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Emperor for three years: the doomed reign of Maximilian I of Mexico (spectator.co.uk)
43 points by pepys 8 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 8 comments

Apropos of nothing, I name all of my plants at home... my personal plants are all named after Hellenistic historical figures (Democritus, Herodotus, etc),

but when my girlfriend decided to grow an avocado tree, I named him Maximilian I....

Do you talk or whisper to them or is it to introduce them to friends or to other plants?

I do not currently (yet?) talk to my plants; we use them as names to refer to the plant and to prescribe them personalities.

I've toured Chapultepec Castle a couple times, and once a tour guide portrayed the story of Maximilian refusing his escape like this: that he did not wish to risk getting caught without his beard, as that would be dishonorable (I suppose the modern take is it would be super embarrassing).

There is a myth that Maximilian got to scape and lived in El Salvador till his death.


The Empress's standard epithet was "Mad Queen Carlota" but I could never figure out why.

Nocturnal gardens under slowly ripening mangoes. Maximilian dances what one day will be a tango. His shadow twirls the way a boomerang does and the temperature's an armpit 98. The iridescent flicker of a silver waistcoat; and a mulatto girl melts lovingly like chocolate while in a masculine embrace she purrs insensate, here—soft as wool, there—smooth as plate.

Nocturnal silence underneath the virgin forest. Juarez, now the spearhead of, say, progress, to his peons who never saw two pesos distributes rifles in the dark of night. Bolts start their clicking, while Juarez on squared paper puts little crosses, ticking off each happy taker. A gaudy parrot, one who never makes mistakes or lies, sits on a bough and notes their plight:

Scorn for one's neighbor among those who sniff the roses may be, not better, but more straight than civic poses. But either thing gives quite a rise to blood and bruises. Worse in the tropics, here, where death, alas, spreads rather quickly in the way flies spread infection, or as a bon mot in a cafe draws attention, where three-eyed skulls among the thickets rate no mention; in every socket—a clump of grass.

Joseph Brodsky in translation, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pE3wptN-MFA

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