William Wordsworth

Napoleon as Fallen Angel

In this sonnet Wordsworth depicts Napoleon as a figure of unprincipled ambition and evil on par with Milton’s Satan.

LOOK now on that Adventurer who hath paid
          His vows to fortune; who, in cruel slight
          Of virtuous hope, of liberty, and right,
          Hath followed wheresoe’er a way was made
          By the blind Goddess ; —ruthless, undismayed;
          And so hath gained at length a prosperous Height,
          Round which the Elements of worldly might
          Beneath his haughty feet, like clouds, are laid.
          O joyless power that stands by lawless force!
          Curses are his dire portion, scorn, and hate,            
          Internal darkness and unquiet breath;
          And, if old judgments keep their sacred course,
          Him from that Height shall Heaven precipitate
          By violent and ignominious death.
                                                                        1809


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