vendredi, juillet 18, 2008

Thought of an Irishman on the Queen Marie-Antoinette

"It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she had just begun to move in, glittering like the morning star full of life and splendor and joy. 0h, what a revolution! and what a heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream, when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her, in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honor, and of cavaliers! I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards, to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult.




"But the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded, and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom! The unbought grace of life, the cheap defense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone. It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honor, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness."


Edmund Burke, 1793
But I think Edmund Burke is wrong. It is not gone....not entirely. It still remains, certainly in a few, but it is still there. Therefore, there is still hope, with the grace of God!

2 commentaires:

Benedicta a dit…

What a beautiful passage! I am just coming around to the idea that democracy is not "it", that what was taught to us in public school about the monarchy (French monarchy in particular) might not have been the truth... I look forward to other excerpts of this kind to try to educate myself.

Benedicta a dit…

Voici ce qu'a publie le Telegraph (journal anglais) a propos du 14 juillet.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/gerald_warner/blog/2008/07/14/bastille_day_celebrates_murderous_origins_of_french_republic

Surprenant que cet article ait pu etre publie!