On the Burning of the French Bridges Over the Danube,
by the Austrians
The Poetical Magazine, I (1809), p. 209
So proud of his conquests and absolute sway,
Bonaparte call'd Heaven to witness his glory;
The Danube he cross'd, but th' Archduke by the way
Burn'd down his bridges, and abridg'd half his story.
1. The French entered Vienna on May 12, 1809 to find that the Archduke Charles had ordered the bridges over the flooded Danube destroyed. In order to engage the Archduke's troops, Napoleon ordered his army to cross the river below Vienna where the Danube was split by islands into smaller channels. His forces were successfully repulsed by the Austrians between the villages of Aspern and Essling, and this defeat marked a turning point in the Austrian campaign.