Marie Antoinette

They told to Marie Antoinette:
"The beggers at your gate
Have eyes too sad for tears to wet,
And for your pity wait."
But Marie only laughed and said:
"My heart they will not ache:
If people starve for want of bread
Let them eat cake."

The Court re-echoed her bon mot;
It rang around the land,
Till masses wakened from their woe
With scyth and pick in hand.
It took a careless, callous phrase
To rouse the folk forlorn:
A million roared the Marseillaise:
Freedom was born.

And so to Marie Antoinette
Let's pay a tribute due;
Humanity owes her a debt,
(Ironical, it's true).
She sparked world revolution red,
And as with glee they bore
Upon a pike her lovely head
--Her curls dripped gore.

by Robert William Service

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