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Aemilius Chapter 26: Speech of Aemilius[168 BC]
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|Yet for all this he took him up, gave him [Note 1] his hand, and delivered him into the custody of Tubero. Meantime, he himself carried his sons [Note 2], his son-in-law, and others of chief rank, especially of the younger sort, back with him into his tent, where for a long time he sat down without speaking one word, insomuch that they all wondered at him. At last, he began to discourse of fortune and human affairs. "Is it meet," said he, "for him that knows he is but man, in his greatest prosperity to pride himself, and be exalted at the conquest of a city, nation, or kingdom, and not rather well to weigh this change of fortune, in which all warriors may see an example of their common frailty, and learn a lesson that there is nothing durable or constant? For what time can men select to think themselves secure, when that of victory itself forces us more than any to dread our own fortune? and a very little consideration on the law of things, and how all are hurried round, and each man's station changed, will introduce sadness in the midst of the greatest joy. Or can you, when you see before your eyes the succession of Alexander himself, who arrived at the height of power and ruled the greatest empire, in the short space of an hour trodden under foot, -- when you behold a king, that was but even now surrounded with so numerous an army, receiving nourishment to support his life from the hands of his conquerors, -- can you, I say, believe there is any certainty in what we now possess, whilst there is such a thing as chance? No, young men, cast off that vain pride and empty boast of victory; sit down with humility, looking always for what is yet to come, and the possible future reverses which the divine displeasure may eventually make the end of our present happiness." It is said that Aemilius, having spoken much more to the same purpose, dismissed the young men properly humbled, and with their vain-glory and insolence thoroughly chastened and curbed by his address.||
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Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus
Foot:a. part of the body (3379). b. infantry (6534).