December 11, 2008

Mr. Burke's Animated Description

Mr. Burke's animated description of the late Queen of France

IT is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move-in glittering like the morning star, full of life, and splendour, and joy.

Oh! what a revolution! and what a heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion, that elevation and that fall. Little did I dream, when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace, concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should live to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men; in a nation of men of honour, and of cavaliers.

I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards, to avenge even a look, that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished for ever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex; that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, winch kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom.

The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise, is gone! It is gone-that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honour, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage while it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled courage while it mitigated ferocity; which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which, vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.

1811

4 comments

  1. I love that portrait- I hadn't seen it before!

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  2. Darling, you MUST learn to use quotations when using the words of others...

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  3. Lauren, I see you have yet to correct a serious, not to mention UNETHICAL breach in your post. You 'sort of' attribute the words to Burke and yet refuse to use quotations. I do NOT believe you are doing this in ignorance. I can quote the author AND the book. You are casting a shadow on whose words these are. Truly, you are not all that talented as a writer. But--quoting the words of others is such an easy way to shine in their brilliance. Isn't it?

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  4. @ Anonymous,
    I believe the quoted part was to be subset in the entry? Perhaps a mistake, no need to attack the blog writer...

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