Heinrich Heine Lutèce 1855

Letter XX “The Revolution is Still Here”

Source: Lutèce. M. Lévy frères, Paris, 1855;
Translated: from the original for marxists.org by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2011.

Paris, October 3, 1840

Since last night there reigns here an unimaginable agitation. The thundering of the cannons of Beirut finds its echo in every French heart. For my part I am stunned; terrible apprehensions penetrate my heart. War is the least of the evils I fear. In Paris scenes might occur compared to which all the acts of the past revolution will seem to be the peaceful dreams of a summer night. The PAST revolution! No, there is no past revolution; the revolution is still here: we've only seen the beginning, and many of us will not see the middle. The French will be in a bad position if the majority with bayonets carries the day. But it isn’t iron that kills, it’s the hand, and it obeys the heart. It’s only a matter of knowing how many hearts there will be on each side. People are lining up in front of the recruitment offices the way they do at theaters when there’s a hit play. A countless number of young men enlist as volunteers. The garden and the arcades of the Palais-Royal swarm with workers reading the newspaper with serious expressions. This gravity that expresses itself with a parsimony of words is infinitely more worrying than the chatty anger of two months ago. It is said that the Chambers are going to be convoked, which will perhaps be a new misfortune. Deliberative bodies paralyze any force for action in the government, unless they themselves exercise all governmental power, like the Convention of 1792. At that time the French were in a situation worse than that of today, and yet they emerged victorious. This must not be forgotten.