6.  Cato calls Lucius Murena a dancer. If this be imputed to him truly, it is the reproach of a violent accuser; but if falsely, it is the abuse of a scurrilous railer. Wherefore, as you are a person of such influence, you ought not, O Marcus Cato, to pick up abusive expressions out of the streets, or out of some quarrel of buffoons; you ought not rashly to call a consul of the Roman people a dancer; but to consider with what other vices besides that man must be tainted to whom that can with truth be imputed. For no man, one may almost say, ever dances when sober, unless perhaps he be a madman, nor in solitude, nor in a moderate and sober party; dancing is the last companion of prolonged feasting, of luxurious situation, and of many refinements. You charge me with that which must necessarily be the last of all vices, you say nothing of those things without which this vice absolutely cannot exist: no shameless feasting, no improper love, no carousing, no lust no extravagance is alleged; and when those things which have the name of pleasure, and which are vicious, are not found, do you think that you will find the shadow of luxury in that man in whom you cannot find the luxury itself?  Can nothing, therefore, be said against the life of Lucius Murena? Absolutely nothing, I say, O judges. The consul elect is defended by me on this ground, that no fraud of his, no avarice, no perfidy, no cruelty, no wanton word can be alleged against him in his whole life. It is well. The foundations of the defence are laid; for we are not as yet defending this virtuous and upright man with my own panegyric, which I will employ presently, but almost by the confession of his adversaries.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
THE ORATION OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF L. MURENA, PROSECUTED FOR BRIBERY.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.