Do you dare to make mention to me of the Porcian law, or of Caius Gracchus, or of the liberty of these men, or of any single man who has really been a friend of the people, after having attempted to violate the liberty of this people, to tempt their merciful disposition, and to change the customs, not only with unusual punishments, but with a perfectly unheard-of cruelty of language? For these expressions of yours, which you, O merciful and people-loving man, are so fond of; “Go, lictor, bind his hands,” are not only not quite in character with this liberty and this merciful disposition, but they are not suited to the times even of Romulus or of Numa Pompilius. Those are the songs suited to the torments in use in the time of Tarquin, that most haughty and in human monarch; but you, O merciful man, O friend of the people, delight to rehearse, “Cover his head—hang him to the ill-omened tree,”—words, O Romans, which in this republic have long since been buried in the darkness of antiquity, and have been overwhelmed by the light of liberty
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF CAIUS RABIRIUS, ACCUSED OF TREASON.
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