Sweephouse - Literary Contexts - Contexts - The Fall of Robespierre

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

"A Soliloquy Of the famous or infamous Roberspierre, The Present Chief Ruler of France, Overheard by Deborah Sweephouse," The Reading Mercury and Oxford Gazette (10 March 1794)

"Power usurp'd like stol'n delight,
"Is more bewitching than the right:"
To gain this pow'r is my grand aim,
My brother Danton's is the same;
But to accomplish this great job,
We must impose upon the mob —
By craft get such prevailing name,
As may the rabble please or tame.
Then all such men as wish a King,
Or dare to whisper such a thing,
I'll punish with the guillotine —
Their heads shall never more be seen.
   Next, Religion I'll abolish,
And the churches all demolish,
Melt down gold and silver flaggons —
Pay the mob — they'll fight like dragons.
   If any bellow for the Church,
Or think their souls left in the lurch,
I'll prove that men have no more souls,
Than dogs, or cats, or very owls; —
That Religion is a trick,
Of which all wise-men are quite sick;
And those vile creatures called Priests,
The most detestable of beasts.
   One thing there is that grieves me sore —
I never yet was puzzled more:
This is a scarcity of corn —
The like not known since I was born.
It is hard to keep mob quiet,
Without any sort of diet.
I much dread to hear them grumble,
Lest they give me horrid tumble.
But I'll a remedy devise,
That will all Europe much surprise.
They shall see the mob — as cattle,
Drove, or led to go to battle.
I'll tell them those who boldly fight,
May fill their bellies day and night;
Choose as they please, or cock, or hen,
Or flesh of Kings, and Noble-men,
Or what's better in some cases,
Tender flesh of am'rous lasses;
That when they sup, and when they dine,
They may get drunk with best of wine —
Or with what they'll find more handy,
A good bellyful of brandy.
This is the liquor I advise
'Twill make them fight, and death despise.
When death's despis'd and thousands slain,
Then where's the scarcity of grain?
Whoever heard men, when they're dead,
Grumble — roar out — or cry for bread?
Those that remain of these my tools,
Shall find themselves a pack of fools.
As soon as they have done my work,
I'll Lord it o'er them like a turk —
And make every man to fear,
The very name of Roberspierre.