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50. [145]

“You are in possession of my farms,” says he; “I am living on the charity of others; I do not object to that, both because I have a calm mind, and because it is inevitable. My own house is open to you, and is closed against myself. I endure that. You are master of my numerous household; I have not one slave. I submit to that, and think it is to be borne.” What would you have more? What are you aiming at? Why are you attacking me now? In what point do you think your desires injured by me? In what point do I stand in the way of your advantage? In what do I hinder you? If you wish to slay the man for the sake of his spoils, you have despoiled him. What do you want more? If you want to slay him out of enmity, what enmity have you against him whose farms you took possession of before you knew himself? If you fear him, can you fear anything from him who you see is unable to ward off so atrocious an injury from himself? If, because the possessions which belonged to Roscius have become yours, on that account you seek to destroy his son, do you not show that you are afraid of that which you above all other men ought not to be afraid of; namely, that sometime or other their father's property may be restored to the children of proscribed persons? [146] You do wrong, O Chrysogonus, if you place greater hope of being able to preserve your purchase, than in those exploits which Lucius Sulla has performed But if you have no cause for wishing this unhappy man to be afflicted with such a grievous calamity; if he has given up to you everything but his life, and has reserved to himself nothing of his paternal property, not even as a memorial of his father—then, in the name of the gods, what is the meaning of this cruelty, of this savage and inhuman disposition? What bandit was ever so wicked, what pirate was ever so barbarous, as to prefer stripping off his spoils from his victim stained with his blood, which he might possess his plunder unstained, without blood? [147] You know that the man has nothing, dares do nothing, has no power, has never harboured a thought against your estate; and yet you attack him whom you cannot fear, and ought not to hate; and when you see he has nothing left which you can take away from him—unless you are indignant at this, that you see him sitting with his clothes on in this court whom you turned naked out of his patrimony, as if off a wreck; as if you did not know that be is both fed and clothed by Caecilia, the daughter of Balearicus, 1 the sister of Nepos, a most incomparable woman, who, though she had a most illustrious father, most honourable uncles, a most accomplished brother, yet, though she was a woman, carried her virtue so far, as to confer on them no less honour by her character than she herself received from their dignity.


1 In the tenth chapter she is called the daughter of Metellus Nepos; so, if the reading there be correct, it must be corrupt here, which is probably the case. According to Graevius, she was a woman held in such esteem that, in the Marsic war, the temple of Juno Sospita was restored by a decree of the senate in compliance with a dream seen by her, as Cicero records in the treatise De Divinatione.

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