Ennius


A great and strong anxiety is mine to do equal deeds with my heart- fellows.

They caused even the enemy to have pity on them shedding tears.

Who can unroll this great war from end to end ?

CICERO : Why should I take Herodotus to be more truthful than Ennius ? Surely he was quite as capable of inventing stories about Croesus as Ennius was about Pyrrhus. For who is there who could believe that Apollo's oracle gave this answer to Pyrrhus ? - I say that you, O man sprung from Aeacus, the Romans can defeat. In the first place, Latin is a tongue in which Apollo never spoke; again, that particular reply is not known among the Greeks; and moreover, in the time of Pyrrhus, Apollo had already ceased to make verses; and lastly, although it has always held good, as we find in Ennius, that - That tribe of blockheads, stock of Aeacus, are war-strong more than wisdom-strong still, Pyrrhus would have had the sense to see that the double meaning of the line 'you the Romans ... defeat' applied equally to himself and to the Romans.

CICERO : And of Pyrrhus too there is that illustrious speech on the restoration of prisoners - Gold for myself I ask not ; no, to me ye shall not pay a price. Not bartering war but waging war, not with gold but with iron - thus let us of both sides make trial for our lives. To see what Fortune may bring, whether it be you or I she wishes to be king - let it be by bravery that we make the test. And withal hear this word of mine : of those warriors to whose bravery war's fortune has been kind, to the freedom of those same have I too planned to be kind. I give them to you, take them home - and with them I give you the blessing of the great gods.

Whither on your road have senseless turned your senses which hitherto were wont to stand upright ?

So saying he called to one with whom he shared willingly and cheerfully and right often his table, his talks, and his affairs, when, tired out, he had spent long hours of the day in managing the greatest affairs, by counsel given in the wide forum and sacred senate- house ; one to whom care-free he would often speak out boldly matters great and small, and joke the while, and blurt out words good and bad to say, if so he wished at all, and store them in loyal keeping ; one with whom he could share many a pleasure and many a joy both openly and secretly ; whose nature no thought of mind led to do a bad deed lightly or with wrong intent ; a learned, trusty, agreeable man and a fine talker, content with his own, happy and shrewd ; one who spoke the right thing at the right time, and obliging ; of few words ; keeping many old-time ways of which a bygone age long buried is the maker, and manners old and new ; keeping also to the modes of many a one of our elders, and the laws too of gods and men ; one who could prudently speak out hearsay or keep it to himself. Him did Servilius, in the midst of battles, thus address.

nor has any man seen in his dreams Wisdom (a name we give to knowledge) before he has begun to learn her secrets.

The Roman army , cheered on by the crowd, attacked the ruins, and soon made away with the dwellings.

While they were minded to startle them with threats, therewith they encouraged them,

Not always does Jupiter upset your plans; now he stands on our side.

To men of fortitude is fortune granted.

When news of battles is proclaimed, away from view is Wisdom thrust, with violence is action done, scorned is the speaker of good counsel, dear is the rude warrior. Not with learned speeches do men strive, but with evil speaking fall foul one of another, brewing unfriendliness. They rush to make joint seizure - not by law ; rather by the sword do they seek a due return and aim at the first place, and move on with pack and press.

Time is unripe for fighting

I refuse to join issue ; I fear ruin for my legions.

MACROBIUS , quoting Vergilius [Aen_11'425] : 'Many a day and change of work in ever-varying life have brought back countless men to better state; and fortune, her eye now here now there, has had the laugh and set men anew on foundation firm.' Ennius in the eighth book - Many things does one day bring about in war . . . and many fortunes through chance sink low again. In no wise has fortune followed any man all his days.

Fortune on a sudden casts down the highest mortal from the height of his sway, to become the lowliest thrall.

But to what end do I speak so? "No sooner said than done" - so acts your man of worth.

Surely are all kings wont in times of good fortune . . .

One man by his delays restored the state ; hearsay he would not put before our safety ; hence to this day the warrior's glory shines - in after time, and all the more for that.

He began to speak - 'O my countrymen, fortune who has thus bruised me - and I deserved it not - and has destroyed me in fierce, in bitter war'

Just as a valiant steed, who has often won victories at the Olympic games in the last lap, now at length, worn out by old age, takes rest,

I am reluctant to take up the task, late in ageing life.

Lastly, that which the long age of my days has crushed. . . .

Kings throughout their kingship are in quest of statues and sepulchres ; they build up a name and strain with all their might and main.

First the aged man, tardy in his ruling, skilled in war

It is the part of commanders who are men of deeds, to keep discipline.

I hope - if hopes can help at all,

Not to ruin the State by hoping eagerly

Nor any fear holds them ; trusting in their valour, they rest.

He who has conquered is not conqueror, unless the conquered one confesses it

and their sturdy strength cruel winter crushed

All mortal men long to be themselves acclaimed

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