1812

Ségur’s account of the first entry of Napoleon’s troops into Moscow, which they find eerily deserted:

They were exalted by that which is second to virtue only, by glory. Then succeeded melancholy; either from the exhaustion consequent on so many sensations, or the effect of the operation produced by such an immeasurable elevation, and of the seclusion in which we were wandering on that height, whence we beheld immensity, infinity, in which our weakness was lost: for the higher we ascend, the more the horizon expands, and the more conscious we become of our own insignificance.

A powerful but tattered army reaches its prize, the capital city of the Russian Empire.  A pause, a passage of silence. They are at the pinnacle, and from there, the only way is down.

Defeat cover

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