Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 1 (London).djvu/197

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

the same places, had multiplied his numbers; and gathering the people that he found in the way, descended from the Alps like a rowling snow-ball, far greater than he came over the Pyrenees at his first setting out of Spain. These considerations, and the like, of which fear presented many unto them, caused the people of Rome to wait upon their consuls out of the town, like a pensive train of mourners; thinking upon Marcellus and Crispinus, upon whom, in the like sort, they had given attendance the last year; but saw neither of them return alive from a less dangerous war. Particularly old Q. Fabius gave his accustomed advice to M. Livius, that he should abstain from giving or taking battel, until he well understood the enemies condition. But the consul made him a froward answer, and said, that he would fight the very first day, for that he thought it long till he should either recover his honour by victory, or by seeing the overthrow of his own unjust citizens, satisfie himself with the joy of a great, though not an honest revenge. But his meaning was better than his words."[1]

Hannibal at this period occupied with his veteran but much-reduced forces the extreme south of Italy. It had not been expected either by friend or foe, that Hasdrubal would effect his

  1. Sir Walter Raleigh.