The Fourteenth Of July Monologue
|The Fourteenth Of July Monologue by Romain Rolland|
- MAN: Look at those nasty scoundrels, those blue toads, those idiotic fools! Just because they're titled, they think they can make laws for free men! Bourgeois! The moment four of them gather together, they form committees and spoil good paper with their rules and regulations! "Show your papers!" As if we had to have their permission, their signatures, and the rest of it, to defend ourselves when we're attacked! Let every one protect himself! It's shameful to think a man has to let some one else defend him! They tried to make us give up our muskets, and throw us into prison. Can't do that! And those other fools, who think they're being betrayed, and at the first injunction, throw up a barricade out of respect for the constituted authorities and the moneyed classes! They're used to serving, and I suppose they can't get over their old habits in a day. Luckily, there are other wandering dogs like me, who haven't any home, and respect nothing. Well, I'll stay here and keep guard. By God, they won't take our Paris! Never mind if I haven't a thing to my name, it belongs to us all, and we're going to hold on to it. Yesterday, I didn't have any idea of all this. What was this city to me, where I hadn't a blessed hole to crawl into when it rained, or a place to get a crust of bread? What did I care about it? What did I care about any one's happiness or sorrow? But now everything's changed. I've got a part to play; I feel that everything belongs just a little to me: their houses, their money, and their thoughts--I must watch over them; they are working for me. Everybody is equal, equal and free. God, I always felt that, but I couldn't say it. Free! I'm a vagabond, I'm hungry, but I don't care: I'm free. Free! It makes my chest swell--it does! I'm a king. It's as if I was drunk; by head's turned--though I haven't had a drop. What is it? It's glory!
Credits: Reprinted from The Fourteenth of July and Danton. Trans. Barrett H. Clark. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1918.