Then Fabius, first having heard the shout of the terrified troops, and then having gotten a view of their disordered line, exclaims, “It is so; and no sooner than I feared, has adverse fortune overtaken temerity.
Equalled to Fabius in command, he sees that Hannibal is superior to him in courage and in fortune. But another will be the time for reproaches and resentment. Now advance your standards beyond the rampart: let us wrest the victory from the enemy, and a confession of their error from our countrymen.”
A great part of the troops having been now slain, and the rest looking about for a way to escape; the army of Fabius showed itself on a sudden for their help, as if sent down from heaven.
And thus, before he came within a dart's throw or joined battle, he both stayed his friends from a precipitate flight and the enemy from excessive fierceness of fighting.
Those who had been scattered up and down, their ranks being broken, fled for refuge from every quarter to the fresh army; those who had fled together in parties, turning upon the enemy, now forming a circle, retreat slowly, now concentrating themselves, stand firm.
And now the vanquished and the fresh army had nearly formed one line, and were bearing their standards against the enemy, when the Carthaginians sounded a retreat; Hannibal openly declaring that though he had conquered Minucius, he was himself conquered by Fabius.
The greater part of the day having been thus consumed with varying success, Minucius calling together his soldiers, when they had returned to the camp, thus addressed them; “I have often heard, soldiers, [p. 799]
that he is the greatest man who himself counsels what is expedient; and that he who listens to the man who gives good advice is the second;
but that he who neither himself is capable of counselling, and knows not how to obey another, is of the lowest order of mind.
Since the first place of mind and talent has been denied us, let us strive to obtain the second and intermediate kind; and while we are learning to command, let us prevail upon ourselves to submit to a man of prudence.
Let us join camps with Fabius, and, carrying our standards to his pavilion, when I have saluted him as my parent, which he deserves on account of the service he has rendered us and of his dignity;
you, my soldiers, shall salute those men as patrons, whose arms and right-hands just now protected you: and if this day has conferred nothing else upon us, it hath at least conferred upon us the glory of possessing grateful hearts.”