'Even now, Athenians and allies, we must hope: men have been delivered out of worse straits1
than these, and I would not have you judge yourselves too severely on account either of the reverses which you have sustained or of your present undeserved miseries.
I too am as weak as any of you; for I am quite prostrated by my disease, as you see. And although there was a time when I might have been thought equal to the best of you in the happiness of my private and public life, I am now in as great danger, and as much at the mercy of fortune, as the meanest. Yet my days have been passed in the performance of many a religious duty, and of many just and blameless action.
Therefore my hope of the future is still courageous,2
and our calamities do not appal me as they might3
. Who knows that they may not be lightened?
For our enemies have had their full share of success, and if we were under the jealousy of any God when our fleet started4
, by this time we have been punished enough. Others ere now have attacked their neighbours; they have done as men will do, and suffered what men can bear. We may therefore begin to hope that the Gods will be more merciful to us; for we now invite their pity rather than their jealousy. And look at your own well-armed ranks; see how many brave soldiers you are, marching in solid array5
, and do not be dismayed; bear in mind that wherever you plant yourselves you are a city already, and that no city in Sicily will find it easy to resist your attack, or can dislodge you if you choose to settle.
Provide for the safety and good order of your own march, and remember every one of you that on whatever spot a man is compelled to fight, there if he conquer he may find a native land and a fortress.
We must press forward day and night, for our supplies are but scanty. The Sicels through fear of the Syracusans still adhere to us, and if we can only reach any part of their territory we shall be among friends, and you may consider yourselves secure. We have sent to them, and they have been told to meet us and bring food.
In a word, soldiers, let me tell you that you must be brave; there is no place near to which a coward can fly6
. And if you now escape your enemies, those of you who are not Athenians will see once more the home for which they long, while you Athenians will again rear aloft the fallen greatness of Athens. For men, and not walls or ships in which are no men, constitute a state.'