Armand Carrell

Last of the Queens and Kings | Armand Carrell

This poem titled ‘The Last of the Queens and the Kings’ was originally written in the 1830s French by Armand Carrell and later translated into English and published in Red Republican.[1] It has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo specially for this Reynolds’s News and Miscellany.

Armand Carrell (1800–36) was a French journalist who, as will be apparent from the poem below, was a wholehearted supporter of the principles of the French Revolution and the later 1830 revolutions. An outspoken and highly opinionated man, he could often rub people up the wrong way—indeed, his death at age 36 was the result of a duel fought a rival newspaper editor named Emile de Girdarin. Carrell’s collected works were later published in French in 1858 and there are two streets named after him in Paris.

Armand Carrell in a portrait that is now housed in La Musée de la vie romantique

Like one in torture, the weary world turneth

To clasp Freedom’s robe round her slavery’s starkness,

With shame and with shudder, poor Mother! She yearneth

O’er Hell’s red wrong done, in her dearth, and her darkness!

She gathers her strength up to crush the abhorred,

Who murder her poor heart, and drain her life’s springs;–

And are crown’d to hide the Cain-brand on the forehead:

She willeth them last of the Queens and the Kings!

And oh, by the lovers and friends we have cherished,

Who made our cause soar up like flame at their breath;

Who struggled like gods met in fight, and have perished

In Poverty’s battle with grim, daily death!

Oh! by all dear ones that bitterly plead for us,

Life’s-flowers, tied up in the heart’s breaking strings!

Sisters that weep for us! Mothers that bleed for us!

Let these be the last of the Queens and the Kings!

Sun and rain kindle greenly the grave of the Martyr,

Ye might not tell where the brave blood ran like rain;

But the footprints all red, upon Liberty’s Charter,

Still burn in our souls with indelible stain:

Think of the dark, bloody hurtling they’ve wrought us!

Then smite till each Despot’s helm flashes and rings.

Death for death! Life for life! is the lesson they’ve taught us!

And these be the last of the Queens and the Kings!

Ho! weary night-watch! Is there light on the summit;—

Yearner, up thro’ the night! say, is there hope?

For, deeper in darkness than fathom of plummet,

Our bark plunges mad in the storm, with blind grope.

“To God’s unforgiven, to caitiff and craven–”

“To crown and to sceptre a cleaving curse clings!”

“Ye must fling them from deck, would ye steer into haven—”

For Death tracks the last of the Queens and the Kings!

The swift sword of the People smites sharper than steel,

And the Lord fights for all who are girt with its sweep;

Wounds deeper than dagger the tyrants shall feel

Other guerdon than blood, the rich harvest we’ll reap!

Tremble,—Mammonites,—Hypocrites—see there! up heaven—

Our coming day rolls, and its dawn splendour flings—

And the avalanche loosens, half-launched and half riven,

That shall swoop down the last of the Queens and the Kings!

[1] Armand Carrell, ‘The Last of the Queens and the Kings’, Red Republican, 28 September 1850, 120.