Page images

honorable citizen (by their success O earth and heaven! we should have been the greatest of people incontestably, and deserved to be so: even under their failure the result is glory, and no one blames Athens or her policy; all condemn fortune that so ordered things); but never will he desert the interests of the commonwealth, nor hire himself to her adversaries, and study the enemy's advantage, instead of his country's; nor on a man who has courage to advise and propose measures worthy of the state, and resolution to persevere in them, will he cast an evil eye, and, if any one privately offends him, remember and treasure it up; no, nor keep himself in a criminal and treacherous retirement, as you so often do. There is indeed a retirement just and beneficial to the state, such as you, the bulk of my countrymen, innocently enjoy: that, however, is not the retirement of Aeschines; far from it. Withdrawing himself from public life when he pleases (and that is often), he watches for the moment when you are tired of a constant speaker, or when some reverse of fortune has befallen you, or anything untoward has happened (and many are the casualties of human life); at such a crisis he springs up an orator, rising from his retreat like a wind; in full voice, with words and phrases collected, he rolls them out audibly and breathlessly, to no advantage or good purpose whatsoever, but to the detriment of some or other of his fellow-citizens and to the general disgrace.

Yet from this labor and diligence, Aeschines, if it proceeded from an honest heart, solicitous for your country's welfare, the fruits should have been rich and noble and profitable to all — alliances of states, supplies of money, conveniences of commerce, enactment of useful laws, opposition to our declared enemies. All such things were ked for in former times; and many opportunities did the past afford for a good man and true to show himself; during which time

you are nowhere to be found, neither first, second, third, fourth, fifth, nor sixth - not in any rank at all — certainly in no service by which your country was exalted. For what alliance has come to the state by your procurement? What succors, what acquisition of good will or credit? What embassy or agency is there of yours, by which the reputation of the country has been increased ? What concern, domestic, Hellenic, or foreign, of which you have had the management, has improved under it? What galleys? what ammunition? what arsenals? what repair of walls? what cavalry? What in the world are you good for? What assistance in money have you ever given, either to the rich or the poor, out of public spirit or liberality? None. But, good sir, if there is nothing of this, there is at all events zeal and loyalty. Where? when? You infamous fellow! Even at a time when all who ever spoke upon the platform gave something for the public safety, and last Aristonicus gave the sum which he had amassed to retrieve his franchise, you neither came forward nor contributed a mite not from inability no! for you have inherited above five talents from Philo, your wife's father, and you had a subscription of two talents from the chairmen of the Boards for what you did to cut up the

navy law. But, that I may not go from one thing to another and lose sight of the question, I pass this by. That it was not poverty prevented your contributing, already appears: it was, in fact, your anxiety to do nothing against those to whom your political life is subservient. On what occasion, then, do you show your spirit? When do you shine out? When aught is to be spoken against your countrymen ! then it is you are splendid in voice, perfect in memory, an admirable actor, a tragic Theocrines.

You mention the good men of olden times; and you are right so to do. Yet it is hardly fair, O Athenians, that he should get the advantage of that respect which you have for

the dead, to compare and contrast me with them

me who am living among you; for what mortal is ignorant that toward the living there exists always more or less of ill will, whereas the dead are no longer hated even by an enemy? Such being human nature, am I to be tried and judged by the standard of my predecessors? Heaven forbid! It is not just or equitable, Aeschines. Let me be compared with you, or any persons you like of your party who are still alive. And consider this — whether it is more honorable and better for the state, that because of the services of a former age, prodigious though they are beyond all power of expression, these of the present generation should be unrequited and spurned, or that all who give proof of their good intentions should have their share of honor and gard from the people? Yet indeed — if I must say so much - my politics and principles, if considered fairly, will be found to resemble those of the illustrious ancients, and to have had the same objects in view, while yours resemble those of their calumniators: for it is certain there were persons in those times who ran down the living, and praised people dead and gone, with a malignant purpose like yourself.

Two things, men of Athens, are characteristic of a welldisposed citizen: so may I speak of myself and give the least offence: In authority, his constant aim should be the dignity and pre-eminence of the commonwealth; in all times and circumstances his spirit should be loyal. This depends upon nature; power and might upon other things. Such a spirit, you will find, I have ever sincerely cherished. Only see, when my person was demanded — when they brought Amphictyonic suits against me — when they menaced -when they promised — when they set these miscreants like wild beasts upon me— never in any way have I abandoned my affection for you. From the very beginning I chose an honest and straightforward course in politics, to support the

honor, the power, the glory of my fatherland, these to exalt, in these to have my being. I do not walk about the market place gay and cheerful because the stranger has prospered, holding out my right hand and congratulating those who I think will report it yonder, and on any news of our own success shudder and groan and stoop to the earth, like these impious men, who rail at Athens, as if in so doing they did not rail at themselves; who look abroad, and if the foreigner thrives by the distress of Greece, are thankful for it, and say we should keep him so thriving to all time.

Never, O ye gods, may those wishes be confirmed by you ! If possible, inspire even in these men a better sense and feeling! But if they are indeed incurable, destroy them by themselves; exterminate them on land and sea; and for the rest of us, grant that we may speedily be released from our present fears, and enjoy a lasting deliverance.




HE Latin temperament being practical, whereas the

Grecian was highly imaginative, it was a long time before Roman oratory escaped from the hardness of composition and delivery that pervaded it for many centuries, and it was not until the conquest of Greece that the classic style of oratory made its deep impress upon the work of the Roman orators.

The elder Cato was austere in matter and manner, and the younger Cato, dying 103 years after the death of his great-grandfather, inherited many of his characteristics, and although his oratory displayed candor, truth, and courage, it lacked the finish, smoothness, and grace of the Grecian school, which qualities were, to a great extent, possessed by Cicero, Caesar, Crassus, and Marc Antony. Caius Gracchus and his brother Tiberius had a marked influence upon the Roman style of oratory by softening and smoothing it, but this influence was not strongly felt until the coming of Cicero, and that marvellous group of statesmen, politicians, and orators which embraced Pompey, Crassus, Caesar, Cato, Antonius (Marc Antony), and

« PreviousContinue »