70.And surely we have a right to find fault with our neighbours, if any one ever had. There1 are important interests at stake to which, as far as we can see, you are
insensible. And you have never considered what manner of men are these Athenians2 with whom you will have to fight, and how
utterly unlike yourselves.
They are revolutionary, equally quick in the conception and in the execution of every
new plan;while you are conservative— careful only to keep what you have,
originating nothing, and not acting even when action is most urgent.
They are bold beyond their strength; they run risks which prudence would condemn; and in the midst of misfortune they are
full of hope.Whereas it is your nature, though strong, to act feebly; when your plans are most
prudent, to distrust them; and when calamities come upon you, to think that you will
never be delivered from them.
They are impetuous, and you are dilatory; they are always abroad, and you are always at
home.For they hope to gain something by leaving their homes; but you are afraid
that any new enterprise may imperil what you have already.
When conquerors, they pursue their victory to the utmost; when defeated, they fall back
Their bodies they devote to their country as though they belonged to other men; their
true self is their mind, which is most truly their own when employed in her service.
When they do not carry out an intention which they have formed, they seem to themselves
to have sustained a personal bereavement;when an enterprise succeeds, they have gained
a mere instalment of what is to come;but if they fail, they at once conceive new hopes
and so fill up the void.With them alone to hope is to have, for they lose not a moment in the execution of an
This is the lifelong task, full of danger and toil, which they are always imposing upon
themselves.None enjoy their good things less, because they are always seeking for more. To do their duty is their only holiday, and they deem the quiet of inaction to be as
disagreeable as the most tiresome business.
If a man should say of them, in a word, that they were born neither to have peace
themselves nor to allow peace to other men, he would simply speak the truth.
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