Unknown Soldier

unknown soldier

Such were these men, worthy of their country. And for you that remain, you may pray for a safer fortune, but you ought not to be less venturously minded against the enemy; not weighing the profit by an oration only, which any man amplifying, may recount, to you that know as well as he, the many commodities that arise by fighting valiantly against your enemies; but contemplating the power of the city in the actions of the same from day to day performed, and thereby becoming enamoured of it. And when this power of the city shall seem great to you, consider then, that the same was purchased by valiant men, and by men that knew their duty, and by men that were sensible of dishonour when they were in fight; and by such men, as though they failed of their attempt, yet would not be wanting to the city with their virtue, but made unto it a most honourable contribution. For having every one given his body to the commonwealth, they receive in place thereof an undecaying commendation and a most remarkable sepulchre; not wherein they are buried so much, as wherein their glory is laid up, upon all occasions both of speech and action to be remembered for ever. For to famous men all the earth is a sepulchre: and their virtues shall be testified, not only by the inscription in stone at home, but by an unwritten record of the mind, which more than of any monument will remain with every one for ever. In imitation therefore of these men, and placing happiness in liberty, and liberty in valour, be forward to encounter the dangers of war. For the miserable and desperate men, are not they that have the most reason to be prodigal of their lives; but rather such men, as if they live, may expect a change of fortune, and whose losses are greatest if they miscarry in aught. For to a man of any spirit, death, which is without sense, arriving whilst he is in vigour and common hope, is nothing so bitter as after a tender life to be brought into misery”.

Excerpt from Pericles’ Funeral Oration by Thucydides, Translated by Thomas Hobbes

Unknown Soldier

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