Réplique de Peter Lemesurier
à l'étude de Jacques Halbronn

 

Quote:

"As to the strange repetition of the formula - like a leitmotiv - "Roy de Bloys dans Avignon régner", in the Centuries, and the fact that the last verse of one of the quatrains bearing the said formula is uncompleted, we think that it is a clear sign that the Centuries were at first presented as a posthumous and unfinished work which by no means could have been published during the life of Michel de Nostredame".

Lemesurier:

I wonder whether you are paying enough attention to the fact that Nostradamus's Centuries (except in one or two cases) *rhyme* to a set scheme, and that therefore, in the case of evidently 'mixed' pieces such as:

Le Roy de Bloys dans Avignon regner.
Une autre foys le peuple emnopolle.
Esleu sera renard ne soucent (sic) mot
Faisant le S. public uivant (sic) pain d'orge

Tirannizer après tout à ung cop
Mectant à pies des plus grands sur la gorge

it is quite easy to see who is borrowing what from whom? -

Réaction de  Jacques Halbronn

Concerning  your argument  about  the fact that Crespin is producing "mixed pieces",  I think that it is not the point.   The lines which appear at the begining of the text of Crespin are only a résumé of the prose which follows and I do not think that Crespin borrowed those linesand especially the first line  from anybody . In any case, in my Documents inexplorés sur le phénoméne Nostradamus  and you do not give the impression of having read my book published by Robert Benazra, 4 years ago, we have plenty of examples of the same process in his Prophéties dédiées à la puissance divine et à la nation française. (1572).  Most quatrains could be called "mixed pieces" anyway and the fact that Roy de Bloys is repeated  in two different quatrains , underline the fact that a certain line could be indifferently placed in one quatrain or another, including of course other lines apart  from the first one.  As to borrowing, it  is by no means  such  an easy task to demonstrate "what from whom" and I found, for instance, very difficult to explain to a native Chinese for instance that the English language  has borrowed thousands and thousand of words from the French and not the reverse.

 

Précision de Peter Lemesurier

 

About the posthumous character of the Centuries  : The only edition whose 'posthumosity' I

agree about is the 1568 one (and its successors, of course, including the Pierre Rigaud ones)!

 

Observation de Jacques Halbronn

The fact that in Crespin, who writes after 1568; there are absolutely no  trace of the quatrains belonging

to centuries V to VII does not apparently bother you although at the same time you declare that Crespin

borrowed from the Centuries. How is that?

 

Réplique de Peter  Lemesurier

I am not about to rely on the word of a known impostor for my information on Nostradamus (what did you say Crespin

called himself -- or are you also suggesting that Nostradamus borrowed his name from him instead of vice versa?!)!

Moreover, if and when I borrow money from the bank, I don't necessarily borrow the bank as well! ;0

As for the Chinese, a little historical etymology would soon show them where French has borrowed from English and viceversa -- and if (to take a rather more apt parallel) you cared at the same time to compare the English text of Shakespeare with the French text of Shakespeare, you might find the fact that the one is in rhymed pentameters and the other isn't fairly convincing as a way of showing them which language it appeared in first!

So I repeat: look at the regular rhyme-scheme in the Nostradamus version and compare it with the chaos in the piece you quote (and I won't even adduce the substandard printing in the Crespin as evidence, even though it would have been difficult for Nostradamus to have arrived at his version by copying *that*!), and there can be little doubt about which was the original, can there?

 

Réponse de  Jacques  Halbronn

  The fact that  Crespin might be considered as an impostor does not mean that he uses the work of Nostradamus as a plagiarist, it only means, in his case, that he pretends to be a successor of Nostradamus and that he does use his name  but without pretending to be Michel de Nostredame.

   The image of robbing a bank is interesting because one should ask why he took from a certain group of quatrains and not from another. Besides, the quatrains he would have ignored are situated in the middle of the Centuries.

    In any case, I do never said that Nostradamus took from Crespin since he died before  Crespin published any prophecy that we know of it. Those who took from Crespin' work to expose it as being of Nostradamus are the true impostores. The question is : did Crespin contribute or not to this forgery? But, precisely, if it is a forgery it is not to be attributed to Nostradamus.

    The problem is that by saying, as you actually do,  that Crespin is a fraud, then we might conclude that he was perfectly capable to produce false quatrains, which is an hypothesis that you seem quite relucttand to consider. 

    Now, on the point of the poor  quality of the text as being an argument against Crespin as a source for the quatrains, which is my position - a voluntary or unvoluntary source by the way - it is quite clear to me that  Crespin's text has be consierably rearranged and redistributed.. In the Prophéties dédiées à la puissance divine etc, you will find hardly one entire quatrain. Instead of centurical  quatrains, you have lines of several quatrains combined together.

   If Nostradamus'Centuries were so well known at the end of the Sixties of the XVIth Century, I cannot imagine that someone would have used them in such a bizarre way or reproduce them just like that attributing them not to Nostradamus  but to someone else.

   Besides, do you know that the first quatrain of the first Centurie appeared, in 1568  in many occasions under the poster of  another so called impostor  like  Nostradamus le Jeune? Do you really think that  one could afford to borrow such a quatrain  like that?

   My position is the one of the "Arroseur arrosé"  (see the famous film of  Louis  Lumière). Those imitators of Nostrdamus have eventually been exploited, by taking their nostradamic work  "à la Nostradamus" - we refer here to an imitation of the  quatrains of the almanachs not of the Centuries - to produce fake Nostradamus.

    You have been, yourself, working on sources of many quatrains. And I am sure that you will agree  the  esthetical criterium is absolutely  irrelevant in this regard. Let us take a rather poorly written text in prose   which is rendered  into verses, who will  declare that the verses aree the source of this text just because it is more nicely put? Moreover, sometimes, the plagiarist might produce something much more elegant  that his very source and  "that" as you say can very well be older and archaic that what it became later on.....

Réponse de Peter Lemesurier

     But when it is not just the gist of the text, but its actual words, that are re-arranged and -- clearly, given that the words form a perfectly-rhyming quatrain -- 'muddled up', it has to be clear that the text that became muddled up had to be there *first* in order to become muddled up in the first place. In other words, I disagree with you that the text's aesthetic elements are irrelevant: ALL elements are relevant. As for the other, more general, arguments, I would refer you to Benazra and Elmar Gruber, who are much more competent to comment on the issue than I am.

Remarques de Jacques Halbronn

       Your argument would be strong if the quatrains  were indeed  constituting obvious units. And this is apparently what you tried to show in your forum with Mario Gregorio. . . But that was not  the idea in the Janus Gallicus (1594)  where it is said very clearly that in the same quatrain, there may be lines corresponding to different events.

See  the "Avis au Lecteur "(page 21)

Nous "avons esté contraints repeter deux & trois fois quelques quatrains assavoir ceux dont les parties ne s'accordoyent pas à mesme temps (...) que si venant à diviser  en deux, trois ou quatre portions tels quatrains une chacune ressemblant aux fueillets  (sic) de la Sibylle, mise à part, eut esté rapportée à son lieu & temps convenable"

Peter Lemesurier:

And who said that? Chavigny, trying to prove his Master right by  fiddling the quatrains as ever!

 

 Jacques Halbronn:

And as I said, why the Avignon line appears twice followed by different lines in both cases? So the only factor which gives the impression of unit is the rhyme which is quite superficial.

Peter Lemesurier :

Superficial or not, it is what holds each quatrain together and so prevents people from fiddling it without being spotted!

Jacques Halbronn:

It is not that difficult to change the order of the words to extract the adequate final word for each line.

Peter Lemesurier

You could have fooled Nostradamus sometimes!

Jacques Halbronn:

To return to linguistic comparison,  it is always possible to decline or conjugate foreign words so to give them a  native appearance, like in russian, german or arabic.
The only really  puzzling questions  are  :
where did Crespin  take  the texts - or how did he manage  to write them ? - that he is using in his Prophéties  dédiées à la Puissance  Divine and which can be found in such an extraordinary proportion in Centuries I to IV and VIII to  X, and  absolutely nothing in between (V to VII)  and also what did he want to prove or show by doing what he did?

Peter Lemesurier:

To make money and prove himself a 'prophet', imagine!

Jacques Halbronn:

In any case,  even those texts are only explainable from an original source which would have been deconstructed, it would by no means prove that it has to do with the Centuries which are already deconstructed and would be, according to me, a deconstruction of a deconstruction, in spite of their rhyming structure which  tries to hide, with a certain success,  their disorder.

Peter Lemesurier

Oui, très Halbronnesque! ;)

Jacques Halbronn

    There are people who spend all their energy by proving heterogeneity  to be  homogeneous.This is a sort of amusing challenge which has always inspired a lot of commentators throuhghout ages. What can be more fun than trying to prove  that "cadavres exquis" make sense, if you see what I mean? This is not my cup of tea,  I must say although I am always fascinated by the ingeniosity spent for such a tricky  exercise, which probably corresponds to a sort of instinctive tropism to preserve and maintain an appearance of order against  chaos.

Peter Lemesurier:

Or, contrariwise:

There are people who spend all their energy by proving homogoneity  to be heterogeneous.This is a sort of amusing challenge which has always inspired a lot of commentators (well, Chavigny and Cheetham, at least!) throughout the ages. What can be more fun than trying to prove that things that make sense are "cadavres exquis", if you see what I mean? This is not my cup of tea,  I must say although I am always fascinated by the ingeniosity spent for such a tricky  exercise, which probably corresponds to a sort of instinctive tropism to preserve andmaintain an appearance of chaos against order.

Jacques Halbronn :

As a matter of fact, the quatrains of the almanachs - called Presages - are made of a combination of  short and sibyline formulas and it seems that our human  brain has a natural tendency to try to understand and integrate any discourse supposed to describe any object  so that it should make sense as such, which also happens in the case of an astrological consultation, quite a convenient process for the astrologer so that an addition of statements taken from the chart, will eventually  produce, at least in the mind of the client,  a significant result..That is why nostradamist astrologers are the ones who have the utmost difficulty  not to find some clue to accept a quatrain as a compact unit in the same way that they also consider a natal chart as such, not to speak, of course,  of Astrology perceived  as a perfectly coherent body of knowledge (see our discussions on this issue of Grande Conjonction) By the way, it would be quite useful for certain people to think about the origin of the presages which are the most ancient and genuine  quatrains we know if not  of Nostradamus - since this very point is also debatable -  at least of the nostradamic production,  between 1557 and 1567 since the almanachs quatrains for 1555 are dubious and are strangely enough translated in English in an almanach for 1562 which shows significant differences with the supposedly original French  of the Prognostication pour 1555.