|Lysias, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Lys.].
|Lys. 2 (Greek)
2.1If I believed it possible, friends who are attending this burial, to set forth in speech the valor of the men who lie here, I should have reproved those who gave me but a few days' notice of having to speak over them. But as all mankind would find all time insufficient for preparing a speech to match their deeds, the city itself therefore, as I think, taking forethought for those who speak here, makes the appointment at short notice, in the belief that on such terms they will most readily obtain indulgence from their hearers. 2.2However, while my speech is about these men, my contest is not with their deeds, but with the speakers who have preceded me in praising them. For their valor has provided matter in such abundance, alike for those who are able to compose in verse and for those who have chosen to make a speech, that, although many fair things have been spoken by those who preceded me, there are many that even they have omitted, and plenty more remain to be said by those who succeed them; since nowhere is there any land or sea on which they did not venture, and in every place and every nation the people, is lamenting their own disasters, glorify the valorous deeds of these men.
2.3So now, in the first place, I shall recount the ancient ordeals of our ancestors, drawing remembrance thereof from their renown. For they also are events which all men ought to remember, glorifying them in their songs, and describing them in the sage sayings of worthy minds; honoring them on such occasions as this, and finding in the achievements of the dead so many lessons for the living.
2.4In ancient times were the Amazons, daughters of Ares, dwelling beside the river Thermodon; note they alone of the people round about were armed with iron, and they were first of all to mount horses, with which, owing to the inexperience of their foes, they surprised them and either caught those who fled, or outstripped those who pursued. They were accounted as men for their high courage, rather than as women for their sex; so much more did they seem to excel men in their spirit than to be at a disadvantage in their form. 2.5Ruling over many nations, they had in fact achieved the enslavement of those around them; yet, hearing by report concerning this our country how great was its renown, they were moved by increase of glory and high ambition to muster the most warlike of the nations and march with them against this city. But having met with valiant men they found their spirit now was like to their sex; the repute that they got was the reverse of the former, and by their perils rather than by their bodies they were deemed to be women. 2.6They stood alone in failing to learn from their mistakes, and so to be better advised in their future actions; they would not return home and report their own misfortune and our ancestors' valor: for they perished on the spot, and were punished for their folly, thus making our city's memory imperishable for its valor; while owing to their disaster in this region they rendered their own country nameless. And so those women, by their unjust greed for others' land, justly lost their own.
2.7When Adrastus note and Polyneices had marched against
2.11In a later time, when Heracles had vanished from amongst men, and his children were fleeing from Eurystheus and were expelled by all the Greeks, who were ashamed of these acts but afraid of Eurystheus' power, they came to this city, and seated themselves as suppliants at our altars. note 2.12And when Eurystheus demanded them, the Athenians refused to give them up, but revered the virtue of Heracles more than they feared their own danger, and preferred to do battle for the weaker on the side of right, rather than favor the powerful by giving up to them the men whom they had wronged. 2.13Eurystheus marched against them with the people who held the
2.17Now in many ways it was natural to our ancestors, moved by a single resolve, to fight the battles of justice: for the very beginning of their life was just. They had not been collected, like most nations, from every quarter, and had not settled in a foreign land after driving out its people: they were born of the soil, and possessed in one and the same country their mother and their fatherland. 2.18They were the first and the only people in that time to drive out the ruling classes note of their state and to establish a democracy, believing the liberty of all to be the strongest bond of agreement; by sharing with each other the hopes born of their perils they had freedom of soul in, their civic life, 2.19and used law for honoring the good and punishing the evil. For they deemed that it was the way of wild beasts to be held subject to one another by force, but the duty of men to delimit justice by law, to convince by reason, and to serve these two in act by submitting to the sovereignty of law and the instruction of reason.
2.20For indeed, being of noble stock and having minds as noble, the ancestors of those who lie here achieved many noble and admirable things; but ever memorable and mighty are the trophies that their descendants have everywhere left behind them owing to their valor. For they alone risked their all in defending the whole of
2.27Thereafter Xerxes, King of Asia, who had held
2.44By thus proving their quality in the sea-fight, and bearing by far the greatest share in its dangers, they obtained through their particular prowess a general access of freedom for the rest of
2.48In later times a Grecian war arose from envy of what had come to pass, and jealousy of what had been achieved: great was the conceit of all, and small the allegation that each found needful. The Athenians, in a sea-fight with the Aeginetans and their allies, took seventy of their warships. 2.49As they were blockading
2.54Now it is not easy for one person to recount in detail the perils undergone by many men, or to show forth in a single day the deeds of all past times. For what speech or time or orator would suffice to declare the valor of the men who lie here? 2.55By means of countless toils, conspicuous struggles, and glorious perils they made
2.58And in misfortunes also they displayed their accustomed valor. For when the ships were destroyed in the
2.61But though I have been led to utter this lament over Greece as a whole, it behoves us to remember, in public as in private, those men note who, shunning slavery, fighting for the right, and rallying to the cause of democracy, incurred the hostility of all and returned to the Peiraeus; compelled by no law, but induced by their nature; imitating in fresh encounters the ancient valor of their ancestors; 2.62ready to purchase with their own lives a common share in the city for the rest; choosing death with freedom rather than life with slavery; no less ashamed of their disasters than angered against the enemy; preferring to die in their own land rather than live to dwell in that of others; and having as allies their oaths and covenants, and as enemies their open foes of aforetime and their own fellow citizens. 2.63Nevertheless, having felt no fear of the multitude of their opponents, and having exposed their own persons to the peril, they set up a trophy over their enemies, and now find witnesses to their valor, close to this monument, in the tombs of the Lacedaemonians note For we know that they restored in the sight of the world the diminished greatness of our city, revived in her the harmony that had been shattered by faction, and rebuilt walls in place of those that had been demolished. 2.64The men who finally returned, showing the kinship of their counsels with the deeds of those who lie here, applied themselves, not to vengeance upon their enemies, but to the preservation of the city; and being men who at once could not be overreached and would not seek their own advantage, they shared their own freedom even with those who wished to be slaves, and declined for themselves a share in that slavery. 2.65By the conspicuous greatness and nobility of their conduct they justified the claim that the former disasters of the city were due to no remissness of theirs, nor to the valor of the enemy; for if they proved able, after internal dissensions and despite the presence of the Peloponnesians and their other enemies, to return to their own place, unanimity would clearly have made it an easy matter for them to make war on their foes.
2.66Thus the struggles at the Peiraeus have earned for those men the envy of all mankind. But it is right that we should also praise the strangers who lie here: they came to the support of the people, and fought for our salvation; they regarded valor as their native land, note and with this noble end they closed their lives. In return the city has not only mourned them but given them a public funeral, and has granted them in perpetuity the same honors as it gives to its own people.
2.67The men who are being buried today went to support the Corinthians, who were wronged by ancient friends, while they were but new allies; they did not act in the same spirit as the Lacedaemonians (who envied the Corinthians their wealth, whereas our men pitied them for their wrongs, unmindful of their former enmity and regardful of their present friendship), but showed forth their own valor in the sight of all men. 2.68To enhance the greatness of
2.69Now in such a plight as theirs, life was miserable, death desirable. But these men, both in their life and after their death, are enviable; for they were first trained in the excellences of their ancestors, and then in manhood they preserved that ancient fame intact and displayed their own prowess. 2.70For the benefits that they have conferred on their own native land are many and splendid; they restored the broken fortunes of others, and kept the war at a distance from their own country. note They have closed their lives with a death that befits true men, for thus they repaid their native land for their nurture and bequeathed sorrow to those who reared them. 2.71Hence it is meet that the living should yearn for these men, and bewail themselves, and pity their kindred for the life that lies before them. For what pleasure now remains for them, when such men as these are buried? These, prizing valor above all else, deprived themselves of life, widowed their wives, left their own children orphans, and brothers, fathers, mothers in a state of desolation. 2.72Though their children have many troubles in store for them, I envy them because they are too young to know of what noble fathers they have been bereft: but I pity those whose sons they were, as being too old to forget their own misfortune. 2.73For what woe could be more incurable than to bring forth and rear and bury one's own children, and then in old age to be disabled in body and, having lost every hope, to find oneself friendless and resourceless? to have the very cause of former envy turned now to a matter of pity, and to regard death as more desirable than life? For the more they excelled in manhood, the greater the grief to those who are left behind. 2.74And how should they have surcease from their sorrow? In the city's disasters? But then, surely, the fallen will be remembered by everyone else as well. In the public successes? But it is cause enough for sorrow that after the death of their children the living should enjoy the fruits of their valor. In their private adversities? When they see their former friends deserting them in their destitution, and their enemies elated with the misfortunes of the fallen? 2.75We have but one way, as it seems to me, of showing our gratitude to those who lie here: it is to hold their parents in the same high regard as they did, to be as affectionate to their children as though we were ourselves their fathers, and to give such support to their wives as they did while they lived. For whom could we be expected to honor in preference to those who lie here? 2.76Whom amongst the living should we more justly hold in high regard than their relations, who were on an equality with us all in reaping the fruits of their valor, but now that they are dead bear alone the kinsmen's part in their misfortune?
2.77But in truth I do not know what need there is to lament so sadly: for we were quite aware that we were mortals. So why chafe now at the fate which we so long expected, or be so extremely distressed by the calamities of nature, when we know well that death is common to the basest and the noblest alike? 2.78Death neither disdains the wicked nor admires the virtuous, but is even-handed with all. Were it possible for those who escaped the perils of war to be immortal for all time, there would be cause for the living to mourn the dead for evermore. But we see not only that our nature yields to sickness and old age, but that the spirit to whom has been allotted the charge of our fate is inexorable.
2.79Therefore it is fitting to consider those most happy who have closed their lives in risking them for the greatest and noblest ends; not committing their career to chance, nor awaiting the death that comes of itself, but selecting the fairest one of all. For I say their memory can never grow old, while their honor is every man's envy. 2.80Of their nature it comes that they are mourned as mortal, of their valor that they are lauded as immortal. Thus you see them given a public funeral, and contests of strength and knowledge and wealth note held at their tomb; because we think that those who have fallen in war are worthy of receiving the same honors as the immortals. 2.81So I, indeed, call them blessed in their death, and envy them; I hold that for those alone amongst men is it worth while to be born who, having received mortal bodies, have left behind an immortal memory arising from their valor. Nevertheless, we must needs follow our ancient customs, and observe our ancestral law by bewailing those who are now being buried.
|Lysias, Speeches (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose; rhetoric] [word count] [lemma count] [Lys.].
|Lys. 2 (Greek)