Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 22.djvu/338

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326 Southern Historical Society Papers.

he left the field Grant marched to victory and when he fell at last, the general crash came down upon us all. On these deeds done, and well done, I rest his fame.

Will you tell me that Early failed, and does this bar the door of fame ? Hannibal failed. Napoleon failed. Lee failed. If there be a Cedar creek, there is also a Pontine Marsh, a Waterloo, and an Appomattox. A great young nation was extinguished like a dying star. A whole people, genius, valor, patriotism and renown, went down in calamity and ruin. Does not Providence cast down the great, the gifted, and the good to demonstrate virtue, and to instruct us to be careless of fortune? A soldier must take his fate, whether it comes with death, as it did to Charles XII, to Wallerstein, to Gustavus Adolphus, to Hampden and Sidney, to Jackson and Stuart, to Polk, to Cleburne, to Pegram and Pelham, to Wolfe, to Warren, and Sidney Johnston; whether it comes by wounds, as to Joe John- ston and Ewell, whether in gloom and disaster, as to Hannibal, to Napoleon, to Lee and Early. But the deed lives. What did he dare? What did he do? "Ad parebat quo nihil iniquiusest ex eventua famam habiturum," said Livy of old, of one who got fame, not from his own deed, but from happy deliverance, and who, in the chance medley and motley wear of this tumultuous sphere, has not learned that the tricks of the fickle goddess which cast down are ever condoned and repaired by the slow and even hand of justice. Her harsh decrees in one age are revised by the equi'ty of the next age; and all history tells me with its splendid tale of tragic grandeur and pathetic fate that immortality cherishes for its nurslings the wrecks and castaways of fortune. Failed! That was yesterday; to-day he stands glorious.


Let me say something ere I say good night, of some personal characteristics. Early's courage was supreme. Never did mortal breast hold a braver soul nor one more firmly set. It is as natural to die as it is to be born, and as natural to fear as it is to live, or love, or hate; and many of the bravest men that ever lived have been exercised by apprehensions that caused their hearts to thrill and their frames to quake. Frederick the Great is described by Macauley as marching through Europe with "a bottle of poison in one pocket and a copy of bad verses in the other." He feared his fate. Na- poleon carried an amulet of poison around his neck, and once took