87.‘Men of Peloponnesus, if any of you be afraid of the battle at hand for the success of the battle past, his fear is without ground.
For you know we were inferior to them then in preparation and set not forth as to a fight at sea but rather to an expedition by land.Fortune likewise crossed us in many things, and somewhat we miscarried by unskilfulness.
So as the loss can no way be ascribed to cowardice, nor is it just, so long as we were not overcome by mere force but have somewhat to allege in our excuse, that the mind should be dejected for the calamity of the event;but we must think that though fortune may fail men, yet the courage of a valiant man can never fail, and not that we may justify cowardice in anything by pretending want of skill, and yet be truly valiant.
And yet you are not so much short of their skill as you exceed them in valour.And though this knowledge of theirs, which you so much fear, joined with courage will not be without a memory also to put what they know in execution;yet without courage no art in the world is of any force in the time of danger.For fear confoundeth the memory, and skill without courage availeth nothing.
To their odds therefore of skill oppose your odds of valour, and to the fear caused by your overthrow oppose your being then unprovided.
You have further now a greater fleet and to fight on your own shore with your aids at hand of men of arms;and, for the most part, the greatest number and best provided get the victory.
So that we can neither see any one cause in particular why we should miscarry;and whatsoever were our wants in the former battle, supplied in this will now turn to our instruction.
With courage therefore, both masters and mariners, follow every man in his order, not forsaking the place assigned him.
And for us, we shall order the battle as well as the former commanders and leave no excuse to any man of his cowardice.And if any will needs be a coward, he shall receive condign punishment;and the valiant shall be rewarded according to their merit.’
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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