gladly visit but refuse to live in, while “wholly normed-to-fit” describes well the oppressive standardization of the brand. The reference to Acapulco makes it clear that this is her first episode, “The Acapulco Connection,” in which Charo’s character April Lopez, who wished to go America to become a singer (“fa-re-la-fa’d” is a generic reference to her singing on the show; the progression FDAF does not seem to appear in the theme song of the show, which she sang in her second appearance, for example) wandered aboard the ship in Acapulco and, looking around (“shown perusing”), decided to stow away.
§ § §
A more detailed discussion of these quatrains will be presented in the synoptic discussion at the end of Part the Third, but it is not out of place to take a moment to survey the wide range of topics covered in the selections from the first eight Centuries: The anomie of contemporary society, the history of the American South, twentieth-century physics, Prohibition, the life of Abraham Lincoln, French republicanism, the inborn decrepitude and borderline idiocy of the British royal family, and Charo. Certainly this is a much more interesting and colorful selection of topics than the interminable squabbles of church and throne over the lives and fortunes of the commoners wretched enough to get caught in the blood-thirsty wheels of their machinations!