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425. Son of Seth, who was the third son of Adam, and brother of Cain and Abel. Cf. Genesis IV, 25.
426. Mountain east of the Dead Sea from which Moses beheld the Promised Land. Deut. XXXII, 49.
427. Pisgah. Deut. XXXIV, 1-3. 428. The Dead ea.
429. Mt. Peor or more probably Bethpeor, a place near which Moses is supposed to have been buried. Segor is Zoar.
430. Deut. XXXII, 52.
435. The Pentateuch, comprising the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
436. "Verge,” the rod with which Moses smote the rock to bring forth water.
437. Mountain on which God appeared to Moses in the Burning Bush.
438. Exodus IX, 22-23.
439. M. Canat thinks the allusion may be to the pillar of fire which guided the children in the wilderness. (A. de Vigny, Morceaux Choisis.)
440. It was under the leadership of Joshua and not Moses that the Israelites passed through the divided waters of the Jordan. Cf. Joshua III, 13-17.
441. Refers to the passage of the Red Sea.
442. It was Joshua who commanded the Sun to stand still. Cf. Joshua X, 13.
443. Moses was tending the flocks of his brother-in-law Jethro when God spoke to him from the Burning Bush. Cf. Exodus III, 1.
444. Cf. Exodus XIII, 21.
445. A section of Gascony, so named from its vast stretch of sterile moorland.
446. Contrast with this idea the glorification of suffering in Musset's Nuit de Mai.
447. De Vigny has altered the Bible story (cf. Mark XIV, 32-46). He has dramatized it and given to it a significance quite different from that of the Gospel account. Ernest Dupuy (A. de Vigny) suggests that de Vigny may have been inspired also by Mantegna's painting, The Agony in the Garden (National Gallery), which he much admired. The picture shows the sleeping disciples, Jesus kneeling in prayer, and in the background, Judas approaching stealthily and showing the way to the armed multitude behind him.
448. This questioning of the Divine Will by Jesus on the Mount is not in the Bible. The prayer of Jesus on the Mount is a petition for strength and paternal aid in which there is no note of rebellion.
De Vigny has completely denatured the meaning of this scene in order to put into the mouth of Jesus the expression of his own philosophy.
452. Refers to the parable of the foolish virgins. Matthew XXV, I-13.
453. In Les Destinées de Vigny represents mankind in a ceaseless struggle with winged and taloned furies, symbolical of destiny or fatality, minions of a mysterious God whose law to man is: "Faire ce que je veux pour venir où je sais."
454. Cf. Pascal: "Je ne sais qui m'a mis au monde, ni ce que c'est que le monde, ni que moi-même. Je suis dans une ignorance terrible de toutes choses. comme je ne sais d'où je viens, aussi je ne sais où je vais. ..." (Cited by Canat. op. cit.)
455. Added by de Vigny in 1862.
456. It is not known whether Eva is a definite person or whether she merely symbolizes womankind.
457. i. e., "humanity," whose life is so brief.
458. False reports of the death of Voltaire were frequently circulated. Cf. Diderot, Neveu de Rameau: "Le bruit court que Voltaire est mort; tant mieux. Et pourquoi tant mieux ? C'est qu'il va nous donner quelque bonne folie; c'est son usage, que de mourir une quinzaine auparavant. ...'
459. Argos is in the Peleponnessus. Ptelion is in Thessaly. Messa is one of the nine cities of Laconia mentioned by Homer, who gives it the epithet “abounding in pigeons” (Iliad II, 502). The Titaresius is a river of Thessaly. Oloosson is a town in Thessaly called "white" by Homer because of its white, argillaceous soil. Camirus is a town in the island of Rhodes.
460. The Muse enumerates further various poetic themes from which the poet may choose: martial poetry, satire, romances of chivalry, pastorals, Tarquin, the Napoleonic legend, etc.
461. In September, 1840, Musset on his way to the château of Angerville, crossed the forest of Fontainebleau, where he had come in 18,13 with George Sand before their departure for Italy. 462. Cf. The Divine Comedy, Chant V, 121-123:
Nessun maggior dolore,
Nella miseria. 463. Francesca da Rimini, who loved her brother-in-law Paolo Malatesta, and who was killed with him by her husband.
464. Cf. Diderot, Jacques le Fataliste: "Le premier serment que se firent deux êtres de chair, ce fut au pied d'un rocher qui tombait en poussière; ils attestèrent de leur constance un ciel qui n'est pas un instant le même; tout passait en eux et autour d'eux et ils croyaient leurs cæurs affranchis de vicissitudes. O enfants ! toujours enfants !"
465. Shortly after his trip through the forest of Fontainebleau, Musset met George Sand herself in the corridor of the Opéra-Italien at Paris. Returning home, he wrote Le Souvenir (Feb. 15, 1841).
466. Béranger, who did not belong to the romantic group, gained wide renown through his songs, many of which are still popular.
467. A small Norman town. According to an old tradition, Yvetot was constituted a kingdom under the Merovingians and there is evidence that the lords of Yvetot actually bore the title of king during the XV Century.
468. “Agent,” “tool"; an inferior who servilely carries out the designs of a tyrant.
469. "Lever le ban": to summon for military service,
470. This popular song was written as a remonstrance to Napoleon after the disastrous retreat from Moscow.
471. “The glory of Napoleon.”
472. Napoleon II, king of Rome, born 1811, died at Schoenbrunn, Austria, in 1832. Cf. Rostand's: L'Aiglon.
473. In 1814, Napoleon defeated the Germans under Schwartzenberg and Blücher in Champagne.
474. Napoleon reached Paris after its capitulation. He abdicated April 11, 1814.
475. According to a popular belief, the stars influence the destiny of men and each person has his own star which governs his days and disappears when he dies. The shepherds, passing their night in the open, were thought to be able to read the secrets of the heavens.
476. This famous sonnet probably celebrates Marie Menessier. Nodier, daughter of Charles Nodier, whose soirées at the Arsenal Library (Le Premier Cénacle) furthered the formation of the Romantic School.
477. “Palais de Justice.”
478. In the Iliad, Tartarus is the name of an underground prison in which those who rebelled against Zeus were confined.
479. “Banquet,” originally a repast in commemoration of the Last Supper.
485. Mâquis: (maquis or makis) is a name given in Corsica to land covered by a dense growth of scrubby shrubs and trees.
486. A large town in the central part of Corsica.
490. The Revolution of July 27-29 when Charles X was dethroned and succeeded by Louis-Philippe.
491. Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863), a French historical painter of the first rank, leader of the romantic school.
492. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867), perhaps the most illustrious of XIX Century French painters.
493. “Genre painting,” that is the representation of some phase of common life, such as domestic interiors, rural or village scenes, etc.
494. Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps (1803-1860), genre painter, scenes from Scripture history, etc.
495. Xavier Sigalon (1788-1837), French historical painter.
496. Theodore Géricault (1791-1824), painter of the romantic school. His masterpiece, la Méduse, represents a raft at sea on which are grouped the starving survivors of the wreck of la Méduse.
497. Eugene Devéria (1805-1865), French historical painter.
498. Académie des Beaux-Arts, founded in 1795, for painters, sculptors, musicians, etc.
499. This obelisk was brought from Egypt in 1833 and erected on the Place de la Concorde at Paris.
500. A long slender roll that is dipped in a hot liquid. 501. “I fear the Greeks even when they bear gifts.” Virgil's Æneid,
502. Village near Versailles whose surroundings have been painted by Corot.
503. Servin, Schinner and Sommervieux are fictitious personages created by Balzac. Duval-Lecamus (1790-1854) was a French historical painter. "Granet (1775-1849), French painter noted for his light effects. Drolling (1752-1817) the elder is known for his genre painting. To give greater impression of reality to the society he is describing, Balzac frequently groups in this manner his own personages and historical characters.
504. Fabre d'Eglantine (1750-1794), in whose play l'Intrigue épistolaire is a painter named Fougères.
505. Jean Baptiste Greuze (1726-1805), celebrated French genre painter.
506. Gabriel Metzu (1615-1669), Dutch painter, especially successful in scenes of tavern and market life.
507. Pierre-Roch Vigneron (1789-1872), genre and portrait painter. 508. Claude Dubufe (1790-1864), French romantic painter.
509. Gerard Dow (1613-1680), Dutch painter. The Woman Sick of the Dropsy, mentioned by Balzac, is his masterpiece.
510. Domenico Zampieri (1581-1641), Italian painter of the XVII Century, who won success by dint of persistent application, as he was not naturally endowed with either imagination or brilliancy.
511. Act vesting the holder of a mortgage with the rights normally held by the wife of the giver of a mortgage or by another person to insure the recovery of his investment.
512. "Dignified leisure." Cicero: De Oratore, I, 1, 1. 513. Slang expressions meaning "jimdandy," "fine," "elegant." 514. “Simple or stupid person." 515. "This looks like a good thing." 516. i. e., her complexion was the color of mahogany. 517. French funerals are divided into several classes according to the pomp desired. In the case of a funeral of the first class, the hearse is ornately decorated with plumes and other trappings.
518. Slang expression meaning “big foot.” 519. Slang and sarcastic for "head.” 520. “Pointed and turned up." 521. Miéris (1635-1684), Terburg (1608-1681), noted Dutch painters. 522. Italian phrase meaning : “in his own mind.”
523. “Abyssus abyssum invocat," phrase of the Vulgate: “Deep calleth unto deep," Psalms XLII, 7.
524. Slang for "money in your pocket."
528. “Nankeen,” a yellow cotton cloth, so named from Nankin, China, where it was originally manufactured.
529. i. e., with a fortune to be inherited. 530. “Astounded.”
531. Paul Potter (1625-1654), celebrated Dutch landscape and animal painter.
532. Bartholomeo Esteban, known as Murillo (1617-1682), Spanish painter whose Assumption is considered one of the world's masterpieces.
533. An unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the government of LouisPhilippe was made by the Republican party, May 12, 1839.
534. An immense hall in the museum of Versailles is devoted to paintings of great battles in French history.
535. Name given in 1793 to the musk-scented Royalists.
536. July 27-29, 1830, when Charles X was dethroned and succeeded by Louis-Philippe.
537. Brother of Louis XVI and, as Charles X, King of France from 1824 to 1830.
538. Capital of the department of the Vosges and celebrated for the manufacture of cheap pictures.
539. Quartz crystals found in the quarries near Alençon, the capital of the department of the Orne.
540. The allusion is to the siege of Paris, which lasted from September 19, 1870, to January 28, 1871, when the city capitulated.
541. The highest hill near Paris, about seven miles west of the city, on the left bank of the Seine.
542. The most celebrated avenue in Paris. It extends from the Place de la Concorde (created in 1748 by Louis XV) to the Place de l'Etoile.
543. Cf. p. 356, note 540. 544. The first empire, under Napoleon I, lasted from 1804 to 1815.
545. The son of Napoleon I and Marie-Louise was proclaimed King of Rome at the time of his birth in 1811. After the battle of Waterloo (June 18, 1815), he was known as the Duke of Reichstadt. He died in 1832. Cf. p. 285, note 472.