1803 8

Previous Poem    -    Next Poem

Buonaparte's Will
[Thomas Stott]
The Gentleman's Magazine, LXXIII (October 1803), p. 956
The Anti-Gallican (1804), p. 427 (with its source given as The Morning Post)

As I am on a voyage bent,
    That may prove good or ill,
I thus, confusion to prevent,
    Think fit to make my WILL:

And, first, Madame, my loving wife
    (Though sorry to forsake her),
I leave, should I depart this life,
    To BARRAS[1]—if he'll take her.

She of unfruitful vines was one!
    I wish he still had kept her:
Then, haply, to a duteous son,
    I now might leave—my sceptre.

But not a needle do I care
    Who wields it after me,
Provided he be no proud heir
    Of BOURBON'S family.

Then, to my FELLOW-CONSULS, next,
    I leave their titled bubble
To TALLEYRAND,[2] this wholesome text,
    "A man is born to trouble!"[3]

To my dear BROTHERS I bequeath
    All they can get by rapine;
That is, provided that my death,
    Ere I return, shall happen.

To my companions, brave in arms
    (If they get safely over),
I give up all the wealth, and charms,
    Beyond the Cliffs of Dover.

My friends, th' Italians, Dutch, and Swiss,
    To me so true and steady,
I leave my fond fraternal kiss
    So now to die I'm ready.

Translated from the original,
October 1
, 1803, by HAFIZ


1. Paul Francois Nicolas, vicomte de Barras (1755-1829), head of the Jacobinical directors of the Directory from 1795-1799. Josephine Beauharnais, the widow of a general who was guillotined, was Barras' mistress before her marriage to Napoleon.

2. Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754-1838), had aided Bonaparte's early career, and was especially influential in his appointment as First Consul. Talleyrand desired that the Peace of Amiens be kept, and he attempted to moderate Napoleon's ambition since he desired that the European system be maintained as far as possible. By 1803, Talleyrand found that more and more he disapproved of Napoleon's policies.

3. Book of Job, v. 7.

Previous Poem    -    Next Poem