Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 6.djvu/162

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THE WORLD'S FAMOUS ORATIONS


the person might be chained, and the motive calumniated, religion was still strong enough to support her sons and to confound if she could not reclaim her enemies. No threats could awe, no promises could tempt, no sufferings could appal him; amid the damps of his dungeon he dashed away the cup in which the pearl of his liberty was to be dissolved.

Only reflect on the state of the world at that moment. All around him was convulsed, the very foundations of the earth seemed giving way; the comet was let loose, that "from its fiery hair shook pestilence and death"; the twilight was gathering, the tempest was roaring, the darkness was at hand; but he towered sublime, like the last mountain in the deluge, majestic, not less in his elevation than in his solitude, immutable amid change, magnificent amid ruin, the last remnant of earth's beauty, the last resting-place of Heaven's light! Thus have the terrors of the Vatican retreated; thus has that cloud which hovered o'er your cause brightened at once into a sign of your faith and an assurance of your victory.

Another obstacle, the omnipotence of France; I know it was a pretense, but it was made an obstacle. What has become of it? The spell of her invincibility destroyed, the spirit of her armies broken, her immense boundary dismembered, and the lord of her empire become the exile of a rock. She allows fancy no fear, and bigotry no speciousness; and, as if in the very

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