I 42 A BAD DAY’S WORK
1555 Lyon Bonhomme
Le dix Kalende d’Auril le faict Gotique,
Resuscité encor par gens malins:
Le feu estainct, assemblee diabolique
Cherchant les or du d’Amant & Pselyn.
1557 Lyon Du Rosne
As above but Line 4 reads ‘Cherchant les os du d’Amant & Prelin.’
(An ‘r’ and an ‘s’ have changed places since 1555).
The tenth of the Calends of April in the Gotique manner
Revived again by malignant persons:
The fire extinguished, diabolic assembly
Searching for the gold of ‘d’Amant and Pselyn’.
A discrepancy after comparing editions occurs in Line 4 revolving around ‘les or’ and ‘les os’, gold and bones.
Line 1, ‘Gotique’ is Gothic, an East Germanic language which is well-recorded but that died-out in the Sixth Century. Nostredame may have used ‘Gotique’, Goth-like, as a link to the countries that failed to comply withRomeabout the new Church calender. Protestant Germany did not fall-in-line with it until 1700. (Or ‘Gotique’ could have been a bluff for ‘Gnostique’.)
Line 4, OF ‘les or’ might appear ungrammatical to some but it appears clearly in two out of the three known editions of 1555 through 1557. OF also had the similar-seeming ‘lésure/leseure’ to mean damage or injury which would chime with ‘gens malins’ being people who would bring harm to others. (OF ‘lésure’ meant ‘lésion’ or ‘blessure’ and looks much like a head-to-tail combination of the two.) OF ‘les or’ also scans a little like OF ‘tresor’, treasure.
Line 4, OF ‘cherchant’ from ‘chercher’ had more meanings than mere searching or seeking and could be used for any attempt where the outcome was not surely known.
On this subject, ‘Histoire Romaine’ by Michelet, 1831, reads “César, dans son anti-Caton, prétendait malignement qu’ayant brûlé le corps de son frère, il avait passé les cendres au tamis pour en retirer l’or qui avait été fondu par le feu.”
In brief, Caesar wrote maliciously about burning his brother’s body and sieving the ashes for melted gold.
Line 4, OF ‘Amant’ meant one who loves. It had taken on the modern meaning of ‘a lover’ by the Seventeenth Century. Capitalized as ‘d’Amant’ it’s a family name, possibly derivative. (Probably a longer name, perhaps with a less convenient number of syllables.)
Charles A. Ward treated this quatrain in depth in his book ‘Oracles of Nostradamus’ under the section ‘Magic’, subsection ‘Corporeal Demons’. This establishes Pselyn as Psellus, an observer on Roman magical practices but not an exponent. Ward suggested that for ‘Damant et Pselin’ we should read “Démon ex Pselin, the demon as treated of by Psellus” and this has held firm for many subsequent interpretations.
Basically, Ward and his literary inspirers had thought that this quatrain speaks of a date in early A.D. being the last time that the Jesus Worship congregations accepted ritual oracles. This date is identified obliquely by Line 1, ‘The tenth of the Calends of April in the Gotique manner’. However, that ‘holy day’ was used (Nosradamus says ‘revived’) by some non-believers to mock the purist notion of Jesus’s christ-hood or simply to sustain the traditional debauchery of some of the Middle East’s pre-Jesus sects such as the Chaldeans and Babylonians. And prophetic acts derived from Roman Sun-worship had continued more privately, their particular ‘spirit of prophecy’ being exceptional in that it was not trapped in the clockwork solar system. As Ward says “qui solarem ordinem est sortitus”, loosely meaning ‘the which is outside the solar order’, much like the Catholic-Christian God is kept somewhat apart from his fated creation.
If Ward were correct, would Psellus as the ‘Selin’ of Nostradamus represent an age of spiritual chaos (misrule and malific magic) with ‘Chyren’ being the Roman Catholic religious orderliness and that authority which drove it underground?
A passage Ward quotes from Psellus details a mocking religious festivity held by the Euchetæ (who denied conscious prayer) and the Gnostics (declared as heretics, partly for claiming post-Ascension mystical contacts with Jesus which was no more than the author John had claimed in the Book of Revelation or Saul had described on the road to Damascus). This mockery presented one male as the Saviour and encouraged the females present into gratuitous sexual indulgences with him, including incestuously. But both the Euchetæ and Gnostics seem oddly out-of-place as party hosts here.
It is more likely that Nostradame foresaw the social unrest involved in the up-coming Gregorian Adjustment (the day 4th October 1582 was followed by the day 15th October) that took us from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar. As the peasantry saw it, this shortened their earnings for the month and even brought forward the appointed hour of their death. The Latin word ‘kalend’ means ‘I cry out!’ and ‘Kalendar’ means ‘a book of account’. The peasants cried out on their own account.
Ward – whose detailing of pagan prophetic practices chimes precisely with oracular acts to be found in Nostradamus – sees the day as being Easter of the First Century (if there was an Easter-like Holy Day tradition to mock during the very first A.D. years) and several interpreters have placed it as in the last week of March. The 10 dropped-out days of Pope Gregory would indeed bring us on, in just one year, from Julian 31st March 1582 to its anniversary around the Gregorian 10th April 1583.
Considering “The tenth of the Calends of April in the Gotique manner” places us at a ritual being held on 31st March Julian Calendar with ‘Gotique’ meaning the Julian method of dating (not necessarily a year in old Roman history).
It could even be a future date merely referenced here in the Julian manner, hence 10th April Gregorian.
As the first day of each Roman month was known as the Calends the ‘tenth of the Calends’ could even mean October, the month of the 1582 Adjustment. We seem to be caught up in a little long-distance jesting here.
However strange it may seem, Nostredame has foreseen the 10-day drop-out calendrically from 4th October 1582 onwards plus the especial slowness of the Germans to go along with it and Michel uses that to date a bizarre occurence when a body is burnt to extract its gold.
Exactly who or what is ‘d’Amant & Pselyn’? It is perhaps not as clear as some would say. Fire and gold and diamond and selenium have their alchemical uses and Athanor, the name for the alchemist’s furnace, can be found scrambled in the letters of ‘Cherchant les or du d’Amant’ in Line 4, perhaps tellingly.
Nigel Raymond Offord © 2012