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James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

September 3

Execution of the Princess de Lamballe

By William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863)

  • From “The Chronicle of the Drum”
  • A loyal friend of Marie Antoinette. She refused to take the oath against the monarchy and was torn to pieces as she left the court house after her trial on Sept. 3, 1792.

  • “THE GLORIOUS days of September

    Saw many aristocrats fall;

    ’Twas then that our pikes drank the blood

    In the beautiful breast of Lamballe.

    Pardi, ’twas a beautiful lady!

    I seldom have look’d on her like;

    And I drumm’d for a gallant procession,

    That marched with her head on a pike.

    “Let’s show the pale head to the Queen,

    We said—she’ll remember it well.

    She looked from the bars of her prison,

    And shriek’d as she saw it, and fell.

    We set up a shout at her screaming,

    We laugh’d at the fright she had shown

    At the sight of the head of her minion—

    How she’d tremble to part with her own?”