Could someone explain these two quotes by Alessandro Manzoni?
April 28, 2014 3:51 PM   Subscribe

Could someone explain these three quotes by Alessandro Manzoni from "The Fifth of May"? Any illumination would help, but only if taken into consideration with the rest of the context of the poem.

"True glory? Let the future/ its hard pronouncement give:/ we bow to his Creator,/ Who did more deeply leave/ in one man's life and death/ the imprint His breath."

"all he experienced-after/ the peril glory's height,/ retreat and then new triumph,/ the throne, the exile's plight:/ twice trodden in the mud/ and twice adored as God."

"You, all malicious murmur/ ban from his poor remains:/ that God Who strikes and comforts,/ Who weakens and sustains,/ near the forsaken pall/ came down to rest and call."
posted by isopropyl to Writing & Language (5 answers total)
Response by poster: My apologies, THREE quotes... that's poor editing on my behalf.
posted by isopropyl at 3:52 PM on April 28, 2014

This is flippant but basically accurate, I think?

1. Can't really say much about heaven right now, but nice work God in showing us His awesomeness via Jesus
2. Jesus had a complicated life of ups and downs
3. Please do not say bad things about Jesus - God is a little inexplicable in the way he is kind or mean, but he definitely had Jesus on speed-dial.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:06 PM on April 28, 2014

Response by poster: From my understanding, I thought he referenced Napoleon not Jesus...

but then again I'm the one here asking for HELP
posted by isopropyl at 4:13 PM on April 28, 2014

Best answer: As far as I remember from studying this poem in school (disclaimer -- it was more than a decade ago):

1. Manzoni does not, in the poem, set out to answer the question of whether Napoleon's was true glory, but it is undeniable he was a great man. (For relevancy, earlier the poem mentions that Manzoni remained silent on Napoleon both when he was triumphant and when he was defeated; only now that he is dead he feels spurred to talk about him.)

2. Napoleon's life was tempestuous, full of ups and downs; "twice in the dust, twice adored" = first he was emperor, then he was defeated at Leipzig and exiled to Elba, then there was the "hundred days" resurgence, then he was defeated at Waterloo and exiled to Saint Helena.

3. Manzoni tells faith to banish all ill-spoken words about Napoleon; God was with him when he died, even though he'd been forsaken by everybody else.

Not sure if that helps any?
posted by sailoreagle at 5:02 PM on April 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Vast apologies, I jumped to those conclusions without reading the poem - though it's maybe significant that the parallels work!

posted by Sebmojo at 9:21 PM on April 28, 2014

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