32.'Men of Athens, those who, like ourselves, come to others who are not their allies
and to1 whom they have never rendered any considerable service and ask help of them,
are bound to show, in the first place, that the granting of their request is
expedient, or at any rate not inexpedient, and, secondly, that their gratitude will
be lasting.If they fulfil neither requirement they have no right to complain of a refusal.
Now the Corcyraeans, when they sent us hither to ask for an alliance, were
confident that they could establish to your satisfaction both these points.
But, unfortunately, we have had a practice alike inconsistent with the request
which we are about to make and contrary to our own interest at the present
moment:—Inconsistent; for hitherto we have never, if we could avoid it,
been the allies of others, and now we come and ask you to enter into an alliance
with us:—Contrary to our interest;
for through this practice we find ourselves isolated in our war with the
Corinthians.The policy of not making alliances lest they should endanger us at another's
bidding, instead of being wisdom, as we once fancied, has now
unmistakably proved to be weakness and folly.
True, in the2 last naval engagement we repelled the Corinthians single-handed.But now they are on the point of attacking us with a much greater force which they
have drawn together from the Peloponnesus and from all Hellas. We know that we are
too weak to resist them unaided, and may expect the worst if we fall into their
hands. We are therefore compelled to ask assistance of you and of all the world;and
you must not be hard upon us if now, renouncing our indolent neutrality which was an
error but not a crime, we dare to be inconsistent.
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