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19. [44]

But in Marcus Caelius (for I will speak with the greater confidence of his honourable pursuits, because, relying on your good sense, O judges, I am not afraid freely to confess some things respecting him) no luxury will be found; no extravagance; no debt; no lasciviousness; no devotion to banquets or to gluttony. Those vices, forsooth, of the belly and the throat, age is so far from diminishing in men, that it even increases them. And loves, and those things which are called delights, and which, when men have any strength of mind, are not usually troublesome to them for any length of time, (for they wear off early and very rapidly,) never had any firm hold on this man so as to entangle or embarrass him. You have heard him, when he was speaking in his own defence. [45] You have heard him before now, when he was acting as prosecutor; (I say this for the sake of defending him, not by way of boasting;) you have seen, your sagacity could not help seeing, his style of eloquence, his facility, his richness of ideas and language; and in that branch of study you saw not only his genius shine forth, which frequently, even when it is not nourished by industry, still produces great effects by its own natural vigour; but there was in him (unless I am greatly deceived by reason of my favourable inclination towards him) a degree of method implanted in him by liberal tastes, and worked up by care and hard labour. And know, O judges, that those passions which are now brought up against Caelius as an objection to him, and these studies on which I am now enlarging, cannot easily exist in the same man; for it is impossible that a mind which is devoted to lust which is hampered by love, by desire, by passion, often with overindulgence, sometimes too by embarrassment in pecuniary matters, can support the labour; such as they are, which we go through in speaking; not merely when actually pleading, but even in thinking. [46] Do you suppose that there is any other reason, why, when the prizes of eloquence are so great when the pleasure of speaking is so great, when the glory is so high, the influence derived from it so extensive, and the honour so pure, there are and always have been so few men who devote themselves to this study? All pleasures must be trampled underfoot, all pursuit of amusement must be abandoned, O judges; sports and jesting and feasting; yes, I may almost say, the conversation of one's friends, must be shunned. And this is what deters men of this class from the labours and studies of oratory; not that their abilities are deficient, or that their early training has been neglected. [47] Would Caelius, if he had given himself up to a life of pleasure, while still a very young man, have instituted a prosecution against a man of consular rank? would he, if he shunned this labour, if he were captivated by and entangled in the pursuit of pleasure, take his place daily among this array of orators? would he court enmities? would he undertake prosecutions? would he incur danger to his life? would he, in the sight of all the Roman people, struggle for so many months for safety or for glory?

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