« AnteriorContinuar »
land, whose valiant predecessors led armies against their enemies, upon their own proper charges and expenses, now divested of their followers and vassalages, and put upon such an equal foot with their vassals, that I think I see a petty English exciseman receive more homage and respect, than what was paid formerly to their quondam Mackallamors.
I think I see the present peers of Scotland, whose noble ancestors conquered provinces, overrun countries, reduced and subjected towns and fortified places, exacted tribute through the greatest part of England, now walking in the court of requests, like so many English attornies, laying aside their walking swords when in company with the English peers, lest self-defence should be found murder.
In short, I think I see the laborious ploughman, with his corn spoiling upon his hands for want of sale, cursing the day of his birth. I think I see the incurable difficulties of landed men, fettered under the golden chain of equivalents, their pretty daughters petitioning for the want of husbands, and their sons for want of employments.
I think I see our mariners delivering up their ships to their Dutch partners, and, what through presses and necessity, earning their bread as underlings in the English navy. But above all, my lord, I think I see our ancient mother Caledonia, like Cæsar, sitting in the midst of our senate, ruefully looking round about her, covering herself with her royal garment, attending the fatal blows, and breathing out her last with a—et tu quoque, mi fili?
Are not these, my lord, very afflicting thoughts? And yet they are at least part suggested to me by these dishonourable articles. Should not the consideration of these things vivify these dry bones of ours? Should not the memory of our noble predecessors' valour and constancy rouse up our drooping spirits ? Are our noble predecessors' souls got so far into the English cabbage-stalks and cauliflowers, that we should show the least inclination that way? Are our eyes so blinded ? Are our ears so deafened ? Are our hearts so hardened ? Are our tongues so faltered ? Are our hands so fettered ? that in this our day—I say, my lord, that in this our day, we should not mind the things that concern the very being and well-being of our ancient kingdom, before the day be hid from our eyes?
When I consider this treaty as it hath been explained and spoke to, before us these three weeks past, I see the English constitution remaining firm, the same two houses of parliament, the same taxes, the same customs, the same excises, the same trading companies, the same municipal laws and courts of judicature; and all ours either subject to regulations or annihilations, only we are to have the honour to pay their old debts, and to have some few persons present for witnesses to the validity of the deed, when they are pleased to contract more.
PEACE AND WAR. --Shelley."
How beautiful this night! the balmiest sigh
Ah! whence yon glare,
In countless echoes through the mountains ring,
The ceaseless clangour, and the rush of men
The grey morn
EXTRACT FROM AN ORATION OF ÆSCHINES AGAINST DE
WHAT!—Is the man, whom you propose to be crowned, of such a description, that he cannot be known by those who have been benefited by him, unless there be somebody to speak for you? Ask, then, the judges, if they knew Chabrias, and Iphicrates, and Timotheus; and inquire of them, wherefore they gave them rewards and erected statues to their honour? They all, with one voice, will answer, that it was to Chabrias, on account of the naval victory at Naxos,-to Iphicrates, because he cut in pieces the Lacedæmonian legion,-to Timotheus, for the relief of Corcyra, —and to others, because many and honourable exploits had been performed by them in war.
And if any one should inquire of you, why you will not give them to Demosthenes, your answer should be, Because he has taken bribes,-because he is a coward,-because he has deserted his post in the field ! And whether (think you) will you honour him, or dishonour yourselves, and those who have died for you in battle-whom imagine you see bewailing-if this man shall be crowned ? For it would be monstrous, O Athenians! should you honour Demosthenes, the man who proposed the last of all your expeditions, and betrayed your soldiers to the enemy!
But, what is the most important of all, if your youths should inquire of you, upon what model they ought to form their conduct, what will you answer? For you well know, that it is not the Palæstras alone, nor the schools, nor i music, which instruct your youth, but much more the public proclamations.
Is any man, scandalous in his life, and odious for his vices, proclaimed in the theatre as having been crowned on account of his virtue, his general excellence and patriotism !-the youth who witnesses it is depraved. Does any profligate and abandoned libertine, like Ctesiphon, suffer punishment! -all other persons are instructed. Does a man, who has given a vote against what is honourable and just, upon his return home, attempt to teach his son ? He, with good reason, will not listen; and that which would otherwise be instruction, is justly termed importunity,
Do you, thercfore, give your votes not merely as deciding the present cause, but with a view to consequences for your justification to those citizens, who are not now present, but who will demand an account from you of the judg. ment which you have pronounced. For you know full well, O Athenians! that the credit of the city will be such as is the character of the person who is crowned ; and it is a disgrace for you to be likened, not to your ancestors, but to the cowardice of Demosthenes.
FROM THE SAME.
Our city is scandalized on account of the measures of Demosthenes. And you will appear, if you should crown him, to be of the same mind with those who are violating the common peace; but if you act contrariwise, you will acquit the people of the charge.
Do you therefore deliberate, not as on behalf of a foreign country, but your own, and do not distribute your honours as of course, but discriminate, and set apart your rewards for more worthy persons and men of better account. And make use not of your ears only, when you consult, but of your eyes, looking round amongst each other to see, what manner of persons they are, who are about to come forward in support of Demosthenes ;-whether his partners in the chase, or companions in exercises during his youth. But no,-by the Olympian Jupiter !—he has not been in the habit of hunting the wild boar, or attending to graces of the body, but he has been constantly practising arts to rob the wealthy of their estates. Bear also in mind his boastfulness, when he asserts, that he rescued Byzantium out of the gripe of Philip as ambassador, and drew off the Acarnanians from his cause, and roused the Thebans by his harangues. For he supposes that you are arrived at such a pitch of simplicity as to be gulled into a belief of all this ; as if you were cherishing amongst you, not a vagabond of a common informer, but the goddess of persuasion herself.
But when, at the conclusion of his speech, he shall call before you, as advocates, the partakers of his bribes, believe that you see, upon this rostrum, where I am now standing to address you, drawn up in array against their effrontery, the great benefactors of their country-Solon, who adorned the democracy with the most excellent laws,-a wise man, a good lawgiver, mildly, as befitted him, entreating you not to make the speeches of Demosthenes of more avail than your oaths and the laws ;-Aristides too, who settled their contributions for the Greeks, and upon whose death the people portioned his daughters, demanding, if you are not ashamed that your ancestors were upon the very point of putting to death Arthmius of Zelia, who brought the money of the Persians into Greece, and journeyed into our city, being then a public guest of the people of Athens, and did ex