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Go, since I needs must die,
"Go, tell the court it glows
"Tell men of high condition
Disgusted with the growing cruelties of monarchy and state "reformers," I joined a band of Puritans who proposed to leave old Albion, and find in North America a home and country where they could worship God in their own way, and secure freedom for themselves and children for a thousand years to come.
I stood on the prow of the Mayflower as the sun rose over the harbor of Plymouth on the 17th of September, 1620, as the good ship sailed away from England to the west, with one hundred and one passengers, filled with the great spirit of religious and material liberty.
After a very stormy passage of sixty-three days, touching at Cape Cod, we made final anchor at Plymouth Rock, on the evening of the 16th of December, 1620.
That rock-bound, stormy, snowy, forest coast, filled with fierce animals and fiercer red men, gave the lonely emigrants a cold and terrible winter reception.
"The breaking waves dashed high
On a stern and rock bound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky
And the heavy night hung dark,
The hills and waters o'er
When a band of exiles moored their bark
Amidst the storm they sang,
And the stars heard, and the sea;-
I stood behind the screens of the royal palace on the 30th of January, 1649, in the presence of the cruel Cromwell, Ireton, Bradshaw, and the fanatical Milton, and saw their glee when the axe of the executioner severed the head of King Charles the First, for the delectation of the beastly and vulgar multitude that howled approbation of the bloody scene; and yet, only twelve years after, I saw the crumbling, dead, naked bodies of Oliver Cromwell, his son, Ireton and Bradshaw, trundled along the streets of London, grappled by Parliamentary order from their graves, and hung on the gallows of Tyburn, their broken bones buried at the foot of the scaffold, while their withered, rotten heads were placed on the southern coping of Westminster Hall.
Thus, the compensating balances of life and death, right and wrong, forever tip the beam of justice.
The prince and the pauper,
I saw the wonderful Muscovite monarch,
PETER THE GREAT,
as he rose out of the huge, brutal giant of Russian force, flash on the world like a zigzag meteor, lighting up his imperial dominions with barbaric splendor.
At the age of twenty-six, 1698, I saw him working with hammer, chisel, saw and axe as a common ship carpenter at Amsterdam and Deptford, entertaining ambassadors and kings, while he sat on the crosstrees of a new built ship. I met him again on the barren swamps of the Neva and icy shores of the Baltic, giving orders for the building of his new capital, St. Petersburg, in May, 1703, and in June, 1708, watched the compact columns of the great Czar rush down upon Charles the Twelfth of Sweden, and on the plains of Pultowa, scatter forever the hitherto unconquerable hosts of Scandinavia; and then after a great reign he crowned the peasant girl, Catherine of Livonia, Empress of all the Russias, the most energetic and remarkable female ruler since the days of Semiramis, Isabella and Elizabeth.
I watched the star of
as it first flickered over the rock-rimmed island of Corsica, foam fringed by the green waters of the Mediterranean. I saw it glitter over the mathematical charity scholar of France, the "puss in boots" at royal receptions, the artillery officer at the Bridge of Lodi, the general of the FrenchItalian army, scaling the cloud-kissing Alps in mid winter, bearing the eagles of liberty over the plains of Lombardy, on to Milan and Rome, until the tramp of the unconquerable Frank echoed through the streets and halls of the Cæsars, and re-echoed in the lofty aisles and arches of the Vatican!
I beheld again the star of this "man of destiny" shine in glorious splendor at Maringo, Wagram, Austerlitz, Jena, Leipsic and Ulm, and then as First Consul and Emperor, sweeping with his unconquerable columns over the sands of Egypt and snows of Russia, until at last the fires and smoke of Moscow bedimmed the horizon of his glory, and lit up the funeral pyre of five hundred thousand of the best soldiers of France, led to their doom by the crazy ambition of a selfish tyrant!
Again I saw him escape from Elba, bare his breast to the guns of his former legions and rout royalty from its palace portals, and sweeping for a hundred days over the vineclad hills of France, he finally on the 18th of June, 1815, marshaled his magnificent army around the plains and hills of Waterloo, defying the Austrian, Prussian, Rus
sian and British allied armies to the death grapple of the century, and went down to irretrievable defeat.
And then after five long years of an exile imprisonment on the barren isle of St. Helena, I heard his last gasp, "Head of the Army!"
"With no friend but his sword and no fortune but his talents, he rushed in the lists, where rank and wealth and genius had arrayed themselves; and competition fled from him as from the glance of destiny.
"A professed Catholic, he imprisoned the Pope; a pretended patriot, he impoverished the country; and in the name of Brutus, he grasped without remorse and wore without shame the diadem of the Cæsars!
"Such a medley of contradictions, and at the same time such an individual consistency were never united in the same character; a Royalist, a Republican and an Emperor; a Mahometan, a Catholic, and a patron of the synagogue, a subaltern and a Sovereign, a traitor and a tyrant, a Christian and infidel, he was through all his vicissitudes, the same stern, impatient, inflexible original, the same mysterious, incomprehensible self-the man without a model and without a shadow !"
A wreck of ambition, deserted, alone,
He rode o'er the bones of mankind to a throne;