Sunday, 5 May 2013

A Cruel Verse

Some of the verses that circulated Paris throughout the l'ancien régieme seems harsh and very insulting to us but at the time were not meant as an insult but rather a joke. However, other verses aimed at insulting the main "character" as much as possible - and no subject was too personal to be dealt with. This verse was known to all at court:
"By your manners noble and frank,
Iris, you enchant our hearts;
On our path you spread flowers,
But they are only flowers of white"

The verse was about Madame de Pompadour who had recently suffered a miscarriage. Most courtiers knew that the Marquise suffered from a gynaecological illness that was known as "leucorrhea" which was a white discharge from her "lower regions" - it is possible that the disease was an unfortunate side-effect of the birth of her daughter. Because of the colour of the vaginal discharge it was often referred to as "white flowers". It was rumoured that the verse was authored by Maurepas - a long-time enemy of the maîtresse-en-titre.   

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