COMMENTARY NOTES

spacer4 Quia ad portam Sancti Honorati in multis locis fundamenta murorum tantum posita sunt, et saltu superari possunt ut moenia Romae quae Remus transiliit {“Because in many places at the gate of Saint-Honoré only the foundations of walls are laid, and they can be overleaped with a bound, just as Remus overleaped the walls of Rome.”] At Livy I.vii Remus jumps over Romulus’s new wall. Romulus kills him and says, “Thus to everyone who jumps across my walls.”

spacer7 Id est, hostibus principis victis moenia Lutetiae extruuntur [“I.e., after the defeat of the king’s enemies, the walls of Paris are being built.”] The serpent and offspring must be the Spanish and the Guises.

spacer11 Quia Carthago subegit Hispanias [“Because Carthage subdued Spain.”] See Vergil, Aeneid I.368 for the bull’s hide.

spacer12 Louis XIII.

spacer15 The siege of La Rochelle (1627 - 8) marked the end of Huguenot political power and a complete victory for Louis XIII.

spacer20 Id est, florentem regni Galliae statum [“I. e. at the flourishing state of France.”]

spacer25 Id est, felicem prophetam qui hac in re falli nequit [“I.e. a fortunate seer who cannot be deceived in this matter.]”

spacer29 The links between Scotland and France were of long standing. François II (mentioned below) married Mary Stuart in 1558 and was thus King Consort of Scotland.

spacer30 The “Dacian” district that Hume and his contemporaries would have had in mind is Wallachia, then a part of the Ottoman Empire. And that's the point: the Spanish Empire (with the papacy) and the Ottomans formed the two prophesied agencies of evil, the institutional Antichrists of scripture. James breaks from the prophetic, historical vision of his father (and most Protestants) in that the two evil empires at both ends of Europe will come to terms with the new French order. The nymph in the following line is the personification of France, pictured as Minerva/Athena. Compare today’s Marianne.

spacer39 A nymph, sometimes pictured as a goat, who suckled the infant Jupiter in a cave in Crete. The cornucopia is one of the goat’s horns, which had been broken off.

spacer54 Id est, vir prudentia eximius [eximus lib], dux cardinalis [“I. e. the man renowned for his wisdom, the Cardinal Duke.”]

spacer63 Longa pax ante mortem Francisci secundi [“The long peace before the death of François II.”] Surely here the proper translation of lustris iam quinis is “five lustra ago,“ not “for five lustra,” since the reigns of Henri II and François, taken together, amounted to no more than thirteen years. France indeed had enjoyed a space of peace until the death of François II in 1560, exactly twenty-five years prior to the fictive date of this poem (Richelieu was born in 1585). The advent of his successor Charles IX ushered in a period of extreme domestic violence, with the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre and the Wars of Religion.

spacer66 Henricus secundus hasta interfectus. Franciscus secundus mortuus ex inflammatione aurium [“Henri II killed by a lance. François II dead from an inflammation of the ears.”] Henri II died of a head wound from a lance during a jousting tournament in 1559. François II dead from an inflammation of the ears.] Francis II died in 1560 from some undetermined ear infection.

spacer104 Guisius dux foederatorum [“Guise, Duke of the League.”] Duke Henri of Guise (1550 - 1588) founded the Catholic League (also called the Holy League), one of the players in the wars of religion in France (1562-15).

spacer106 Id est, qui agebat personam regis ut in comoedia, sed rex non erat [“I. e. who acted the role of king (as in comedies) but who was not the king.”]

spacer110 a.) on adulter Iber: Id est, sive rex ille fuerit Hispanus, vel Guisius. Dicitur autem Hispanus adulter quia rapit alienas uxores, id est, provincias [“I. e. whether the king was Spanish or Guise. The Spaniard is called an adulterer because he seizes others’ wives, i.e. provinces.”] spacerb.) on seu quem: Guisius ab Henrico tertio interfectus [“Guise, killed by Henri III”]. Duke Henri of Guise and his brother Cardinal Louis were both murdered at a meeting in the Royal Chateau at Blois on the orders of Henri III.

spacer112 Annus 1585, quo foederati coniuravere [“The year 1585 when the League made the conspiracy.”] The usual modern date is 1576.

spacer114 Pallas.

spacer117 Specifically Greece, then held by the Turks. Minerva/Athena (Tritonia) is moving her home to France.

spacer120 Bistonians = Thracians. The Thracians were considered the most warlike of the barbarians. In the next lines the island of Samos is sacred to Juno, Paphos in Cyprus to Venus.

spacer129 Two giant Cyclopes, often pictured at their forge.

spacer132 Id est, foederis et seditionum authoribus eiectis Gallias tranquillas reddat [“I. e. she gave peace to France after expelling the makers of plots and seditions.”]

spacer133 Goddess of War, here Minerva/Athena.

spacer134 Armorica can mean Brittany or the entire western coast of France, as here.

spacer135 Le Pont de Cé. Site of the 1620 battle between Louis XIII’s forces and a group of rebellious nobles. Today Les Ponts-de Cé is a commune in the Department of Maine-et-Loire in western France. All the towns and rivers mentioned below are near the Loire.

spacer136 Nymphae maris et fluviorum comitabantur deam Pallada ut famulae dominam suam [“The Nymphs of the sea and rivers accompany the goddess Pallas as servants accompany their mistress.] Dryads, Nereids, and Naiads are the nymphs of trees, the sea, and rivers respectively.

spacer137 a.) Fluvius prope urbem Richelium Vouidde [“A river near the city of Richelieu, Veude.”] spacerb.) Fluvius vulgo dictus Vienne. Eodem anno 1585, quo dirum illud foedus in Henricum tertum sancitum est, maxima Dei providentia natus est Eminentissimus Dux Cardinalis Richelius, qui omnia foederatorum consilia dissiparet, foederisque authores et rebelles quoscumque compesceret, et seditionum semina prorsus extinguendo Galliae Reges in summo potentiae fastigio collocaret [“The river called Vienne in French. In the same year 1585 when the terrible League against Henri III was made, by the great providence of God the eminent Cardinal Duke Richelieu was born. He destroyed all the plots of the League, suppressed all the authors and supporters of the League, and by extinguishing all the seeds of sedition re-established the Kings of France at the highest levels of their power.”]

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spacer1 Zoilus was a severe Homeric scholar in antiquity, whose name has become proverbial for any unduly harsh and captious critic.


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