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The offices of the State we go through without obstructions from one another; and live together in the mutual endearments of private life without suspicions; not angry with a neighbor for following the bent of his own humor, nor putting on that countenance of discontent which pains though it cannot punish-so that in private life we converse without diffidence or damage, while we dare not on any account offend against the public, through the reverence we bear to the magistrates and the laws, chiefly to those enacted for redress of the injured, and to those unwritten, a breach of which is thought a disgrace.
Our laws have further provided for the mind most frequent intermissions of care by the appointment of public recreations and sacrifices throughout the year, elegantly performed with a peculiar pomp, the daily delight of which is a charm that puts melancholy to flight. The grandeur of this our Athens causes the produce of the whole earth to be imported here, by which we reap a familiar enjoyment, not more of the delicacies of our own growth than of those of other nations .
That we deserve our power we need no evidence to manifest. We have great and signal proofs of this, which entitle us to the admiration of the present and future ages. We want no Homer to be the herald of our praise; no poet to deck off a history with the charms of verse, where the opinion of exploits must suffer by a strict relation. Every sea has been opened by our fleets, and every land has been penetrated by our armies, which has everywhere left behind them eternal monuments of our enmity and our friendship.
In the just defence of such a State, these victims of their own valor, scorning the ruin threatened to it, have valiantly fought and bravely died. And every one of those who survive is ready, I am persuaded, to sacrifice life in such a cause. And for this reason have I enlarged so much on national points, to give the clearest proof that in the present war we have more at stake than men whose public advantages are not so valuable, and to illustrate, by actual evidence, how great a commendation is due to them who are now my subject, and the greatest part of which they have already received. For the encomiums with which I have celebrated the State have been earned for it by the bravery of these, and of men like these. And such compliments might be thought too high and exaggerated if passed on any Grecians but them alone. The fatal period to which these gallant souls are now reduced, is the surest evidence of their merit -an evidence begun in their lives and completed in their deaths. For it is a debt of justice to pay superior honors to men who have devoted their lives to fighting for their country, though inferior to others in every virtue but that of valor.
DEMOSTHENES THE GREEK AND CICERO THE ROMAN These two Orators are the first in the great galaxy of the world's orators. Both men attained to their positions, only by supreme effort given to preparation and study. Their orations are still studied as models of oratory and are classics in every country where great learning is respected.
Their last service effaces all former demerits—it extends to the public; their private demeanors reached only to a few. Yet not one of these was at all induced to shrink from danger through fondness for these delights which the peaceful affluent life bestows; not one was the less lavish of his life through that flattering hope attendant upon want, that poverty might at length be exchanged for affluence. One passion there was in their minds much stronger than these--the desire for vengeance upon their enemies. Regarding this as the most honorable of dangers, they boldly rushed toward the mark to glut revenge, and then to satisfy those secondary passions. The uncertain event they had already secured in hope; what their eyes showed plainly must be done they trusted to their own valor to accomplish, thinking it more glorious to defend themselves and die in the attempt than to yield and live. From the reproach of cowardice, indeed, they fled but presented their bodies to the shock of battle; when, insensible of fear, but triumphing in hope, in the doubtful charge they instantly dropped, and thus discharged the duty which brave men owe to their country.
As for you, who now survive them, it is your business to pray for a better fate, but to think it your duty also to preserve the same spirit and warmth of courage against your enemies; not judging of the expediency of this from a mere harangue—when any man indulging in a flow of words may tell you, what you yourselves know as well as he, how many advantages there are in fighting valiantly against your enemies—but rather making the daily increasing grandeur of the community the object of your thoughts. And when it really appears great to your apprehensions, think again that this grandeur was acquired by brave and valiant men ; by men who knew their duty and in the moment of action were sensible of shame, who whenever their attempts were unsuccessful, thought it dishonor their country should stand in need of anything their valor could do for it, and so made it the most glorious present.
Bestowing thus their lives upon the public, they have every one received a praise that will never decay, a sepulchre that will always be most illustrious—not that in which their bones lie moldering, but that in which their fame is preserved, to be on every occasion, when honor is the display of either word or act, eternally remembered. This whole earth is the sepulchre of illustrious men.
LYSIAS (458-378 B. C.)
THE FATHER OF NATURAL ORATORY
HERE was abundant oratory before the days of Lysias, but he
, stands first among the ancient orators whose works still exist,
otherwise than in fragments. Thucydides gives us in his history orations attributed to Pericles and others, but these may have been largely the work of his own hand. The dying speech of Socrates comes to us only in Plato's works, and we do not know that it was not of his own invention. But of the orations of Lysias thirty-five still exist—some perhaps spurious, but most of them doubtless his own. The great credit of Lysias is that he broke away from the artificial manner of the previous schools of oratory, and developed a new, forcible and natural manner. The diction of Lysias is eminently graceful, pure and conspicuous. “He resembles," says Quintilian, “ rather a pure fountain than a great river.” He employs only the simplest language, yet has the happy art of giving to every subject treated an air of dignity and importance. As a rule, however, he excels in elegance and persuasion, rather than in vigor of declamation ; though this is not the case in the example quoted. Lysias was born at Athens, the most celebrated city of Greece, about 458 B. C. He traveled among other Grecian cities and the Grecian colonies of the Mediterranean. During his travels he studied rhetoric and oratory.
THE CRIMES OF ERATOSTHENES [The great sum of the orations of Lysias relate to private matters. Of those extant only one is on a public theme, the arraignment of Eratosthenes. The occasion of this may be briefly stated. Lysias, after residing for years in Italy, returned to Athens, which was then under the rule of what are known in history as the Thirty Tyrants. He and his brother opposed these civic maguates, the result being that his brother was executed, and he had to fly for his life. After these tyrants were expelled he returned to Athens and became a composer of orations for others. Eratosthenes,