Thucydides’ History Book 2: The Funeral Oration

Chapter 44

For this very reason the parents of those now, as many as are here, I do not pity them more than I will comfort them. For they understand that they reared them in manifold misfortunes ; he is fortunate, whoever would receive their allotment of something glorious, whether it is as with these men here, an end, or as for you, grief, and in these things, both to be happy in them and to die in them, life is measured equally. But I know that it is difficult to convince you, being that you will often have reminders of these men in the successes of others, by these things you too were once exalted ; and one does not grieve should he be deprived of the good not experienced, but rather if that to which they have become accustomed is taken away. But it is necessary to be patient and have hope for other children, for those yet of age to have children ; for to the private individual those born to them afterward will be a forgetting of those no longer, and as for the city, it profits doubly, from not being bereft and in its sure-footedness ; for it is not possible to be counselled anything fair or righteous by those who do not also run the risk by exposing their own children equally. And on the other hand, as many of you as are elderly, believe that you obtained a life that was gain, for the most part, and that this part (the grief) is brief, and in the good repute of of these men, be lightened. For love of honour alone is unaging ; profiting in the unfit portion of your age does not, as some say, bring delight, but being honoured does.

Chapter 45

For the children, too, as many as are here of these men, or for the brothers I see a great contest (for all have been accustomed to commend those no longer with us), and you could scarcely not be similar with respect to superiority of virtue, but in a small way you may be judged worse. For toward the living, there is jealousy as toward an opponent, but anyone no longer in the way is honoured with unchallenged goodwill. And if if there is need for me to remember something of womanly virtue, as many as are now in widowhood, I shall indicate everything in a brief address. For a great reputation for you is to be none the lesser than your already present nature, and it is hers whom report would be least among the men whether it concerns virtue or blemish.

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