Abbildungen der Seite




The speech of C. Marius to the Romans, shew

ing the absurdity of their hesitating to confer on him the rank of General in the expedition against Jugurtha, merely on account of his extraction,

(Saluf, BELL. JUGURTHIN.) (1) IT

Tis but too common, my countrymen, to Explaining, observe a material difference, between the behaviour of those, who stand candidates for places of power and trust, before and after their obtaining them. They solicit them in one manner, and execute them in another. *They set out with a great appearance of activity, humility, and moderation ; tand they quickly fall into + Reproof. sloth, pride, and avarice. It is, undoubtedly, no easy matter to discharge, to the general satisfaction, the duty of a supreme commander in troublesome times. I am, I hope, duly sensible of the importance of the office I propose to take upon me, for the service of my country. (2) To carry on, with effect, an expensive war, and yet be frugal of the public money ; to oblige those to serve, whoin it may be delicate to offend; to conduct, at the same 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 spite of opposition from the envious, the factious and the disaffected; to do all this, my countrymen, is more difficult, than is generally thought. And besides the disadvantages, which are cominon to me with all others in eminent stations, my case is, in this


* Sneer.

(1) This speech begins calm and cool. See Tranquillity, page 16. Teaching, page 23, &c.

(2) “ To carry on,&c. The antithesis, in the sentence, must be carefully marked in pronouncing it.


[ocr errors]

respect, peculiarly hard ; that, whereas a comman

der of patrician rank, if he is guilty of a neglect, Contempt. or breach of duty, he has his great connexions, the

antiquity of his family, the importanc services of his ancestors, and the multitudes he has by pow

er engaged in his interest, to screen him from Self defen. condign punishment : my whole safety depends

upon myself; which renders it the more indispenAnxiety. sably necessary for me to take care, that my con

duct be clear and unexceptionable. Besides, 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 thę commonwealth to all other considerations, favour my pretensions, the patricians want nothing

so much, as an occasion against me. It is, therePromising. fore my fixed resolution, to use my best endeavours,

that you be not disappointed in me, and that their
indirect designs against me may be defeated. I

have from my youth been familiar with toils, and Self defen. with danger. I was faithful to your interest,

my countrymen, when I served you for no reCratitude. ward, but that of honor. 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 against Jugurtha. The par-

tricians are offended at this. But where would Contempt. be the wisdom of giving such a command to

one of their honourable body, a person of illus-
trious birth, of ancient family, of innumerable sta-
tues, but-of no experience. What service would
his long line of dead ancestors, or his multitude
of motionless statues, do his country in the day
of battle? What could such a general do, but
in his trepidation and inexperience, have recourse
to some inferior commander, for direction in dif-
ficulties, to which he was not himself equal ?
Thus your patrician-general would in fact, have
a general over him ; so that, the acting com-
mander would still be a plebian. So true is this,
my countrymen, that I have myself knowk


those, who have been chosen consuls, begin then to read the history of their own country, of which, till that time, they were totally ignorant; that is, they first obtained the employment, and then bethought themselves of the qualifications necessary for the proper discharge of it. I sub

Respect. mit to your judgment, Romans, on which side the advantage lies, when comparison is made between patrician haughtiness and plebian experi. Conteinpt. ence. The very actions which they have only read, I have partly seen, and partly myself atchieved. What they know by reading, I know by action. They are pleased to slight my inean birth : I de. spise their mean characters. Want of birth and fortune, is the objection against me. Want of personal worth against them. But are not all inen of the same species ? What can make a dif- Questionference between one man and another, but the ing. endowments of the mind ? For my part, I shall always look upon the bravest man as the no

Suppose it were required of the fathers of such patricians as Albinus, and Bes- Contempt. tia, whether, if they had their choice, they would desire sons of their character, or of mine ; what would they answer; but that they should wish the worthiest to be their sons ? If the pa- Argui. with tricians have reason to despise me, let them like- Reproof. wise despise their ancestors, whose nobility was the fruit of their virtue. Do they envy the honours bestowed upon me? Let them envy likewise my labours, my abstinence, and the dangers I have undergone for any country; by which I Contempt. bave acquired thein. But those worthless men lead such a life of inactivity, as if they despised any honors you can bestow; whilst they aspire to honours, as if they had deserved them by the most industrious virtue. They arrogate the rewards of activity for their having enjoyed the pleasures of luxury. Yet none can be more lavish, than they are, in praise of their ancestors. And they imagine they honor themselves by cele.


blest man.

dants are.


brating their forefathers. Whereas they do the very contrary. For, by how much their ancestors were distinguished for their virtues, by so inuch are they disgraced by their vices. The glory of ancestors casts a light, indeed, upon their posterity; but it only serves to shew what the descen

It alike exhibits to public view their degeneracy and their worth. I own, I cannot boast of the deeds of my forefathers : But I hope I may answer the cavils of the patricians by standing up in defence of what I have myself

done. Observe now my countrymen, the injus(1) Pride tice of the patricians. They arrogate to themContempt. selves honours on account of the exploits done by

their forefathers, whilst they will not allow me

the due praise for perforining the very same sort Affectation. of actions in my own person.

66 He has no statues,” they cry, “ of his family. He can trace

no venerable line of ancestors,"What then ! Is Conteinpt. it matter of more praise to disgrace one's illus

trious ancestors, than to become illustrious by his Self-Vindi

own good behaviour? What if I can shew no statues of iny family? I can shew the standards, the armour, and the trappings, which I have myself taken from the vanquished: I can shew the scars of those wounds which I received by facing the enemies of my country. These are niy statues. These are the honours I boast of; not left me by inheritance as theirs; but earned by

toil, by abstinence, by valour; amidst clouds of Contempt. dust, and seas of blood; scenes of action, where

those effeminate patricians, who endeavour, by indirect means, to depreciate me in your esteen, have never dared to shew their facese.

[ocr errors]


(1) Laudble Pride. See Courage, page 22.



Macbeth full of his bloody design against good

king Duncan, fancies he sees a dagger in the


Starting Courage





Is this a dagger, which I see before ine,
The handle toward my hand ? (1) Come let me

clutch thee
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision ! sensible
To feeling as to sight 2 or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation
Proceeding froin the heat-oppressed brain ?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable,
(2)As this which now. I draw
Thou marshal'st ine the way that I was going,
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools.o'th other senses,
Or else worth all the rest I see thee still,
And on thy blade and dudgeon, drops of blood,
Which was not so before-- (3) There's no such

thing: -
It is the bloody business, which informs
This to mine

(4) Now o'er one half the world Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse The curtain'd sleep ; now witchcraft celebrates Pale Hecate's offerings : and midnight murcler, (Alarmed by his centinel the wolf,






(1) Reaching on his hand, as to snatch it. The first eight lines to be spoken with the eyes staring, and fixed on one point in ihe air, where he is supposed to fee the dagger. See Despair, page 20.

Malice 29.. (2) Drawing his dagger, and looking on it, and then on that in the air, as comparing them.

(3) A long pause. He recollects and composes himself a little, and gives over fixing his eyes upon the air-drawn vlagger.

(4) Plotting is always to be expressed with a low voice. Espe. cially such a passage as this, to the end.

« ZurückWeiter »