ORATIONS AND PATRIOTIC SELECTIONS.
REGULUS BEFORE THE ROMAX SENATE.
It ill becomes me, Senators of Rome, me, Regulus, after having so often stood in this venerable assembly, clothed with the supreme dignity of the republic, to stand before you to-day, a captive,— the captive of Carthage. Though outwardly free, yet the heaviest 5 of chains, the pledge of a Roman Consul, makes me the bondsman of the Carthaginians. They have my promise to return to them in the event of the failure of this their embassy.
But, Conscript Fathers, Senators, there is but one course to be pursued. Abandon all thought of peace! Reject the overtures
10 of Carthage! Reject them wholly and unconditionally! What? What? Give back to her a thousand able-bodied men, and receive in return this one, attenuated, war-worn, fever-wasted frame,— this weed, whitened in a dungeon's darkness, pale and sapless, which no kindness of the sun, no softness of the summer breeze,
15 can ever restore to life and vigor? It must not, shall not be! Oh, were Regulus what he was once, before captivity had unstrung his sinews and enervated his limbs, he might pause; he might think he were worth a thousand of the foe; he might say, "Make the exchange, Rome shall not lose by it!" But now, alas, 'tis
20 gone,—that impetuosity of strength which could once make him a leader indeed, to penetrate a phalanx, or guide a pursuit. His very armor would be a burden now! His battlecry would be drowned in the din of onset! His sword would fall harmless upon his opponent's shield!