Home  »  Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men  »  Marie Antoinette

S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Marie Antoinette

  • [Daughter of the Emperor Francis I. and Maria Theresa; born in Vienna, 1755; married the Dauphin of France afterwards Louis XVI., 1770; volatile and fond of pleasure at the beginning of his reign, she displayed the greatest courage and dignity during the Revolution, until her execution, October, 1793.]
  • ’Tis the first beat of the drum, of ill omen for France: this noblesse will ruin us.

  • To Mme. Campan, “raising her eyes to heaven,” when Louis XVI. summoned the States-General, Aug. 8, 1788, to meet in the following May.
  • That the queen felt no resentment towards the leaders of the revolution, certainly before the massacre of September, is shown by her reply to the judges of the Châtelet, who interrogated her concerning the outrages committed in her presence during the removal of the royal family by the mob from Versailles to Paris in 1790, such as holding up to the carriages the heads of generals slain in their service, etc. “I saw every thing, and have forgotten every thing” (J’ai tout vu, et tout oublié), was her reply. But to her brother, the Emperor Joseph II., she wrote in 1791, amid even darker scenes: “Is it fated that I, with the blood I am come of, with the sentiments I have, must live and die among such mortals?”
  • Her cry, “I appeal to all mothers!” when accused of unnatural crimes by her judges, was the indignant voice of nature at one of those calumnies “against which,” said Napoleon, “even innocence loses courage.”
  • When compelled by the galleries, which were filled with the frightful tricoteuses of the Revolution, to rise and stand during her trial in October, 1793, she exclaimed, “Will not the people soon be tired of my sufferings?” There was, however, no weakness in her nature, and it was unnecessary for the priest to tell her to arm herself with courage on the scaffold: “Courage!” she replied, “I have been so long apprenticed to it, that there is little probability of its failing me at this moment.” Her last words were, “Adieu, my children: I am going to join your father” (Je vais rejoindre votre père).