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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 3.djvu/336

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ODE TO NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE.

pages. The concluding stanzas xvii., xviii., xix., which Moore gives in a note (Life, p. 249), were not printed in Byron's lifetime, but were first included, in a separate poem, in Murray's edition of 1831, and first appended to the Ode in the seventeen-volume edition of 1832.

Although he had stipulated that the Ode should be published anonymously, Byron had no objection to "its being said to be mine." There was, in short, no secret about it, and notices on the whole favourable appeared in the Morning Chronicle, April 21, in the Examiner, April 24 (in which Leigh Hunt combated Byron's condemnation of Buonaparte for not "dying as honour dies"), and in the Anti-Jacobin for May, 1814 (Letters, 1899, iii. 73, note 3).

Byron's repeated resolutions and promises to cease writing and publishing, which sound as if they were only made to be broken, are somewhat exasperating, and if, as he pleaded in his own behalf, the occasion (of Napoleon's abdication) was physically irresistible, it is to be regretted that he did not swerve from his self-denying ordinance to better purpose. The note of disillusionment and disappointment in the Ode is but an echo of the sentiments of the "general." Napoleon on his own "fall" is more original and more interesting: "Il céda," writes Léonard Gallois (Histoire de Napoléon d'après lui-même, 1825, pp. 546, 547), "non sans de grands combats intérieurs, et la dicta en ces termes.

'Les puissances alliées ayant proclamé que l'empereur Napoléon était le seul obstacle au rétablissement, de la paix en Europe, l'empereur Napoléon fidèle à son serment, déclare qu'il renonce, pour lui et ses héritiers, aux trônes de France et d'Italie, parce qu'il n'est aucun sacrifice personnel, même celui de la vie, qu'il ne soit prêt à faire à l'intérêt de a France.

Napoléon.'"