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[314] we bestow on men who, on the one side, grandly fill it out, while, on the other, falling grievously below it, weighed down by something base and earthly. Thus standing before that marvellous monument in Berlin, from which Frederick ‘in his habit as he lived’ looks down in homely greeting to his Prussian people, and seems still to warn them that the art which won empire can alone maintain it, we forget the selfish ambition, the petty foibles, the chilling life—we remember only the valor, the consummate skill, the superhuman constancy of the hero-king. Or if, turning from a career so crowned with final triumph, we recall how, for lack of a like commander, France in our own day has been trampled under foot, we may conceive the devotion with which Frenchmen still crowd about the tomb of Napoleon—a name that, in spite of all its lurid associations, in spite of all the humiliations of the Second Empire, has still had power to lift the French nation, during these latter years, from abasement and despair.

Surely there must be something superhuman in the genius of a great commander, if it can make us forgetful of the woes and crimes so often attending it. How freely, then, may we lavish our admiration and gratitude, when no allowance has to be made for human weakness, when we find military greatness allied with the noblest public and private virtue! Here, at last, in this ideal union is that rare greatness which men may most honor in their fellow-men.

It is the singular felicity of this Commonwealth of Virginia to have produced two such stainless captains. The fame of the one, consecrated by a century of universal reverence and the growth of a colossal empire, the result of his heroic labors, has been commemorated in this city by a monument, in whose majestic presence no man ever received the suggestion of a thought that did not exalt humanity. The fame of the other, not yet a generation old and won in a cause that was lost, is already established by that impartial judgment of foreign nations, which anticipates the verdict of the next age, upon an equal pinnacle, and millions of our countrymen, present here with us in their thoughts and echoing back from city and plain and mountain top the deep and reverent voice of this vast multitude, will this day confirm our solemn declaration that the monument of George Washington has found its only fitting complement and companion in a monument to Robert Lee.

I ventured to say that, if we take account of human nature in all its complexity, the character of the ideal commander is the grandest manifestation in which man can show himself to man. Consider

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