Questions on: Mysticism
I would like to know your opinion - Prophecies of Nostradamus: Century 2, Quatrain 62.
Mabus plus tost alors mourra, viendra,
De gens & bestes vn horrible defaite:
Puis tout à coup la vengeance on verra,
Cent, main, faim quand courra la comete.
Mabus then will soon die, there will come
A horrible slaughter of people and animals:
At once vengeance is revealed coming from a hundred hands,
Thirst and hunger when the comet will run.
Interesting how rarely quatrains are ever the same. Your version translates “hundred hands” in the third line, yet ‘hundred, by hand’ actually appears in your fourth line; my version of the original 4th line is “Sang, main, soif, faim, quand courra la comete”. Both of our English translations make an error on ‘defaite’: yours uses slaughter, mine uses destruction - it really means defeat. A rough translation yields:
Mabus shall come, and soon after die,
People* and beasts a horrible defeat,
And then a blow of vengeance seen,**
Blood, by hand, thirst and hunger when hunting the comet.
- or your 4th line: Hundred, by hand, thirst and hunger when hunting the comet.
* ‘de gens’ is normally used with a qualifier, not just as ‘people’: there may be a word missing from both our "originals".
** ‘puis tout a coup la...’ -- I would be tempted to change the awkward translation (the words don’t normally go together this way) by using ‘tout-puissant a coup la...’, which cleanly translates the entire line into a complete concept: all-powerful (or omnipotent) vengeance is seen to be done.
What does it mean? I can’t tell for sure; but I can speculate. ‘quand courra’ (when hunting) is not just any kind of hunting: in French, it is hunting on horseback with hounds. Could the comet be the fox? (the metaphor works well) Could the people and beasts be the hunting party? It seems to me that one idea is: - Mabus goes along on a fox hunt -his death by misadventure is the horrible defeat - the metaphorical vengeance is by the fox (or nature).
Mabus is an unusual name; but it is interesting that Mabuse (aka J. Gossaert) was a well known Flemish painter alive during Nostradamus’ time. He was born in France, and was best known at the time for his biblical art. If Nostradamus didn’t actually know him, he certainly knew of him. Mabus may have been a much more common word in the sixteenth century: people born in Maubeuge, France were often referred to as Mabuse (this is true of J. Gossaert).
No, I don’t know if the artist died because of injuries sustained in a fox hunt (my references on this individual are rather sketchy); but I consider it unimportant, since the quatrain was written after his death.
If I get really ambitious, I might look over the other quatrains you sent; but I grew weary of translating them long ago. I originally studied Nostradamus over twenty years ago, in a period when he wasn’t particularly popular. There was a huge surge of interest in the early 80’s; and due to my experience with his work, I was soon beset by people making inquiries pertaining to specific quatrains. By that time, I had already concluded that the quatrains either dealt with the mundane, or were too ambiguous to ever draw an accurate meaning from them (although there are a few that do seem prophetic). The problem with the quatrains is that everyone tries to make them too dramatic, by intentionally mistranslating them. It was fun doing just one, though :-) [back to FAQ index]
Copyright 1998 - 2003 B.W.Holmes - all rights reserved (unless noted otherwise). Quotes from ancient literary works do not carry a copyright.