38."For my own part, I am of the opinion I was before;and I wonder at these men that have brought this matter of the Mytilenaeans in question again and thereby caused delay, which is the advantage only of them that do the injury.For the sufferer by this means comes upon the doer with his anger dulled;whereas revenge, the opposite of injury, is then greatest when it follows presently.I do wonder also what he is that shall stand up now to contradict me and shall think to prove that the injuries done us by the Mytilenaeans are good for us or that our calamities are any damage to our confederates.
For certainly he must either trust in his eloquence to make you believe that that which was decreed was not decreed or, moved with lucre, must with some elaborate speech endeavour to seduce you.Now of such matches [of eloquence] as these, the city giveth the prizes to others;
but the danger that hence proceedeth, she herself sustaineth.
And of all this you yourselves are the cause, by the evil institution of these matches, in that you use to be spectators of words and hearers of actions, beholding future actions in the words of them that speak well as possible to come to pass and actions already past in the orations of such as make the most of them, and that with such assurance, as if what you saw with your eyes were not more certain than what you hear related.
You are excellent men for one to deceive with a speech of a new strain but backward to follow any tried advice, slaves to strange things, contemners of things usual.You would everyone chiefly give the best advice;
but if you cannot, then you will contradict those that do.You would not be thought to come after with your opinion but rather, if anything be acutely spoken, to applaud it first and to appear ready apprehenders of what is spoken even before it be out, but slow to preconceive the sequel of the same.You would hear, as one may say, somewhat else than what our life is conversant in;
and yet you sufficiently understand not that that is before your eyes.And to speak plainly, overcome with the delight of the ear, you are rather like unto spectators sitting to hear the contentions of sophisters than to men that deliberate of the state of a commonwealth.
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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