Friday, June 13, 2008

The changing face of the universe

For Bonaparte to be conqueror at Waterloo was no longer within the law of the nineteenth century. Another series of acts was under way in which Napoleon had no place. The ill-will of events had long been coming.

It was time for this titan to fall.

The excessive weight of this man in human destiny disturbed the equilibrium. The individual alone counted for more than the whole of mankind. This plethora of all human vitality concentrated within a single head, the world rising to the brain of one man, would be fatal to civilization if it endured. The moment had come for incorruptible supreme equity to look into it. Probably the principles and elements on which regular gravitation in the moral and material orders depend had begun to mutter. Reeking blood, overcrowded cemeteries, weeping mothers--these are formidable plaintiffs. When the earth is suffering from a surcharge, there are mysterious moanings from the deeps that the heavens hear.

Napoleon had been impeached before the Infinite, and his fall was decreed.

He annoyed God.

Waterloo is not a battle; it is the changing face of the universe.

--Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

I'm finally reading Les Mis again after ignoring it since April. Less than thirty pages of Waterloo to go. If any more horses fall into a ravine to die I'm going to throw the book across the room.

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