Journal / Visual Culture

Royalty (Poem)

Arthur Rimbaud.


Maybe you haven’t noticed, but there is a Diamond Jubilee going on. Not only is the nation awash with bunting, but the word ‘flotilla’ is now common parlance. So – and not because we’re scrooges or party-poopers – instead of pomp and pageantry, we’re going to celebrate Jubilee with Arthur Rimbaud’s evocation of the majesty that is: young love. 


One fine morning, in the country of a very gentle people, a magnificent man and woman were shouting in the public square. ‘My friends, I want her to be queen!’ ‘I want to be queen!’ She was laughing and trembling. He spoke to their friends of revelation, of trials completed. They swooned against each other.

In fact they were regents for a whole morning as crimson hangings were raised against the houses, and for the whole afternoon, as they moved toward groves of palm trees.

Translated from the French by John Ashberry.

Image courtesy of M.Marreco.


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