Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/492

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

is enshrined, eternally remembered on every recurring occasion that calls for speech or action. The whole earth is the sepulchre of famous men and not only is the epitaph on the funeral column in their home-land a proof of this, but there abides with all men, even in foreign lands, an unwritten memorial in the heart rather than on the external monument.

Now, from this day, taking these men for your models, judging freedom the only happiness and valor the only freedom, do not neglect the perils of war; for it is not the wretched, despairing of the good things of life, who may more properly be reckless but rather those for whom a change for the worse is the risk they must run while life lasts. They experience the greatest difference if any disaster befall the state. Cowardice and disgrace combined are more painful to a man of spirit than death, insensibly received and attended by courage and hope of the common good.

Wherefore I will not lament with the parents of our dead, who may be present here, but will offer only words of comfort. And they know that they are reared 'midst shifting vicissitudes of fortune. But happiness is gained only when men receive for their lot a most honorable death—as these heroes now—or sorrow like unto your sorrow and their life was finely allotted in the happiness they enjoyed on earth alike with their glorious death.

I know it is difficult to find words that will reach the heart because oftentimes you will be reminded in the happiness of others of those joys in which you yourselves did once exult; and your grief is not for blessings you have never experienced but because you have been deprived of those to which you have become accustomed. But those of you who are still of an age to have children ought to take comfort in the hope of others. The children, yet to be born, will be a private benefit to some in causing them to forget those who no longer live and they will be a double boon to their country in preventing desolation and providing for its security; for it is not fair or just that they should give counsel who may not, by having children too at stake, run the same risks as others. But those of you who are advanced in years may consider so much gain that longer past which you have so fortunately enjoyed and that the remainder of your life will be but short and will rest lightly upon you because of the glory these attained. The love of honor alone never grows old and in the useless period of life getting wealth does not please more, as some say, than being honored.

Before you, their sons and brothers, however many of you there are present here, I see a great contest; for everybody is accustomed to praise those who are no longer with us and you would find it difficult to secure a verdict of equality though you surpassed them in valor, but would be thought a little inferior. For the living suffer from the envy that proceeds from competition but the one who is no longer in the way is honored with a good will, far from all feeling of rivalry.

But if I must make any mention of female virtue to you, who will now be reduced to widowhood, I shall express it all in a brief admonition: your great glory is to be found not wanting in the virtue which belongs to your sex, and great will be her reputation of whom the gossip of men says least either in praise or blame.

I have now spoken, in accordance with the law, what I held appropriate, and by our action our dead have already been honored and their children the nation will henceforth nourish and support at the public expense till they become of age—the substantial crown of glory offered to the dead before us and to the survivors of such contests; for where the greatest prizes are offered for