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2. [3]

Wherefore, O conscript fathers, consult the welfare of yourselves, provide for that of the republic; preserve yourselves, your wives, your children, and your fortunes; defend the name and safety of the Roman people; cease to spare me, and to think of me. For, in the first place, I ought to hope that all the gods who preside over this city will show me gratitude in proportion as I deserve it; and in the second place, if anything does happen to me, I shall fall with a contented and prepared mind; and, indeed, death cannot be disgraceful to a brave man, nor premature to one of consular rank, nor miserable to a wise man. Not that I am a man of so iron a disposition as not to be moved by the grief of a most dear and affectionate brother now present, and by the tears of all these men by whom you now see me surrounded. Nor does my fainting wife, my daughter prostrate with fear, and my little son whom the republic seems to me to embrace as a sort of hostage for my consulship, the son-in-law who, awaiting the end of that day, is now standing in my sight, fail often to recall my mind to my home. I am moved by all these circumstances, but in such a direction as to wish that they all may be safe together with you, even if some violence overwhelms me, rather than that both they and are should perish together with the republic.

[4] Wherefore, O conscript fathers, attend to the safety of the republic; look round upon all the storms which are impending, unless you guard against them. It is not Tiberius Gracchus, who wished to be made a second time a tribune of the people; it is not Caius Gracchus, who endeavoured to excite the partisans of the agrarian law; it is not Lucius Saturninus, who slew Memmius, who is now in some danger, who is now brought before the tribunal of your severity. They are now in your hands who withstood all Rome, with the object of bringing conflagration on the whole city, massacre on all of you, and of receiving Catiline; their letters are in your possession, their seals, their handwriting, and the confession of each individual of them; the Allobroges are tampered with, the slaves are excited, Catiline is sent for; the design is actually begun to be put in execution, that all should be put to death, so that no one should be left even to mourn the name of the republic, and to lament over the downfall of so mighty a dominion.


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