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MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO.
A PLEA FOR THE POET ARCHIAS.
[Archias, the poet, was a naturalized Roman citizen. The records of his citizenship were destroyed by fire, and he had to prove his citizenship. The following is taken from Cicero's oration in his defense, delivered 62 B.C.]
SHALL I not love this man? Shall I not admire him? Shall I not defend him to the utmost of my power? For men of the greatest eminence and learning have taught us that other branches of science require education, art, and precept; but that the poet is formed by the plastic hand of nature herself, is quickened by the native fire of genius, and animated, as it were, by a kind of divine enthusiasm. It is with justice, therefore, that our Ennius bestows on poets the epithet of "venerable," because they seem to have some peculiar gifts of the gods to recommend them to us.
Let the name of the poet, then, which the most barbarous nations have never profaned, be revered by you, my lords, who are so great
admirers of polite learning. Rocks and deserts re-echo sounds; savage beasts are often softened by music, and listen to its charms; and shall we, with all the advantages of the best education, be unaffected with the voice of poetry? The praises of our fleet shall ever be recorded and celebrated for the wonders performed at Tenedos, where the enemy's ships were sunk and their commanders slain; such are our trophies, such our monuments, such our triumphs. Those, therefore, whose genius describes these exploits, celebrate likewise the praises of the Roman name.
We beg of you, therefore, my lords, since in matters of such importance not only the intercession of men, but of gods is necessary, that the man who has always celebrated your virtues, those of your generals, and the victories of the Roman people; who declares that he will raise eternal monuments to your praise and mine for our conduct in our late domestic dangers; and who is of the number of those who have ever been accounted and pronounced divine, may be so protected by you as to have greater reason to applaud your generosity than to complain of your rigor.
JOHN B. GOUGH.
WHAT IS A MINORITY?
WHAT is a minority? The chosen heroes of this earth have been in a minority. There is not a social, political, or religious privilege that you enjoy to-day that was not bought for you by the blood and tears and patient sufferings of the minority. It is the minority that have vindicated humanity in every struggle. It is the minority that have stood in the van of every moral conflict, and achieved all that is noble in the history of the world.
You will find that each generation has always been busy in gathering up the scattered ashes of the martyred heroes of the past, to deposit them in the golden urn of a nation's history. Look at Scotland, where they are erecting monuments to whom? To the Covenanters. Ah, they were in a minority! Read their history, if you can, without the blood tingling to the tips of your fingers. These were the minority that, through blood and tears and bootings and scourgings, dyeing the waters with their blood
and staining the heather with their gore, fought the battle of religious freedom.
If a man stand up for the right, though he eat, with the right and the truth, a wretched crust; if he walk with obloquy and scorn in the bylanes and streets, while falsehood and wrong ruffle it in silken attire, let him remember that wherever the right and the truth are there are always "troops of beautiful, tall angels" gathered round him; and God himself stands within the dim future and keeps watch over his own. If a man stands for the right and the truth, though every man's finger be pointed at him, though every woman's lip be curled at him in scorn, he stands in a majority; for God and good angels are with him; and greater are they that are for him than all they that be against him.