Charlotte Corday and Adam Lux

Ah, another day … another historical murder, and another poem on the topic. This one is by English clergyman and author, WILLIAM JAMES DAWSON, (1854-1928), who obviously wasn’t at the execution of Mme. Corday for the July 13th murder of Jean-Paul Marat in 1793, but Dawson seeks to reproduce the emotions of Adam Lux, who was there when Charlotte faced the guillotine on July 17th.

Adam Lux was a German sympathizer with the French Revolution who ended up on the guillotine himself later that same year, after calling quite a bit of negative attention to himself, writing pamphlets justifying Corday’s actions.

Adam Lux to Charlotte Corday

Red is the garb thou wearest, red is the deed thou hast done,
And red on a land of blood rises the morning sun.
Kings have ridden this road, conquerors mailed in gold,
But none in such red triumph as this that we behold.

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Rose, thro’ a rose-red dawn, go to thy valourous fate,
Queen of all roses thou, splendid and passionate.
And lo ! at thy feet I fling, here, in the gallows-cart,
Passionate even as thine, the rose-flower of my heart.

Turn but a moment toward me, stoop in thy raiment red,
I answer thee look for look, I am warmed and comforted.
Twins are we of one womb, fated sister and brother,
Nursed on the bare bruised breasts of Freedom our great Mother!

Thou, whom none could master, proud and glorious head,
Come, O Rose, to my bosom, come when thou art dead!
They have shorn the beautiful hair, they have bound the strong fair hands,
Signal me with your eyes that love still understands!

Signal, and I will follow: I dwell where thou must dwell,
I shall know thy blood-red raiment either in heaven or hell!
Lo! at thy feet I fling, here, in the gallows-cart,
Passionate even as thine, the red rose of my heart!

Another German present at Corday’s execution was Johann Georg Kerner, the brother of Dr. Justinus Kerner. We do have a couple of pages on Justinus Kerner: his poem, The Richest Prince, and a page about his forays into the supernatural with the Seeress of Prevorst. As far as we have been able to figure out, Johann was a doctor and a writer, too.

There’s another poem, Ode to Charlotte Corday, by Andre-Marie Chenier, that you can read in French on google books.

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