Page images

with blood, and with numberlefs unexpiated crimes committed against his fubject. Ye Gods, who protected our forefathers, ye Genii, who watch for the prefervation and glory of Rome, do you infpire us with courage and unanimity in this glorious caufe, and we will to our last breath defend your worship from all profanation.

[blocks in formation]

I KNOW not, foldiers, whether you or your prifoners

be encompaffed by fortune with the ftri&ter bonds and neceffities. Two feas enclofe you on the right and left ;not a fhip to flee to for efcaping. Before you is the Po, a river broader and more rapid than the Rhone; behind you are the Alps, over which, even when your numbers were undiminished, you were hardly able to force a paffage. Here then, foldiers, you must either conquer or die, the very first hour you meet the enemy. But the fame fortune which has thus laid you under the neceffity of fighting, has fet before your eyes thofe rewards of victory, than which no men are ever wont to wish for greater from the immortal Gods. Should we by our valour recover only Sicily and Sardinia, which were ravished from our fathers, thofe would be no inconfiderable prizes. Yet what are thefe? The wealth of Rome, whatever riches fhe has heaped together in the fpoils of nations, all thefe, with the maf ters of them, will be yours. You have been long enough employed in driving the cattle upon the vaft mountains of Lufitania and Celtiberia; you have hitherto met with no reward worthy of the labours and dangers you have under


[ocr errors]

gone. The time is now come to reap the full recompense of your toilfome maches over fo many mountains and rivers, and through fo many nations, all of them in arms. This is the place which fortune has appointed to be the limits of your labours; it is here that you will finish your glorious warfare, and receive an ample recompenfe of your compleated fervice. For I would not have you imagine, that victory will be as difficult as the name of a Roman war is great and founding. It' has often happened that a defpifed enemy has given a bloody battle, and the most renowed kings and nations have by a small force been overthrown. And if you but take away the glitter of the Roman name, what is there, wherein they may ftand in competition with you? For (to fay nothing of your fervice in war for twenty years together with fo much valour and fuccefs) from the very pillars of Hercules, from the ocean, from the utmoft bounds of the earth, through fo many warlike nations of Spain and Gaul, are you not come hither victorious? And with whom are you now to fight? With raw foldiers, an undifciplined army, beaten, vanquished, besieged by the Gauls the very last fummer, an army unknown to their leader, and unacquainted with him.

OR fhall I, who was born I might almost say, but certainly brought up, in the tent of my father, that most excellent general, fhall I, the conqueror of Spain and Gaul, and not only of the Alpine nations, but, which is greater yet, of the Alps themselves, fhall I compare myself with this half-year captain? A captain before whom should one place the two armies without their enfigns, I am perfuaded he would not know to which of them he is conful? I efteem it no small advantage, foldiers, that there is not one among you, who has not often been an eye-witnefs of my exploits


in war; not one of whofe valour I myself have not been a fpectator, fo as to be able to name the times and places of his noble atchievements; that with foldiers, whom I have a thousand times praised and rewarded, and whose pupil I was, before I became their general, I shall march against an army of men, ftrangers to one another.

ON what fide foever I turn my eyes, I behold all full of courage and strength; a veteran infantry; a moft gallant cavalry; you, my allies, moft faithful and valiant; you Carthaginians, whom not only your country's caufe, but the jufteft anger impels to battle. The hope, the courage of affailants, is always greater than of those who act upon the defenfive. With hoftile banners difplayed, you are come down upon Italy; you bring the war. Grief, injuries, indignities fire your minds, and fpur you forward to revenge. -Firft they demanded me; that I, your general fhould be delivered up to them; next, all of you, who had fought at the fiege of Saguntum; and we were to be put to death by the extemeft tortures. Proud and cruel nation! Every thing must be yours, and at your dipofal! You are to prefcribe to us with whom we fhall make war, with whom we shall make peace! You are to fet us bounds; to fhut us up within hills and rivers; but you-you are not to obferve the limits which yourfelves have fixed! Pafs not the Iberus. What next? Touch not the Saguntines; Saguntum is upon the Iberus, move not a ftep towards that city. Is it a small matter then, that you have deprived us of our ancient poffeffions, Sicily and Sardinia; you would have Spain too? Well, we fhall yield Spain; and then-you will pass into Africa. Will pafs, did I fay ?—This very year they ordered one of their confuls into Africa, the other into Spain. No, foldiers, there is nothing left for us but what we can


vindicate with our fwords. Come on then. Be men. The Romans may with more fafety be cowards; they have their own country behind them, have places of refuge to flee to, and are fecure from danger in the roads thther; but for you there is no middle fortune between death and victory. Let this be but well fixed in your minds, and once again, I fay, you are conquerors. LIVY.





T is but too common, my countrymen, to observe a material difference between the behaviour of those, who ftand candidates for places of power and truft, before, and after their obtaining them. They folicit them in one manner, and execute them in another. They fet out with a great appearance of activity, humility, and moderation; and they quickly fall into sloth, pride, and avarice. It is, undoubtedly, no eafy matter to discharge, to the general fatisfaction, the duty of a fupreme commander in troublefome times, I am, I hope, duly fenfible of the importance of the office I propose to take upon me, for the service of my country. To carry on, with effect, an expensive war, and yet be frugal of the public money; to oblige those to ferve, whom it may be delicate to offend; to conduct, at the fame time, a complicated variety of operations; to concert measures at home answerable to the state of things abroad; and to gain every valuable end, in fpite of oppofition from the envious, the factious, and the difaffected; to do all this, my countrymen, is more difficult, than is gene


rally thought. And, befides the disadvantages, which are common to me with all others in eminent stations, my cafe, is, in this respect, peculiarly hard; that, whereas a commander of Patrician rank, if he is guilty of a neglect, or breach of duty, has his great connections, the antiquity of his family, the important fervices of his ancestors, and the multitudes he has by power engaged in his intereft, to screen him from condign punishment; my whole fafety depends upon myself; which renders it the more indispensably neceffary for me to take care, that my conduct be clear and unexceptionable. Befides, I am well aware, my countrymen, that the eye of the public is upon me; and that, though the impartial, who prefer the real advantage of the commonwealth to all other confiderations, favour my pretenfions, the Patricians want nothing fo much, as an occafion against me. It is, therefore, my fixed refolution, to ufe my beft endeavours, that you be not difappointed in me, and that their indirect defigns against me may be defeated. I have, from my youth, been familiar with toils, and with dangers. I was faithful to your intereft, my countrymen, when I served you for no reward, but that of honour. It is not my design to betray you, now that you have conferred upon me a place of profit. You have committed to my conduct the war againft Jugurtha. The Patricians are offended at this. But where would be the wisdom of giving fuch a command to one of their honourable body, a perfon of illuftrious birth, of ancient family, of innumerable ftatues, but-of no experience ? What fervice would his long line of dead ancestors, or his multitude of motionlefs ftatues, do his country in the day of battle? What could fuch a general do, but, in his trepidation and inexperience, have recourfe to fome inferior commander, for direction in difficulties, to which he was not


« PreviousContinue »