And his hands would plait the priest’s entrails,
For want of a rope, to strangle kings.

[Et ses mains ourdiraient les entrailles du prêtre,
Au défaut d’un cordon pour étrangler les rois.]

Denis Diderot (1713-1784) French editor, philosopher
Poésies Diverses, “Les Éleuthéromanes” (1875)

Alt. trans. "His hands would plait the priest’s guts, if he had no rope, to strangle kings."

Derived from a statement attributed (but not confirmed) to Jean Meslier: "I would like — and this would be the last and most ardent of my wishes — I would like the last of the kings to be strangled by the guts of the last priest."

Variant: "Let us strangle the last king with the guts of the last priest."
[Et des boyaux du dernier prêtre / Serrons le cou du dernier roi.]

This version was attributed to Diderot in Jean-François de La Harpe,  Cours de Littérature Ancienne et Moderne (1840)

Sometimes paraphrased as, ""Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest," etc.

Added on 20-Nov-08 | Last updated 24-Jul-20
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