Tory Historian can add little ...

Posted by Tory Historian Wednesday, April 29, 2009 ,

... to all the many tens of thousands of words that have been written about the Iron Duke, the general who led the armies to victory at Waterloo, the man whose bon mots most of us can quote: the Duke of Wellington (1769 -1852).

Although there is some doubt about the exact day of his birth and the BBC prefers the old and extremely inexact information of "early in May", historians now tend to agree that it was April 29. So, let us celebrate the great man today.

Let us recall two of his memorable sayings. The first is one that every commander should have inscribed permanently on his brain:

The whole art of war consists in getting at what is on the other side of the hill.
The second is probably the first comment, supposedly made by the Duke of Wellington, that Tory Historian ever read back in the days when schools actually taught history. Looking at the post-Reform Act House of Commons, the Duke is supposed to have said:
I never saw so many shocking bad hats in my life.
They have not become any better.


  1. For this is England’s greatest son,
    He that gain’d a hundred fights,
    Nor ever lost an English gun;
    This is he that far away
    Against the myriads of Assaye
    Clash’d with his fiery few and won;
    And underneath another sun,
    Warring on a later day,
    Round affrighted Lisbon drew
    The treble works, the vast designs
    Of his labor’d rampart-lines,
    Where he greatly stood at bay,
    Whence he issued forth anew,
    And ever great and greater grew,
    Beating from the wasted vines
    Back to France her banded swarms,
    Back to France with countless blows,
    Till o’er the hills her eagles flew
    Beyond the Pyrenean pines,
    Follow’d up in valley and glen
    With blare of bugle, clamor of men,
    Roll of cannon and clash of arms,
    And England pouring on her foes.
    Such a war had such a close.
    Again their ravening eagle rose
    In anger, wheel’d on Europe-shadowing wings,
    And barking for the thrones of kings;
    Till one that sought but Duty’s iron crown
    On that loud Sabbath shook the spoiler down;
    A day of onsets of despair!
    Dash’d on every rocky square,
    Their surging charges foam’d themselves away;
    Last, the Prussian trumpet blew;
    Thro’ the long-tormented air
    Heaven flash’d a sudden jubilant ray,
    And down we swept and charged and overthrew.
    So great a soldier taught us there
    What long-enduring hearts could do
    In that world-earthquake, Waterloo!

  2. Thank you, Lex.

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