To guard yourself against thieves who slash open suitcases, rifle through bags and smash open boxes, one should strap the bags and lock them. The world at large knows that this shows wisdom. However, when a master thief comes, he simply picks up the suitcase, lifts the bag, carries off the box and runs away with them, his only concern being whether the straps and locks will hold! In such an instance, what seemed like wisdom on the part of the owner surely turns out to have been of use only to the master thief!
If melodiously piping flutes sprang from the olive, would you doubt that a knowledge of flute-playing resided in the olive? And what if plane trees bore harps which gave forth rhythmical sounds? Clearly you would think in the same way that the art of music was possessed by plane trees. Why, then, seeing that the universe gives birth to beings that are animate and wise, should it not be considered animate and wise itself?
You are well aware that it is not numbers or strength that bring the victories in war. No, it is when one side goes against the enemy with the gods’ gift of a stronger morale that their adversaries, as a rule, cannot withstand them. I have noticed this point too, my friends, that in soldiering the people whose one aim is to keep alive usually find a wretched and dishonorable death, while the people who, realizing that death is the common lot of all men, make it their endeavour to die with honour, somehow seem more often to reach old age and to have a happier life when they are alive. These are facts which you too should realize (our situation demands it) and should show that you yourselves are brave men and should call on the rest to do likewise.
Most of all I vowed that my followers would learn more from my own example than from any legal code or set of regulations. As important to the people as written laws may be, the leader serves as a living law. He not only acts as a competent guide but also functions as a wise judge, detecting and punishing those who fail to serve the people with justice and honesty.
If nature has composed the human body so that in its proportions the seperate individual elements answer to the total form, then the Ancients seem to have had reason to decide that bringing their creations to full completion likewise required a correspondence bewteen the measure of individual elements and the appearance of the work as a whole.
As for him who envies or even fears us (and envied and feared great powers must always be), and who on this account wishes Syracuse to be humbled to teach us a lesson, but would still have her survive in the interest of his own security, the wish that he indulges is not humanly possible. A man can control his own desires but he cannot likewise control circumstances; and in the event of his calculations proving mistaken, he may live to bewail his own misfortune, and wish to be again envying my prosperity. An idle wish, if he now sacrifice us and refuse to take his share of perils which are the same in reality, though not in name, for him as for us; what is nominally the preservation of our power being really his own salvation.