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- Public Speaking - 20/65 -
never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained, we must fight; I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms, and to the God of Hosts, is all that is left us!
INVECTIVE AGAINST LOUIS BONAPARTE
From a reprint in "A Modern Reader and Speaker," by George Ridde, Duffield and Company, New York, publishers.
BY VICTOR HUGO
I have entered the lists with the actual ruler of Europe, for it is well for the world that I should exhibit the picture. Louis Bonaparte is the intoxication of triumph. He is the incarnation of merry yet savage despotism. He is the mad plenitude of power seeking for limits, but finding them not, neither in men nor facts. Louis Bonaparte holds France; and he who holds France holds the world. He is master of the votes, master of consciences, master of the people; he names his successor, does away with eternity, and places the future in a sealed envelope. Thirty eager newspaper correspondents inform the world that he has frowned, and every electric wire quivers if he raises his little finger. Around him is heard the clanking of the saber and the roll of the drum. He is seated in the shadow of the eagles, begirt by ramparts and bayonets. Free people tremble and conceal their liberty lest he should rob them of it. The great American Republic even hesitates before him, and dares not withdraw her ambassador.
Europe awaits his invasion. He is able to do as he wishes, and he dreams of impossibilities. Well, this master, this triumphant conqueror, this vanquisher, this dictator, this emperor, this all- powerful man, one lonely man, robbed and ruined, dares to rise up and attack.
Yes, I attack Louis Napoleon; I attack him openly, before all the world. I attack him before God and man. I attack him boldly and recklessly for love of the people and for love of France. He is going to be an emperor. Let him be one; but let him remember that, though you may secure an empire, you cannot secure an easy conscience!
This is the man by whom France is governed! Governed, do I say?-- possessed in supreme and sovereign sway! And every day, and every morning, by his decrees, by his messages, by all the incredible drivel which he parades in the "Moniteur," this emigrant, who knows not France, teaches France her lesson! and this ruffian tells France he has saved her! And from whom? From herself! Before him, Providence committed only follies; God was waiting for him to reduce everything to order; at last he has come!
For thirty-six years there had been in France all sorts of pernicious things,--the tribune, a vociferous thing; the press, an obstreperous thing; thought, an insolent thing, and liberty, the most crying abuse of all. But he came, and for the tribune he has substituted the Senate; for the press, the censorship; for thought, imbecility; and for liberty, the saber; and by the saber and the Senate, by imbecility and censorship, France is saved. Saved, bravo! And from whom, I repeat? From herself. For what was this France of ours, if you please? A horde of marauders and thieves, of anarchists, assassins, and demagogues. She had to be manacled, had this mad woman, France; and it is Monsieur Louis Bonaparte who puts the handcuffs on her. Now she is in a dungeon, on a diet of bread and water, punished, humiliated, garotted, safely cared for. Be not disturbed; Monsieur Bonaparte, a policeman stationed at the Élysée, is answerable for her to Europe. He makes it his business to be so; this wretched France is in the straitjacket, and if she stirs--Ah, what is this spectacle before our eyes? Is it a dream? Is it a nightmare? On one side a nation, the first of nations, and on the other, a man, the last of men; and this is what this man does to this nation. What! he tramples her under his feet, he laughs in her face, he mocks and taunts her, he disowns, insults, and flouts her! What! he says, "I alone am worthy of consideration!" What! in this land of France where none would dare to slap the face of his fellow, this man can slap the face of the nation? Oh, the abominable shame of it all! Every time that Monsieur Bonaparte spits, every face must be wiped! And this can last! and you tell me it will last! No! No! by every drop in every vein, no! It shall not last! Ah, if this did last, it would be in very truth because there would no longer be a God in heaven, nor a France on earth!
SHOWING THE PICTURE
MOUNT, THE DOGE OF VENICE!
From the play, "Foscari"
BY MARY RUSSELL MITFORD
_Doge_. What! didst thou never hear Of the old prediction that was verified When I became the Doge?
_Zeno_. An old prediction!
_Doge_. Some seventy years ago--it seems to me As fresh as yesterday--being then a lad No higher than my hand, idle as an heir, And all made up of gay and truant sports, I flew a kite, unmatched in shape or size, Over the river--we were at our house Upon the Brenta then; it soared aloft, Driven by light vigorous breezes from the sea Soared buoyantly, till the diminished toy Grew smaller than the falcon when she stoops To dart upon her prey. I sent for cord, Servant on servant hurrying, till the kite Shrank to the size of a beetle: still I called For cord, and sent to summon father, mother, My little sisters, my old halting nurse,-- I would have had the whole world to survey Me and my wondrous kite. It still soared on, And I stood bending back in ecstasy, My eyes on that small point, clapping my hands, And shouting, and half envying it the flight That made it a companion of the stars, When close beside me a deep voice exclaimed-- Aye, mount! mount! mount!--I started back, and saw A tall and aged woman, one of the wild Peculiar people whom wild Hungary sends Roving through every land. She drew her cloak About her, turned her black eyes up to Heaven, And thus pursued: Aye, like his fortunes, mount, The future Doge of Venice! And before For very wonder any one could speak She disappeared.
_Zeno_. Strange! Hast thou never seen That woman since?
_Doge_. I never saw her more.
From "Tennyson's Poetical Works," published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.
BY ALFRED LORD TENNYSON
"Shall we fight or shall we fly? Good Sir Richard, tell us now, For to fight is but to die! There'll be little of us left by the time this sun be set." And Sir Richard said again: "We be all good Englishmen. Let us bang these dogs of Seville, the children of the devil, For I never turned my back upon don or devil yet." Sir Richard spoke and he laughed, and we roar'd a hurrah, and so The little _Revenge_ ran on sheer into the heart of the foe, With her hundred fighters on deck, and her ninety sick below; For half of their fleet to the right and half to the left were seen. And the little _Revenge_ ran on thro' the long sea lane between.
And while now the great _San Philip_ hung above us like a cloud Whence the thunderbolt will fall Long and loud, Four galleons drew away From the Spanish fleet that day, And two upon the larboard and two upon the starboard lay, And the battle-thunder broke from them all.
And the sun went down, and the stars came out, far over the summer sea, But never a moment ceased the fight of the one and the fifty-three. Ship after ship, the whole night long, their high-built galleons came, Ship after ship, the whole night long, with her battle-thunder and flame; Ship after ship, the whole night long, drew back with her dead and her shame, For some were sunk, and many were shatter'd, and so could fight us no more-- God of battles, was ever a battle like this in the world before?
For he said: "Fight on! fight on!" Tho' his vessel was all but a wreck; And it chanced that, when half of the summer night was gone, With a grisly wound to be dressed, he had left the deck, But a bullet struck him that was dressing it suddenly dead, And himself he was wounded again, in the side and the head, And he said: "Fight on! Fight on!"
And the night went down, and the sun smiled out far over the summer sea, And the Spanish fleet with broken sides lay round us all in a ring; But they dared not touch us again, for they feared that we still could sting, So they watched what the end would be. And we had not fought them in vain, But in perilous plight were we, Seeing forty of our poor hundred were slain and half of the rest of us maimed for life In the crash of the cannonades and the desperate strife; And the sick men down in the hold were most of them stark and cold, And the pikes were all broken and bent, and the powder was all of it spent; And the masts and the rigging were lying over the side; But Sir Richard cried in his English pride, "We have fought such a fight for a day and a night
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