Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 7/Delaroche's picture of Marie Antoinette

Once a Week, Series 1, Volume VII  (1862) 
Delaroche’s picture of Marie Antoinette
by Susan Katherine Phillips


Fair and fearless, sad and stately, discrowned Queen, so queenly yet,
Awing half the bloody rabble for their fiercest triumph met.
Royal arms down drooping quiet on the dingy prison dress,—
Royal forehead showing steadfast ’neath the sorrow-silvered tress.
Wolfish eyes are glaring round her, hatred hisses insult coarse:
She will neither faint nor falter, yielding to the torrent’s force.
Austria’s daughter, France’s lady, pleads not to that common throng:
She will trust to Time and Heaven to avenge her bitter wrong.
On the cheek no flush of terror—on the lip no sobbing breath,
In her calm contemptuous patience, pacing queenly to her death.
Something in her eye has power, even that tossing sea to stem;
None of all those clenching fingers dare to touch her garment’s hem.
Oh! the mighty spell of genius! after all these troubled years,
At the touch of the enchanter the old drama claims our tears,
And the fair proud face shines purely, through a century’s reproach,
Telling truth for future ages by the hand of Delaroche.

Susan K. Phillips.