Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tete d'Armee

‘…As if to mark a closing point of resemblance betwixt Cromwell and Napoleon, a dreadful tempest arose on the 4th of May, which preceded the day that was to close the mortal existence of this extraordinary man.  A willow, which had been the Exile’s favourite, and under which he had often enjoyed the fresh breeze, was torn up by the hurricane; and almost all the trees about Longwood shared the same fate.

The 5th of May came amid wind and rain.  Napoleon’s passing spirit was deliriously engaged in a strife more terrible than that of the elements around.  The words “tete d’armee,” the last thoughts which escaped from his lips, intimated that his thoughts were watching the current of a heady flight.  About eleven minutes before six in the evening, Napoleon, after a struggle which indicated the original strength of his constitution, breathed his last.’

From Scott’s “Life of Napoleon Bonaparte”.  Napoleon passed on the island of St. Helena, on May 5th, 1821; now entombed in Les Invalides. 

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