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42. 'I have dwelt upon the greatness of Athens because I want to show you that we are contending1 for a higher prize than those who enjoy none of these privileges, and to establish by manifest proof the merit of these men whom I am now commemorating. [2] Their loftiest praise has been already spoken. For in magnifying the city I have magnified them, and men like them whose virtues made her glorious. And of how few Hellenes can it be said as of them, that their deeds when weighed in the balance have been found equal to their fame! Methinks that a death such as theirs has been gives the true measure of a man's worth; it may be the first revelation of his virtues, but is at any rate their final seal. [3] For even those who come short in other ways may justly plead the valour with which they have fought for their country; they have blotted out the evil with the good, and have benefited the state more by their public services than they have injured her by their private actions. [4] None of these men were enervated by wealth or hesitated to resign the pleasures of life; none of them put off the evil day in the hope, natural to poverty, that a man, though poor, may one day become rich. But, deeming that the punishment of their enemies was sweeter than any of these things, and that they could fall in no nobler cause, they determined at the hazard of their lives to be honourably avenged, and to leave the rest. They resigned to hope their unknown chance of happiness; but in the face of death they resolved to rely upon themselves alone. And when the moment came they were minded to resist and suffer, rather than to fly and save their lives; they ran away from the word of dishonour, but on the battle-field their feet stood fast, and2 in an instant, at the height of their fortune, they passed away from the scene, not of their fear, but of their glory3.

1 The praise of the city is the praise of these men, for they made her great. Good and bad, rich and poor alike, preferred death to dishonour.

2 Or, taking τύχης with καιροῦ: 'while for a moment they were in the hands of fortune, at the height, not of terror but of glory, they passed away.'

3 Or, taking τύχης with καιροῦ: 'while for a moment they were in the hands of fortune, at the height, not of terror but of glory, they passed away.'

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load focus Notes (E.C. Marchant, 1891)
load focus Greek (1942)
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