In eundem (c.1585)

This poem and the three following (d1_HalJ_004 to d1_HalJ_006) refer to Henri's short-lived election as king of Poland on 16 May 1573, an office he quickly renounced on his accession to the French throne in the following year. Henri's official motto, 'Manet ultima caelo' ('The last [crown] remains in heaven'), reflected his desire for the third and final crown he would receive after death. One of Henri's cultural projects, the restoration of the clock tower known as the Tour de L'Horloge in Paris (originally built around 1350), was completed in November 1585. The tower featured a play on this motto, added by the lead sculptor Germain Pilon: 'Qui dedit ante duas, triplicem dabit ille Coronom [sic]' (He who gave two crowns before will give a third'). A satirical corruption of this motto was quickly disseminated by members of the Catholic League who, as the chronicler Pierre de l'Estoile (1546-1611) noted, suggested that the third should be quickly procured for Henri by having his barber slit his throat: 'Qui dedit ante duas, unam abstulit, altera nutat,/ Tertia tonsoris est facienda manu' ('He who gave you the first two crowns has taken one away, the second is tottering; the third will be given to you by the hand of the barber') (Philip John Usher, Epic Arts in Renaissance France (Oxford, 2013), p. 180). Halkerston's poem is thus a variation on this battle of wits between Henri's supporters and detractors, and it is possible that he may have penned the initial epigram. Metre: elegiac couplets.

Link to an image of this page  [p377]

In eundem

Qui dedit una duas unam abstulit, altera nutat,
tertia tonsoris mox resecanda manu.

Link to an image of this page  [p377]

Against the same man

He who gave two crowns to one man took away one, the other totters, the third should soon be cut off by the barber's hand.