Monday, September 8, 2014

'Marie Antoinette' by Paul Romilly

image: a vintage illustration of Marie Antoinette and a lady walking at Versailles
credit: my collection

Marie Antoinette by Paul Romilly, translated from French:
She passes, in the flower gardens of Trianon
In her negligee of old light fabric:
was there ever freshness, grace equal to hers?
The goddess shows even in linen.

But time has a marching pace without a name:
Dishonored queen, treated as a bitch.
And filthy pamphlets rain down on 'The Austrian.'
She is "Lady Veto," when it is the king who says "no."

The senselessness of the crime astonishes history
And no expiatory offering can erase it.
The love of a whole people, the hate of a whole nation.

The poor woman in mourning, pale under her cap.
To see that specter on the scaffold, who would believe
the widow Capet was Marie Antoinette?

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