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[118]

But why need I speak of the disposition and courage of the Roman people, looking back on their liberty after their long slavery, as shown by their conduct towards that man, whom, though he was at that time standing for the aedileship, even the actors did not spare to his face. For as the play being exhibited was one of Roman life,—“The Pretender,”1 I believe,—the whole troop of actors, speaking in most splendid concert, and looking in the face of this profligate man, laid the greatest emphasis on the words, “To such a life as yours,” and, “The continued course and end of your wicked life.” He sat frightened out of his wits; and he, who formerly used to pack the assemblies which he summoned with bands of noisy buffoons, was now driven away by the voices of these same players.

And since I have mentioned the games, I will not omit that circumstance, that amid the great variety of sentences and apophthegms which occur in that play, there was not one passage in which any expression of the poet had any bearing on our times, which either escaped the notice of the main body of the people, or on which particular emphasis was not laid by the actor.


1 This was a play of Afranius, on the subject of the pretended madness of Junius Brutus, the expeller of the Tarquins.

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