Roture is derived from the Latin ruptura , the action of breaking the earth, and is the base of the common word roturier. This is said figuratively and alludes to the deeds of Attila, who ravaged the Eastern Empire and extended his dominions almost to the Ural Mountains, whilst later on, crossing the Rhine, he attacked the Goths of Southern France and Spain. But the name has no significance. The personages and places in the poem are in reality all imaginary.
Sortent de leur tenaille. A somewhat obscure expression. Apparently tenaille is used in the sense of 'vice', and the words mean 'are of their manufacture or moulding.
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Originally founded to protect the Christians in Palestine, the Teutonic Knights received domains in Italy and Germany from the Pope and Emperor, conquered Prussia , and established there a military power which lasted four centuries. In Greek legend the hydra was a serpent with seven heads, and, when one of them was cut off, two grew in its place. It is Hugo's favourite figure for cruelty or tyranny. The flower-shaped ornaments in a crown are called fleurons. A marquis's coronet was adorned with 'fleurons' alternating with pearls and the contrast between the pointed 'fleuron' and the round pearl suggests the figure employed in the next line.
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They existed principally in France, especially in Southern France. Fenris : the great wolf of Scandinavian mythology whose growth was such that the gods in fear chained him to a rock. Some day his upper jaw will touch the sky, while his lower still rests on earth, and then Odin will tremble for his throne. This serpent is probably of Hugo's invention and its name taken from the mythical city of the Scandinavians, Asgard, built by the gods and in which they often resided. This is not the king of the Huns, nor is he one of the known archangels. However, as the Scriptures mention only three archangels, Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, out of the seven, Hugo may or may not be right in speaking of an archangel of the name of Attila.
Le grand chandelier brought from the lower regions by the archangel is merely a poetic fancy and a reminiscence of the seven-branched candlestick of the tabernacle Exod. Actaeon in Greek mythology was a hunter who saw Diana bathing, and was in consequence changed by the goddess into a stag. A difficult line.
Young translates:—. The word refers to the visor with seven bars, which was one of the marks of a marquis's rank. The round cap which was the ancient emblem of sovereignty in France.
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It was worn by barons who possessed full powers of administering justice in their domains, also by the presidents of the 'parlements', and by the chancellors. A modified form is still part of the official dress of some of the judges of the highest courts. It also signifies in heraldry a circular band or pad to which heraldic negroes' heads were attached. The reference is to the coronet of a French marquis, which bore eight jewelled ornaments, four of which consisted each of three great pearls arranged as a trefoil, while the other four were 'feuilles d'ache,' the heraldic representation of the leaf of the wild parsley.
Here Hugo seems to use it of the shield, perhaps because the triangular shield was a mark of knightly rank. A chapter might be written on Hugo's bold and occasionally strange uses of this word.
Its primary meaning is either 'dull red' or 'tawny', but in Hugo's poetry it is used rather as a somewhat vague epithet to suggest darkness, gloom, cruelty, savagery, or oppressive power. Usually the word is used in a wholly figurative sense. Thus in La Fin de Satan the fallen archangel, flying from Jehovah, is 'fauve et hagard', Barabbas stumbling against the Cross is 'fauve', and of the lunatic in the tombs it is said: 'fauve il mordait'.
In all these cases the meaning is 'wild','savage '. In the following passages we have bolder uses still:. It is applied even to sound. Fauve is always used of what is dark and gloomy, just as vermeil is always applied to what is bright and pleasant. A heraldic figure, half woman, half serpent, bathing in a basin. Taken from the name of a fairy, celebrated in the folklore of Poitou. Rhodope , the wife of Haemus, king of Thrace, who was changed into a mountain because she thought herself more beautiful than Hera. A little wind instrument in shape like a flageolet, with three holes.
It was played with the left hand, while the right beat a tambourine. It was peculiar to Languedoc and Provence. The valley of Josaphat or Jehosaphat is between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, and according to both Jewish and Moslem tradition is to be the place of the Last Judgment.
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This tradition may be based on Joel iii. English ghoul. The creatures who, according to Eastern superstition, devour dead bodies. Rompre le ban is to set at defiance a decree of banishment, the punishment for which was death. In his preface to the volume of Hugo appeals to the history of the Turks by Cantemir as a justification for his picture of Sultan Mourad.
This was Demetrius Cantemir , who had a remarkable history, and wrote a valuable book. Though not a Turk, he attached himself to the Turks, and fought under the banner of the Crescent during his early life. In he was made Waiwode, or Governor, of Moldavia, Then, deserting the setting for the rising sun, he allied himself with Czar Peter the Great, then at war with Turkey. But the campaign was unsuccessful, and Cantemir, flying from Moldavia, took refuge in the Ukraine.
For the rest of his life he divided his time between study and instructing the Moldavians who had accompanied him. The work to which Hugo refers was a history of the aggrandizement and decadence of the Ottoman Empire. Written in Latin, and translated subsequently into English, French, and German, it was long the standard work on the subject. It does not seem probable that Hugo had any particular Sultan in mind when he delineated Sultan Mourad. Indeed the geography of the poem suggests that he is depicting an idealized Oriental tyrant.
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The nearest approximation to the monster to be found in the pages of Cantemir is Ammath IV r. His principal exploit was the taking of Bagdad from the Persians, on which occasion he slaughtered 1, of the citizens in cold blood. The so-called Temple of Theseus its real dedication is doubtful stands on a low hill just outside Athens. It is in a state of almost perfect preservation.
The nails which crowded its woodwork were doubtless those on which the heads of slaughtered Greeks were fastened. Of course in the Greek temple there was no woodwork, except possibly in the roof. A curious use of the word. It is scarcely necessary to say that no Turkish Sultan ever held any part of Spain. The word is here used transitively a rare use in the sense of 'drove against. The word seems here loosely to designate the Turkish sultans.
This is the third section of a poem called L'Italie: Ratbert. The story is of Hugo's own invention, and is intended to delineate on the one hand the savagery, and on the other the knight-errantry, of the Middle Ages. The name, alone or in composition, is borne by three small towns or villages on or near the Genoese coast.
There was a marquisate of Final in the Middle Ages. Hugo possibly had in mind the Saxon chief of this name A. It does not appear that he ever bore the title of king. His country was the ancient Saxony, that is the country between the lower Rhine and the lower Elbe. He had no connexion with Genoa, whither Hugo has dragged the Saxons without justification.