Demosthenes, Orations 4. Philippic 1

LCL 238: 68-69

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[40]Εἰ μὲν περὶ καινοῦ τινος πράγματος προὐτίθετ᾿, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, λέγειν, ἐπισχὼν ἂν ἕως οἱ πλεῖστοι τῶν εἰωθότων γνώμην ἀπεφήναντο, εἰ μὲν ἤρεσκέ τί μοι τῶν ὑπὸ τούτων ῥηθέντων, ἡσυχίαν ἂν ἦγον, εἰ δὲ μή, τότ᾿ ἂν αὐτὸς ἐπειρώμην ἃ γιγνώσκω λέγειν· ἐπειδὴ δ᾿ ὑπὲρ ὧν πολλάκις εἰρήκασιν οὗτοι πρότερον συμβαίνει καὶ νυνὶ σκοπεῖν, ἡγοῦμαι καὶ πρῶτος ἀναστὰς εἰκότως ἂν συγγνώμης τυγχάνειν. εἰ γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ παρεληλυθότος χρόνου τὰ δέονθ᾿ οὗτοι συνεβούλευσαν, οὐδὲν ἂν ὑμᾶς νῦν ἔδει βουλεύεσθαι.

2Πρῶτον μὲν οὖν οὐκ ἀθυμητέον, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, τοῖς παροῦσι πράγμασιν, οὐδ᾿ εἰ πάνυ φαύλως ἔχειν δοκεῖ. ὃ γάρ ἐστι χείριστον αὐτῶν ἐκ τοῦ παρεληλυθότος χρόνου, τοῦτο πρὸς τὰ μέλλοντα βέλτιστον ὑπάρχει. τί οὖν ἐστι τοῦτο; ὅτι οὐδέν, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, τῶν δεόντων ποιούντων ὑμῶν κακῶς τὰ πράγματ᾿ ἔχει· ἐπεί τοι, εἰ πάνθ᾿ ἃ προσῆκε πραττόντων οὕτως εἶχεν, οὐδ᾿ 3ἂν ἐλπὶς ἦν αὐτὰ βελτίω γενέσθαι. ἔπειτ᾿ ἐνθυμητέον καὶ παρ᾿ ἄλλων ἀκούουσι καὶ τοῖς εἰδόσιν αὐτοῖς ἀναμιμνῃσκομένοις, ἡλίκην ποτ᾿ ἐχόντων δύναμιν Λακεδαιμονίων, ἐξ οὗ χρόνος οὐ πολύς, ὡς καλῶς καὶ προσηκόντως οὐδὲν ἀνάξιον ὑμεῖς


First Philippic

IV. First Philippic

If the question before us were a new one, men of Athens, I should have waited until most of the regular speakers had delivered their opinions, and if satisfied with any of their proposals, I should have remained silent, but if not satisfied, I should then have tried to express my own views. Since, however, it is our fortune to be still debating a point on which they have often spoken before, I can safely claim your indulgence if I am the first to rise and address you. For if in the past their advice had been sound, there would be no need for deliberation to-day.

Now in the first place, Athenians, there is no need to despair of our present position, however hopeless it may seem. For that which is worst in the days that are past and gone is just what affords the best assurance for the future. And what is that? It is that your affairs are in this evil plight just because you, men of Athens, utterly fail to do your duty; since surely, were you so placed in spite of every effort on your part, it would be hopeless to look for improvement. In the next place, bear this in mind. Some of you have been told, others know and remember, how formidable the Spartans were, not many years ago, and yet how at the call of honour

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.demosthenes-orations_iv_first_philippic.1930