Monday, August 13, 2012

The Tragedy of King Lewis the Sixteenth

 King Lewis XVI: My days are few. My life will soon
Be raft away of them intent that guilt
And innocence shall hang not on a deed
But on a state of life.
~ Act 5, Scene 5, The Tragedy of King Lewis the Sixteenth
The execution of King Louis XVI is immortalized by poet David Lane in his newly released dramatic work, of such quality that it is worthy of the Bard himself. From the publisher's website:
In The Tragedy of King Lewis the Sixteenth, written entirely in traditional blank verse, the author, David Lane, has revisited the Classic style, making use of the inexhaustible riches of the English language. Whether you want to stage the play or simply read it as a story, pick up David Lane's exquisite book and experience The Tragedy of King Lewis the Sixteenth today.
By committing the suffering and death of Louis XVI to Shakespearean English, Mr. Lane highlights the prophetic and apocalyptic nature of Louis' immolation, making it clear that the King's death holds a unique place in the unfolding of history, both secular and ecclesiastic. The poet gives a grandeur and a dignity to the drama which prose can never bestow. The reader is startlingly aware that whatever his mistakes, Louis, through his kingly vocation, shares in the office of Christ the King.  Therefore in attacking the Kingship, the enemies of the faith attack Christ himself. But as Act 1, Scene 1 reminds us, the battle is between the principalities and powers, as we are allowed to glimpse behind the veil of the senses and view the cosmic struggle of the ages.
Queen Mary Antoinette: The darkful time for showing glint of tears
Is this. Upon the dreaded bright of dawn
Will come from gath'ring throats to frighted ear
Th' inevitable cry of terror. Now
Each shadow round us deep'ning seems to mask
A watching presence. O sweet God, make safe
Our souls and persons! Keep us in Thy care.
~ Act Five, Scene One
The Queen's agony is captured as she watches the fall of the dynasty she has married into, as well as the destruction of the man who has been her husband since age fourteen. Most of all we see her dread for her children. Nevertheless, she does not succumb to despair, but is kept afloat by hope and faith. The King's sister Madame Elisabeth has some magnificent lines which contain the heart of the matter, which is the nature of sacrifice.
Before we join the vast before us gone,
We'll quit as Christians; that, as turns this plough
Of persecution, we should drop as seeds
Of blood. Soon thence the faith may follow flush
And mantling fruit for God be many.
~Act Five, Scene One
It is by participating in the passion of Christ that we help to save souls, a fact which blazes forth in Mr. Lane's play, transforming tragedy into triumph.

(*NOTE: This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.)



Matterhorn said...


julygirl said...

Humans always seem to want to change or destroy a way of life in order to bring in what they have decided is a better way. The destruction of the monarchy in France (and later in Russia) only brought a more vile subjugation of humanity which led to Communism in our modern era with Stalin and his slaughter of millions. Both Louis of France and Nicholas of Russia were working toward reforms but their murders ended any chance of making their ideas a reality for their people.