The Remains of a Woman: La Lamballe! La Lamballe!

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.

If I had sworn off what had been alive in my heart,

You would have given me these golden ideals,

You made me subhuman, your ethical hands, blood-blemished.


I mistrusted the Parisian streets, decorated with bodies unknown,

Petrified, I was sent outside, in those very streets that no description

Could do justice and what happened to me there within moments.

I came to you as a woman and your ideals made a corpse out of me.


My hair had been no more, the letter gone,

The blows, the stab wounds, all had reached an end,

Too quickly, you had lost control, more needed to be done.

But I had neither breath nor sight to give your horrors life.


You undressed my body, you left me untouched.

You mutilated my body, you brought it to them intact.

You cut off my sex and framed your face with it.

You chopped off my breasts, raped my lifeless body.


You used the texture of my body, my matter, my meaning,

To fabricate verbal inventions, to further the propaganda machine,

To render my body a tasteless disaster, a cautionary tale,

A shredded daughter of France, a massacred body, endlessly sensationalised.


You crowned me with your popular emblem though.

You separated my body from my head.

Replaced my body with a pike held by your murderous hands,

Paraded my distorted frozen face through the streets of our capital.


You wanted to hurt her, torment her, warn her, undo her.

You screamed my pityful name through the smoke of death.

A spectacle for everyone to see, look what you have achieved!

This was indeed the procession of your barefaced ideals.


You insulted my remains further, my biography continued post-mortem.

You make a business out of death, profit from what you swore to hate, me,

My presence that you showcase, my head that you carry, the Lamballe

Paraphernalia, sold locks of my hair, I thought I was a woman to be disposed of


Entirely? You wanted her to see me in this post-traumatic, perilous state,

Forecast her own future, you wanted to see her fall on her royal knees and wither.

My grey dead face staring at her, elevated, looking through barred windows,

She never saw me, you have not succeeded, but she knew, how I was used.


They yelled that she should kiss my deceased lips,

Clinging to their spiteful lesbian image machinery.

Lovers reunite, a queen ought to kiss death on the mouth,

Who could build their ideals on rumouring artifice?


The heart of Paris had now witnessed my head’s lively procession,

A moment most intimate, my death, public, ruthless, utilised, hyped.

You embalm my body with stories and slander still. My head and my body

Remained disparaged, desecrated and disunited forevermore,

And never found a resting place.


“Portrait of  Marie Louise Thérèse de Savoie, princesse de Lamballe” by Antoine-François Callet (1741-1823)