debout sur son ventre

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Novanas, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. Novanas Senior Member

    English AE/Ireland
    Dear Friends, here are a few lines from Rimbaud's poem, "Le Forgeron":

    Or le bon Roi, debout sur son ventre, était pâle,
    Pâle comme un vaincu qu'on prend pour le gibet,
    Et, soumis comme un chien, jamais ne regimbait. . .

    Can anyone tell me what "debout sur son ventre" means? One on-line translation gives "belly upright", which is pretty meaningless as far as I can see. Perhaps it means that the King (Louis XVI) has a protruding belly. But maybe it doesn't.

    Many thanks for whatever help you can give.
  2. J.F. de TROYES Senior Member

    You've got it. Rimbaud makes a caricature of the king who looks so paunchy that his legs disappear under his belly and seems to walk on it.
  3. Novanas Senior Member

    English AE/Ireland
    OK. Thank you very much for that reply.

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