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tears. But though he firmly refused to make use of any other voice than his own, and to appear before his judges in the submissive posture of a suppliant, he did not behave in that manner from pride, or contempt of the tribunal : it was from a noble and intrepid assurance, resulting from greatness of soul, and the consciousness of his truth and innocence. His defence had nothing timorous or weak in it. His discourse was bold, manly, generous, without passion, without emotion, full of the noble liberty of a philosopher, with no other ornament than that of truth, and brightened universally with the character and language of innocence. Plato, who was present, transcribed it afterwards, and without any additions, composed from it the work which he calls the Apology of Socrates, one of the most consummate masterpieces of antiquity. The following is an extract from it.
“I am accused of corrupting the youth, and of instilling dangerous maxims into their minds, as well in regard to Divine worship, as to the rules of government. You know, Athenians, that I never made it my profession to teach : nor can envy, however violent, reproach me with having ever sold my instructions. I have an undeniable evidence for me in this respect, which is my poverty. I am always equally ready to communicate my thoughts both to the rich and the poor, and to give them opportunity to question or answer me. I lend myself to every one who is desirous of becoming virtuous ; and if, amongst those who hear me, there are any that prove either good or bad, neither the virtues of the one, nor the vices of the other, to which I have not contri. buted, are to be ascribed to me. My whole employment is to counsel the young and the old against too much love for the body, for riches and all other precarious things, of whatever nature they be ; and against too little regard for the soul, which ought to be the object of their affection. For I incessantly urge to them, that virtue does not proceed from riches ; but, on the contrary, riches from virtue ; and that all the other goods of human life, as well public as private, have their source in the same principle.
“ If to speak in this manner be to corrupt youth, I confess, Athenians, that I am guilty, and deserve to be punished. If what I say be not true, it is most easy to convict me of falsehood. I see here a great number of my disciples : they have only to come forward. It will, perhaps, be said, that the regard and veneration due to a master who has instructed them, will prevent them from declaring against me : but their fathers, brothers, and uncles, cannot, as good relations and good citizens, excuse themselves for not standing forth to demand vengeance against the corrupter of their sons, brothers, and nephews. These are however, the persons who take apon them my defence, and interest themselves in the success of my cause.
“ Pass on me what sentence you please, Athenians : I can neither repent, nor alter my conduct. I must not abandon or suspend a function which God himself has imposed on me. Now he has charged me with the care of instructing my fellow-citizens. If after having faithfully kept all the posts wherein I was placed by our generals at Potidæa, Amphipolis, and Delium, the fear of death should at this time make me abandon that in which the divine Providence has placed me, by commanding me to pass my life in the study of philosophy, for the instruction of myself and others; this would be a most criminal desertion indeed, and make me highly worthy of being cited before this tribunal, as an impious man, who does not believe in the gods. Should you resolve to acquit me, I should not, Athenians, hesitate to say, I honour and love you ; but I shall choose rather to obey God than you ; and to my latest breath shall never renounce my philosophy, nor cease to exhort and reprove you according to my custom, by saying to each of you as occasion offers ; " My good friend and citizen of the most famous city in the world for wisdom and valour, are you not ashamed to have no other thoughts than those of amassing wealth, and of acquiring glory, credit, and digoities ; neglecting the treasures of prudence, truth, and wisdom, and taking no pains to render your soul as good and perfect as it is capable of being ?”
"I am reproached with abject fear, and meanness of spirit, for being so busy in imparting my advice to every one in private, and for having always avoided to be present in your assemblies, to give my counsels to my country. I think I have sufficiently proved my courage and fortitude, both in the field, where I have borne arms with you, and in the senate, where I alone opposed the unjust sentence you pronounced against the ten captains, who had not taken up and interred the bodies of those, who were killed and drowned in the sea-fight near the island Arginusæ; and when, upon more than one occasion, I opposed the violent and cruel orders of the thirty tyrants. What is it then that has prevented me from appearing in your assemblies ? Do not take it ill, I beseech you, if I speak my thoughts without disguise, and with truth and freedom. Every man who would generously oppose a whole people, either amongst us or else. where, and who inflexibly applies himself to prevent the violation of the laws, and the practice of iniquity in a government, will never do so long with impunity. It is absolutely necessary for a man of this disposition, if he has any thoughts of living, to remain in a private station, and never to have any share in public affairs.
“ For the rest, Athenians, if, in my present extreme danger, I do not imitate the behaviour of those, who, upon less emergencies, have implored and supplicated their judges with tears, and have brought forth their children, relations, and friends ; it is not through pride and obstinacy, or any contempt for you, but solely for your honour, and for that of the whole city. You should know, that there are amongst our citizens those who do not regard death as an evil, and who give that name only to injustice and infamy. At my age, and with the reputation, true or false, which I have, would it be consistent for me, after all the lessons I have given upon the contempt of death, to be afraid of it myselt, and to belie, in my last action, all the principles and senti ments of my past life?
“But without speaking of my fame, which I should ex tremely injure by such a conduct, I do not think it allowable to entreat a judge, nor to be absolved by supplications. He ought to be influenced only by reason and evidence. The judge does not sit upon the bench to show favour, by vio. lating the laws, but to do justice in conforming to them. He does not swear to discharge with impunity whom he pleases, bat to do justice where it is due. We ought not, therefore, to accustom you to perjury, nor you to suffer yourselves to be accustomed to it; for, in so doing, both the one and the other of us equally injure justice and religion, and both are criminals.
“ Do not, therefore, expect from me, Athenians, that I should have recourse amongst you to means which I believe neither honest nor lawful, especially upon this occasion, wherein I am accused of impiety by Melitus : for, if I should influence you by my prayers, and thereby induce you to violate your oaths, it would be undeniably evident, that I teach you not to believe in the gods ; and even in defending and justifying myself, should furnish my adversaries with arms against me, and prove that I believe no divinity. But! am very far from such bad thoughts : I am more convinced of the existence of God than my accusers are ; and so convinced, that I abandon myself to God and you, that you may judge of me as you shall deem best for yourselves and me.”
Socrates pronounced this discourse with a firm and intrepid tone. His air, his action, his visage, expressed nothing of the accused. He seemed to be the master of his judges, from the greatness of soul with which he spoke, without however losing any of the modesty natural to him. But how slight soever the proofs were against him, the faction was powerful enough to find him guilty. There was the form of a process against him, and his irreligion was the pretence upon which it was grounded ; but his death was certainly a concerted thing. His steady uninterrupted course of obstinate virtue, which had made him in many cases appear singular, and oppose whatever he thought illegal or unjust, without any regard to times or persons, had procured him a great deal of envy and ill-will. After his sentence, he continued with the same serene and intrepid aspect with which he had long enforced virtue, and held tyrants in awe. When he entered his prison, which then became the residence of virtue and probity, his friends followed him, and continued to visit him during the interval between his condemnation and his death.
The Scythian ambassadors to Alexander, on his making prepa
rations to attack their country. If your person were as gigantic as your desires, the world could not contain you. Your right hand vould touch the east, and your left the west at the same tine : you grasp at more than you are equal to. From Europe you reach Asia ; from Asia you lay hold on Europe. And if you should conquer all mankind, you seem disposed to wage war with woods and snows, with rivers and wild beasts, and to attempt to subdue nature. But have you considered the usual course of things? have you reflected, that great trees are many years in growing to their height, and are cut down in an hour ? It is fool. ish to think of the fruit ouly, without considering the height you have to climb to come at it. Take care, lest, while you strive to reach the top, you fall to the ground with the branches you have laid hold on.
Besides, what have you to do with the Scythians, or the Scythians with you? We have never invaded Macedon; why should you attack Scythia ? You pretend to be the punisher of robbers ; and are yourself the general robber of mankind. You have taken Lydia ; you have seized Syria ; you are master of Persia ; you have subdued the Bactrians, and attacked India ; all this will not satisfy you, unless you lay your greedy and insatiable hands upon our flocks and our herds. How imprudent is your conduct! you grasp at riches, the possession of which only increases your avarice. You increase your hunger, by what should produce satiety ; so that the more you have, the more you desire. But have you forgotten how long the conquest of the Bactrians detained you? While you were subduing them, the Sogdians revolted. Your victories serve to no other purpose than to find you employment, by producing new wars; for the business of every conquest is twofold, to win, and to preserve. Though you may be the greatest of warriors, you must expect that the nations you conquer will endeavour to shake off the yoke as fast as possible for what people choose to be under foreign dominion ?
If you will cross the Tanais, you may travel over Scythia, and observe how extensive a territory we inhabit : but to conquer us is quite another business. You will find us, at one time, too nimble for your pursuit; and at another, when you think we are fled far enough from you, you will have us surprise you in your camp : for the Scythians attack with no less vigour than they fly. It will, therefore, be your wisdom to keep with strict attention what you have gained : catching at more, you may lose what you have. We have a proverbial saying in Scythia, That Fortune has no feet, and is furnished only with hands to distribute her capricious favours, and with fins to elude the grasp of those to whom she has been bountiful.—You profess yourself to be a god, the son of Jupiter Ammon: it suits the character of a god to bestow favours on mortals, not to deprive them of what they have. But if you are no god, reflect on the precarious condition of humanity. You will thus show more wisdom, than by dwelling on those subjects which have puffed up your pride, and made you forget yourself.
You see how little you are likely to gain by attempting the conquest of Scythia. On the other hand, you may, if you please, have in us a valuable alliance. We command the borders both of Europe and Asia. There is nothing between us and Bactria, but the river Tanais ; and our territory extends to Thrace, which, as we have heard,