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The First Philippic   

Consider next, what you know by report, and men of experience remember;
how vast a power the Lacedaemonians had not long ago, yet how nobly and
becomingly you consulted the dignity of Athens, and undertook the war
[Footnote: He refers to the war in which Athens assisted the Thebans
against Lacedaemon, and in which Chabrias won the naval battle of Naxos.
That war commenced twenty-six years before the speaking of the first
Philippic, and would be well remembered by many of the hearers. See the
Historical Abstract in this volume.] against them for the rights of
Greece. Why do I mention this? To show and convince you, Athenians, that
nothing, if you take precaution, is to be feared, nothing, if you are
negligent, goes as you desire. Take for examples the strength of the
Lacedaemonians then, which you overcame by attention to your duties, and
the insolence of this man now, by which through neglect of our interests
we are confounded. But if any among you, Athenians, deem Philip hard to
be conquered, looking at the magnitude of his existing power, and the
loss by us of all our strongholds, they reason rightly, but should
reflect, that once we held Pydna and Potidaea and Methone and all the
region round about as our own, and many of the nations now leagued with
him were independent and free, and preferred our friendship to his. Had
Philip then taken it into his head, that it was difficult to contend
with Athens, when she had so many fortresses to infest his country, and
he was destitute of allies, nothing that he has accomplished would he
have undertaken, and never would he have acquired so large a dominion.
But he saw well, Athenians, that all these places are the open prizes of
war, that the possessions of the absent naturally belong to the present,
those of the remiss to them that will venture and toil. Acting on such
principle, he has won every thing and keeps it, either by way of
conquest, or by friendly attachment and alliance; for all men will side
with and respect those, whom they see prepared and willing to make
proper exertion. If you, Athenians, will adopt this principle now,
though you did not before, and every man, where he can and ought to give
his service to the, state, be ready to give it without excuse, the
wealthy to contribute, the able-bodied to enlist; in a word, plainly, if
you will become your own masters, and cease each expecting to do nothing
himself, while his neighbor does every thing for him, you shall then
with heaven's permission recover your own, and get back what has been
frittered away, and chastise Philip. Do not imagine, that his empire is
everlastingly secured to him as a god. There are who hate and fear and
envy him, Athenians, even among those that seem most friendly; and all
feelings that are in other men belong, we may assume, to his
confederates. But now they are all cowed, having no refuge through your
tardiness and indolence, which I say you must abandon forthwith. For you
see, Athenians, the case, to what pitch of arrogance the man has
advanced, who leaves you not even the choice of action or inaction, but
threatens and uses (they say) outrageous language, and, unable to rest
in possession of his conquests, continually widens their circle, and,
while we dally and delay, throws his net all around us. When then,
Athenians, when will ye act as becomes you? In what event? In that of
necessity, I suppose. And how should we regard the events happening now?
Methinks, to freemen the strongest necessity is the disgrace of their
condition. Or tell me, do ye like walking about and asking one
another:--is there any news? Why, could there be greater news than a man
of Macedonia subduing Athenians, and directing the affairs of Greece? Is
Philip dead? No, but he is sick. And what matters it to you? Should any
thing befall this man, you will soon create another Philip, if you
attend to business thus. For even he has been exalted not so much by his
own strength, as by our negligence. And again; should any thing happen
to him; should fortune, which still takes better care of us than we of
ourselves, be good enough to accomplish this; observe that, being on the
spot, you would step in while things were in confusion, and manage them
as you pleased; but as you now are, though occasion offered Amphipolis,
you would not be in a position to accept it, with neither forces nor
counsels at hand. [Footnote: Important advice this, to men in all
relations of life. Good luck is for those who are in a position to avail

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