The following sentence is from Il Principe by Niccolò Machiavelli. What does this 'which' refer to in this sentence? And what does this sentence mean?
I thought this 'which' might refers to punishment, and this sentence might mean 'fear preserves you by a dread of non stopping punishment.
but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.
And also I'm happy if I find the way how to paraphrase this sentence.
The following is the whole sentence.
And that prince who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails. (source)