« ÎnapoiContinuă »
And they would go and kiss dead Cæsar's wounds,
Unto their issue.
But patience, gentle friends! I must not read it: It is not meet you know how Cæsar loved you. You are not wood-you are not stones, but men; And, being men, hearing the will of Cæsar, It will inflame you—it will make you mad. 'Tis good you know not that you are his heirs; For, if you should,-oh! what would come of it? Nay-pray be patient. Will you stay a while?—I have o'er-shot myself, to tell you of it! I fear, I wrong the honourable men Whose daggers have stabb'd Cæsar-I do fear it.
You will compel me, then, to read the will?—
If you have tears, prepare to shed them now:
Look! in this place ran Cassius' dagger through!
For Brutus, as you know, was Cæsar's angel.—
For, when the noble Cæsar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitor's arms,
Which all the while ran blood, great Cæsar fell!
Oh! what a fall was there, my countrymen!-
Oh, now you weep; and I perceive you feel
Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up To such a sudden flood of mutiny!
They, that have done this deed, are honourable!—
I come not, friends, to steal away your hearts: I am no orator, as Brutus is;
But, as you know me all, a plain, blunt man,
I tell you that which you yourselves do know:
But you forget the will I told you of.
-Here was a Cæsar!-whence comes such another?
GENIUS AND CHARACTER OF NAPOLEON BONAPARTE.
THE intellect of Napoleon was distinguished by rapidity of thought. He understood by a glance what most men, and superior men, could learn only by study. He darted to a conclusion rather by intuition than reasoning. In war, which was the only subject of which he was master, he seized in an instant on the great points of his own and his enemy's positions; and combined at once the movements, by which an overpowering force might be thrown with unexpected fury on a vulnerable part of the hostile line, and the fate of an army be decided in a day. He understood war as a science; but his mind was too bold, rapid, and irrepressible, to be enslaved by the technics of his profession. He found the old armies fighting by rule, and he discovered the true characteristic of genius, which, without despising rules, knows when and how to break them. He understood thoroughly the immense moral power, which is gained by originality and rapidity of operation. He astonished and paralysed his enemies by his unforeseen and impetuous assaults, by the suddenness with which the storm of battle burst upon them; and, whilst giving to his soldiers the advantages of modern discipline, breathed into them, by his quick and decisive movements, the enthusiasm of ruder ages. This power of
disheartening the foe, and of spreading through his own ranks a confidence and exhilarating courage, which made war a pastime, and seemed to make victory sure, distinguished Napoleon in an age of uncommon military talent, and was one main instrument of his future power.
The wonderful effects of that rapidity of thought by which Bonaparte was marked, the signal success of his new mode of warfare, and the almost incredible speed with which his fame was spread through nations, had no small agency in fixing his character, and determining for a period the fate of empires. These stirring influences infused a new consciousness of his own might. They gave intensity and audacity to his ambition-gave form and substance to his indefinite visions of glory, and raised his fiery hopes to empire. The burst of admiration, which his early career called forth, must, in particular, have had an influence in imparting to his ambition that modification by which it was characterised, and which contributed alike to its success and to its fall. He began with astonishing the world— with producing a sudden and universal sensation, such as modern times had not witnessed. To astonish as well as to sway by his energies, became the great aim of his life. Henceforth to rule was not enough for Bonaparte! He wanted to amaze-to dazzle-to overpower men's souls, by striking, bold, magnificent, and unanticipated results. To govern ever so absolutely, would not have satisfied him, if he must have governed silently. He wanted to reign through wonder and awe, by the grandeur and terror of his name, by displays of power which would rivet on him every eye, and make him the theme of every tongue. Power was his supreme object, but a power which should be gazed at as well as felt, which should strike men as a prodigy, which should shake old thrones as an earthquake, and by the suddenness of its new creations, should awaken something of the submissive wonder which miraculous agency inspires.
Mere esteem he would have scorned. Calm admiration, though universal and enduring, would have been insipid. He wanted to electrify and overwhelm. He lived for effect. The world was his theatre, and he cared little what part he played, if he might walk the sole hero of the stage, and call forth bursts of applause, which would silence all other fame. In war, the triumphs which he coveted, were those in which he seemed to sweep away his foes like a whirlwind; and the immense and unparalleled sacrifice of his own soldiers, in the rapid marches and daring assaults to which he owed his victories, in no degree diminished their worth to the victor. In peace, he delighted to hurry through his dominions-to multiply himself by his rapid movements—to gather at a glance, the capacities of improvement which every important place possessed-to suggest plans, which would startle by their originality and vastness-to project in an instant, works which a life could not accomplish-and to leave behind the impression of a superhuman energy.
BURIAL OF SIR JOHN MOORE.
NOT a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
O'er the grave where our Hero was buried.
We buried him darkly at dead of night,
No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Nor in sheet nor in shroud we wound him;