Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

flowing source of those sublimer beauties, of which no subject but mind alone is capable, Then it is thou art enabled to exhibit to mankind the admired tribe of poets and orators; the sacred train of patriots and heroes; the godlike list of philosophers and legislators; the forms of virtuous and equal polities, where private welfare is made the fame with public, where crowds themselves prove disinterested, and virtue is made a national and popular characterise.

Hail! sacred source of all these wonders! thyself instruct me to praise thee worthily; through whom, whatever we do is done with elegance and beauty; without whom, what we do is graceless and deformed.—Venerable power! by what name shall I address thee? shall I call thee ornament of mind, or art tbou more truly mind itself? it is mind thou art, most perfect mind; not rude, untaught, but fair and polished: in such thou dwellest; of such thou art the form; nor is it a thing more possible to separate thee from such, than it would be to separate thee from thy own existence. Harris.

§23. The Character of Hannibal. Hannibal being sent to Spain, on his arrival there attracted the eyes of the whole army. The veterans believed Hamilcar was revived and restored to them: they saw the same vigorous, countc nance, the fame piercing eye, the fame complexion and features. But in a short time his behaviour occasioned this re. semblance of his father to contribute the least towards his gaining their favour. And, in truth, never was there a genius more happily formed for two things, most manifestly contrary to each other—to obey and to command. This made it difficult to determine, whether the general or soldiers loved him most. Where any er.terprize required vigour and valcrur in the performance, Alurubal abyays chose him to command at the executing it; nor were the'troops ever more confident of success, or more intrepid, than when he was at their head. None ever shewed greater bravery in undertaking hazardous attempts, or more presence of mind and conduct in the execution of them. No hardship

could fatigue his body, or daunt his courage: he could equally bear cold and heat. The necessary refection of nature, not the pleasure of his palate, he solely regarded in his meals. He made no distinction of day and night in his watching, or taking rest; and appropriated no time to sleep, but what remained aster he had completed his duty: he never sought for a soft, or a retired place of repose; but was often seen lying on the bare ground, wrapt in a soldier's cloak, amongst the ceniincls and guards. He did not distinguish himself from his companions by the magnificence of his dress, but by the quality of his horse and arms. At the fame time, he was by far the best foot and horse soldier in the army ; ever the foremost in a charge, and the last who lest the field after the battle was begun. These shining qualities were however balanced by great vices; inhuman cruelty; more than Carthaginian treachery; no respect for truth or honour, no fear of the gods, no regard for the sanctity osoaths, no sense of religion. With a disposition thus chequered with virtues and vices, he served three years under Asdrubal, without neglecting to pry into, or perform any thing, that could contribute to make him hereafter a complete general. Liwy.

§ 24. The Scythian Ambassadors tt Alexander, on bis making Preparations lo attack their Country. If your person were as gigantic as your desires, the world would not contain you. Yourright hand would touch the east, and your left the west at the fame time: you grasp at more than you are equal to. From Europe you reach Asia; from Asia you lay hold on Europe. And is you should conquer all mankind, you seem disposed towage war with woods and snows, with rivers and wild beasts, and to attempt to subdue nature. But, have you considered the usual course of things? have you reflected, that great trees are many years in growing to their height, and are cut down in an hour? It is foolish to think. of the fruit only, without considering the height you have to climb to come at it. Take care lest, while you strive to

teach

reach the top, you fall to the ground with the branches you have laid hold on.

Besides, what have you to do with the Scythians, or the Scythians with you? We have never invaded Macedon: why should you attack Scythia? You pre. tend to be the punifher of robbers ; and are yourself the general robber of mankind. You have taken Lydia; you have seized Syria; you are master of Persia; you have subdued the Bactrians, and attacked India: all this will not satisfy you, unless you lay your greedy and insatiable hands upon our flocks and our herds. How imprudent is your conduct! you grasp at riches, the possession of which only increases your avarice. You increase your hunger, by whaclhould produce satiety; so that the more you have, the more you desire. But have you forgot how long the conquest of the Bactrians detained you? while you were subduing them the Sogdians revolted. Your victories serve to no other purpose than to find you employment by producing new wars; for the business of every conquest is twofold, to win, and to preserve: and though you may be the greatest of warriors, you must expect that the nations you conquer will endeavour to (hake off the yoke as fast as possible: for what people chuse to be under foreign dominion?

If you will cross the Tanais, you may travel over Scythia, and observe how extensive a territory we inhabit. But to conquer us is quite another business: you will find us, atone time, too nimble for your pursuit; and at another time,

prive them of what they have. But if you are no god, reflect on the precarious condition of humanity. You will thus sliew more wisdom, than by dwelling on those subjects which have puffed up your pride, and made you forget yourself.

You see how little you are likely to gain by attempting the conquest of Scythia. On the other hand, you may, if you please, have in us a valuable alliance. We command the borders of both Europe and Asia. There is nothing between us and Bactria but the river Tanais; and our territory extends to Thrace, which, as we have heard, borders on Macedon. If you decline attacking us in a hostile manner, you may haveourfriendfhip. Nationswhich have never been at war are on an equal footing; but it is in vain that confidence is reposed in a conquered people: there can be no sincere friendship between the oppressorsandtheoppressed ; even in peace, the latter think themselves entitled to the rights of war against the former. Wewill, if you think good, enter intoa treaty with you, according to our manner, which is not by signing, sealing, and taking the gods to witness, as is the Grecian custom; but by doing actual services. The Scythians are not used to promise, but perform without promising. And they think an appeal to the gods superfluous; for that those who have no regard for the esteem of men will not hesitate to offend the gods by perjury.— You may therefore consider with yourself, whether you had better have a people of such a character, and so situated as to have it in their power either to

[ocr errors]

when you think we are fled far enough serve you or to annoy you, according as from you, you will have us surprise you ' you treat them, for allies or for enein your camp: for the Scythians attack mies. 0. Curtius.

with no less vigour than they fly. • It "~

will therefore be your wisdom to keep with strict attention what you have gained: catching at more, you may Jose what you have. We have a proverbial saying in Scythia, That Fortune has no feet, and is furnished only with hands to distribute her capricious favours, and with fins to elude the grasp of those to whom Die has been bountiful.—Yougive yourself out to be a god, the son of Jupiter Ammon: it suits the character of a god to bestow favours on mortals, not to de

25. Junius Brutus over the dead Body J/lucheiia, ivho had stabbed her/elf in consequence of the Rape of Tarquin.

Yes, noble lady, I swear by this blood which was once so pure, and which nothing but royal villany could have polluted, thatlwill pursue Lucius Tarquinius the Proud, his wicked wife, and their children, with fire and sword : nor will I suffer any of that family, or of

any any other whatsoever, to be king in Rome.—Ye godX I call you to witness this my oath 1

There, Romans, turn your eyes to that fad spectacle !—the daughter of Lucretius, Collatinus'swise—(he died by her own hand! Seethereanoblelady, 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, Sextus, the perfidious guest, became her brutal raviflier. The chaste, the generous Lucretia could not survive the insult. Glorious woman ! but once only treated as a stave, she thought life no longer to be endured. Lucretia, a woman, disdained a life that depended on a tyrant's will; and (hall we, (hall men, with such an example before our eyes, and after sive-and-twenty years of ignominious servitude, (hall 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. And Ihall 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 ambition 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 such a groundless fear: the love of liberty h natural to all men. Your fellow ..citizens in the camp feel the weight of oppression with as quick a fense as you that are in Rome; they will as eagerly seize the occasion of throwing oft' the yoke. But let us grant there may be someamong them who, through baseness of spirit, or abad 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 hos

tages more dear to them than life; their wives, their children, their fathers, their mothers, are here in the city. Courage, 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, whowatch forthepreservation and glory of Rome! do you inspire us with courage and unanimity in this glorious cause, and we will to our last breath defend your worship from all profanation. Liiy.

§26. i/«(i S/adherbai (« rf< RoMan Senate, imploring their distance against Jugurtha.

Fathers!

It is known to you that king Micipfa, my father, on his death-bed, left in charge to Jugurtha, his adopted son, conjunct!y with my unfortunate brother Hiempsaland myself, thechildren of his own body, the administration of the kingdom of Numidia, directing us to consider the senate and people of Rome as proprietors of it. He charged us to use our best endeavours to be serviceable to the Roman commonwealth, in peace and war ; assuring us, that your protection would prove to us a defence against all enemies, and would be instead of armies, fortifications, and treasures.

While my brother and I were thinking of nothing but how to regulate ourselves according to thedirectionsofourdeceased father, Jugurtha—the most infamous of mankind! breaking through all ties of gratitude and of common humanity, and trampling on the authority of the Roman commonwealth—procured the murder of my unfortunate brother, and has driven me from my throne and native country, though he knows I inherit, from my grandfather Massmissa, and my father Micipfa, the friendship and alliance of the Romans.

For a prince to be reduced, by villany, to my distressful circumstances, is calamity enough; but my misfortunes are heightened by the consideration, that I

find find myself obliged to solicit your assistance, Fathers, for the services done you by my ancestors, not for any I have been able to render you in my own person. Jugurtha has put it out of my power to deserve any thing at your hands, and has forced me to be burdensome before I could be useful to you. And yet, if I had no plea but my undeserved misery, who, from a powerful prince, the descendant os a race of illustrious monarchs, find myself, without any fault of my own, destitute of every support, and reduced to the necessity of begging foreign assistance against an enemy who has seized my throne and kingdom ; if my unequalled distresses were all I had to plead, it would become the greatness of the Roman commonwealth, thearbitress of the world, to protect the injured, and to check the triumph of daring wickedness over helpless innocence. But, to provoke your vengeance to the utmost, Jugurtha has driven me from the very dominions which the Senate and people of Rome gave to my ancestors, and from which my grandfather and my father, under your umbrage, expelled Syphax and the Carthaginians. Thus, Fathers, your kindness to our family is defeated; and Jugurtha, in injuring me, throws contempt on you.

O wretched prince'. Ocruel reverse of fortune! O father Micipsa! is this the consequence of your generosity, that he whom your goodness raised to an equality with your own children, should be the murderer of your children? Must then the royal house of Numidia always be a scene of havock and blood i While Carthage remained, we suffered, as was to be expected, all forts of hardships from their hostile attacks; our enemy near ;our only powerful ally.theRoman commonwealth, atadistance; while we were so circumstanced we were always in arms, and in action. When that scourge os Africa was no more, we congratulated ourselves on the prospect of established peace. But instead of peace, behold the kingdom of N u midia drenched with royal blood, and the only surviving son of its late king flying from an adopted murderer, and seeking that safety in foreign parts, which he cannot command in his own kingdom.

[ocr errors]

Whither—O whither shall I fly f If I return to the royal palace of my ancestors, my father's throne is seized by the murderer of my brother. What can I there expect, but that Jugurtha should hasten to imbrue in my blood those hands which are now reeking with my brother's ? If I were to fly for refuge or for assistance to any other courts, from what prince can I hope for protection, if the Roman commonwealth gives me up? from my own family or friends s have no expectations. My royal father is no more: he is beyond the reach of violence, and ou t of hearing of the complaints of his unhappy son. Were my brother alive, our mutual sympathy would be some alleviation : but he is hurried out of life in his early youth, by the very hand which should have been the last to injure any of the royal family of Numidia. The bloody Jugurtha has butchered all whom he suspected to be in my interest. Some have been destroyed by the lingering torment of the cross; others have been given a prey to wild beasts, and their anguish made the sport of men more cruel than wild beasts. If there be any yet alive, they are shut up in dungeons, there to drag out a life more intolerable than death itself.

Look down, illustrious senators of Rome! from that height of power to which you are raised, on the unexampled distresses of a prince, who is, by the cruelty of a wicked intruder, become an outcast from all mankind. Let not the crafty insinuations of him who returns murder for adoption, prejudice your judgment. Do not listen to the wretch who has butchered the son and relations of a king, who gave him power to fit on the fame throne with his own sons.—I have been informed that he labours by his emissaries to prevent your determining any thing against him in his absence, pretending that I magnify my distress, and might for him have staid in peace in my own kingdom. But, if ever the time comes when the due vengeance from above shall over, take him, he will then dissemble as I do. Then he who now, hardened ia wickedness, triumphs over those whom his violence has laid low, will in his turn feel distress, and suffer for his im

pious ingratitude to my father, and his Wood-thirsty cruelty to my brother.

O murdered, butchered brother! O dearest to my heart.—now gone for ever from my sight!—But why should I lament his death? He is indeed deprived of the blessed light of heaven, of life, and kingdom, at once, by the very person who ought to have been the first to hazard his own life in defence of any one of Micipsa's family; but as things are, my brother is not so much deprived of these comforts, as delivered from terror, from flight, from exile, and the endless train of miseries which render life to me a burden. He lies full low, gored with wounds, and festering in his own blood; but he lies in peace: he feels none of the miseries which rend my soul with agony and distraction, whilst I am set up a spectacle to all mankind of the uncertainty of human affairs. So far from having it in my power to revenge his death, I am not master of the means of securing my own life: so far from being in a condition to defend my kingdom from the violence of the usurper, I am obliged to apply for foreign protection for roy own person.

Fathers! Senators of Rome! the arbiters of the world !—to you I fly for refuge from the murderous fury of Jugurtha.—By your affection for your children, by your love for your country, by your own virtues, by the majesty of the Roman commonwealth, by all that is sacred, and all that is dear to you—deliver a wretched prince from undeserved, unprovoked injury; and save the kingdom of Numidia, which is your own property, from being the prey of violence, usurpation, and crucity. Sallust.

§ 27. Speech of Canuleius, a Roman Tribune, to the Consuls; in which be demands that the Plebeians may be admitted into the Consul/hip, and that the Laiu prohibiting Patricians and Plebeians from intermarrying may be repealed.

What an insult upon us is this! If we are not so rich as the patricians, are we not citizens of Rome as well as they? inhabitants of the fame country ? mem

bers of the fame community? The nations bordering upon Rome, and even strangers more remote, are admitted not only to marriages with us, but to what is of much greater importance, the freedom of the city. Are we, because we are commoners, to be worse treated than strangers?—-And, when we demand that the people may be free to bestow their offices and dignities on whom they please, do we ask any thing unreasonable or new? do we claim more than their original inherent right ? What occasion, then, for all this uproar, as if the universe were falling to ruin i—They were just going to lay violent hands upon me in the senate-house.

What! m u st this empire then be unavoidably overturned ? must Rome of necessity fink at once, isa plebeian, worthy of the office, should be raised to the consulship? The patricians, I am persuaded, if they could, would depriveyou of the common light. It certainly offends them that you breathe, that you speak, that you have the shapes of men. Nay, but to make a commoner a consul, would be, say they, a most enormous thing. NumaPompilius, however, without being so much as a Roman citizen, was made king of Rome: the elder Tarquin, bybirth noteven an Italian, was nevertheless placed upon the throne: Servius Tullius, the son of a captive woman (nobody knows who his father was) obtained the kingdom as the reward of his wisdom and virtue. In those days no man in whom virtue shone conspicuous was rejected, or despised on account os his race and descent. And did the state prosper less for that? were not these strangers the very best of all our kings? And, sup. posing now that a plebeian should have their talents and merit, must not he be suffered to govern us?

But, " we find that, upon the aboli"tion of the regal power, no commoner "was chosen to the consulate." And what of that? before Numa's time there were no pontiffs in Rome. Before Servius Tullius's days there was no Census, no division of the people into classes and centuries. Who ever heard of consuls before the expulsion of Tarquin the Proud? Dictators, we all

know

« ZurückWeiter »