The most basic problem with a lot of commentators is they do not realise they are reading riddles to start with, and boldly advance theories, and then try to cobble Nostradamus' work with a Biblical perspective.
They Never get to advance because they do not understand what they are reading.
If the syllables are counted and the caesura is located, the text becomes The cardinal of the line above, disguised as a monk, fled and was killed. In each of Nostradamus's quatrains the first and third lines rhyme exactly, as do the second and fourth. There are very few exceptions to this rule. The rhymes themselves fit the criteria set by the manuals of his day, as, for example, the Art Poetique Francoys of Thomas Sebillet (1543). There was the 'equivoque,' where the last two or more syllables of two lines were identical in sound and orthography, but different in meaning. This was considered by Nostradamus's contemporaries to be the most elegant of rhymes, and Nostradamus used it on many occasions. The ladder of rhyme types next descends to 'ryme riche,' where the last two or more syllables were identical in sound, but different in word juncture and/or spelling. The sequence continued down to the lowest figure, a semi rhyme, where only the last vowel sounds rhymed. Nostradamus did not use this semi rhyme. 'Vers commun' permitted, in addition to the ten basic syllables, extra, unaccented ('feminine') syllables after the fourth and tenth syllables. Other poets worked carefully with these extra syllables, pairing them in the middle of the line, but Nostradamus usually did not concern himself with this. Similarly, while Nostradamus occasionally indulged in alliteration and assonance, he did not concern himself with matching sound with idea. Nostradamus's poetry is very correct in a mechanical sense, and where the caesura seems to be in the wrong place, where a different number of syllables than ten (plus feminines, if present) emerges, where the rhymes are not perfect, the reader can expect problems in meaning. While Nostradamus used the poetic forms and techniques of his century, he shows little connection with his contemporaries in other matters. His poetry is very much his own, and one cannot say though I must confess that I am not an expert on 16th century French verse that here is an echo from so-and-so, a reply to so-and-so, an advance on so-and-so. While it is probable that he read the poetry of his contemporaries, there is no evidence for it. His muse was a jealous muse. It is quite possible that the largest impetus to poesy in Nostradamus's case came not from fine art verse of his day, but from the applied work in almanacs. It is an easy step from the paragraphs of the almanacs, as we know them from surviving specimens, to many of his quatrains. One such group includes the town-hail-and death quatrains, which usually consist of a list of places, horrors, and often-meteorological comment. In these instances the meteorology does not seem to be a symbolic statement for human interrelations, but weather predictions A la Old Fanner's Almanac, for their own sake. A typical example might list cloud formations or auroral displays, various types of bloodshed, and finish with a comment about heavy fog in the Juras. While it is always dangerous to generalize about Nostradamus's work, since his chief role is that of trickster, these verses usually have no central theme, and the reader is likely to waste his time looking for one. It is a fair guess that they were either almanac items that Nostradamus transferred to verse, or verse in imitation of almanac items. As a grouping they were probably quite useful, since they publicized specific towns (and might be purchased out of curiosity), and were probably very easy for Nostradamus to write, as he sat with his map of France before him. While such verses are atomic, there are many other verses that contain only two or three seemingly unrelated topics. Here, however, the reader must keep caution, for over and over I have had the experience of suddenly recognizing the larger unifying subject that Nostradamus carefully concealed under the guise of separatism. Yet, even so, there are verses that seem to be completely non-unitary. What this situation means is impossible to say. Some verses may have been built upon linkages in Nostradamus's mind that we can never experience; others may be deliberately pluralistic as mystifications; while still others may be simply verses of expedience, hastily tossed together out of notebook scraps to fill a page.
hose quatrains of Nostradamus's which are based on a single subject are usually the most interesting, not only for their technique but for their content. Sometimes they have to do with events in the immediate past; sometimes they are fantasies of history; and sometimes they shade into personal verse. .Such unitary quatrains are often broken into two parts, in which the first two lines may state a generality, while the last two strike a specific application. Or, very frequently the two parts march in parallel: the first two lines describe an omen, or a mythical event, while the last two show its :unrolling into life. In his introductions Nostradamus claimed that the. quatrains were first written and arranged in a pattern indicating historical evolution, then scrambled to make them unintelligible to the uninitiate. No pattern, however, is discernible, and his claim is not to be taken seriously. in some instances, indeed, quatrains have obviously been written in sequence, as can be determined by community of thought and echoes of language.
As a thoroughly trained Latinist Nostradamus was conversant with all the techniques that the ancients and his Latinate contemporaries used to confuse the unintricate in mind, and he used them with gusto. Metonymy, synecdoche, antonomasia are to be met with on every page. Personifications are rife, as is a whole host of Classical names obtained by ransacking Pliny and the early astrologers and geographers. Latin turns of phrase are common-in his work, and much of his vocabulary is Latinate, with nonce words that have been taken directly from Classical or Late Latin and adapted with French terminations. But in all this Latinism, Nostradamus, of course, was not unique; he was working in the manner of many of his contemporaries throughout Europe.
Nostradamus's rhetoric also includes frozen poetic forms (such as 'fer,' literally 'iron,' but by extension, ' sword,' or even 'slaughter'), technical terms from medicine and law, and occasionally words that must have been archaic when he wrote.
His metaphors of weather and war offer a peculiar problem to the modern reader, who is not likely to be automatically aware of the Renaissance-Baroque imagery of condemnation. When Nostradamus speaks of lightnings from the sky, thunderbolts, earthquakes, showers of javelins, he may, indeed, have had a literal meaning in mind; but he may equally have been using the platitudes of controversy. Quarrels and denunciations were often formally couched in such terms. Papal bulls spoke in this fashion, and even personal letters could take such paths. Calvin, for example, could refer to 'foudres' (thunderbolts), meaning a statement of disagreement from a friend. It may be so with Nostradamus.