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4. And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral-piles with fuel, and look'd up
Hissing, but stingless: they were slain for food. 5. And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again; a meal was bought
The meager by the meager were devour’d.
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
Which answer'd not with a caress, he died.
Of an enormous city did survive,
The world was void;
DEMOSTHENES TO THE ATHENIANS. DEMOSTHENES was born at Athens, 381 B.C. He lost his father at the age of seven years. His early education was neglected by his guardian, his lungs were weak, his articulation defective; but he surmounted all these obstacles, and became the greatest orator of antiquity. He died 322 B.C. It is said that he poisoned himself for fear of falling into the hands of his enemies.
1. OBSERVE, I beseech you, men of Athens, how different your conduct appears from the practices of your ancestors. They were friends to truth and plain dealing, and detested flattery and servile compliance. By unanimous consent, they continued arbiters of all Greece for the space of forty-five years, without interruption; a public fund of no less than ten thousand talents was ready for any emergency; they exercised over the kings of Macedon that authority which is due to barbarians ; obtained both by sea and land, in their own persons, frequent and signal victories; and by their noble exploits transmitted to posterity an immortal memory of their virtue, superior to the reach of malice and detraction.
2. It is to them we owe that great number of public edifices, by which the city of Athens exceeds all the rest of the world, in beauty and magnificence. It is to them we owe so many stately temples, so richly embellished, but, above all, adorned with the spoils of vanquished enemies. But visit their own private habitations; visit the houses of Aristides, Miltiades, or any other of those patriots of antiquity; you will find nothing, not the least mark of ornament, to distinguish them from their neighbors.
3. They took part in the government, not to enrich themselves, but the public; they had no scheme or ambition, but for the public; nor kuew any interest, but the public. It was by a close and steady application to the general good of their country: by an exemplary piety toward the immortal gods, by a strict faith and religious honesty betwixt man and man, and a moderation always uniform and of a piece, that they established that reputation which remains to this day, and will last to utmost posterity.
4. Such, O men of Athens! were your ancestors: so glorious in the eye of the world; so bountiful and munificent to their country; so sparing, so modest, so self-denying, to themselves. What resemblance can we find, in the present generation, of these great men? At a time when your ancient competitors have left you a clear stage; when the Lacedemonians are disabled, the Thebans employed in troubles of their own; when no other state whatever is in a condition to rival or molest you; in short, when you are at full liberty; when you have the opportunity and the power to become, once more, the sole arbiters of Greece; you permit, patiently, whole provinces to be wrested from you; you lavish the public money in scandalous and obscure uses; you Buffer your allies to perish in time of peace, whom you preserved in time of war; and, to sum up all, you yourselves, by your mercenary court and servile resignation to the will and pleasure of designing, insidious leaders, abet, encourage, and strengthen the most dangerous and formidable of your enemies.
5. Yes, Athenians, I repeat it, you yourselves are the contrivers of your own ruin. Lives there a man who has confidence enough to deny it? Let him arise, and assign, if he can, any other cause of the success and prosperity of Philip. “But,” you reply, “what Athens may have lost in reputation abroad she has gained in splendor at home. Was there ever a greater appearance of prosperity, a greater face of plenty? Is not the city enlarged? Are not the streets better paved, houses repaired and beautified ?”
6. Away with such trifles! Shall I be paid with counters ? An old square new-vamped up! a fountain! an aqueduct! are these acquisitions to boast of? Cast your eyes upon the magistrate under whose ministry you boast these precious improvements. Behold the despicable creature, raised all at once from dirt to opulence, from the lowest obscurity to the highest honors. Have not some of these upstarts built private houses and seats vying with the most sumptuous of our public palaces? And have not their fortunes and their power increased, as the commonwealth has been ruined and impoverished.
7. To what are we to impute these disorders,—to what cause assign the decay of a state so powerful and flourishing in past times? The reason is plain. The servant is now become the master. The magistrate was then subservient to the people; punishments and rewards were properties of the people; all honors, and dignities, and preferments, were disposed by the voice and favor of the people; but the magistrate now has usurped the right of the people, and exercises an arbitrary authority over his ancient and natural lord. You, miserable people, the meanwhile, without money, without friends, from being ruler, are become the servant; from being the master, the dependant; happy that these governors, into whose hands you have thus resigned your own power, are so good and so gracious as to continue your allowance to see plays.
8 Believe me, Athenians, if, recovering from this lethargy, you would assume the ancient freedom and spirit of your fathers; if you would be your own soldiers and your own commanders, confiding no longer your affairs in foreign or mercenary hands; if you would charge yourself with your own defense, employing abroad, for the public, what you waste in unprofitable pleasures at home; the world might, once more, behold you making a figure worthy of Athenians.
She is not mad who kneels to thee;
And what I was, and what should be.
My language shall be mild, though sad:
I am not mad; I am not mad.
Which chains me in this dismal cell;
O jailer, haste that fate to tell;
Oh, haste my father's heart to cheer;
His heart at once 'twill grieve and glad
I am not mad; I am not mad...
3. He smiles in scorn, and turns the key!
He quits the grate! I knelt in vain;
'Tis gone! and all is gloom again.
Life, all thy comforts once I had;
Although not mad,—no, no! not mad.
4. 'Tis sure some dream, some vision vain.
What! I, the child of rank and wealth,
Bereft of freedom, friends, and health?
Which never more my heart must glad,
But 'tis not mad; no, 'tis not mad.
5. Hast thou, my child, forgot, ere this,
A mother's face, a mother's tongue ?
Nor round her neck how fast you clung;
Nor how that suit your sire forbade;
They'll make me mad; they'll make me mad
6. His rosy lips, how sweet they smiled!
His mild blue eyes, how bright they shone! None ever bore a lovelier child: ..
And art thou now forever gone?
My pretty, pretty, pretty lad?
I am not mad; I am not mad.
7 Oh, hark! what mean those yells and cries ?
His chain some furious madman breaks ;
Now, now my dungeon-grate be shakes !