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ELEGANT EXTRACT S>
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BOOK THE THIRD. ORATIONS, CHARACTERS, AND LETTERS.
$ I. The Oration tohicb <was spoken by ■ Pericles, at the public Funeral of those Athenians ivho had been first killed in the P E L O ro N N E S I A N War.
MA NY of those who have spoken before me on occasions of this kind, have commended the author of that law which we are now obeying, for having; inllituted an oration to the honour of those who sacrifice their lives in fighting for their country. For my part, I think it sufficient for men who have appicv?d their virtue in action, by action to be honoured for it—by such a< you see the public gratitude now pcrfo ming about this funeral; and triac the virtues of many ought not 10 b- endangered by the management of any one person, when their credit nust precariously depend on his oraticn, which may be good, and may be lad. Difficult indeed it is, judiciously to handle a subject, where even prolaole truth will hardly gain assent. The hearer, enlightened by a long ac qua'nrance, and warm in his affections, may quickly pronounce every thing unfavourably expressed, in respect to what he withes and what he knows j whilst the stranger pronounceth all exaggerated, through envy of those deeds which he % conscious are above his own achievement, "For the praises bestowed on others are then only to be endured, when men imagine they can do those feats they hear to have been done; they envy what they cannot equal, and immediately pronounce it
false. Yet, as this solemnity has received its sanction from the authority of our ancestors, it is my duty also to obey the law, and to endeavour to procure, so far as I am able, the goodwill and approbation of all my audience.
I (hall therefore begin first with our forefathers, since both justice and decency require we should, on this occasion, bestow on them an honourable remembrance. In this our country they kept themselves always firmly settled; and, through their valour, handed it down free to every since-succeeding generation.—Worthy, indeed, of praiie are they, and yet more worthy are our immediate fathers; since,enlarging their own inheritance into the extensive empire which we now possess, they bequeathed that their work of toil to us their sons. Yet even these successes, we ourselves, here present, we who are yet in the strength and vigour os our days, have nobly improved, and have made such provisions for this our Athens, that now it is all-sufficient in itself to answer every exigence os war and of peace. I mean not here to recite those martial exploits by which these ends were accomplished, or the resolute defences we ourselves and our forefathers have made against the formidable invasions of Barbarians and Greeks. Your own knowledge of these will excuse the long detail. But, by what methods we have rose to this height of glory and power; by what polity, and by what conduct we are K- k 3 thu«