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★ Les grands delv//ges merveillevx// et terrible, adve//nus nus au bours de Boullebec, qui es// entre Codebec & Montiuilliers,// pres la ville de Rouen païs de Nor// mandie: Sur les terres de Mons//seurl eDuc [sic] Dalbœuf.// Enſemble le nombre des hommes &// femmes & enfans: & le nombre// des maiſons qui ont eſé brullee// durant ledict deluge. A Paris// Syuant la copie de la lettre Miſue enuoyee de// Boullebec: Imprimé pas Iaques Blochet & Fran//çois Rouſet. demeurant à la ruë de la Harpe, deuant la porte des Cordeliers. // 1583.

In 8° (15.8 cm), A-B4, pp. 13 [1], cc. [1]. 4 incisioni al recto dell’ultima carta: in una figura un uomo avvolto dalle fiamme con la scritta ignis fatuus; nell’altra un drago sputafuoco con la scritta brace. Il verso dell’ultima carta è bianco, così come la pagina 2. Piccolo fregio al titolo e grande fregio a pagina [14].

Commento di Bill Cotter, antiquario di Austin, Texas: Strange canard, or popular news report, of the burning of Bolbec, a Norman town west-northwest of Rouen, on the the 30th of May, 1583. The event, which was the first of four major fires to afflict Bolbec over two centuries, is a mere footnote in most histories, with no explanation of the cause, only a brief accounting of the effects. The anonymous narrator of the present pamphlet, who is evidently summarizing and transcribing the contents of a letter sent to Paris by an eyewitness to the Bolbec disaster, first frames the narrative as divine retribution for sins committed, then goes on to warn the reader that the events there will "make one's hair stand on end." Indeed, around noon on the day after Pentecost, 1583, a mild and calm Monday, fire began to suddenly rain down from the heavens, igniting the town. By next day, more than three hundred men, women, and children had been burned to death, many more injured, and seven hundred buildings destroyed, including the belltower of the church. The narrator vividly recounts a particular tavern called the Pierre Tironnet, where locals would go to drink and play cards, which was burnt with such speed the victims died where they sat, some still holding glasses in their hands. Dazed survivors, including children, were found in the following days hiding underground and in caves. The narrator mentions at the end of the account that shepherds near Les Vaux, a few miles north of Bolbec, saw a fireball "the size of a house" fall from from the eastern sky, toward the town, accompanied by a massive thunderclap. This particular passage suggests Bolbec could have been the site of a meteor airburst, a significant event, but one thus far unnoted in the literature of such occurences. Militating against this theory is the passage in the text stating that the fireball was visible for a full hour; the longest any known superbolide has been visible after entering the atmosphere is about 100 seconds (the Chelyabinsk event in 2013), and most are just a few seconds in duration. As such, the fireball trope may be simply a narrative method of glorifying the Catholic Church, and the real cause of the fire may have been just prodigiously energetic lightning. In any event, following the conflagration, the town of Bolbec was granted a re- prieve of its tax burdens for five years by Charles I, Duc d'Elbeuf. On the last page of the pamphlet is a peculiar woodcut of a demon in flames, subscripted "Ignis fatuus" -a term for combustible swamp gas - and a firebreathing dragon, superscripted "Drace." The woodcut had been in use in at least one other known canard, an account of an eathquake published in 1580 by Jean Coquerel. [vedi la scheda n. 2201 bis].

Alle parole di Bill Cotter aggiungo che questa plaquette, probabile canard, può trovare descrizione in questa bibliografia proprio perché vi è descritto un fenomeno celeste che evoca, sia pure da lontano, la disciplina astrologica: Que le dict lieu de Boullebec, qui contient enuiront six ou sept cents feux, ont esté brusles & arz par feus & flames ardantes tombees du Ciel: mesmement auroit aussi esté bruslé dudict feu, bachots ou petits bateaux & linges estans lors sur l’eau, & ledict feu nonobstant que les linges ou draps fussent mouilleés que le feu n’ayent tout bruslé & rauy. Et vn merueilleux & espouuantable desastre qui est auenu sur la grand Esglise de monsieur Sainct Laurens […].

Esemplari: Russian State Library.