« AnteriorContinua »
Wicked men, according to the custom of tyrants; and drew from you, instead of your consent, your indignation. But, after he had possessed himself of the sore teignty, howsoever acquired, did he use it in a manner becoming a king, in imitation of his predecessors, the whole tenor of whose words and actions tended to age grandize the city, and leave it more flourishing to poste. tity than they themselves had received it? What man in his senses can say this, when he sees in how miserable and cruel a manner we have all been treated!
I shall say nothing of the calamities we, who are patricians, suffer, which even our enemies could not hear without tears; since, from a numerous body, we are reduced to a few; from splendour to obscurity, and from afilnent prosperity, to poverty, and extreme want. Oi all those illastrious men, those formidable warriors, and great statesmen, by whose means our city once flous rished, some are put to death, and others banished. But that is your condition, plebeians? Has not Tarquinius taken away your laws ? Has he' not abolished your meetings, on account of religion and sacrifices ? Has he not put an end to your elections of magistrates, to your right of toting, and to your assemblies for the affairs of the public? Does he not force you, like, slaves, pür: thased with money, to labour in a shameful manner, to cut stones, saw timber, carry burthens, and waste your strength in deep pits and subterráneous caverns, with. out allowing you the least respite from your miseries ? What, then, will be the end of our calamities? How long shall we submit to these things? And when shall We recover our native liberty? When Tarquinius dies? ---To be sure !
Shall we be in a better condition then ! Shall we not be in a worse? for, instead of one Tarqui. nius, we shall have three; all far more abominable than their father. Since he, who, from a private man, became a tyrant, and began late to be wicked, is a perfect master in all tyrannicat mischief; what kind of men may We expect these will prove, who are sprung from him ; whose race is wicked, whose education is wicked, and who never had an opportunity of seeing or hearing any action that had the appearance of liberty er moderation ? To this end, therefore, you may not guess at their accursed natures, but know with certainty what kind of whelps the tyranny of Tarquinius nurses up for your destruction, behold the action of one of them, the eldest of the three,
This lady is the daughter of Spurius Lucretius, whom the tyrant, when he went to the war, appointed gover. .nor of the city; and the wife of 'Tarquinius Collatinus, a relation of the tyrant's, who has undergone many hardships for their sakes. This lady, who desired to preserve her virtae, and loved her husband, as becomes a good wife, Sextus being last night entertaiutd at her house, as a relation, and Collatinus then absent, and in the camp, could not escape the ongovernable insolence of the ty. ranny; but, like a captive, under the power of necessi. ty, submitted to those things that ought not to be offered to a woman of free condition. Resenting this usage, and looking upon the abuse as intolerable, she acquaint. ed her father, and the rest of her relations, with the ne. cessity she had been reduced to; and having intreated and conjured them all, in the most' earnest manner, to revenge the indignity she had suffered, she drew the dagger she had concealed in her bosom, and, in her father's sight, citizens, plunged it in her own bowels! : 0 thou admirable woman! great are the praises you dešerve for your generous resolution !
You are gone-you are dead; you were unable to bear the tyrannical insult, and despised all the pleasures of life, to avoid being any - Jonger exposed to the like abuse. After this, Lucretia, when you, who were formed a woman, have shewn the resolution of a brave man, shall we, who were born mện, shew tess courage than women? To you, after you were deprived of your spotless chastity, through force, by the tyranny of one night, death appeared more amiable, and to promise greater happiness than life; and shall not we adopt the same sentiments, whom Tarquinius, not by a tyranny of one day only, but of twenty-five years, has deprived of all the pleasures of life, in depriving us of our liberty? We cannot live under these miseries, citizens ;wę, who are the descendants of those men who thought themselves worthy to give laws to others, and exposed themselves to many dangers for the sake of power and fame: so that we have all no other choiee, than that of life, with liberty, or of death with glory. For the opportunity we wishod for now presents itself: Tarqui.
nius is absent from the city, the patricians are the authors of the enterprise, ---and no want of any thing, if we enter upon the action with alacrity; not of men, money, arms, generals, nor of any other military preparation, for the city is full of all these. Consider, then, what a shame it would be for us, who aim at giving laws to the Volsci, the Sabines, and several other nations, to suffer ourselves to be the slaves of others; and to under. take many wars, to gratify the ambition of Tarquinius, and not one to recover our own liberty.
What support, therefore, what assistance can we promise ourselves in this enterprise ? This remains to be explained. Our first support is derived from a depen. dance upon the gods, whose religion, temples, and altars, Tarquinius pollutes with hands stained with blood, and defiled with all the crimes he has committed against his subjects, every time he begins the sacrifices and liba. tion. The next tows from our dependance upon ourselves, who are neither few in number, nor unskilled in
Besides these advantages, we may expect the #se sistance of our allies; who, while they are not called upon by us, think it improper to enter into our affairs ; but, if they see us acting the part of brave men, will cheerfully assist us in the war: for tyranny is odious to all who desire to be free. But, if any
you are afraid, lest the citizens who are in the camp with Tarquinius, should assist him, and make war upon us, they have no reason for that fear: for the tyranny is grievous to them also; and the desire of liberty is implanted by nature in the minds of all men, and every pretence for a change is sufficient for those who are compelled to bear hardships; and if you, by your votes, order them to assist their country, neither fear, nor favour, nor any other motives, that compel or persuade men to commit injustice, will retain them with the tyrants. But if the love of tyranny is tooted in any of them, through an evil disposition, or a corrupt education, as they certainly are not many, we will apply, cven to these men, motives of so great force, as to transform them from wicked to good citi., zens fór we have here their children, wives, and paa rents, as hostages, which are dearer to every man than his own life: by engaging to restore these to them, if they will desert the tyrant, and by passing a vote for the
impunity of the crimes they have been guilty of, we skall easily prevail upon them to join us. March, therefore, eltizens, with confidence, and hopes of success, to this action, the most glorious you were ever engaged in. To your assistance, therefore, O gods of our ancestors! the propitious guardians of this land ;-to yours, O genii! to whom the care of onr fathers was allotted ;--and to yours; O Rome! the most favoured by the gods of all other cities, in which we received our birth and educa. tion, wo dedicate our counsels, our words, our aetions, and our lives; ready to suffer every thing that heaven and fåte shall decree. But I foresee that glorious enter. prise will be crowned with success. May all here pres sent, emboldened with the same confidence, and united in the same sentiments, both preserve you, and be prew served by you!
XL. From the funeral Oration of Lysias, in praise
of the Athenians, who fell in assisting the Corinthians, during their war with Lacedemon.
If it were within the reach of eloquence to do justice to the merit of those who lie here interred, the state, doubtless, would be blameable in allowing to the orators only a few days for their preparation. But since it is altogether impossible to compose a discourse adequate to so glorious a theme, Ti must rather admire the penes tration of our magistrates, who by assigning a short táme for the execution of a task which could never be completely accomplished, have thus endeavoured to save the reputation of the speakers, and to cover them from a multitude of reproaches
. It is my ambition, therefore, to rival, not the glory which your warriors have acquired, but the eloquence with which your orators have displayed it. The actions of the former afford a subject of pane. gyric which all the praises of the latter can never fully exhaust; in every age, over seas and land, wherever man kind, subject to calamity and affliction, stand in need of tender sympathy and generous assistance, the virtues of the humane and the brave will be admired; their ex. ploits will be recorded, and their name and glory will
umain, But before I endeavour to do justice to such as have lately aspired at so distinguished a renown, I must, according to custom, relate the ancient dangers of our forefathers, not drawing my'information from writ ten record, but from venerable traditionary fame, trea. sured in the heart and memory of every good citizen, It is the duty of all mankind to be mindful of our ances. tors, to celebrate them with odes, to extol thren with pa. negyrics, to honour them especially, on such occasions as the present, that by praising the actions of the dead they may excite the virtues of the living.
But it is. dillicult for one speaker to do justice to so extensive a subject, or properly to describe in one day the accumulated glory, of ages. For what time, what orator, or what panegyric is suflicient to display the vir. tue of those who lie interred here? By the most daring and splendid attempts, and with infinite fatigue and daite ger, they acquired liberty to Greece, and preeminence for Athens. During seventy years in which tlfey conti. Rued masters of the sea, the fruits of their superiority were most conspicuous. No seditions in the Grecian eities; no, attempts on the liberty of their allies; no state, I may say no individual, was allowed to domineer over his neighbour, but all were compelled to enjoy equat, freedom and independence. They pursued no narrow, scheme for augmenting their relative strength, but invigorating the absolute and common strength of Greece, dis-, played; it before the ty rapt of Asia, now no longer in. toxicated, with, his plans ui ambition, but resigning part, of his dominions, and trembling for the remainder. During all this period, no l'ersiau vessel appeared in our Suasi no tyrant reigned in Greece, no city was enslaved by the barbarians. Such was the moderation or respect, with which the virtue of the Athenians inspired their queighbours; and, sp, well did their justice deserve that superiority which their valgur bad acquired.
Even their misfortunes afford additional evidence of their merit. The loss of the Athenian fleet in the Helles, pont, whether through the fault of the commanders, or wa fatality of circunstances, was equally felt over all