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Damiens' Bed of Steel

R. F. Damiens, in 1757, attempted the life of Louis XV. He was taken to the Conciergerie; an iron bed, which likewise served as a chair, was prepared for him, and to this he was fastened with chains. He was then tortured, and ultimately torn to pieces by wild horses. (Smollet: History of England, v. 12, p. 39.)

The uplifted axe, the agonising wheel,
Luke's iron crown, and Damiens' bed of steel.

Goldsmith: The Traveller (1768).

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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