Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 6.djvu/167

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PHILLIPS


II

THE CHARACTER OF NAPOLEON[1]

(About 1817)


He is fallen! We may now pause before that splendid prodigy, which towered among us like some ancient ruin, whose frown terrified the glance its magnificence attracted.

Grand, gloomy, and peculiar, he sat upon the throne, a sceptered hermit, wrapped in the solitude of his own originality.

A mind bold, independent, and decisive—a will, despotic in its dictates—an energy that distanced expedition, and a conscience pliable to every touch of interest, marked the outline of this extraordinary character—the most extraordinary, perhaps, that, in the annals of this world, ever rose, or reigned, or fell.

Flung into life, in the midst of a revolution that quickened every energy of a people who acknowledged no superior, he commenced his course, a stranger by birth, and a scholar by charity!

With no friend but his sword, and no fortune but his talents, he rushed into the lists where rank, and wealth, and genius had arrayed them-

  1. This specimen of Phillips' style is probably the most successful of his grandiloquent efforts. It has long been familiar in the mouths of schoolboys. Its date is about the year of the second Restoration, after the exile of Napoleon to St. Helena.

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