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2. [3]

But if there be any one of that disposition which all men should have, who yet blames me greatly for the very thing in which my speech exults and triumphs,—namely, that I did not arrest so capital mortal an enemy rather than let him go,—that is not my fault, O citizens, but the fault of the times. Lucius Catiline ought to have been visited with the severest punishment, and to have been put to death long since; and both the customs of our ancestors, and the rigour of my office, and the republic, demanded this of me; but how many, think you, were there who did not believe what I reported? how many who out of stupidity did not think so? how many who even defended him,—how many who, out of their own depravity, favoured him? If, in truth, I had thought that, if he were removed, all danger would he removed from you, I would long since have cut off Lucius Catiline, had it been at the risk, not only of my popularity, but even of my life.

[4] But as I saw that, since the matter was not even then proved to all of you, if I had punished him with death, as he had deserved, I should be borne down by unpopularity, and so be unable to follow up his accomplices, I brought the business on to this point that you might be able to combat openly when you saw the enemy without disguise. But how exceedingly I think this enemy to be feared now that he is out of doors, you may see from this—that I am vexed even that be has gone from the city with but a small retinue. I wish he had taken with him all his forces. He has taken with him Tongillus, with whom he had been said to have a criminal intimacy, and Publicius, and Munatius, whose debts contracted in taverns could cause no great disquietude to the republic. He has left behind him others—you all know what men they are, how overwhelmed with debt, how powerful, how noble.

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load focus Notes (J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge)
load focus Latin (Albert Clark, Albert Curtis Clark, 1908)
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