King of Lerne. A Greek compound, meaning “bitterbile,” or choleric.
The rustics of Utopia one day asked the cake-bakers of Lerne to sell
them some cakes, but received only abuse; whereupon a quarrel ensued.
When Picrochole was informed thereof, he marched with all his men
against Utopia. King Grangousier tried to appease the choleric king,
but all his efforts were in vain. At length Gargantua arrived, defeated
Picrochole, and put his army to the rout. (
In 1870 the French emperor (Napoleon III.) was induced to declare was against Germany. He was to make a demonstration and march in triumph to Berlin. Having taken Berlin, he was to march to Italy to restore the Pope to his dominions, and then to restore the Queen of Spain to her throne; but he failed in the first, lost his throne, and Paris fell into the hands of the allied Prussian army.
His uncle's “Berlin Decree,” for the subjection of Great Britain, was a similar miscalculation. This decree ordained that no European state was to deal with England; and, the trade of England being thus ruined, the kingdom must perforce submit to Napoleon. But as England was the best customer of the European states, the states of Europe were so impoverished that they revolted against the dictator, and the battle of Waterloo was his utter downfall.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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