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Curio relished neither of these notions: the one, he thought, argued cowardice; the other, a rash boldness: to retreat, would have all the appearance of a shameful flight; to attack, they must resolve to fight in a place of disadvantage. "With what hope," said he, "can we attack a camp fortified by nature and art? And what advantage can we draw from an attempt, whence we shall be obliged to retire with loss ? Does not success always secure to a general the affection of his troops, whereas ill fortune is evermore followed with contempt ? And what would a decampment imply but an ignominious flight, an absolute despair of all things, and an unavoidable alienation of the whole army? That we ought not to let the modest think we distrust them, nor the insolent that we fear them; because the knowledge of our fear only augments the presumption of the one, and an apprehension of being suspected, abates the zeal of the other. But if what is reported of the discontent of the army be true, which I am yet unwilling to believe, at least to the degree some pretend; we ought, for that reason, rather to hide and dissemble our fears, than by an unreasonable discovery of them, to add strength to the evil: that, as in some cases, it was necessary to conceal the wounds of the body, that the enemy might not conceive hope from our misfortunes; so also ought we to hide the indisposition of an army: that by retreating in the night, as some proposed, they would only furnish a fairer occasion to the ill-affected to execute their purpose: for fear and shame are powerful restraints by day, but night entirely divests them of their force: that he was neither so rash, as to attack a camp without hopes of success; nor so blinded by fear, as to be at a loss what measures to pursue: that he thought it his duty to examine things to the bottom; and as he had called them together to deliberate upon the present state of affairs, doubted not, with their assistance, to take such measures as would be attended with success."
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