« VorigeDoorgaan »
EXTRACTS FROM DEMOSTHENES AND
FROM THE FIRST PHILIPPIC OF DEMOSTHEXES.
11. Tourreil places this Harangue at the Head
of the rest. DEMOSTHENES, in this oration, animates the Athenians with hopes of better success hereafter in the war against Philip, in case they will follow his example, by applying themselves seriously to the management of their affairs.
"If you resolve, says he, to imitate Philip, which you have not done hitherto; if every one will act with sincerity for the public good; the wealthy by
contributing part of their estates, and the young men by their swords; in a word, if you will depend on yourselves only, and suppress that indolent disposition which ties up your hands, in expectation " of some foreign succours; you then will soon, by
the assistance of the gods, retrieve your losses, and atone for your faults, and will be revenged of your "enemies. For, do not think, Athenians, that Phi"lip is a god, who enjoys immutable felicity. He “is dreaded, hated, and envied, by those who are
best affected to his interest; and indeed, we must
presume they have like passions with the rest of " mankind. But all these sentiments seem at present
extinguished, and that because your slow and indo" lent conduct gives them no opportunity of exert"ing themselves; and it is to this you must apply a " remedy.
For observe, my countrymen, the low condition " to which you are reduced, and to what a height " this man's insolence is risen. He will not allow
you the liberty of determining for peace or war. " He threatens you ; 'he speaks, as it is said, with an arrogant and haughty tone: he is not satisfied with “ his former conquests, but is every day acquiring “more; and whilst you are dilatory and unactive, he s surrounds and invests you on all sides.
“ When, Athenians, when will you act as you
ought to do? What event do you wait for? What “ necessity must compel you to it? Alas! is there
not necessity sufficient at this very time? For, in “my opinion, none is more urgent to a free people, “ than when they are surrounded with shame and ig“ nominy. Will you for ever do nothing but walk up " and down the city asking one another, what news? “ What news! Is there any thing more new, than to “sce a man of Macedonia become master of the “ Athenians, and give laws to all Greece? Is Philip “ dead? says one. No, replics another, he is only 16 sick.
Whether he be sick or dead, what is that to " the purpose; since, were he no more, you would “soon raise up another Philip by your bad conduct; “ for his grandeur is much more owing to your indo“lence, than to his own valour.”
EXTRACT FROM THE SECOND OLYNTHIAN.
It is generally ranked the Third.
Demosthenes compares the present condition of the Athenians to the glory of their ancestors.
“Our ancestors, who were neither flattered by their
orators, nor loved by them, as you are by yours, “ governed Greece during sixty-five years, with the “ unanimous consent of the whole nation, put above “ ten thousand talents into the public treasury; ex“ ercised such a power over the king of Macedon, as « becomes the Greeks to exercise over a barbarian; “ raised great numbers of magnificent trophies for “the victories they had gained in person, both by
sea and land; they only, of the whole race of men, “ transmitted to their posterity, by their great ex"ploits, a glory superior to envy itself
. Such were " these personages at that time, with regard to Greece.
* Let us now examine their public and private life in " those days. Their magistrates erected many noble “edifices for our use, and adorned our temples with "such a number of rich ornaments, that none will " be able to surpass them hereafter in magnificence.
As to their private behaviour, they were so temperate, and adhered so strictly to our ancient simplicity of manners, that, if any of you happens to know the houses inhabited once by Aristides, Miltiades, or any other of their illustrious cotemporaries, he does not see them distinguished by their splendour from the others in their neighbour' hood. For, in the management of public affairs,
they thought themselves obliged to aggrandize the state, and not their families. By this means they arrived at the meridian of felicity, and that deservedly, by faithfully consulting the common good of Greece, an exemplary piety towards the gods, and
living with their fellow-citizens in a modest equality. "Such was the condition of your forefathers, under
such worthy leaders; but what is yours at this time, " under these soft-tongued orators who govern you? Does it bear the least resemblance to it? I will not
the parallel, though the subject opens a large field
“But some will answer me, and say, Though things "don't go on well abroad, they are in a niuch better
condition at home. But what proofs can be " brought of this? Why, some battlements have been
whitened, some highways repaired, and some aqueducts built; with such like tritles. Cast your eyes, I beseech you, upon those men, to whom you owe these rare monuments of their administration. "Some of them were raised from poverty to afllu
ence, others from obscurity to splendour; some again " have built private houses so magnificent, that they
seem to insult even the public edifices ; and the " lower the fortune of the state has sunk, the higher “ has that of such people risen. To what then must we impute this entire subversion of things in our
“ insist upon
“ days : and why is that wonderful order, which was “ formerly seen in all things, now changed for con“ fusion? The reason is this: first, because the peo
ple, at that time, having valour equal to military “ employments, kept the magistrates dependent on
thein, and had the entire disposal of all offices and “favours; and every citizen thought it a merit to
receive honours, employments, or good offices, “ from the people. But now it is quite otherwise ; “ for the magistrates confer all favours, and exercise “ a despotic power; while you, unhappy people, “ enervated and despoiled both of treasure and alli
ances, are merely but as so many lacqueys, and in
a manner only a more numerous mob; and think “ yourselves doubly happy, if your magistrates do “ but indulge you the two oboli for the theatre, and “the mean entertainment they provide for you upon
rejoicing days. And, to complete your baseness, you lavish the title of benefactors upon those who
give you nothing but what is your own; and who, “after imprisoning you, as it were, within your own “ walls, lay baits for, and soften you in this manner, “ with no other view but to prepare you for slavery."
EXTRACT OF THE HARANGUE CONCERNING THE
The pensioners which Philip kept at Athens were perpetually endeavouring to find out expedients for disposing the people to peace; but Demosthenes discovers their treachery and artifices.
[t] I shall only observe, that, as soon as this " discourse against Philip was begun, one of those “ mercenaries rose up and cried out, What a blessed " thing is peace! how difficult to support great armies! “Our treasury is in danger: and they amuse you " with such discourses, by which they cool your zeal, " and give Philip an opportunity of effecting his purposes without difficulty. ... But it is not you (0) Towards the end of the harangue.
"need to be persuaded to peace; you, I say, who,
being already but too much intluenced that way, " loiter here in indolence; it is that man who breathes
nothing but war. . . Besides, we ought not to con“sider what is employed for our safety as a hardship,
but that which we shall suffer in case we neglect to secure ourselves in time. As to the squandering of the public monies, this must be remedied by proposing the best means of prevening it for the future, and not by persuading you to abandon entirely your own interest.
“ As to myself, Athenians, I am filled with indig“nation to see some of you make such a noise about “squandering the public funds (which may be recti"fied by punishing the offenders in an exemplary
manner,) because their private interest suffers by it';
and not say one word, at the same time, of Philip, " who plunders all Greece successively, and that to your prejudice. Whence can it proceed, my coun
trymen, that, while Philip is displaying his banners " in the face of the whole world, committing vio"lences, and seizing fortresses; none of these people " has ever thought tit to say, that man acts unjustly, " and commits hostilities? And that, when you are " advised not to suffer such outrages, but to put a stop
to them, these very people cry out immediately, " that you are going to kindle the flames of a war "which were extinguished !
“What! shall we say again, that to advise you to " defend yourselves, is kindling a war? If that be "the case, then there is nothing but slavery for you. “For there is no other niedium, if we neglect on the one hand to repel violence; and, on the other, the enemy will not grant us a truce.
Our danger too differs very
much from that of the other Greeks; " for Philip will not be barely satistied with enslaving Atheus, he will destroy it; for he knows very well you will never submit to slavery; and that, tho'
you would do this, you never could, for command " and authority are habitual to you; and besides,