Tips for Use. Sometimes circumstances come to our aid without any intervention (as in this case with Hamlet). Sometimes, notwithstanding all efforts the outcome is not what we wanted. This is obvious as the truth of Mr. Lapalisse. In these instances poetry cannot change the course of things but, not unlike music, it coats reality and our perceptions with a warming and soothing virtual mantle.
Good lines usable in a presentation when tied to the subject of inevitability,… or in a job interview if you are questioned about something in your past on which you had no control.
For the unawares, what is the “truth of Mr. Lapalisse”? The term “lapalissian” in its various language endings is more diffused in Europe than in America.
Jacques II de Chabanne, lord of La Palice, was a marshal in the service of King Francis I of France. He fought for the king in the battle of Pavia in 1525 against the forces of the Emperor Charles V. La Palice or Lapalisse fought valiantly but was killed. His soldiers thought of commemorating his valor with a poem that went like this in French
“Hélas, La Palice est mort,
Est mort devant Pavie ;
Hélas, s’il n’était pas mort,
Il ferait encore envie”
“Alas, La Palice is dead,
Dead in front of Pavia;
Alas, if he had not died,
He would still be alive”
The poetical soldiers could not imagine that, via the means of a simple ditty, their leader would become a notable historical figure by being (indirectly) quoted to signify truisms and extreme obviousness.
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In the play. By indiscreetly opening an envelope Hamlet discovered the king’s plot to have Hamlet assassinated, after having sent him to England for a mission. Therefore Hamlet could foil the plot thanks also to the “divinity” that, in the instance, shaped the event.