Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 6.djvu/169
To inferior intellects, his combinations appeared perfectly impossible, his plans perfectly impracticable; but, in his hands, simplicity marked their development, and success vindicated their adoption.
His person partook the character of his mind—if the one never yielded in the cabinet, the other never bent in the field.
Nature had no obstacles that he did not surmount—space no opposition that he did not spurn; and whether amid Alpine rocks, Arabian sands, or polar snows, he seemed proof against peril, and empowered with ubiquity! The whole continent of Europe trembled at beholding the audacity of his designs, and the miracle of their execution. Skepticism bowed to the prodigies of his performance; romance assumed the air of history; nor was there aught too incredible for belief, or too fanciful for expectation, when the world saw a subaltern of Corsica waving his imperial flag over her most ancient capitals. All the visions of antiquity became common places in his contemplation; kings were his people—nations were his outposts; and he disposed of courts, and crowns, and camps, and churches, and cabinets, as if they were the titular dignitaries of the chess-board!
Amid all these changes he stood immutable as adamant. It mattered little whether in the field or the drawing-room—with the mob or the levee—wearing the jacobin bonnet or the iron crown—banishing a Braganza, or espousing a Haps-