« PreviousContinue »
Of that long chain'd succession is so frail;
I'm still quite out at sea; nor see the shore.
Whence earth, and these bright orbs?-Eternal too?-
That can't be from themselves-or man; that art
To dance, would form an universe of dust.
Has matter none? Then whence these glorions forms,
ORATIONS AND HARANGUES.
JUNIUS BRUTUS OVER THE DEAD BODY OF LUCRETIA.
YES, noble lady, I swear by this blood, which was once so pure, and which nothing but royal villainy could have polluted, that I will pursue Lucius Tarquinius the proud, his wicked wife, and their children, with fire and sword: nor will I ever suffer any of that family, or of any other whatsoever, to be King in Rome. Ye Gods, I call you to witness this my oath!-There, Romans, turn your eyes to that sad spectacle-the daughter of Lucretius, Collatinus's wife-she died by her own hand. See there a noble lady, whom the lust of a Tarquin reduced to the necessity of being her own executioner, to attest her innocence. Hospitably entertained by her as a kinsman of her husband's, Sextus, the perfidious guest, became her brutal ravisher. The chaste, the generous Lucretia could not survive the insult. Glorious woman ! But once only treated as a slave, she thought life no longer to be endured. Lucretia, a woman, disdained a life that depended on a tyrant's will; and shall we, shall
men, with such an example before our eyes, and after five-and-twenty years of ignominious servitude, shall we, through a fear of dying, defer one single instant to assert our liberty? No, Romans, now is the time; the favourable moment we have so long waited for is come. Tarquin is not at Rome. The Patricians are at the head of the enterprize. The city is abundantly provided with men, arms, and all things necessary. There is nothing wanting to secure the success, if our own courage does. not fail us. Can all those warriors, who have ever been so-brave when foreign enemies were to be subdued, or when conquests were to be made to gratify the ambi-tion and avarice of Tarquin, be then only cowards, when they are to deliver themselves from slavery? Some of you are perhaps intimidated by the army which Tarquin now commands. The soldiers, you imagine, will take the part of their general. Banish so groundless a fear. The love of liberty is natural to all men. Your fellow citizens in the camp feel the weight of oppression with as quick a sense as you that are in Rome they will as eagerly seize the becasion of throwing off the yoke.But let us grant there may be some among them, who, through baseness of spirit, or a bad education, will be disposed to favour the tyrant. The number of these can be but small, and we have means sufficient in our hands to reduce them to reason. They have left us hostages more dear to them than life. Their wives, their children, their fathers, their mothers, are here in the city. Cou rage, Romans, the Gods are for us; those Gods, whose temples and altars the impious Tarquin has profaned by sacrifices and libations made with polluted hands, polluted: with blood, and with numberless unexpiated crimes committed against his subjects. Ye Gods who protected our forefathers, ye Genii, who watch for the preservation and glory of Rome, do you inspire us with courage and unanimity in this glorious cause, and we will to our lasts breath defend your worship from all profanation, 2
HANNIBAL TO HIS SOLDIERS.
I KNOW not, soldiers, whether you or your prisoners. be encompassed by fortune with the stricter bonds and necessities. Two seas enclose you on the right and left; not a ship to flee to for escaping. Before you is the Po, a river broader and more rapid than the Rhone: behind you are the Alps, over which, even when your numbers were undeminished, you were hardly able to force a passage. Here then, soldiers, you must either conquer or die, the very first hour you meet the enemy. But the same fortune which has thus laid you under the necessity of fighting, has set before your eyes those rewards of victory, than which no men are ever wont to wish for greater from the immortal Gods. Should we by our valour recover only Sicily and Sardinia, which were ravished from our fathers, those would be no inconsiderable prizes. Yet what are these? The wealth of Rome, whatever riches she has heaped together in the spoils of nations, all these, with the masters of them, will be yours. You have been long enough employed in driving the cattle upon the vast mountains of Lusitania and Celtiberta ; you have hitherto met with no reward worthy of the labours and dangers you have undergone. The time is now come to reap the full recompence of your toilsome marches over so many mountains and rivers, and through so many nations, all of them in arms. This is the place which fortune has appointed to be the limits of your la bours; it is here that you will finish your glorious warfare, and receive an ample recompence of your completed service. For I would not have you imagine, that victory will be as difficult as the name of a Roman war is great and sounding, It has often happened that a des
pised enemy has given a bloody battle, and the most renowned kings and nations have by a small force been overthrown. And if you but take away the glitter of the Roman name, what is there, wherein they may stand in competition with you? For (to say nothing of your service in war for twenty years together with so much valour and success) from the very pillars of Hercules, from the ocean, from the utmost bounds of the earth, through so many warlike nations of Spain and Gaul, are you not come hither victorious? And with whom are you now to fight? With raw soldiers, an undisciplined army, beaten, vanquished, besieged by the Gauls the very last summer, an army unknown to their leader, and unacquainted with him.
Or shall I, who was born I might almost say, but certainly brought up, in the tent of my father, that most excellent general, shall I, the conqueror of Spain and Gaul, and not only of the Alpine nations, but, which is greater yet, of the Alps themselves, shall I compare myself with this half-year captain? A captain before whom should one place the two armies without their ensigns, I am persuaded he would not know to which of them he is consul? I esteem it no small advantage, soldiers, that there is not one among you, who has not often been an eye witness of my exploits in war; not one of whose valour I myself have not been a spectator, so as to be able to name the times and places of his noble atchievements; that with soldiers, whom I have a thousand times praised and rewarded, and whose pupil I was before I became their general, I shall march against an army of men, strangers to one another.
On what side soever I turn my eyes, I behold all full of courage and strength, a veteran infantry; a most gallant cavalry; you, my allies, most faithful and valiant ; you, Carthaginians, whom not only your country's cause, but the justest anger impels to battle. The hope, the courage of assailants, is always greater than of those