F**k Grammar, I’m the King!

Thomas Carlyle, History of Friedrich II of Prussia:

“He is now (A.D. 1414) holding this Council of Constance, by way of healing the Church, which is sick of Three simultaneous Popes and of much else. He finds the problem difficult; finds he will have to run into Spain, to persuade a refractory Pope there, if eloquence can (as it cannot): all which requires money, money. At opening of the Council, he “officiated as deacon;” actually did some kind of litanying ‘with a surplice over him,’ [25th December, 1414 (Kohler, p. 340).] though Kaiser and King of the Romans. But this passage of his opening speech is what I recollect best of him there: “Right Reverend Fathers, date operam ut illa nefanda schisma eradicetur,” exclaims Sigismund, intent on having the Bohemian Schism well dealt with,—which he reckons to be of the feminine gender. To which a Cardinal mildly remarking, “Domine, schisma est generis neutrius (Schisma is neuter, your Majesty),”—Sigismund loftily replies, “Ego sum Rex Romanus et super grammaticam (I am King of the Romans, and above Grammar)!” [Wolfgang Mentzel, Geschichte der Deutschen, i. 477.] For which reason I call him in my Note-books Sigismund SUPER GRAMMATICAM, to distinguish him in the imbroglio of Kaisers.”

Pisanello 024b.jpg

Leave a Reply