Author Archives: serious moonlight
Tout commence en janvier 1686, où Louis XIV tombe subitement malade.
Il semble qu’il se soit piqué en s’asseyant sur une plume des coussins qui garnissaient son carrosse déclenchant un abcès à l’anus, qu’il aurait fallu immédiatement inciser pour éviter que la blessure ne s’infecte. Mais les médecins du roi, épouvantés à l’idée de porter la main sur le fondement de la monarchie, optèrent pour des médecines douces, type onguents. Ces méthodes ne donnèrent aucun résultat.
Tout cela dura près de 4 mois et les douleurs royales ne cessaient pas !
Brusquement, vers le 15 mai, les chirurgiens, verts de peur, soupçonnèrent l’existence d’une fistule. Ce fut l’affolement général. Finalement, le 1er chirurgien Félix de Tassy (appelé simplement FELIX) décide d’inciser et “invente” un petit couteau spécial, véritable pièce d’orfèvrerie dont la lame était recouverte d’une chape d’argent.
Mais il fallut encore 5 mois pour fabriquer ce petit bijou…
L’opération eut lieu le 17 novembre– sans anesthésie ! Il faudra encore 2 autres incisions (la plaie ayant du mal à se refermer pour cicatriser) pour qu’enfin, à la Noël 1686, on puisse déclarer que le roi était définitivement sorti d’affaire…et mettre fin aux rumeurs qui, à l’étranger, se propageaient disant que Louis XIV était à l’agonie.
Dès l’heureuse issue de l’intervention connue, des prières furent dites dans le royaume et les dames de Saint Cyr (création de Mme deMaintenon devenue épouse morganatique) décidèrent de composer un cantique pour célébrer la guérison du roi.
La supérieure, Mme de Brinon (nièce de Mme de Maintenon) écrivit alors quelques vers assez anodins qu’elle donna à mettre en musique à Jean-Baptiste Lully :
Grand Dieu sauve le roi !
Longs jours à notre roi !
Vive le roi . A lui victoire,
Bonheur et gloire !
Qu’il ait un règne heureux
Et l’appui des cieux !
Les demoiselles de Saint Cyr prirent l’habitude de chanter ce petit cantique de circonstance chaque fois que le roi venait visiter leur école.
C’est ainsi qu’un jour de 1714, le compositeur Georg Friedrich Haendel, de passage à Versailles, entendit ce cantique qu’il trouva si beau qu’ il en nota aussitôt les paroles et la musique. Après quoi, il se rendit à Londres où il demanda à un clergyman nommé Carrey de lui traduire le petit couplet de Mme de Brinon.
Le brave prêtre s’exécuta sur le champ et écrivit ces paroles qui allaient faire le tour du monde :
God save our gracious King,
Long live our noble King,
God save the King!
Send him victorious
Happy and glorious
Long to reign over us,
God save the King !
Haendel remercia et alla immédiatement à la cour où il offrit au roi – comme étant son oeuvre – le cantique des demoiselles de Saint Cyr.
Très flatté, George 1er félicita le compositeur et déclara que, dorénavant, le “God save the King” serait exécuté lors des cérémonies officielles.
Et c’est ainsi que cet hymne, qui nous paraît profondément britannique, est né de la collaboration :
– d’une Française (Mme de Brinon),
– d’un Italien (Jean-Baptiste Lully -ou Lulli-) naturalisé français,
– d’un Anglais (Carrey),
– d’un Allemand (Georg Friedrich Händel -ou Haendel-) naturalisé britannique, et …..
d’un trou du cul Français, celui de sa Majesté Louis XIV.
Un hymne européen, en fait !
Si Louis XIV ne s’était pas mis, par mégarde, une plume dans le « derrière », quel serait aujourd’hui l’hymne britannique ?… Pourrez-vous désormais écouter “God save the Queen” sans penser à cette petite plume ?…
Or to put it more plainly, the British National Anthem, that doleful, obsequious, forelock-tugging dirge, originated from an infection in Louis XIV’s bum. A royal pain in the arse – how very appropriate!
With thanks to the French person who supplied this information. And to the Journal du Lycée René Cassin where you can read the story.
“When one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity; when many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.”
(Attributed to Robert Pirsig)
These 3 questions need to be answered in this order of priority:
Is climate changing globally? (There has been no measurable warming for 19 years, and zero increase in the frequency, scale or intensity of extreme weather events)
If climate is changing globally, is anthropogenic CO2 the cause? (Emissions caused by human activity have been rising, though they are still only a tiny proportion of the total of atmospheric CO2)
If climate is changing globally, does the change present a danger to human life? (So far, even after many years of dire predictions from the UN’s IPCC, there is no evidence whatever that human life is threatened either by climate change or increasing CO2 levels.)
Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming – It is just another religion – isn’t it?
600 years ago the battlefield of Agincourt must have looked very much the same as it does now. There’s still barely a house in sight, and no doubt then, as now, a couple of village church towers poked their spires above trees on the skyline. In the wide landscape of the plateau between Hesdin and Fruges, at around 500 feet above sea level, the weather often seems wetter, windier and colder than it is in the valleys just a few miles away. If you drive up from Blangy on a wet autumn day, following the route taken by Henry V’s army, it’s not hard to imagine how shattered and defeated the English soldiers might have felt as they crested the hill at Maisoncelle, after 17 days of hard marching, to find a huge, well-prepared French army waiting to destroy them.
In Bernard Cornwell’s novel ‘Azincourt’ the campaign that culminates in the famous battle is related from the point of view of one of the 5000 archers who made up around 80% of the English army. As usual Cornwell’s central character is a man apart, a misfit in conflict with most of those around him, but whose fighting ability, loyalty and tactical instinct endow Continue reading “Book Review – Bernard Cornwell’s “Azincourt”” »
Frogsiders Scoop! The Queen Mother was half-French!
Well, OK. It’s not really a scoop – the English papers have all got the story, but it is just possible you may not have heard about it yet if you live in France.
According to a new biography by Lady Colin Campbell, the Queen Mother was the daughter of her aristocratic family’s French cook.
The author alleges that cook, Marguerite Rodiere, gave birth to the future Queen Elizabeth in an arrangement described as “an early version of surrogacy”.
She claims this practice was not unusual among the upper classes at that time and came about because the hitherto presumed mother, the countess, who already had eight children, was unable to have any more.
It is claimed that the nickname “Cookie”, given to the Queen Mother by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, was a reference to the real mother, and, according to Lady Campbell, it also explains why the Queen Mother, born the Honourable Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes Lyon, was given a French middle name.
The new book, “The Untold Life of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother“, reveals,
“Royal and aristocratic circles had been alight for decades with the story that Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, while undoubtedly the daughter of the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, was not the child of his wife Cecilia, nor was her younger brother David, born nearly two years after her on 2nd May, 1902.
“The two Benjamins, as they were known in the Bowes Lyon family (in a Biblical allusion to the brother of Joseph, who was himself the product of a coupling between his father and his mother’s maid) were supposedly the children of Marguerite Rodiere, an attractive and pleasant Frenchwoman who had been the cook at St Paul’s Waldenbury and is meant to have provided Lord and Lady Glamis with the two children they so yearned for after Cecilia was forbidden by her doctors from producing any more progeny.
“Hence the nickname of Cookie, which the Duke and Duchess of Windsor took care to promulgate throughout international society once Elizabeth proved herself to be their most formidable enemy.“
The reference to the two youngest children being known as “Benjamins” is even more intriguing in view of the common use of the word in French for young children.
If only we had known this before. The British people could have benefited from Buckingham Palace being opened as a restaurant, where the Queen would show off her inherited French culinary expertise, perhaps even earning a Michelin star. Prince Philip, of course might have made a halfway decent wine waiter. Unfortunately we learn the truth too late. She’s now far too old to run the kitchen now, and her children, with the exception perhaps of Anne, who seems to have inherited some of her French great-grandmother’s humility, common sense and savoir-faire, are good for nothing whatever.
Or perhaps they could be trained to do the washing-up?
Yesterday, Tuesday 7 February, with most of France at freezing or below freezing temperatures, a record was broken. France consumed more electrical enrgy than ever before in a single day.
At 19h00 on Tuesday demand reached a record 100500MW. It would have been more, but in several areas the distribution system was unable to cope with demand and thousands of homes were without power.
Although it is well-known that France generates most of its electricity in nuclear power stations, at the peak of Monday’s demand these non-polluting generating plants could only supply 60% of the total needed. Hydro-electric and tidal plants contributed a further 13%. All France’s remaining fossil fuel (coal, gas) fired power stations were incapable of supplying more than an additional 5%, while spewing noxious particulates and toxic gases into the atmosphere as a by-product.
Wind powered generators managed a pathetic 2% of the total demand.
France had to import the balance, to meet its internal energy needs, from its neighbours, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Britain.
When France goes to the polls in a couple of months time, the Socialist Party will be campaigning on a promise to close down France’s nuclear stations. Instead of planning to build new reactors for limitless, clean, cheap, nuclear generated power they favour windmills to replace the nuclear generating capacity.
It’s not hard to forecast what will happen if they put this misguided, crackpot, flowers-in-your-hair, open-toe sandal, long-haired hippie policy into effect.
Vote Socialist and freeze to death in your own home!
Traditional foxhunting may soon be able to take place legally once again in Britain, thanks to the controversial development work of a maverick French geneticist and his team of bio-engineers at a university in the Périgord region of France.
Professor Jean-Claude Morue and his team at the University of Rosser-Le-Cabillaud in south-western France, have recently completed work on a project originally funded by the European Union to aid the truffle hunters of the Périgord. Aiming to breed a pig with certain “doggy” characterisitics as a perfect partner for the region’s truffle hunters, the professor claims to have “accidentally” bred an aggressive hunting pig with all the pack instincts, obedience, speed and stamina of a foxhound. Continue reading “French science beats British foxhunting ban. Frogsiders Exclusive!” »
Once again our well-known expert on everything, M. Leroy Desfrites from Normandy, has been kind enough to dip into his overwhelming mailbox, to answer a question posed by a Frogsider reader.
Usually when I write a letter in French, for instance to the Mairie, the Prefecture, or the Conseil General, I receive no reply, but occasionally I do receive a reply in which I am told they don’t understand what I have written about.Is this just the normal rudeness of French public employees, or is there some reason why they can not respond to my letters?When I write these letters, I know that they are in good French because I always use the babelfish website to do the translation from English.
Frustrated of Fauquembergues
My Dear Frustrated of Fauquembergues,
Of course the recipients of your letters do not want to reply in a polite fashion. After all, they represent the elite privileged class known as fonctionnaires, and they have ruled the French people for well over a hundred years (some say much longer). They find all forms of correspondence boring, especially when it involves communication with the common people.
However, there may also be a problem with your use of Babelfish to translate your English letter into French. Here is an example of a Babelfish re-re-translation of a well-known English poem. Can you guess what the poem is?
I only crossed whereas the cloud
This fleet in you you are high valid and in the mount especific caught,
When of a characteristic only I saw an amount,
A server, Goldjonquils;
It is closed in the lake inside within the trees,
Swimmer and of the dance in the brise.Continuously whereas the paper of the first plant,
The one that shines and ignites in the distance of milchigen,
He had extended the game to them in the line
Without fine throughout the edge of a drawer:
A ten-thousandth that I saw in one sight
And that I played its titles in the dance of you cut.The following waves had danced;
But the waves of the blowing had exceeded the joy:
Poèt could not nevertheless have been allegro
With a so glad society:
It considered locally surely — and that you consider locally surely — but little it has the thought,
Of that the wealth that the suspension had obtained to me:
For frequent if in my layer
They are dreamed in the empty tendency or,
Flasher in this centripetal eye,
Of which the fortune of the isolation is;
And then my interior with the materials of the blockade of the pleasure
And dances with jonquils.
Still a fine piece of poetry, of course, but perhaps not as lucid as the original.
My tip is to give yourself the title of an English “Milord” when you write to French officials. There is nothing they like more than to feel they are in contact with a fellow member of the ruling class.
For a complete expert answer to your questions, however technical and whatever the subject, just mail Leroy using our Contact Form.
Frogsiders is extremely fortunate to have obtained the services of M. Leroy Desfrites from Normandy, the well-known and popular expert-on-everything, to answer all our readers’ questions and guide them in the proper French way of doing things.
This week’s topic is Home Decoration.
I was up a ladder the other day preparing to paint a high ceiling in my house when I noticed that it was covered with spiders’ webs that I had not seen from the ground. Rather than descend and add to my work by vacuum cleaning the ceiling to remove all the webs before painting, I just painted over the cobwebs. Of course, I said nothing about this to my wife.
Should I have removed the webs first?
Signed, Worried of Wambercourt
Dear Worried of Wambercourt
Here in France we know that incorporating spiders’ webs into the paint is a good way to stabilise the drying paint and enhance its long-term structural integrity.
It is well-known that the painters of the famous pre-historic Lascaux cave paintings did not clear the spiders’ webs from the cave walls before painting. This helps to explain why these paintings, which we know were originally intended merely as temporary bachelor-pad decoration, have lasted so well.
Obviously, there are thousands of similar caves all over France, where the prehistoric décor has completely disappeared. Why is this? It is simply because the cavewoman of these households swept away all the cobwebs on the cave walls before getting her man to decorate.
Apparently, in the case of the occupant of the Lascaux caves, he either never got married or he never got round to redecorating!
Since the beginning of human civilisation, we French men have always understood that a little knowledge of history can save such a lot of unnecessary work and effort.
For a complete expert answer to your questions, however technical and whatever the subject, just mail Leroy using our Contact Form.
The thing is, last winter, when there was snow, ice, transport chaos, the pound was worth nothing, your pension had been made worthless by his pension fund tax raids, devaluation, inflation, a crashed stock market and bankrupt banks, we did, at least, have someone we could blame. Clearly Gordon Brown was the culprit – he had been there for 13 years and screwed everything up that was capable of being screwed up.
Now, with all the same chaos again, who is there to curse? Cameron hasn’t been there long enough to be blamed; Clegg the same. Darling, when he appears at all, now talks some reasonable common sense from time to time instead of the Brownspeak rot he used to come out with. Blair is sunning himself somewhere surrounded, like some African dictator, by gold plated taps and door-handles – and his billions of dollars stashed away in offshore accounts.
Clearly the Milliband kid is only guilty of once being Gordon’s protégé and anyway, he’ll obviously never be actually put in charge of anything important.
Sarkozy, Merkel and that slimy Italian spiv can’t be blamed, because they don’t carry that aura of control freakery around with them that characterised Brown. You can’t blame the Irish either – they were just passengers on a crashing bus.
As long as all the news is of transport, financial, religious and political chaos, I suppose we’ll just have to go on blaming the UK Prime Minister nobody actually elected. His new book “How I Saved The World” or some such tosh, is, by the way at about no. 4983 in the best sellers list, reduced to less than half-price at any bookstore foolish enough to stock it (I believe there are a couple in his constituency that have a copy or two), and destined for recycling into loo paper immediately after the January sales.
Congratulations Gordon! – you have been elected at last – as the scapegoat for everything – and you’re still to blame even when you’re no longer there.
I wonder if the cat in this story belongs to British expats in Normandy?