Imágenes de páginas



1. SCIPIO TO HIS ARMY. — Abridgment from Lrry. Before the battle of Ticinus, B. C. 218, in which the Carthaginians, under Hannibal, mere victoricus. The speech of the latter, on the same occasion, follows.

Not because of their courage, O) soldiers, but because an engagement is now inevitable, do the enemy prepare for battle. Two-thirds of their infantry and cavalry have been lost in the passage of the Alps. Those who survive hardly equal in number those who have perished. Should any one say, “ Though few, they are stout and irresistible,': I reply, — Not so! They are the veriest shadows of men ; wretches. emaciated with hunger, and benumbed with cold; bruised and enfeebled among the rocks and crags; their joints frost-bitten, their sinews stiffened with the snow, their armor battered and shivered, their horses lame and powerless. Such is the cavalry, such the infantry, against which you have to contend ; - not enemies, but shreds and remnants of enemies! And I fear nothing more, than that when you have fought Hannibal, the Alps may seem to have been beforehand, and to have robbed you of the renown of a victory. But perhaps it was fitting that the Gods themselves, irrespective of human aid, should commence and carry forward a war against a leader and a people who violate the faith of treaties; and that we, who next to the Gods have been most injured, should complete the contest thus commenced, and nearly finished.

I would, therefore, have you fight, O soldiers, not only with that spirit with which you are wont to encounter other enemies, but with a certain indignation and resentment, such as you might experience if you should see your slaves suddenly taking up arms against you. We might have slain these Carthaginians, when they were shut up in Eryx, by hunger, the most dreadful of human tortures. We might have carried over our victorious fleet to Africa, and, in a few days, have destroyed Carthage, without opposition. We yielded to their prayers for pardon; we released then from the blockade; we made peace with them when conquered; and we afterwards held them under our protection, when they were borne down by the African war. Ir return for these benefits, they come, under the leadership of a hotbrained youth, to lay waste our country. Ah! would that the contest on your side were now for glory, and not for safety! It is not for the possession of Sicily and Sardinia, but for Italy, that you must fight: nor is there another arıny behind, which, should we fail to conyuer, can resist the enemy: nor are there other Alps, during the passage of which, fresh forces may be procured. Here, soldiers, here we must make our stand. Here we must fight, as if we fought before the walls of Rome! Let every man bear in mind, it is not only his own person, but his wife and children, he must now defend. Nor let the thought of them alone possess his mind. Let him remember that the Roman Senate — the Roman People — are looking, with anxious eyes, to our exertions; and that, as our valor and our strength shall this day be, such will be the fortune of Rome — such the wel. fare — nay, the very existence, of our country!

[ocr errors]

2. IIANNIBAL TO IIIS ARMY. — Abridgment from Livy. Hene, soldiers, you must either conquer or die. On the right and left two seas enclose you; and you have no ship to fly to for escape. The river Po around you, the Po, larger and inore impetuous than the Rhone, — the Alps behind, scarcely passed by you when fresh and vigorous, hem you in. Here Fortune has granted you the termination of your labors ; here she will bestow a reward worthy of the service you have undergone. All the spoils that Rome has amassed hy so many triumphs will be yours. Think not that, in proportion as this war is great in name, the victory will be difficult. I'rom the Pillars of Hercules, from the ocean, from the remotest limits of the world, over mountains and rivers, you have advanced victorious through the fiercest Nations of Gaul and Spain. And with whom are you now to fight? With a raw army, which this very summer was beaten, conquered, and surrounded ; an army unknown to their leader, and he to them! Shall I compare myself, almost born, and certainly bred, in the tent of my father, that illustrious commander, myself, the conqueror, not only of the Alpine Nations, but of the Alps themselves, — myself, who was the pupil of you all, before I became your commander, — to this six months' general ? or shall I coinpare his

with mine? On what side soever I turn my eyes, I behold all full of courage and strength :-— a veteran infantry; a most gallant cavalry; you, our allies, most faithful and valiant; you, Carthaginians, whom not only your country's cause, but the justest anger, impels to battle. The valor, the confidence of invaders, are ever greater than those of the defensive party. As the assailants in this war, we pour down, with hostile standards, upon Italy. We bring the war. Suffering, injury and indignity, fire our minds. First they demanded me, your leader, for punishment; and then all of you, who had laid siege to Saguntum. And, had we been given up, they would have visited us with the severest tortures. Cruel and haughty Nation! Everything must be yours, and at your disposal! You are to prescribe to us with


whom we shal, jare war, with whom peace! You are to snut us up by the bo;indaries of mountains and rivers, which we must not pass ! But you you are not to observe the limits yourselves have appointed! “Pass not the Ibērus !” — What next? “ Saguntum is on the Iberus. You must not move step in any direction !” – Is it a small thing that you have deprived us of our most ancient provinces, Sicily and Sardinia ? Will you take Spain also ? Should we yield Spain, you will cross over into Africa. Will cross, did I say? They have sent the two Consuls of this year, one to Africa, the other to Spain!

Soldiers, there is nothing left to us, in any quarter, but what we can vindicate with our Swords. Let those be cowards who have something to look back upon ; whom, flying through safe and unmolested roads, their own country will receive. There is a necessity for us to be brave. There is no alternative but victory or death ; and, if it must be death, who would not rather encounter it in battle than in flight? The immortal Gods could give no stronger incentive to victory. Let but these truths be fixed in your minds, and once again I proclaim, you are conquerors !

3. REGULUS TO THE ROMAN SENATE. — Original. Ill does it become me, O Senators of Rome! — ill does it become Regulus, — after having so often stood in this venerable Assembly clothed with the supreme dignity of the Republic, to stand before you a captive — the captive of Carthage! Though outwardly I am free, - though no fetters encumber the limbs, or gall the flesh, — yet the heaviest of chains, - the pledge of a Roman Consul,

- makes me the bondsman of the Carthaginians. They have my promise to return to them, in the event of the failure of this their embassy. My life is at their mercy. My honor is my own; a possession which no rererse of fortune can jeopard ; a flame which imprisonment cannot stifle, time cannot dim, death cannot extinguish.

Of the train of disasters which followed close on the unexampled successes of our arms, — of the bitter fate which swept off the flower of our soldiery, and consigned me, your General, wounded and senseless, to Carthaginian keeping, - I will not speak. For five years, a rigorous captivity has been my portion. For five years, the society of family and friends, the dear amenities of home, the sense of freedom, anl the sight of country, have been to me a recollection and a drean,

Do more! But during that period Rome has retrieved her defeats. She has recovered under Metellus what under Regulus she lost. She has routed armies. She has taken unnumbered prisoners. She has struck terror to the hearts of the Carthaginians; who have now sent me hither with their Ambassadors, to sue for peace, and to propose that, in eschange for me, your former Consul, a thousand common frisoners of war shall be given up. You have heard the Ambassa

dors. Their intimations of some unimaginable horror — I know not phat -- impending over myself, should I fail to induce you to accept their terms, have strongly moved your sympathies in my behalf. Another appeal, which I would you might have been spared, has lent force to their suit. A wife and children, threatened with widowhood and orphanage, weeping and despairing, have knelt at your feet, on the very threshold of the Senate-chamber. -- Conscript Fathers! Shall 20t Regŭlus be saved ? Must he return to Carthage to meet the cruelties which the Ambassadors brandish before our eyes ? — With one voice you answer, No! - Countrymen ! Friends ! For all that I have suffered for all that I may have to suffer - I am. repaid in the compensation of this moment! Unfortunate, you may hold n.c; but, 0, not undeserving! Your confidence in my honor survives all the ruin that adverse fortune could inflict. You have not forgotten the past. Republics are not ungrateful! May the thanks I cannot utter bring down blessings from the Gods on you and Rome!

Conscript Fathers! There is but one course to be pursued. Abanion all thought of peace. Reject the overtures of Carthage! Reject them wholly and unconditionally! What! Give back to her a thousand able-bodied men, and receive in return this one attenuated, war-worn, fever-wasted frame, this weed, whitened in a dungeon's darkness, pale and sapless, which no kindness of the sun, no softness of the summer breeze, can ever restore to health and vigor ? It must not — it shalı not be! 0! were Regulus what he was once, before captivity had unstrung his sinews and enervated his limbs, he might pause, -- he might proudly think he were well worth a thousand of the foe; - - he might say, “ Make the exchange! Rome shall not lose by it!” But now — alas! now 't is gone,

that impetuosity of strength, which could once make him a leader indeed, to penetrate a phalanx or guide a pursuit. His very armor would be a burthen now. His battle-cry would be drowned in the din of the onset. His sword would fall harmless on his opponent's shield. But, if he cannot live, he can at least die, for his country! Do not deny him this supreme consolation. Consider : every indignity, every torture, which Carthage shall heap on his dying hours, will be better than a trumpet's call to your armies. They will remember only Regŭlus, their fellow-soldier and their leader. They will forget his defeats. They will regard only his services to the Republic. Tunis, Sardinia, Sicily, - every well-fought field, won by his blood and theirs, — will flash on their remembrance, and kindle their avenging israth And so shall Regulus, though dead, fight as he never fought befor: against the foe.

Conscript Fathers! There is another theme. My family- for zive the thought! To you, and to Rome, I confide them. I leave them no legacy but my name, no testament but my example.

Ambassadors of Carthage! I have spoken; though not as you expected. I am your captive. Lead me back to whatever fate may

Doubt not that you shall find, to Roman hearts, country is dearer than life, and integrity more precious than freedom !

avait me.

LEONIDAS TO HIS THREE HUNDRED. - Original Translation from Pichat. Yg men of Sparta, listen to the hope with which the Gols inspire Leonidas! Consider how largely our death may redound to the glory and benefit of our country. Against this barbarian King, who, in his battle array, reckons as many nations as our ranks do soldiers, what could united Greece effect? In this emergency there is need that some unexpected power should interpose itself; - that a valor and devotion, unknown hitherto, even to Sparta, should strike, aniaze, confound, this ambitious Despot! From our blood, here freely shed to-day, shall this moral power, this sublime lesson of patriotism, proceed. To Greece it shall teach the secret of her strength; to the Persians, the certainty of their weakness. Before our scarred and bleeding bodies, we shall see the great King grow pale at his own victory, and recoil affrighted. Or, should he succeed in forcing the pass of Thermopylæ, he will tremble to learn, that, in marching upon our cities, he will find ten thousand, after us, equally prepared for death. Ten thousand, do I say? O, the swift contagion of a generous enthusiasm! Our example shall make Greece all fertile in heroes. An avenging cry shall follow the cry of her affliction. Country!. Independence! From the Messenian hills to the Hellespont, every heart shall respond; and a hundred thousand heroes, with one sacred accord, shall arm themselves, in emulation of our unanimous death. These rocks shall give back the echo of their oaths. Then shall our little band, — the brave three hundred, from the world of shades, revisit the scene; behold the haughty Xerxes, a fugitive, re-cross the Hellespont in a frail bark ; while Greece, after eclipsing the most glorious of her exploits, shall hallow a new Olympus in the mound that covers our tombs.

Yes, fellow-soldiers, history and posterity shall consecrate our ashes. Wherever courage is honored, through all time, shall Thermopylæ and the Spartan three hundred be remembered. Ours shall be an immortality such as no human glory has yet attained. And when ages shall have swept by, and Sparta's last hour shall have come, then, even in her ruins, shall she be eloquent. Tyrants shall turn away froin them, appalled; but the heroes of liberty - the poets, the sages, the historians of all time shall invoke and bless the memory of the gallant three hundred of Leonidas !

5. BRUTUS OVER THE DEAD LUCRETIA. - Original and Compu.ea. You are amazed, 0 Romans ! even amid the general horror at Lucretia's death, that Brutus, whom you have known hitherto only as the fool, should all at once assume the language and bearing of a man! Did not the Sibyl say, a fool should set Rome free? I am that fool! Brutus bids Rome be free! If he has played the fool, it was to seize the wise man's opportunity. Here he throws off the mask of madness. 'T i Lucius Junius now, your countryman, who calls upon you, by this innocent blood, to swear eternal vengeance against kings !

« AnteriorContinuar »