After the second invasion of the Peloponnesians a change came over the spirit of the Athenians.
Their land had now been twice laid waste; and war and pestilence at once pressed heavy upon them.
They began to find fault with Pericles, as the author of the war and the cause of all their misfortunes, and became eager to come to terms with Lacedaemon, and actually sent ambassadors thither, who did not however succeed in their mission.
Their despair was now complete and all vented itself upon Pericles.
When he saw them exasperated at the present turn of affairs and acting exactly as he had anticipated, he called an assembly, being (it must be remembered) still general, with the double object of restoring confidence and of leading them from these angry feelings to a calmer and more hopeful state of mind.
He accordingly came forward and spoke as follows: