Louise Michel, “The New Era” (1887)

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Louise Michel
Like sap in April, the blood rises in a secular revival in the old human tree (the old tree of poverty ).
Under the humus of the errors which fall and pile up like dead leaves, there are snowdrops and golden daffodils, and the old tree quivers in the vernal breezes.
In the lovely woods the red flowers emerge bloody from the branches; the swollen buds burst. There are new leaves and flowers.
It is a stage of nature.
This will become the deep shrubbery where the nests will be built, where the fruits will ripen; and everything will return to the crucible of universal life.
So blows the morning breeze in the ruddy dawn of the New World.
The religions and states are still there, before our eyes, but do cadavers not maintain a human aspect when we bury them and commit them to the earth?
The pallor, the rigidity of the dead, the odor of decomposition, don’t they indicate that all is finished for the being which has ceased to live?
That pallor, that decomposition, the old society already displays them in the throes of its agony.
Rest assured, it will end.
She is dying, that old ogress who has drunk human blood from the start to prolong her accursed existence.
Her provocations, her incessant cruelties, her worn-out plots, none of this will help; it is the winter of the century, and this accursed world must go its way. Here is the spring when the human race will prepare the nest for its little ones, which have been more unfortunate to this point than the offspring of beasts.
This old world must die, since no one is safe any longer, since the instinct of preservation of the race awakens, and each, anxious and breathless in the pestilential ruin, casts a desperate look towards the horizon.
The bridges have been burned. Just yesterday, many believed all that was solid; today, no one but fools or rogues denies the evidence of the facts.—The Revolution imposes itself. The interests of all demand an end to the parasitism.
When a swarm of bees, looted by hornets, has no more honey in its hive, it makes war to the death with the bandits before resuming its labors.
But we parlay with the human hornets, humbly asking them to leave a bit of honey at the bottom of the cells, so that the hive can begin to fill them up again for them.
Animals unite against the common danger; wild cattle go in herds to seek more fertile pastures: together, they circle up against the wolves.
Only human beings will not unite to pass through this terrible era in which we find ourselves! Could we be less intelligent than the beasts?
What will be done for the thousand and thousands of laborers who will starve in the black countries from which they have already drawn so much wealth for their exploiters?
Will they let themselves be slaughtered like bands of wolves?
The Romans, when they were not rich enough to send the excess of their slaves to Carthage, buried them alive. A massacre would have made too much noise; the sandy shroud is silent. Is this how the capitalist sequel will proceed?
Will they fill the prisons with all those dying of hunger? They would soon overflow.
Will they build new ones? There is no longer enough money even for the evil. The follies in Tonkin and elsewhere have absorbed millions, and the secret funds are exhausted to set some traps for the revolutionaries.
Will they try once again to string the people along, to lull them with promises?
That has become difficult. The revanchist Don Quixotes who blow their bugles at the least sign of a Bismarck (to protect them by pretending to threaten them) do not, fortunately, deceive all the young. The spirit of the International has survived the fusillades of Versailles.
Louder and stronger than brass, the calls for Liberty, for Equality, thunder from peak to peak. Their legend awakens new senses.
Now we need the reality of those words, which are written everywhere, but nowhere put into practice.
The human chrysalis evolves: its wings will no longer return to the split husk.
Everything must make its way to the common Ocean, called by the need for renewal, by senses hitherto unknown, the inevitable development of which nothing can halt.
As the drops of water hold to one another in the same wave or the same ocean, all of humanity rolls in the same tempest towards its great goal.
The human beast who, down through the ages, has evolved from the family to the tribe, to the horde, to the nation, climbs, still climbs, and always climbs; and the family becomes the entire race.
The languages, which have evolved according to the vicissitudes of humanity, adopt for their new needs similar words, because all the peoples feel this same need: the Revolution.
And the revolution in science, in the arts, as in industry, makes more and more necessary that universal language which already forms by itself and which will be the corollary of the great dawn.


Human society will not have for much longer these wars which only serve its enemies, its masters. Nothing can stop the sun of tomorrow from following our night.
Today no one can live except like a bird on the branch, watched by the cat or the hunter.
The states themselves have the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. Debt gnaws at them and the borrowing which lets them live wears them out like the rest.
The starving leave the woods; they roam the plains, and enter the towns. The hive, tired of being plundered, buzzes, showing its sting. Those who have created everything, lack everything.
On the corners and in the gutters, they have long died, vagabonds, before the palaces that they have built. The grass of the fields cannot nourish them; it is for the flocks of the wealthy.
There is work only for those who adapt themselves to a derisory wage or who exhaust themselves in a daily task of eight or ten hours.
Then the anger mounts. The exploited feel that they, too, have a heart, a stomach, a brain.
And they are starving, and they do not want to die. And they rise! The peasants light their torches with the lamps of the miners. No proletarian will return to their hole. It is better to die in the revolt.
The revolt! It is the uprising of consciousnesses. It is indignation. It is the claim of violated rights… Who revolts without being wronged?
The more the destitute are weighted down, the more terrible the revolt will be. The more crimes are committed by those who govern, the more we will finally see clearly, and the more implacably justice will be done…
— Capital! Says one with fearful respect,—you speak of destroying capital ! Huh? …
Ah! Reason and logic have long since done justice to Capital. Is it superior in essence to labor and science?
Suppose some Rothschilds possess all the gold and diamond mines on the earth. Can they work them without miners? How will extract the gold from the sand, the diamond from the rock?
Give the exploiters of the quarries some marble without anyone to cut it,  without anyone to dig out the blocks…
Let these people know that they are incapable of making good use of anything without the workers. Will they eat the soil if no one makes it produce?
Go on! Go! It has been a long time since the capitalist Bastille mattered to the future.
Besides, the portion of goods that they hold, to the detriment of the disinherited masses, is minimal in comparison with the prodigious riches that science will give us!
We do not destroy hell in the afterlife in order to rebuild it on earth. We must destroy, the day when we are conscious that it would be monstrous, this eternally tormenting God, which, being capable of establishing justice everywhere, leaves the world to struggle forever with all sorts of despair, with all the horrors. And at the same time we demolish the hells of religion, we must destroy the earthly hells, whose bait of selfish rewards only engender corruption.
It is these corrupting rewards that have made some wait so long that their patience is worn down, and completely persuaded others that everything must pass through centuries of injustice, so that their conscience has stiffened and they commit or suffer crime.
That is finished: the veils of all the tabernacles have been torn.
Gone are the thrones, the chamarreries of illusory dignities, gone the human grelots.
Anything in which we no longer believe is dead.
We begin to notice that the birds, the ants and the bees group freely, to work together and resist the dangers that might arise. The animals give humans an example of sociability.
How will the prison of the past, which the popular tempests strike from all sides, finally fall?
No one knows
Will it crumble in the disasters?
Will the privileged, brought to bay by common misfortunes, make an immense night of August 4?
Will the popular tide cover the world?…
What is certain is that the century will not sleep without the start of the Revolution finally arising. People, like all beings, want to live, and soon no one—not even the exploiter—will be able to live if right does not replace force.
Proletarians, employees, small businesspeople, and small proprietors all sense that everyone, from one end of society to the other, is, in their bitter struggle for existence, at once devouring and devoured.
The large proprietor, the large capitalist, weighs on the small proprietor in the same way that the small shopkeepers weigh on the laborers. And those laborers inflict on one another the same fatal laws of competition, and also have to support the whole weight of the great and small exploiters. So, like grain under the millstone, they are finally ground up.
We notice, besides, that the sun and the air, belonging to all (because they cannot be leased for the profit of a few), nonetheless continue to invigorate nature for the benefit of all. We notice that by taking the train, no traveler prevents others from reaching their destination; and that the letters or telegrams received by some do not prevent the arrival of letters or telegrams to the profit of others.
On the contrary, the more that communications are universalized, the better it is for everyone.
For all these things, there is no need of a government, which hinders, taxes and even wastes at every step, but we do need labor, intelligence, and free development, which invigorates.
In short, the principle of all for all simplifies and expresses itself clearly in our minds.
We can say, however, that the sun and air do not belong equally to everyone, since some have a thousand times more space and light than they need, and the others have a thousand times less; but since the fault lies in social inequalities, it should disappear with them.
The ignorance those faults engender—what a calamity!
Ignorance of the first notions of hygiene is the reason that so many city dwellers—who die without air—still diminish that quantity of air.
As if health—the first of goods—did not require that we sweep away, by ventilation, the miasma from the hovels where we are crammed, and from the factory where we are robbed!
As if to make things healthier, pure air was not the complement of fire!
“Drafts! Drafts!” This tired old tune grates on the ears of those whose childhood has bloomed in the sweet scent of the fields, whose lungs have been filled with the rustic atmosphere of beautiful Nature!
How happy the rich are!
It is a fact that birth and death, those great egalitarians, do not appear in the same way for the rich as for the poor. Given our sinful laws, it could not be otherwise.
But these iniquitous laws will disappear with the rest: we must pull up the thatch and turn the earth, in order to sow the new wheat.
Let us suppose that the thing is done, that in the revolutionary tempest, the wreckage on which we float finally touches the beach, despite those who, stupidly, prefer to squander themselves with the present society.
Let us suppose that the worker hive spreads freely in space. Here is what it would say:
— We can no longer live like our stone-age ancestors, nor as in the past century, since the successive inventions, since the discoveries, of science have brought about the certainty that all will produce a hundredfold when we use these discoveries for the general well-being, instead of only allowing a handful of predators to help themselves to them, in order to starve the rest.
The machines, each of which kill hundreds of workers, because they have never been employed except for the exploitation of man by man, would be, when employed for all, one of the sources of infinite wealth.
Up to the present, the people have been victims of the machine. We have only perfected the gears which multiply labor; we have not touched the economic gears which tear the laborer in their teeth.
Too bad! Since we can’t establish abattoirs to rid ourselves of the proletarians exhausted before their time, the machine takes care of it, and it would be wrong to hinder such great works.
Well! On the contrary, the machine, become the slave of the worker, would produce for each, for the general profit, what is presently produced by such a great number of the exploited for the benefit of the few, and often the single individual who exploits them. And even then, each would have every day, for their rest or their studies, more time and more leisure than they can have, today, in the whole week.
Rest after labor! Study! It is so good! And so rare, except for the wealthy, who have too much of it.
As much as the one who never works is unaware of the well-being of a bit of rest, the overworked being aspires to it.
Those whose brains have shrunk/narrowed, walled off by selfishness, no longer have ideas: they no longer shine, they are dead.
On the contrary, the brain, like the stomach of the worker, becomes greedy from the voracious activity of a whole race without food for centuries, an activity prepared even more by the virile era of humanity: in uncultivated brains sprout some strong, proud ideas, like the shoots of the virgin forests.
It is indeed the time of renewal.
Meanwhile, you know the verses of the good Lafontaine :
Pour un âne enlevé, deux voleurs se battaient :
Survint un troisième larron
Qui saisit maître Aliboron…[1]
Such is the history of the governments which legislate and the gluttonous financial companies which starve the strikers and feed themselves on the detritus of the old societies. Governments and companies harass them, always holding the guns of order at their throat, and debate whether it will be the company or the state that will resume the exploitation (as at Decazeville).
In comes the third robber of fable, in the form of collapse, which destroys the mine without miners, the abandoned mine where the coal dust ignites, the mine invaded by water, which rushes in as soon as one no longer fights it.
Everywhere that longer the creative hand of the pioneer is no longer applied, industry dies, and that creative hand, that hand of the pioneer alone will resuscitate, it as soon as it can without forfeiture. And it can when the mine belongs to those who dig it, the earth to those who make it produce, the machine to those who make it grind, that is when all the means of producing and all the products belong to each and all.
The Revolution, the violent Revolution is hastened, prompted, and rendered inevitable by the panic of power.
Property is no more if the proletarians prefer to starve than to fatten their masters, their bloodsuckers, and Capital will have had its day, like the other errors, when we wish it so.
If it pleases the workers to strike, if they choose to rebel, the earth will be black with human ants. They are the many, an immense number who have never know their strength: despair will teach it to them.
The blows of the whip teach the lion in a cage, as the blows of the club teach the bull in the slaughterhouse. Then the lion takes the comedian who has whipped it in its claws; the bull breaks the rope which holds its head in the killing ring, escapes and sow terrorin its wake.
We have seen it in 1793 and on March 18, we have seen it at Decazeville when the measure has been satisfied: we will see it elsewhere, perhaps, one day at Vierzon.
Nothing is useless in nature. Like the spring buds which cover the trees in April, the new meanings which fill the brains of the crowds do not remain without shoots, and they will not germinate in vain.
Observe this: the majority of the strikers, whether at Decazeville or at Borinage, do not know a word of socialism. The words Liberty and Equality, that they spell out on the pediments of the buildings, tell them nothing.
But they have cast such hot scents, those words, that everywhere they become rudimentary senses and make it so that everywhere the human race must replace the human cattle that we still are.
The last of the great solitary bards is dead. Here is a choir of bards, and the bards are the crowds. As each speaks, as each walks, each will make use of their ears, their voices, their eyes.
The ear develops through music education; the eyes become correct among the painters; the hands, which, with the sculptor, know how to carve wood, marble and stone, will become, through practice, expert in all. For no one has eyes, ears and hand in order not to make use of them, and that the races will attain a degree of expertise that is difficult to comprehend.
It will be magnificent, that new legend sung by those who will succeed us.
All being poets, all being scholars, all knowing how to use faculties hitherto rudimentary, no part of our present savagery will remain.
Humanity finally evolving in the full light of liberty, some objections, based then on the mores of today, will be still less valid.
— How will the idle live? How will envy and jealousy come to an arrangement with equality?
—In the general well-being won’t these arguments fail by themselves?
Well indeed! How will the idlers live?
Haven’t they already long maimed body and mind, these lazy sorts, people who, by atavism, will inherit some present infirmities?
The lazy, like the blind or the deaf, are cripples who have a right to live, and they will live, or rather they will vegetate without harming anyone.
As to jealousy and envy, etc., will such states be possible? Since the machine will be in the service of humans, and for the profit of all, what use will it serve to envy what we can always be sure of in all fullness?
Won’t universalized science prevent the follies of pride?
Will the laborers, then, remain chained to a trade that they cannot do, from lack of aptitude or because it does not please them to exercise it? By changing groups won’t they always find new resources?
Instead of inheritances which make parricides, each will have the heritage of humanity, an immense inheritance, of which we can hardly form an idea, in the form of wealth of every sort, or rather from all the sorts of labor, in their boundless varieties.
Free groups of free individuals, labor done for the good of each and all: we must arrive there (by necessity), since some idlers, some monstrous parasites, cannot make disappear, at their will, the numberless legions, the rumbling legions of those who labor.
Must those whose death would prevent nothing from advancing cause the loss of the entire species?
Things, moreover, will be much simplified: Europe, and the universe experience the very anxieties which are the prelude to the birth of the New World, a birth which already makes the entrails of every thinker tremble.
The ages of stone and bronze have passed; our age will pass: we feel the spasms of its agony, and in its death that we see the history of all the bygone eras.
Each of them carries cold the things which have inflamed them; they are finished: then in the renewal burgeon things regarded as utopias in the last stage.
The ideas laid down as markers by lost sentinels serve new explorers and, without end, we go towards times incomparably closer to the Ideal.
Between those times and our ownis precisely the period when humanity, becoming virile, no longer tolerates without balking the chains which immobilize it in the rut.
No soothing promise will lull any longer those who have seen the misfortunes piled on our species by credulity, not even the shimmerings of improvement based on vain words.
The words are blown by all the winds: oaths and laments fall together in the eternal sweeping.
It is this which, under the name of parliamentary government, prolongs the present stage where we tread.
Turbulent stage where vertigo inhabits the summits of power more and more: powerlessness, parasitism, stupidity, madness, propped up one on the other, are still standing.
But what ruin lasts forever?
Also, is there any doubt that the most abominable of all the infirmities—our social state – must soon disappear.
With that society become cut-throat, it is absolutely necessary to be done with it.
Do you know how we will realize that the old world no longer exists? Only those who are returned to the light, to security, from their dungeons could tell.
Groups formed by the common danger and alone surviving the common ruin naturally recapture the things of general interest, from which today our mortal enemies are the only ones to benefit:
Postal services, railways, telegraphs, mining, agriculture, will be more activeas communications between the workers will have the overabundance of life of the delivered crowds – finally breathing free.
No more wars, no more parasites to gorge: the power of men over things so much greater so much more beneficial than the power of individuals over one another will have been destroyed.
No more struggle for existence – struggles like those of the wildcats: all the forces to multiply productions, in order that each being swim in the abundance; all the new inventions—and science, finally free in his investigations—serving, for the first time, all of humanity: radiant, fertile, audacious, they will strike with their brilliance everything that at this hour is still weakened, stifled, and darkened.
If it expends, alas! so many efforts to impede irresistible march of progress, it is because, in addition to those who live in ignorance, error, and injustice, there are those who die in it and find that good; there are also the laggards insisting on useless things because they have cost them a lot to capture – it is natural – and it is not with words that we will cure people of such crushes: only catastrophes could suffice.
We will still debate in our bourgeois (and even revolutionary) chatter when the tidal wave of the starving will pass over the heads of everyone.
It rises swiftly, and, by gaps made all over the map—at Decazeville, in Belgium, England, and America—the reefs which protect the worm-eaten world from day to day are breached and it is through these breaches that will pass the ocean of revolt which roars everywhere. (Everything comes in its time.)
It is into that ocean that the human rivers rush: so it goes. Arts, literature, sciences, thus all drown under the flood of the red dawn of the twentieth century which already shines.
And under the flood of that growing dawn, like a fused mass of dust the little conceits become the immense love of human progress; and the bells of celebrity, of honors, cease to ring for the ears, for hearts burning with a thirst for perfectibility.
All that seems indecipherable to us—electricity, magnetism—will, in twenty-five years, have given such results that by joining the discoveries on chemistry, agriculture, and mechanism, one will demand, stupefied, how the men of our era could believe that the poverty that decimates the masses was an inevitable calamity and was necessary to the well-being of a handful of the privileged!
Is it not high time that everyone is [privileged, you] privileged! Hasn’t this already gone on long enough? Has it been long enough that each has dragged their ball, that each takes hold of their chain without managing to break it! Broken? Thus they will all be.
“Here is the Red Easter,” says the song of the peasants.
The red Easter after which the human chrysalis will have evolved, urged by the breath of Germinal, to be cast finally onto the earth, the wings torn, perhaps. What does it matter! It has felt the free air: others will fly there, and overcome by the same sublime fervor, all will fly in their turn.
Why always compare what happens under this foul regime to that which will occur in healthy environments?
Are the windows closed to winter snows not opened wide to the hot breath of summer?
Do the ages of life have the same needs, the same aptitudes?
Thus, let us stop these pointless arguments.
Are not new needs, and new aptitudes, in their turn, les sources of other needs awakening other aptitudes?
Individuals shape themselves in the arts, in the sciences, in ideas of justice, as in the blind proteus the visual sense evolves when solicited by the light; and despite unfavorable environments, the human beast, finally, also feels itself called by some luminous horizons.
From fire stolen from a smoking crater, from forests set afire by lightning, or even from the simple rubbing together of two bits of wood, comes such a great push forward, that after having chained Prometheus to the rocky peak where the vultures will devour him, men will worship fire and deify it.
Nothing is more expressive than that legend.
Always those who are the most interested in progress rebel most fiercely against this progress.
We killed the first to make fire; we beat the first who, proclaiming the movement of the earth around the sun, destroyed the legend of Joshua, as on removes a stone from a citadel.
Always those who attack gods and kings will be broken in the struggle; yet the gods are fallen, the kings fall, and soon the words of Blanqui are borne out: “Neither God nor master!”
Let Prometheus be delivered to the vultures. Does that prevent the tribe from gathering together at the common hearth? Does that prevent steam from making marvels, electricity from promising some even greater ones?
On the contrary, the blood-drenched idea germinates betterand more quickly, it branches more extensively; in brains scoured by sorrow, electrified by ardent passions, fiercely generous, it is fertilized; and, like the wild grass, it will become wheat.
The more men are broken, the more profoundly, if not more rapidly, ideas are spread.
We see far through the cell windows. In the great silence, being grows in all of humanity. We see in advance, the present disappeared: the mind, which urges the New Era, glides in the Future.
At present, struggle is made supreme by the course of events, of pressing circumstances, which corner, at our end of the century, the old society like an enraged beast that labor and science replace even before it is brought down.
Why does it smother us in its death spasms, the cursed beast, since it will die?
Right must triumph, unless the workers are slaughtered, knocked senseless, or shot like packs of wolves which howl with hunger.
And those who produce everything, and have neither bread, nor shelter, begins to sense that each and every being should have its place at the banquet of excess.
We can no more prevent the enlargement of human societies than we will make the adult human return to its cradle.
The world has had its early childhood cradled by legends, then, its chivalrous youth, and then to the virile age, which already prepares the nest of the races to come.
Some individualities take shape: the humanity where all the being live and multiply is at once one and multiple.
Some bold, strange figures pass who join the new idea to the types of former times.
If there are, alas! some grasping humans for whom the blood of the whole world will not suffice: finance, power, stupidity, cowardice, monsters teeming in our humus—and it is not too much for all the crowds to stifle them there—we also have some fakirs sowing their life like we pour a cup, some for the idea, others for science, but all for the great triumph.
After its struggles, the race, wanting to live, will gather on the liberated soil.
The stars attract one another to gravitate together in the stellar spaces: thus the men, freely, take their place in groups.
Free labor, conscious, enlightened, will make fertile crops where there is empty countryside
The forces of storms and chasms, used as a tool, will crush rocks, and cut passages in the mountains in order to make one single human paradise of the two hemispheres.
Submarine vessels exploring thedepths of the ocean will uncover the lostcontinents: and Atlantis will perhaps appear to us, dead under its shroud of tides and lying pale in the cyclopean ruins garlanded with gigantic coral and sea grass.
Electricity will carry aerial vessels above the polar ice caps, to witness the night of six months under the red fringe of the polar auroras.
How many things when we look forward, things so great that when we think about them it becomes impossible to concern ourselves with our wretched person!
By thinking about them, the personalities will be far off!
Each will live, happy and harmless, in all of humanity, helping to multiply strength, life, and thought indefinitely.
The ideas having formed in our shade, now their flames dart; we see everywhere in their true light the things that darkness made vague and misleading.
Here they are in life, the ideas of Liberty, Equality, Justice, so long displayed in jails.
We admire the works of a gathering of scholars, artists, or laborers; we admire the monuments on which generations of men have labored.
The ideas flash, blaze, stirred, fertilized by the struggle, the heart expands, life multiplies.
On the agglomerations of the multitudes pass some burning hot winds; that grabs you, transfigures you, casts you in the current which rushes to the revolutionary ocean, to the crucible where even the muck shines in the sun.
Men hardly matter in this cataclysm, progress alone survives it, just, implacable progress, which demolish the old reefs.
What parcel of land is not covered with blood, what law of the cursed network does not serve as a noose which strangle us?…
Nothing is worth keeping.
You have seen the plowman turning the furrows to sow new wheat: thus will be turned all the human strata as if to plow under, like old stubble, all the social iniquities.
It must be so!
For whom then will be the discoveries, the sciences, for whom then will be the machines, if it is not to create happiness for all and at the same time multiply the invigorating forces?
What good is a sense for the arts, if it is to be stifled among the multitudes, and to cultivate it only at great cost among some vain artistes ?
All have the same senses, except that the races who have enjoyed too much have a brain more arid still than the others without culture.
Wait until a quarter of a century has passed for the race, until it has evolved in the full light of liberty, and the difference between the intellectual vegetation in that era and the present vegetation will be such that the vulgar, imbued with directing nonsense, cannot presently grasp it.
Neither the states whose last rags we see soaked with the blood of the lowly to float in the tempest, nor the lies of the map, of race, species or sex, nothing will remain of this twaddle.
Each character, each intelligence will take its place.
The struggles for existence being finished, science having regenerated the world, no one could be human cattle any longer, nor proletarians.
And women, for whom life has thus far only been a hell?…
Let that hell go, along with the cruel dreams of mystical underworlds!
Each individual living in the whole human race; all living in each individual, especially living in each individual and above all living forward, always forward where the idea flames, in the great peace, so far, so far, that the limitlessness of progress will appear to all in the cycle of perpetual transformations.
It is thus that before returning to the crucible, each individual, in some years, in just a few years, will have eternity.


Diving into the past, we see it join with the future like the two extremities of a circular arc, and that circle, like a sound wave, awakens others, infinitely.
Eaten away by the world (from ancient India to ourselves), will the lost sciences germinate or are they dead in the flower?
Must we wait for new emanations for new beginnings? Will there be enough to return to the soilto provide the seeds of renewal and conditions proper to existence?
How many civilizations have fallen, how many scientific hypotheses have been overthrown by other hypotheses!
And yet, let’s go, let’s always go! Don’t we have whereof to quell the struggle for life? to replace the anxiety of stomachs, the general misery by general well-being?
Moreover, brains becoming more greedy than ever, it must be in order to satisfy them that the New Era shines.
If the love of humanity is powerless to make the hour of liberation sound on the fraternitary clock – the hour when crime will longer have a place – indignation will see to it.
Hate is pure as steel, sharp as an ax; and if love is fruitless, long live hate!  


Two Thieves stole an Ass: but we frequently see
Two of this trade, like other trades, cannot agree,
One would take him to market—the other would not—
So reproaches were mingled with arguments hot.  
From words the dispute quickly ripened to blows,  
Breasts resounded with thumps, and blood streamed from each nose; 
But whilst in this desperate contest they grapple. 
Comes up a third Robber and makes off with Dapple. 
Whilst two petty Princes in quarrels engage. 
And war for some grass-plat most royally wage, 
In steps Buonaparte, or some other swabber, 
Takes the prize for himself, and makes peace for each  robber. 
[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur]
About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.