This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Then Perseus began: "You think, then, that I ought to have opened the door and admitted the armed revellers and presented my throat to the sword, and beset as I am with plots and treachery, I have to listen to the same language that is addressed to thieves and foot-pads.  It is not for nothing that those people say that Demetrius is your only son, whilst they call me supposititious and base-born.  They speak to some purpose, for if I possessed in your eyes the rank, the affection due to a son, you would not vent your anger on me when I complain of the plot that has been frustrated, but [4??] on him who contrived it, nor would you hold my life so cheap as not to be moved by past dangers or by future dangers, should the plotters escape with impunity.  If I am to die without uttering a protest, I would be silent except for a prayer to the gods that the villainy which began with me may end with me, and that my deathblow may not strike you.  But if, whilst I see the sword drawn against me, I may be permitted to make my voice heard, then, just as Nature herself prompts those who are surrounded by dangers, with no friend near, to appeal for help to men they have never seen, so I beseech you by the sacred name of father-and you have long felt which of us [7??] holds that name most sacred-to grant me the same hearing as you would have done had you been awakened by a cry of alarm at night and gone at my call for help, and actually seen Demetrius with his armed comrades in my vestibule. What would have been my cry of alarm at the actual moment of danger, last night, I am today making the subject of my complaint. "Brother, for a long time we have not lived together as table-companions.  You, in any case, want to be king. This hope of yours is baffled by my seniority, by the right of primogeniture universally recognised, by the time-honoured usage of the Macedonians. You cannot surmount these barriers except through my blood. You are trying every device, every expedient. Hitherto, either my watchfulness or my good luck has stood in the way of your becoming a fratricide.  Yesterday, on the occasion of the propitiatory sacrifice, the maneuvers and the sham-fight, you made the fight all but a fatal one, and nothing averted my death but the fact that I allowed my men and myself to be defeated.  From that hostile encounter you wanted to inveigle me to your banquet, as though it had been merely brotherly sport. Do you believe, father, that it would have been amongst unarmed guests that I should have banqueted, when they came in arms to banquet with me?  Do you believe that I was in no danger from their swords at night, after they had almost killed me with their staves whilst you were looking on? Why, Demetrius, do you come at that hour of the night, why do you come as an enemy to one who is in an angry mood, why do you come accompanied by youths with hidden swords?  I did not dare to trust myself to you even as a guest, am I to admit you when you come with an armed band? Had my door been open, you, my father, would now be arranging my funeral obsequies instead of listening to my complaints.  "I am not trumping up charges as a prosecutor, nor am I arguing upon questionable evidence. Surely he does not deny that he came to my door with a large crowd, or that he was accompanied by men with concealed swords.  Send for the men whose names I give you. Those who have dared so far will go to any lengths, they will not, however, venture upon a denial. If I had caught them in my vestibule with their swords and brought them to you, you would have regarded it as a clear case;  take their confession as equivalent to their being caught in the act.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.