Page:Napoleon's Addresses.djvu/15

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xi
INTRODUCTION.

village street and heard the whisper following him, "He belonged to the Army of Italy." "Soldiers, from the summit of these pyramids forty centuries look down upon you," he cried in Egypt. The splendid phrase voiced the awe of the army in the shadow of the mysterious monuments, and they charged their dark-faced foes as if in the presence of all the heroes of the past.

The perfect clearness and directness of the addresses is their most striking literary quality. The classic pose affected by writers in Napoleon's day he entirely ignored. He wished those whom he addressed to understand his meaning. If he spoke to the soldier it was to convince him that certain facts were true and to persuade him to adopt certain theories. To do this he put what he wished believed and repeated in so clear a fashion that it could not be mistaken. If both bombast and bathos sometimes characterized his addresses to the army, it was never at the expense of his meaning.

The same lucidity marked all his instructions to the Council of State when it was