The Prince

By Niccolò Machiavelli; Peter Bondanella et al. | Go to book overview

compared to the great power of the Romans and Greeks who attacked him; none the less, because he was a good soldier and knew how to hold the people and to secure himiself from the nobility, he was able to wage war against them for many years; and if at the end he lost possession of several cities, he was nevertheless left with his kingdom.

Therefore, these princes of ours who have been in their principalities for many years, and who have then lost them, must not blame fortune but rather their own idleness; for, never having thought in peaceful times that things might change (which is a common defect in men, not to consider in good weather the possibility of a tempest), when adverse times finally arrived they thought about running away and not about defending themselves; and they hoped that the people, angered by the insolence of the victors, would eventually recall them. This policy, when others are lacking, is good; but it is indeed bad to have disregarded all other solutions for this one; for you should never wish to fall, believing that you will find someone else to pick you up; because whether this occurs or not, it does not increase your security, that method being a cowardly defence and one not dependent upon your own resources. And those methods alone are good, are certain, are lasting, that depend on yourself and your own ingenuity.


CHAPTER XXV

On Fortune's Role in Human Affairs and How
She Can Be Dealt With

It is not unknown to me that many have held, and still hold, the opinion that the things of this world are, in a manner, controlled by fortune and by God, that men with their wisdom cannot control them, and, on the contrary, that men can have no remedy whatsoever for them; and for this reason they might judge that they need not sweat much over such matters but let them be governed by fate. This opinion has been more strongly held in our own times because of the great variation of affairs

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