1 If it had been proposed to discuss some new measure, men of Athens, I should have waited until most of the regular speakers had declared their opinions, and if any of their views had pleased me, I should have held my peace; otherwise, I should then have attempted to say what I myself think. But since you are now considering matters on which these speakers have often spoken before, I feel that, even if the first to rise, I may reasonably appear to be speaking after them. [2] Now, if our interests were prospering, there would be no need to deliberate; but since, as you all observe, they are in straits, I shall try, on that assumption, to advise what I consider best. In the first place, you ought to recognize that none of the policies you pursued while engaged in the war are to be used henceforth, but quite their opposites.2 For if those policies have brought your fortunes low, it is very likely that their opposites will improve them.3 [3] Next, you must consider that it is not the speaker who places upon you little or no burden who is in the right, for you see that, as a consequence of such optimistic speeches, our present condition has reached the limit of wretchedness, but rather the speaker who, putting aside the thought of pleasing you, shall tell you what ought to be done and by what means we may cease bringing disgrace upon ourselves and incurring losses.4 For, to speak truthfully, if all that a man passes over in his speech through reluctance to pain you is going to be passed over also by the course of events, it is right to harangue you for your pleasure; but if the charm of words, when unbecoming the occasion, becomes a penalty in action,5 it is shameful to cheat yourselves, and to do only under the utmost necessity what you should have done voluntarily long before.

1 The beginning of Philippic 1 (Dem. 4) differs but slightly from this.

2 Similar advice is given in Dem. 8.38. Cf. Dem. 2.23.

3 This advice is satirically tendered to Dionysus by Euripides in Aristoph. Frogs 1446-1450.

4 The danger of speaking to please only is mentioned in Dem. 9.63-64 and Dem. 3.3.

5 Cf. Dem. 4.38.

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