Page:15 decisive battles of the world Vol 1 (London).djvu/236

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Arminius found among the other German chiefs many who sympathised with him in his indignation at their country's abasement, and many whom private wrongs had stung yet more deeply. There was little difficulty in collecting bold leaders for an attack on the oppressors, and little fear of the population not rising readily at those leaders' call. But to declare open war against Rome, and to encounter Varus's army in a pitched battle, would have been merely rushing upon certain destruction. Varus had three legions under him, a force which, after allowing for detachments, cannot be estimated at less than fourteen thousand Roman infantry. He had also eight or nine hundred Roman cavalry, and at least an equal number of horse and foot sent from the allied states, or raised among those provincials who had not received the Roman franchise.

    he describes how similar outrages in the early times of Rome goaded the plebeians to rise against the patricians.

    "Heap heavier still the fetters; bar closer still the grate;
    Patient as sheep we yield us up unto your cruel hate.
    But by the shades beneath us, and by the gods above,
    Add not unto your cruel hate your still more cruel love.


    Then leave the poor plebeian his single tie to life —
    The sweet, sweet love of daughter, of sister, and of wife,
    The gentle speech, the balm for all that his vext soul endures,
    The kiss in which he half forgets even such a yoke as yours.