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1. Formerly, O judges, I had determined to conduct this cause in a different manner, thinking that our adversaries would deny that their household was implicated in such a violent and atrocious murder. Accordingly, I came with a mind free from care and anxiety, because I was aware that I could easily prove that by witnesses. But now, when it has been confessed, not only by that most honourable man, Lucius Quinctius, but when Publius Fabius himself has not hesitated to admit the facts which are the subject of this trial, I come forward to plead this cause in quite a different manner from that in which I was originally prepared to argue it. For then my anxiety was to be able to prove what I asserted had been done. Now all my speech is to be directed to this point, to prevent our adversaries from being in a better position, merely because they have admitted what they could not possibly deny though they greatly wished to do so. [2] Therefore, as matters stood at first your decision was more difficult, but my defence was easy. For I originally rested my whole case on the evidence; now I rest it on the confession of my adversary; and to oppose his audacity in acts of violence, his impudence in a court of justice, may fairly be considered as the task of your power, not of my abilities.— For what is easier than to decide on the case of a man who confesses the fact? But it is difficult for me to speak with sufficient force of that which cannot be by language made out worse than it is in reality, and cannot be made more plain by my speech than it is by the confession of the parties actually concerned. [3]

As, therefore, on account of the reasons which I have stated, my system of defence must be changed, I must also forget for a little time, in the case of Publius Fabius, that lenity of mine which I practiced at the previous trial, when I restrained myself from using any arguments which might have the appearance of attacking him, so much that I seemed to be defending his reputation with no less care than the cause of Marcus Tullius. Now, since Quinctius has thought it not foreign to the subject to introduce so many statements, false for the most part and most wickedly invented, concerning the life and habits and character of Marcus Tullius, Fabius must pardon me for many reasons, if I do not now appear to spare his character so much, or to show the same regard for it now as I did previously.


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