« AnteriorContinuar »
with the cumbrous fpoils of many nations. You will find the poverty of the Scythians, at one time, too nimble for your pursuit; and at another time, when you think we are fled far enough from you, you will have us furprize you in your camp. For the Scythians attack with no lefs vigour than they fly. Why should we put you in mind of the vastnefs of the country you will have to conquer? The deserts of Scythia are commonly talked of in Greece; and all the world knows, that our delight is to dwell at large, and not in towns, or plantations. It will therefore be your wisdom to keep with strict attention, what you have gained. Catching at more, you may lose what you have, We have a proverbial faying in Scythia, That fortune has no feet, and is furnished only with hands, to diftribute her capricious favours, and with fins to elude the grafp of thofe, to whom she has been bountiful. You give yourself out to be a god, the fon of Jupiter Hammon. It fuits the character of a god, to bestow, favours on mortals; not to deprive them of what they have. But if you are no god, reflect on the precarious condition of humanity. You will thus fhew more wifdom, than by dwelling on those fubjects which have puffed up your pride, and made you forget yourfelf. You fee 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 Afia. 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 hoftile manner, you may have our friendship. Nations, which have never been at war are on an equal footing. But it is in vain, that confidence is repofed in a conquered people. There can be no fincere
friendship between the oppreffor and the oppreffed. Even in peace, the latter think themselves entitled to the rights of war against the former. We will, if you think good, enter into a treaty with you, according to our manner, which is, not by figning, fealing, and taking the gods to witness, as is the Grecian cuftom; but by doing actual fervices. The Scythians are not ufed to promife; but to per form without promifing. And they think an appeal to the gods fuperfluous; for that those, who have no regard for the esteem of men, will not hesitate to offend the gods, by perjury. You may therefore confider with yourself, whether you had better have a people of fuch a character, and fo fituated as to have it in their power either to ferve you, or to annoy you, according as you treat them; for allies, or for enemies. QUINTUS CURTIUS,
CHA P. VI.
GALGACUS THE GENERAL OF THE CALEDONII то HIS ARMY, TO INCITE THEM то ACTION AGAINST THE ROMANS.
WHEN I reflect on the causes of the war, and the cir
cumftances of our fituation, I feel a ftrong perfuafion that our united efforts on the present day will prove the beginning of universal liberty to Britain. For none of us are hitherto debased by flavery; and we have no profpect of a fecure retreat behind us, either by land or fea, whilst the Roman fleet hovers around. Thus the use of arms, which is at all times honourable to the brave, here offers the only safety even to cowards. In all the battles which have yet been fought with various fuccefs against the Romans, the resources of hope and aid were in our hands; for we, the
nobleft inhabitants of Britain, and therefore ftationed in its deepest receffes, far from the view of fervile fhores, have preferved even our eyes unpolluted by the contact of fubjection. We, at the fartheft limits both of land and liberty, have been defended to this day by the obfcurity of our fituation and of our fame. The extremity of Britain is now difclofed; and whatever is unknown becomes an object of importance. But there is no nation beyond us; nothing but waves and rocks; and the Romans are before us. The arrogance of these invaders it will be in vain to encounter by obfequioufnefs and fubmiffion. These plunderers of the world, after exhaufting the land by their devaftations, are rifling the ocean: ftimulated by avarice, if their enemy be rich; by ambition, if poor: unfatiated by the Eaft and by the Weft: the only people who behold wealth and indigence with equal avidity. To ravage, to flaughter, to ufurp under falfe titles, they call empire; and when they make a defert, they call it peace.
OUR children and relations are by the appointment of nature rendered the dearest of all things to us. These are torn away by levies to foreign fervitude. Our wives and fifters, though they fhould efcape the violation of hoftile force, are polluted under the names of friendship and hofpitality. Our eftates and poffeffions are confumed in tributes ; our grain in contributions. Even the powers of our bodies are worn down amidst stripes and infults in clearing woods and draining marthes, Wretches born to flavery are first bought, and afterwards fed by their mafters: Britain continually buys, continnually feeds her own fervitude. And as among domeftic flaves every new comer ferves for the fcorn and derifion of his fellows; fo, in this ancient household of the world, we, as the laft and vileft, are fought
out for deftruction. For we have neither cultivated lands nor mines, nor harbours, which can induce them to preferve us for our labours; and our valour and unfubmitting spirit will only render us more obnoxious to our imperious mafters; while the very remotenefs and fecrecy of our fituation, in proportion as it conduces to fecurity, will tend to inspire fufpicion. Since then all hopes of forgiveness are vain, let thofe at length affume courage, to whom glory, to whom fafety is dear. The Brigantines, even under a female leader, had force enough to burn the enemy's fettlements, to form their camps; and, if fuccefs had not introduced negligence and inactivity, would have been able entirely to throw off the yoke and fhall not we, untouched, unfubdued, and ftruggling not for the acquifition, but the continuance of liberty, declare at the very firft onfet what kind of men Caledonia has referved for her defence?
CAN you imagine that the Romans are as brave in war as they are infolent in peace? Acquiring renown from our difcords and diffenfions, they convert the errors of their enemies to the glory of their own army; an army compounded of the most different nations, which as fuccefs alone has kept together, misfortune will certainly diffipate. Unless, indeed, you can fuppofe that Gauls, and Germans, and ([ blush to say it) even Britons, lavishing their blood for a foreign state, to which they have been longer foes than fubjects, will be retained by loyalty and affection! Terror and dread alone, weak bonds of attachment, are the ties by which they are reftrained; and when these are once broken, those who ceafe to fear will begin to hate. Every incitement to victory is on our fide. The Romans have no wives to animate them; no parents to upbraid their flight. Most of them have either no habitation, or a distant one.
Few in number, ignorant of the country, looking around in filent horror at the woods, feas, and a haven itself unknown to them, they are delivered by the gods, as it were imprifoned and bound, into our hands. Be not terrified with an idle fhew, and the glitter of filver and gold, which can neither protect nor wound. In the very ranks of the enemy we shall find our own bands. The Britons will acknowledge their own caufe. The Gauls will recollect their former liberty. The Germans will defert them, as the Ufipii have lately done. Nor is there any thing formidable behind them: Ungarrifoned forts; colonies of invalids; municipal towns diftempered and distracted between unjust masters, and ill obeying fubjects. Here is your general; here your army. There, tributes, mines, and all the train of fervile punishments; which whether to bear eternally, or inftantly to revenge, this field muft determine. March then to battle, and think of your ancestors and your pofterity.
CHA P. VII.
THE EARL OF ARUNDEL's SPEECH, PROPOSING BETWEEN HENRY II. AND
IN the midst of a wide and open plain, Henry found Stephen encamped, and pitched his own tents within a quarter of a mile of him, preparing for a battle with all the eagerness, that the defire of empire and glory could excite, in a brave and youthful heart, elate with fuccefs. Stephen also much wished to bring the contest between them to a speedy decifion: but, while he and Euftace were confulting with William of Ipres, in whofe affection they moft confided, and by whofe private advice they took all their