So died these men as became Athenians.You, their survivors, must determine to have as unaltering a resolution in
the field, though you may pray that it may have a happier issue. And not contented with ideas derived only from words of the advantages
which are bound up with the defence of your country, though these would
furnish a valuable text to a speaker even before an audience so alive to
them as the present, you must yourselves realize the power of Athens, and
feed your eyes upon her from day to day, till love of her fills your hearts; and then when all her greatness shall break upon you, you must reflect that
it was by courage, sense of duty, and a keen feeling of honor in action that
men were enabled to win all this, and that no personal failure in an
enterprise could make them consent to deprive their country of their valor,
but they laid it at her feet as the most glorious contribution that they
For this offering of their lives made in common by them all they each of
them individually received that renown which never grows old, and for a
sepulchre, not so much that in which their bones have been deposited, but
that noblest of shrines wherein their glory is laid up to be eternally
remembered upon every occasion on which deed or story shall fall for its
For heroes have the whole earth for their tomb; and in lands far from their own, where the column with its epitaph declares
it, there is enshrined in every breast a record unwritten with no tablet to
preserve it, except that of the heart.
These take as your model, and judging happiness to be the fruit of freedom
and freedom of valor, never decline the dangers of war.
For it is not the miserable that would most justly be unsparing of their
lives; these have nothing to hope for:it is rather they to whom continued life
may bring reverses as yet unknown, and to whom a fall, if it came, would be
most tremendous in its consequences.
And surely, to a man of spirit, the degradation of cowardice must be
immeasurably more grievous than the unfelt death which strikes him in the
midst of his strength and patriotism!
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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