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25. [50]

And I need not remind you with what terror all good men were seized in consequence of these occurrences, and how entirely they would all have despaired of the republic if he had been made consul. All this you yourselves recollect; for you remember, when the expressions of that wicked gladiator got abroad, which he was said to have used at a meeting at his own house, when he said that it was impossible for any faithful defender of the miserable citizens to be found, except a man who was himself miserable; that men in an embarrassed and desperate condition ought not to trust the promises of men of a flourishing and fortunate estate; and therefore that those who were desirous to replace what they had spent, and to recover what they had lost, had better consider what he himself owed, what he possessed, and what he would dare to do; that that man ought to be very fearless and thoroughly overwhelmed by misfortune, who was to be the leader and standard-bearer of unfortunate men. [51] Then, therefore, when these things had been heard, you recollect that a resolution of the senate was passed, on my motion, that the comitia should not be held the next day, in order that we might be able to discuss these matters in the senate. Accordingly, the next day, in a full meeting of the senate, I addressed Catiline himself; and desired him, if he could, to some explanation of these reports which had been brought to me. And he—for he was not much addicted to disguising his intentions—did not attempt to clear himself; but openly avowed and adopted the statements. For he said then, that there were two bodies of the republic,—the one weak with a weak head, the other powerful without a head,—and that, as this last had deserved well of him, it should never want a head as long as he lived. The whole senate groaned at hearing itself addressed in such language, and passed a resolution not severe enough for such unworthy conduct; for some of them were against too rigorous a resolution, because they had no fear; and some, because they had a great deal. Then he rushed forth from the senate, triumphing and exulting,—a man who never ought to have been allowed to leave it alive, especially as that very same man in the same place had made answer to Cato, that gallant man who was threatening him with a prosecution, a few days before, that if any fire were kindled against his own fortunes, he would put it out not with water, but by the general ruin.

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