77.‘Athenians and confederates, we must hope still, even in our present estate.Men have been saved ere now from greater dangers than these are.Nor ought you too much to accuse yourselves, either for your losses past, or the undeserved miseries we are now in.
Even I myself, that have the advantage of none of you in strength of body (you see how I am in my sickness), nor am I thought inferior to any of you for prosperity past, either in respect of mine own private person or otherwise, am nevertheless now in as much danger as the meanest of you.And yet I have worshipped the gods frequently according to the law and lived justly and unblameably towards men.
For which cause my hope is still confident of the future, though these calamities, as being not according to the measure of our desert, do indeed make me fear.But they may perhaps cease.For both the enemies have already had sufficient fortune, and the gods, if any of them have been displeased with our voyage, have already sufficiently punished us.
Others have invaded their neighbours as well as we;and as their offence, which proceeded of human infirmity, so their punishment also hath been tolerable.And we have reason now both to hope for more favour from the gods (for our case deserveth their pity rather than their hatred) and also not to despair of ourselves, seeing how good and how many men of arms you are, marching together in order of battle.Make account of this, that wheresoever you please to sit down, there presently of yourselves you are a city, such as not any other in Sicily can either easily sustain if you assault or remove if you be once seated.
Now for your march, that it may be safe and orderly, look to it yourselves, making no other account, any of you, but what place soever he shall be forced to fight in, the same, if he win it, must be his country and his walls.
March you must with diligence, both night and day alike, for our victual is short;and if we can but reach some amicable territory of the Siculi (for these are still firm to us for fear of the Syracusians), then you may think yourselves secure.Let us therefore send before to them and bid them meet us and bring us forth some supplies of victual.
In sum, soldiers, let me tell you it is necessary that you be valiant;for there is no place near where, being cowards, you can possibly be saved;whereas if you escape through the enemies at this time, you may every one see again whatsoever anywhere he most desires;and the Athenians may re-erect the great power of their city, how low soever fallen.For the men, not the walls nor the empty galleys, are the city.’
The English works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Thucydides. Thomas Hobbes. translator. London. Bohn. 1843.
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