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Though indeed Simonides calls painting silent poetry, and poetry speaking painting. For those actions which painters set forth as they were doing, those history relates when they were done. And what the one sets forth in colors and figures, the other relates in words and sentences; only they differ in the materials and manner of imitation. However, both aim at the same end, and he is accounted the best historian, who can make the most lively descriptions both of persons and passions. Therefore Thucydides always drives at this perspicuity, to make the hearer (as it were) a spectator, and to inculcate the same passions and perturbations of mind into his readers as they were in who beheld the causes of those effects. For Demosthenes embattling the Athenians near the rocky shore of Pylos; Brasidas hastening the pilot to run the ship aground, then going to the rowers' seats, then wounded and fainting, sinking down in that part of the vessel where the oars could not trouble him; the land fight of the Spartans from the sea, and the sea engagement of the Athenians from the land; then again in the Sicilian war, both a land fight and sea engagement, so fought that neither had the better,1 ... So that if we may not compare painters with generals, neither must we equal historians to them.

[p. 403] Thersippus of Eroeadae brought the first news of the victory at Marathon, as Heraclides of Pontus relates. But most report that Eucles, running armed with his wounds reeking from the fight, and falling through the door into the first house he met, expired with only these words in his mouth, ‘God save ye, we are well.’ Now this man brought the news himself of the success of a fight wherein he was present in person. But suppose that ally of the goat-keepers or herd-men had beheld the combat from some high hill at a distance, and seeing the success of that great achievement, greater than by words can be expressed, should have come to the city without any wound or blood about him, and should have claimed the honors done to Cynaegirus, Callimachus, and Polyzelus, for giving an account of their wounds, their bravery and deaths, wouldst thou not have thought him impudent above impudence itself; seeing that the Lacedaemonians gave the messenger that brought the news of the victory at Mantinea2 no other reward than a quantity of victuals from the public mess? But historians are (as it were) well-voiced relators of the actions of great men, who add grace and beauty and dint of wit to their relations, and to whom they that first light upon them and read them are indebted for their pleasing tidings. And being read, they are applauded for transmitting to posterity the actions of those that do bravely. For words do not make actions, though we give them the hearing.

1 The text of several lines which follow here is hopelessly corrupt, but it is evident that Plutarch refers to the description in Thucyd. VII. 71. (G.)

2 Thuycd. V. 73.

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