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Orus Apollo - Cumulative translation of main text (Book 1) - 2
Translation copyright (c) Peter Lemesurier 1999 -- Peter Lemesurier

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How they denoted a wedding

When they a wedding wanted to portray,
When it might finish and when it might start,
And how reflect man's basic nature, they
Would have well painted in the finest art
And pictured there two crows or rooks (whatever) -
For nature androgyne, which once was split,
To represent the joining back together
Of Mars and Venus, as above was writ.

[for 'androgyn', compare II.45]

How they painted Vulcan

To give us Vulcan clear to understand
A scarab and a vulture they drew in
To stand for great for Minerva hidden, and
Of love the only source and origin.
By her the world's sustained through thick and thin
Without the need for males of any kind.
So we the vulture for Minerva find,
Since both these gods are, as tradition writes,
Quite different from all others of their kind,
In that they both are true hermaphrodites.

How they signified an only son

Now when they wished to show an only son,
Or father, age or generatiòn
Or human man in special form have done,
They caused to paint in great perfectiòn
A scarab by their great inventiòn.
The only son because it is begot
Without the female, such as is its lot:
When it doth please the male to make his young,
He finds the dung of ox, which when he's got
He makes into a ball of rolling dung.

How the scarab makes his ball

Then like the sky he makes it curved and round
Himself supporting by each hinder limb,
Eastwards before him rolls it o'er the ground
Using the light of dawn to vector him,
Until quite whole it is about the rim
And of the earth the roundness doth attain.
For from the east the sun the west doth gain
Then doth return to gain the east again.
The stars quite differently do move and climb,
From west to east returning over time.

[I have retranslated the last two lines rather generously, as well as
changing the rhyme-scheme slightly: Nostradamus fails to point out
that he is (apparently) talking about the way the stars appear to move
from night to night, not the way they move during any one night!]

What the scarab does with his ball

Then doth the scarab afterwards his ball
Bury for eight and twenty days in all.
No longer does he shape and mould it round
But wraps it round beside the dungy mound
And for as many days as moon aloft
Circles the thing about, and just as oft.
And during this the useless beast succeeds,
For of his kind yet other ones he breeds.
His ball he opens, throws it in the water,
Thinking that this to great conjunction leads
Between the moon and sun, or that it oughta...

[Apologies for this outrageous rhyme - as well as for my reversion to
rhyming couplets: Nostradamus in fact continues with his much more
complex and respectable rhyme-scheme. Still, you get the picture.]

Why the scarab signified procreation, father and mother

Of the round world, and of its procreation:
When that the ball is opened in the river
Of many scarabs it makes generation
And that is why the father, who's the giver,
Becomes the cause why it is opened there.
For the young scarab oweth all its birth
To him, the father, very like the earth
Another earth begets, of earthly shape,
Much like a man who knows not carnally
A woman, as his nature chance to be.

[It gets worse! I shall now skip a few verses, to conclude with a
couple of scattered ones that seem to be of direct relevance to terms
in the Propheties...]

Of Heliopolis and the second species [of scarab]

Within the City of the Sun* an image sits
Showing the god as cat with thirty toes -
A work that of the scarab, as befits,
How each month has full thirty days clear shows
As the the great sun, as everybody knows,
Its course about its circling track doth ply.
The second has two horns above its eye
As 'twere a bull devoted to the moon
Because the bull ascendant in the sky
Did Egypt crown with lunar disc right soon.

[* Compare I.8: could Nostradamus, then, really have meant Heliopolis
by his 'cité solaire' in this verse? Personally, I still suspect that
he meant Lyon, with the name's obvious solar symbolism.]

And finally, his own last verse:

How they referred to the gods of the underworld, which they
called 'manes D.M.'*

When that they wished their mighty gods infernal
To signify, a face they used to paint
Sans eyes or form, and over it external,
Two eyes spaced equally, as books acquaint.
By the two eyes they showed with wisdom quaint
How that the document the gods did mean,
And by the eyeless face a passage gain'd,
As there engraved on testaments is seen.

[Compare VIII.66. All the Roman gravestones excavated from around the
city of Glanum, just to the south of Nostradamus's birthplace of
St-Remy, bore (among other things) the inscription 'D.M.' - as did his
own tombstone. The former can still be seen in the local Musée des
Alpilles (Place Favier) to this day. It apparently stood in Latin for
'Ditis manibus', or 'In the hands of Pluto (ruler of the underworld)'
- though in the later, Christian context 'D. (O.) M.' stands for 'Dei
(Omnipotentis) Manibus', or 'In the hands of (almighty) God'. VIII.66
thus apparently refers to the discovery of an ancient tomb.]



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