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A Metrical History of the life and times of Napoleon Bonaparte by William J. Hillis, pp208-209 "Sir John Moore could no doubt have made terms with Marshal Soult, whereby he would have been permitted to embark his troops under very reasonable conditions; but he chose to ask no favours from the French commander, and he fell, fighting gallantly for the honour of his country. His burial at midnight upon the ramparts of Corunna, from which place he had hoped to take his army in safety on the morrow, has been made familiar to all of us in the following lines:"
Burial of Sir John Moore, 1809.Rev. Charles Wolfe "Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, As his corse to the rampart was hurried;Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot O'er the grave where our hero we buried.We buried him darkly, at dead of night, The sods with our bayonets turning;By the struggling moonbeam's misty light, And the lantern dimly burning.No useless coffin enclosed his breast, Nor in sheet, nor in shroud, we wound him;But he lay, like a warrior taking his rest, With his martial cloak around him.Few and short were the prayers we said, And we spoke not a word of sorrow;But we steadfastly gazed on the face of the dead, And we bitterly thought of the morrow.We thought, as we hollowed his narrow bed, And smoothed down his lonely pillow,That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head, And we far away on the billow!Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone, And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him;But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on, In the grave where a Briton has laid him!But half of our heavy task was done, When the clock struck the hour for retiring,And we heard by th' distant and random gun, That the foe was sullenly firing.Slowly and sadly we laid him down, From the field of his fame, fresh and gory!We carved not a line, we raised not a stone, But we left him - alone with his glory!"
William J. Hillis, A Metrical History of the life and times of Napoleon Bonaparte, London: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1896
19th century drawing, taken from the play's Classique Larousse edition (1987) © D.R.
On 10 September, 1860, the premiere of Eugène Labiche's Le Voyage de Monsieur Perrichon, a comedy in four acts, was held at the Théâtre du Gymnase in Paris. The play, considered by many to be representative of the bourgeoisie during the Second Empire, ran until 15 September (cf. the issues of the Moniteur Universel from 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 September, 1860) and featured one of the Second Empire's most famous actors, Geoffroy,* in the role of Monsieur Perrichon. The play's historyBy 1860, Eugène Labiche was one of France's most successful dramatists. His first play, La Cuvette d'eau, was most likely written in 1837, but his first success came in 1851 with Un chapeau de paille en Italie. Le Voyage de Monsieur Perrichon, written in collaboration with Edouard Martin, was quite unlike any of Labiche's other plays. Whilst his previous works usually saw the plot unfold in domestic surroundings, Labiche's latest work saw the Perrichon family take the audience on a journey from Paris' Gare de Lyon to Savoie's glaciers. The play, written over the course of 1860, did not take long to complete and clearly took its inspiration from current affairs, namely, France's annexation of Nice and Savoie. The parallel ends there however. Le Voyage de Monsieur Perrichon is a comedy of manners, featuring comic and absurdist situations. The author was more concerned with portraying the Parisian bourgeois individual than Savoyard society. And it was the railway, not the current political situation, that interested him the most. Although the introduction and development of the railway in France was slow, by 1860 it was well established within the empire. The Compagnie des chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée (known more simply known as the PLM) was founded in 1857 following the amalgamation of the Paris-Lyon and Lyon-Méditerranée companies. The network proceeded to expand, including a line to Geneva via Lyon (as seen in the play), and developments in equipment continued apace, with locomotive speeds soon reaching 60 km per hour. Following its opening at the Théâtre du Gymnase on 10 September, Le Voyage de Monsieur Perrichon was a triumphant success, earning Labiche the nickname "king of the Vaudeville". This success has proved long-lasting and in 1906, the play was added to the Comédie Française's repertory. SummaryMonsieur Perrichon, a rich coachbuilder by profession, is an honest but vain member of the bourgeoisie who decides to take a pleasure trip in the company of his wife Caroline and his daughter Henriette. The family, deciding on a train journey to the Swiss Alps, arrive at Gare de Lyon in Paris where they happen upon two young suitors, both with the same goal of marrying Henriette. Over the course of the journey, the two men are involved in an honourable but fierce struggle for the young lady's hand in marriage. * NoteJean Marie Geoffroy (1813-1883), known simply as "Geoffroy", joined the Théâtre du Gymnase in Paris in 1844 and very quickly became one of its mainstays. His performances were, on the whole, critically well received: "He is positively brimming with unexpected brio. His fame has become almost a source of renown in itself". (J. Arago, 1852); "He has a laugh that is his own, a pleasant laugh that fills the auditorium. Other comic actors draw from that which is serious for their effect, using it to sell the jokes, good or bad, that make up their roles; Geoffroy's approach is the opposite". In 1863, after nineteen years of service, he left the Théâtre du Gymnase to work with the Théâtre du Palais-Royal. It was there that his career blossomed, making him one of the most successful actors of his time.
Act OneGare de Lyon, Paris. Upstage, a barrier opens into the waiting rooms. Upstage left, a ticket office. Upstage right, benches. Stage right, pastry seller; stage left, book seller. Scene one:Majorin, a railway employee; a porter, travellers, station agents Majorin, pacing impatiently"That Perrichon isn't coming! I have been waiting an hour. Yet it is definitely today that he leaves for Switzerland with his wife and daughter... (Bitterly) Coachbuilders holidaying in Switzerland! Coachbuilders with incomes of forty thousand pounds! Coachbuilders owning carriages! What a century we live in! Whereas I, I earn two thousand four hundred francs... A hardworking, intelligent employee, always at my desk... Today I requested leave... I said that I was on duty... I absolutely must see Perrichon before his departure... I am going to ask him to advance me this quarter's pay... six hundred francs! He will assume his most beneficent manner and adopt a self-important air!... a coachbuilder! What a pitiful sight! He still isn't here! One would think he is doing it deliberately!..."Emmanuelle Papot (September 2010, tr. & ed. H.D.W.)
- Full text (external link in French)- Eugène Labiche, Le Voyage de Monsieur Perrichon, Classique Larousse, 1987- Henri Lyonnet, Le Dictionnaire des comédiens français, vol. 2, Geneva, 19e, sd.
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Histoire de Napoléon, par M. de Norvins, illustrée par Raffet, (Paris: Furne et Cie, 1827)
Le vrai patineur (The true skater), Delespinasse, 1813
Napoleon, a life, by John Holland Rose
A History of the Peninsular War, by Sir Charles Oman
The official description of the Battle of Austerlitz, according to Napoleon's instructions
Mercure de France, 4 juillet 1807. Chateaubriand wrote: “It is in vain that Nero prospers ...”
Histoire de l'Empereur Napoléon (History of the Emperor Napoleon), by Laurent de l'Ardèche, illustrated by Horace Vernet (Paris: J.-J. Dubochet, 1839)
John R. Glover, secretary to Rear Admiral Cockburn (on board the "Northumberland"), with introd. and notes by J. Holland Rose, London, T. Fisher Unwin, 1906
Les origines de la légende napoléonienne: l'œuvre historique de Napoléon à Sainte-Hélène (English title: The exile of St Helena: the last phase in fact and fiction) by Philippe Gonnard (Paris, 1906)
The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte, Emperor of the French. With a Preliminary View of the French Revolution. By the Author of "Waverley", &c., de Walter Scott
Galerie des enfans célébres, by M. le comte de Barins, 1836
The Statistics of ‘Napoleonic France'
Burial of Sir John Moore, 1809
Andreas Hofer by William Wordsworth
Mémorial de Sir Hudson Lowe, relatif à la captivité de Napoléon à Sainte-Hélène, Paris, Léo Dureuil, 1830
"The geographical plan of the Island & Forts of Ste Helena"
Clement Shorter, Napoleon in his own defence (London, 1910)
A Napoleonic collection in the heart of London
Funérailles de l'Empereur Napoléon , Album de lithographies. Ouvrage dédié à Son Altesse Royale le prince de Joinville, chargé par le roi d'accomplir le dernier voeu de l'Empereur
The Publication of Letters of the French Army, Intercepted by the British
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La fête impériale, par Frédéric Loliée (Paris: F. Joven, 1907)
Le voyage de Monsieur Perrichon, a comedy in four parts, by Eugène Labiche
© Fondation Napoléon 2008