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27. [55]

But first of all I will say a little, which has just occurred to me, about the hard fortune of Lucius Murena. For I have often before now, O judges, judging both by the miseries of others, and by my own daily cares and labours, considered those men fortunate, who, being at a distance from the pursuits of ambition, have addicted themselves to ease and tranquillity of life; and now especially I am so affected by these serious and unexpected dangers of Lucius Murena, that I am unable adequately to express my pity for the common condition of all of us, or for his particular state and fortune; who while, after an uninterrupted series of honours attained by his family and his ancestors, he was endeavouring to mount one step higher in dignity, has incurred the danger of losing both the honours bequeathed to him by his forefathers, and those too which have been acquired by himself, and now, on account of his pursuit of this new honour, is brought into the danger of losing his ancient fortune also. [56] And as these are weighty considerations, O judges, so is this the most serious matter of all, that he has men for accusers who, instead of proceeding to accuse him on account of their private enmity against him, have become his personal enemies, being carried away by their zeal for their accusation. For, to say nothing of Servius Sulpicius, who, I am aware, is influenced not by any wrong done by Lucius Murena, but only by the party spirit engendered by the contest for honour, his father's friend, Cnaeus Postumius, is his accuser, an old neighbour and intimate friend of his own, as he says himself; who has mentioned many reasons for his intimacy with him, while he has not been able to mention one for any enmity towards him. Servius Sulpicius accuses him, the companion of his son,—he, by whose genius all the friends of his father ought to be only the more defended. Marcus Cato accuses him, who, though he has never been in any matter whatever at variance with Murena, yet was born in this city under such circumstances that his power and genius ought to be a protection to many who were even entire strangers to him, and ought to be the ruin of hardly any personal enemy. [57]

In the first instance then I will reply to Cnaeus Postumius, who, somehow or other, I know not how, while a candidate for the praetorship, appears to me to be a straggler into the course marked out for the candidates for the consulship, as the horse of a vaulter might escape into the course marked out for the chariot races. And if there is no fault whatever to be found with his competitors, then he has made a great concession to their worth in desisting from his canvass. But if any one of them has committed bribery, then he must look for some friend who will be more inclined to prosecute an injury done to another than one done to himself.
****** [On the Charges of Postumius and of Servius.]

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