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[255]

What we require, Aeschines, is not oratory with enfolded hands, but diplomacy with enfolded hands. But in Macedonia you held out your hands, turned them palm upwards, and brought shame upon your countrymen, and then here at home you talk magniloquently; you practise and declaim some miserable fustian, and think to escape the due penalty of your heinous crimes, if you only don your little skull-cap,1 take your constitutional, and abuse me. Now read.

Solon's Elegiacs Not by the doom of Zeus, who ruleth all,
Not by the curse of Heaven shall Athens fall.
Strong in her Sire, above the favored land
Pallas Athene lifts her guardian hand.
No; her own citizens with counsels vain
Shall work her rain in their quest of gain;
Dishonest demagogues her folk misguide,
Foredoomed to suffer for their guilty pride.
Their reckless greed, insatiate of delight,
Knows not to taste the frugal feast aright;
Th' unbridled lust of gold, their only care,
Nor public wealth nor wealth divine will spare.
Now here, now there, they raven, rob and seize,
Heedless of Justice and her stern decrees,
Who silently the present and the past
Reviews, whose slow revenge o'ertakes at last.
On every home the swift contagion falls,
Till servitude a free-born race enthralls.
Now faction reigns now wakes the sword of strife,
And comely youth shall pay its toll of life;
We waste our strength in conflict with our kin,
And soon our gates shall let the foeman in.
Such woes the factious nation shall endure;
A fate more hard awaits the hapless poor;
For them, enslaved, bound with insulting chains,
Captivity in alien lands remains.
To every hearth the public curse extends;
The courtyard gate no longer safety lends;
Death leaps the wall, nor shall he shun the doom
Who flies for safety to his inmost room.

Ye men of Athens, listen while I show
How many ills from lawless licence flow.
Respect for Law shall check your rising lust,
Humble the haughty, fetter the unjust,
Make the rough places plain, bid envy cease,
Wither infatuation's fell increase,
Make crooked judgement straight, the works prevent
Of insolence and sullen discontent,
And quench the fires of strife. In Law we find
The wisdom and perfection of Mankind.

Solon

1 skull-cap: a soft cap commonly worn by invalids; also, according to Plutarch, by Solon, when he recited his verses on Salamis. Demosthenes ironically pretends that the defendant is still suffering from his sham illness [Dem. 19.124].

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