Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 1.djvu/34

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INTRODUCTION


his own humble birth made by Caius Marius to the people of Rome. The following from Tiberius Gracchus gives a glimpse of the conditions that called forth the eloquence of the Gracchi and shows also how largely a man's work is shaped by the times in which he lives:

"The wild beasts of Italy have their caves to retire to, but the brave men who spill their blood in her cause, have nothing left but air and light. Without houses, without settled habitations, they wander from place to place with their wives and children; and their generals do but mock them when, at the head of their armies, they exhort their men to fight for their sepulchers and the gods of their hearths: for among such numbers, perhaps there is not one Roman who has an altar that has belonged to his ancestors, or a sepulcher in which their ashes rest. The private soldiers fight and die, to advance the wealth and luxury of the great; and they are called masters of the world, without having a sod to call their own."

More than one of those who peruse these volumes may have had occasion to make a defense

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