I stumbled onto this word in commentaries in some of Onegin and Nabokov's works. I can't find any definition of it in any dictionary.

This "sustained" comparison between music and champagne, with its disparaging closule, does not really differ much from the "suspended" one between cham- pagne and "this and that,"

-- Onegin

And finally, the lovely closule:

Had it lived long it would have been
Lilies without, roses within

contains in our lady's French not only a solecism but also that kind of illegal run-on which a translator is guilty of, when passing a stop sign:

Il aurait été, s'il eut longtemps
Vécu, lys dehors, roses dedans.

-- Nabokov's Pale Fire.

Sources :

http://www.24grammata.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Nabokov-Pale-Fire-24grammata.com_.pdf Page 143


Page 298


2 Answers 2


The French term is clausule:

Definition taken from the CNTRL (French academy dictionaries online)

A.− MÉTR. Disposition des mots à la fin d'un membre de phrase ou d'une phrase, destinée à créer un certain rythme quantitatif, tonique ou accentuel.

The arrangement of words at the end of a phrase in a sentence or a sentence that is meant to create a certain quantitative, tonic [stress] or accented rhythm.enter link description here

Nabokov was not really a French speaker and his proofreaders may not have caught this mis-take. He is such a great writer and such a BS artist, as well. That's why he is an interesting writer. Very funny.


Oh, it's a Latin word "clausula", look here Wikipedia - Clausula.

I don't know why the spelling is "closule", at first I thought it should be a "close", however, in English it's spelled as "clause".


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