1137

m·c·xxxvii·Ðis gære for þe king Stephne ofer sæ to normandi ⁊ther ƿes underfangen, forþi ðat hi ƿenden ðat he sculde ben alsuic alse the eom ƿes, ⁊ for he hadde get his treſor· ac he todeld it ⁊ scatered sotlice. Micel hadde Henri king gadered gold ⁊ syluer, ⁊ na god ne dide me for his saule tharof. Þa þe king Stephne to Englaland com, þa macod he his gadering æt Oxeneford. ⁊ þar he nam þe biscop Roger of Serebyri ⁊ Alexander biscop of Lincol ⁊ te canceler Roger hise neues, ⁊ dide ælle in prisun til hi iafen up here castles. Þa the suikes undergæton ðat he milde man ƿas ⁊ softe ⁊ god, ⁊ na iustise ne dide, þa diden hi alle ƿunder. Hi hadden him manred maked ⁊ athes suoren, ac hi nan treuthe ne heolden. Alle he ƿæron forsƿoren ⁊ here treothes forloren, for æuric rice man his castles makede ⁊ agænes him heolden. ⁊ fylden þe land ful of castles. Hi suencten suyðe þe uurecce men of þe land mid castelƿeorces. þa þe castles uuaren maked, þa fylden hi mid deoules ⁊ yuele men. Þa namen hi þa men þe hi ƿenden ðat ani god hefden, bathe be nihtes ⁊ be dæies, carlmen ⁊ ƿimmen, ⁊ diden heom in prisun ⁊ pined heom efter gold ⁊ syluer untellendlice pining· for ne uuæren næure nan martyrs sƿa pined alse hi ƿæron. Me henged up bi the fet ⁊ smoked heom mid ful smoke. Me henged bi the þumbes other bi the hefed ⁊ hengen bryniges on her fet. Me dide cnotted strenges abuton here hæued ⁊ uurythen it ðat it gæde to þe hærnes. Hi diden heom in quarterne þar nadres ⁊ snakes ⁊ pades ƿæron inne, ⁊ drapen heom sƿa. Sume hi diden in crucethus ðat is in an cæste þat ƿas scort ⁊ nareu ⁊ undep· ⁊ dide scærpe stanes þærinne· ⁊ þrengde þe man þærinne ðat him bræcon alle þe limes. In mani of þe castles ƿæron lof ⁊ grin· ðat ƿæron rachenteges ðat tƿa oþer thre men hadden onoh to bæron onne· þat ƿas sua maced· ðat is fæstned to an beom· ⁊ diden an scærp iren abuton þa mannes throte ⁊ his hals· ðat he ne myhte noƿiderƿardes· ne sitten ne lien ne slepen· oc bæron al ðat iren. Mani þusen hi drapen mid hungær. I ne can ne i ne mai tellen alle þe ƿunder ne alle þe pines ðat hi diden ƿrecce men on þis land· ⁊ ðat lastede þa ·xix· ƿintre ƿile Stephne ƿas king ⁊ æure it ƿas uuerse ⁊ uuerse. Hi læiden gæildes on the tunes æure um ƿile ⁊ clepeden it tenserie. Þa þe uurecce men ne hadden nammore to gyuen· þa ræueden hi ⁊ brendon alle the tunes· ðat ƿel þu myhtes faren al a dæis fare sculdest thu neure finden man in tune sittende· ne land tiled. Þa ƿas corn dære, ⁊ fle[s]c ⁊ cæse ⁊ butere· for nan ne ƿæs o þe land. Ƿrecce men sturuen of hungær. Sume ieden on ælmes þe ƿaren sum ƿile rice men. Sume flugen ut of lande. Ƿes næure gæt mare ƿreccehed on land ne næure hethen men ƿerse ne diden þan hi diden· for ouer sithon ne forbaren hi nouther circe ne cyrceiærd· oc namen al þe god ðat þarinne ƿas ⁊ brenden sythen þe cyrce ⁊ al tegædere. Ne hi ne forbaren biscopes land ne abbotes ne preostes· ac ræueden munekes ⁊ clerekes· ⁊ æuric man other þe ouermyhte. Gif tƿa men oþer ·iii· coman ridend to an tun· al þe tunscipe flugæn for heom· ƿenden ðat hi ƿæron ræueres. Þe biscopes ⁊ lered men heom cursede æure· oc ƿas heom naht þarof· for hi uueron al forcursæd ⁊ forsuoren ⁊ forloren. Ƿar sæ me tilede· þe erthe ne bar nan corn· for þe land ƿas al fordon mid suilce dædes. ⁊ hi sæden openlice ðat Crist slep· ⁊ his halechen. Suilc ⁊ mare þanne ƿe cunnen sæin· ƿe þolenden ·xix· ƿintre for ure sinnes.

Sources:
englesaxe Early Middle-English Texts: The Peterborough Chronicle 1137
⁜ Bodleian Library, Oxford: MS. Laud Misc. 636 (‘The Peterborough Chronicle’, E text)

1137·This year the king Stephen went across the sea to Normandy, and was received there because they imagined that he would be just like the uncle was, and because he still had his treasury; but he distributed and scattered it stupidly. King Henry had gathered gold and silver and no good was done for his soul thereby. When the king Stephen came to England he held his council at Oxford, and there he seized the bishop Roger of Salisbury and his nephews, Alexander bishop of Lincoln and the chancellor Roger , and put all in prison until they gave up their castles. Then when the traitors realised that Stephen was a mild man, gentle and good, and imposed no penalty, they committed every enormity. They had done him homage and sworn oaths, but they held to no pledge. They were all forsworn and their pledges lost because every powerful man made his castles and held them against him, and filled the land full of castles. They greatly oppressed the wretched men of the land with castle-work; then when the castles were made, they filled them with devils and evil men. Then both by night and by day they seized those men whom they imagined had any wealth, common men and women, and put them in prison to get their gold and silver, and tortured them with unspeakable tortures, for no martyrs were ever tortured as they were. They hung them up by the feet and smoked them with foul smoke. They hung them by the thumbs, or by the head, and hung mail-coats on their feet. They put knotted strings round their heads and twisted till it went to the brains. They put them in dungeons where there were adders and snakes and toads, and destroyed them thus. Some they put into a ‘crucet-hus’, that is, into a chest that was short and narrow and shallow, and put sharp stones in there and crushed the man in there, so that he had all the limbs broken. In many of the castles was a ‘lof and grin’, that were chains such that two or three men had enough to do to carry one. It was made thus: it is fastened to a beam, and a sharp iron put around the man's throat and his neck so that he could not move in any direction, neither sit nor lie nor sleep, but carry all that iron. Many thousands they destroyed with hunger. I do not know nor can I tell all the horrors nor all the tortures that they did to wretched men in this land. And it lasted the 19 years while Stephen was king, and it always grew worse and worse. They laid a tax upon the villages time and again, and called it tenserie. Then when the wretched men had no more to give, they robbed and burned all the villages, so that you could well go a whole day’s journey and never find anyone occupying a village or land tilled. Then corn was dear, and flesh and cheese and butter, because there was none in the land. Wretched men starved with hunger; some who were once powerful men went on alms; some fled out of the land. Never before was there more wretchedness in the land, nor ever did heathen men worse than they did. Too many times they spared neither church nor churchyard, but took everything of value that was in it, and afterwards burned the church and everything together. They did not spare the land of bishops nor of abbots nor of priests, but robbed monks and clerks; and every man overpowered the other. If two or three men came riding to a village, all the villagers fled because of them, imagining that they were robbers. The bishops and the clergy always cursed them but that was nothing to them, because they were all accursed and forsworn and lost. Wherever men tilled, the earth bore no corn because the land was all done for with such deeds; and they said openly that Christ and His saints slept. Such things, and more than we know how to tell, we suffered 19 years for our sins.

Sources:
⁜ Yale, Viking Sources in Translation: Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Peterborough MS

Évolution

 
Finally peak set-design megalomania has been reached!
 

The honeymoon is over

Official portraits of Emmanuel Macron & Barak Obama in similar surroundings and poses.
Fastest drop in popularity in the fifth republic?

Trumpadóireacht

Irish definitions - trumpa, Sponger, parasite. trumpadóir, 2. Loud-mouthed person, prater. trumpallán, Dor, dung-beetle.

Epistle

(Bad?) Translation of the Dedication from the first edition of Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac’s Histoire comique…contenant les Estats & Empires de la Lune.

 
 

TO MILORD
TANNEGVY
RENAVLT DES
BOISCLAIRS;

Knight , Aduiſor
to the King in his Coun-
cils, & Grand Pre-
uoſt of Bourgogne &
Breſſe.

SIR,

I fulfill the laſt wiſh of a dying man whom you obliged with noteworthy benifience during his life. Since he was known to an infinitude of people of intelligence, by the fine fire of his own, it was abſolutely vnbearable, that many perſons knew not the diſgrace that a dangerous injury followed by a violent feuer, cauſed him ſome months before his death. Many knew not by what good Spirit he had been ſaued, but he belieued that the name ſhould not be leſs public, than the aduantage he deriued therefrom. You were his Friend, you often auowed it, & you euen gaue euidence of it on many occaſions, when you deuined his needs ; but what was this act, that other Men did not act as you did ? how did this appear to our Friend, compared to your appearance to a hundred others who were not of his ſtamp ? He muſt have ſtood out from the crowd, & that your generoſity diſtinguiſhed him from the great number that you have obliged, ſhowed not only, as Ariſtotle ſaid, Gene­roſum eſt quod à natura non de­generat
Ariſt. Hiſt. anim. op. primo.
that it had not degenerated, but had enriched of itſelf in ſupport of ſo worthy a ſubject. So that when you had the goodneſs to giue him proofs of your protection & your friendſhip in his illneſs, whoſe courſe you arreſted by your care & the generous aſsiſtances you gave him in the extremity of his moſt violent euils ; it was ſuch a powerful protection for him , that he once more hoped from you that which a little before his death he begged me to aſk of you for this work; & that will alſo be of that great truſt , & of that laſt wiſh that you will recognize as thoſe which he ought to have had from your friendſhip ; ſince it is in that fatal moment that the mouth ſpeaks like the heart.

Lucret.
lib. 3.
Nam veræ voces tum demum pectore ab imo eliciuntur.

And I haue made myſelf the Interpeter of his own that much more willingly, ſince I took equal part in his diſgrace, as in the good that was known to him ; & for that reaſon, as by my own inclination , I am truly,

SIR,

Your moſt humble, & very
affectionate ſeruant.

Le Bret.

Epistre

Dedication from the first edition of Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac’s Histoire comique…contenant les Estats & Empires de la Lune.

 
 

A MESSIRE
TANNEGVY
RENAVLT DES
BOISCLAIRS;

Cheualier , Conſeiller
du Roy en ſes Con-
ſeils, & Grand Pre-
uoſt de Bourgogne &
Breſſe.

MONSIEVR,

Ie ſatisfaits à la derniere volonté d’vn mort que vous obligeaſtes d’vn ſignalé bienfait pendant ſa vie. Comme il eſtoit connu d’vne infinité de gens d’eſprit, par le beau feu du ſien, il fut abſolument imposſſible , que beaucoup de perſõnes ne ſceuſſent la diſgrace qu’vne dangereuſe bleſſure ſuiuie d’vne violente fiévre, luy cauſa quelques mois deuant ſa mort. Pluſieurs ont ignoré par quel bon Démon il y auoit eſté ſecouru , mais il a crû que le nom n’en deuoit pas eſtre moins public, que l’action luy en fut aduantageuſe. Vous eſtiez ſon Amy, vous l’en aviez ſouuent aſſeuré , & meſme vous le luy auiez témoigné en pluſieurs rencontres, où vous ſçauiez le beſoin qu’il en auoit ; mais qu’eſtoit - ce faire, que quelques autres Hommes n’euſſent fait comme vous ? qu’eſtoit - ce paroiſtre enuers noſtre Amy , que ce que vous paroiſſiez enuers cent autres qui n’eſtoient point de ſa trempe ? Il falloit donc le tirer de la preſſe, & que voſtre generoſité le diſtinguant du grand nombre de ceux que vous obligiez, fiſt voir non ſeulement, comme parle Ariſtote, Gene­roſum eſt quod à natura non de­generat
Ariſt. Hiſt. anim. op. primo.
qu’elle n’auoit pas dégeneré , mais qu’elle auoit enchery ſur ſoy-meſme en faueur d’vn ſi digne ſujet. De ſorte que quand vous euſtes la bonté de luy rendre des preuues de voſtre protection & de voſtre amitié dans ſa maladie, dont vous arreſtâtes le cours par vos ſoins & les aſſiſtances genereuſes que vous luy rendiſtes en l’extremité de ſes maux les plus violens ; ce fut d’vne ſi puiſſante protection pour luy , qui’il eſpera de vous encore celle qu’vn peu deuant ſa mort il me pria de vous demander pour cet ouurage; & ce ſera auſſi de cette grande confiance , & de ce dernier ſentimẽt que vous iugerez de ceux qu’il doit auoir eus de voſtre amitié ; puis que c’eſt dans ce moment fatal que la bouche parle comme le cœur.

Lucret.
lib. 3.
Nam veræ voces tum demum pectore ab imo eliciuntur.

Et ie me ſuis rendu l’Interprete du ſien d’autant plus volontiers, que ie prenois part également à ſes diſgraces, comme au bien qu’on luy ſaiſoit ; & que par cette raiſon, comme par mon inclination particuliere , ie ſuis en verité,

MONSIEVR,

Voſtre tres-humble, & tres-
affectionné ſeruiteur.

Le Bret.

Jumeaux?

Official portraits of Emmanuel Macron & Barak Obama in similar surroundings and poses.
Macron’s new official portrait is reminiscent of Obama’s.

Carry On Up The Neander

Aerial view of picture in field of a Neanderthal wearing a bike helmet

Passing by Castle Dyck, the extensive borough of Pongs and straight through the town of Titz, the second stage of the 2017 Tour de France (DüsseldörpLidje) had some potential for carry on, but the locals certainly excelled themselves with their art du tour.

Daylight Saving Ugliness

1 Jan March
(2nd Sun)
April (1st Sun) Oct (1st Sun) Nov (1st Sun)
US Eastern US Eastern Daylight US Eastern
AEDT AEST AEDT
16 hours 15 14 hours 15 16 hours

Le chat ministériel

 
 

Mot du jour: limoger

General Joseph (Jacques Césaire) Joffre
Joseph Joffre

This word came up today in the context Donald Trump’s removal of James Comey as Director of the FBI. At first my brain leapt uselessly in the direction of ligoter “to tie up” (think ligature and you’ll see where this is coming from), but actually this verb, which today means “dismiss, fire, sack”, has a much more obscure origin.

The usual version, though lacking much actual evidence, goes like this. Early in the First World War, General Joseph (Jacques Césaire) Joffre, newly appointed commander-in-chief of the army (and proponent of General Foch’s concept of offensive à outrance “attack to excess” which lead to so many deaths), was cleaning house. After the First Battle of the Marne (7–12 September 1914) had stabilised the front (as well as anointing “Papa Joffre” as a hero and leading to a rash of babies called Joffre and Joffrette), it became clear that both sides’ dreams of a quick war would not come true. Consequently Joffre began removing 134 subordinates he considered incompetent and reassigning them to the 12th military district at Limoges where they would be out of the way, hence the verb limoger meaning “send to Limoges”.

In fact, there is no evidence of Joffre ever using this expression and less than a dozen officers were ever actually sent to Limoges, while a few others stayed in towns within the 12th military district. This also happened before the Marne. Many of the orders also did not originate with Joffre, but with the Minister of War, Adolphe Messimy, who was happy to  claim in his memoirs that he invented the term himself.

Guillaumat, following my orders, commanded them to leave Paris and go to…Limoges. “Why Limoges?” I’ve often been asked. I desired that these generals, declared useless at the front, should be distanced from Paris, where they would have done nothing but spread gossip. Where to send them? Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux were too large to avoid quickly becoming home to politico-military intrigues. I briefly hesitated between Nantes, Rennes and Limoges. I had to choose: Limoges was the choice.

The word did not exist yet, so it was I who enriched the French language.

However, Messimy was replaced as Minister on the 26th August 1914; the order sending officers to Limoges came the next day. Guillaumat himself, though writing much closer to the events (19th July 1915), exaggerates the numbers.

The expression “go to Limoges” [« aller à Limoges »] has become standard for the cast-off generals. Messimy suspended them, his successor detained them at Limoges where there were about sixty. Today, we let them go where they will, but the expression has remained. That said, they’re replaced quite a lot; so why suspend them?

So, it seems the myth has far outstripped the truth here, but that messy, arbitrary, whimsical aspect is what makes languages so interesting. You do wonder, though, what the good citizens of Limoges think about all this.

Pont Saint-Martial, Limoges
Pont Saint-Martial, Limoges

Unfortunate angle?

Employee protesting Whirlpool factory closure. Street lights behind his head look like antennae.
Somebody at France 2 is having a laugh.