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

November 8

Madame Roland

By Anonymous

  • Madame Roland, wife of a famous adherent of the French Revolution, was guillotined on Nov. 8, 1793.

  • A MIEN of modest loveliness,

    A brow on which no shadow lies,

    And woman’s soul of truthfulness

    Out-looking from soft hazel eyes:

    Thy placid features only show

    The happy mother, faithful wife,

    Not her whose fate it was to know

    All strange vicissitudes of life.

    Unnoticed in thy youthful days

    It was thy happy lot to move,

    Brightening life’s unobtrusive ways

    With the sweet ministries of love.

    And learning the great truths of life

    That best are learned in solitude,

    But only in its after strife

    Are ever proved or understood!

    That toiling early, toiling late,

    For others, is our highest bliss—

    Man, even in his best estate,

    Hath no more happiness than this.

    Such truth it was, that even there,

    Where reigned the prison’s gloom and chill,

    Could keep thee wholly from despair,

    And make thee toil for others still.

    Till thine own sorrows half forgot,

    Thy noblest sacrifice was shown

    In words and deeds for those whose lot

    Was far more wretched than thine own.

    Yet well for thee our tears may flow,

    Though high thy name emblazoned stands,

    Thou, with a woman’s heart, could’st know

    No life that woman’s heart demands.

    Happier than thou, with fame and wealth,

    Is she who cheers earth’s humblest place;

    Leaving no picture of herself,

    Save in a daughter’s modest face.