24. But, however, of the poison itself what account is invented? where was it got? how was it prepared? by what means? to whom was it delivered, and where? They say that he kept it at home, and that he made trial of its strength on one of his slaves whom he provided with that express object, and that his rapid death led him to think highly of the poison.  O ye immortal gods! why do you at times appear to wink at the greatest crimes of men, or why do you reserve the punishment of present wickedness to a future day? For I saw, I saw, and I myself experienced that grief, the bitterest grief that I ever felt in my life, when Quintus Metellus was torn from the heart and bosom of his country, and when that man who considered himself born only for this empire, but three days after he had been in good health, flourishing in the senate-house, in the rostrum, and in the republic; while in the flower of his age, of an excellent constitution, and in the full vigour of manhood, was torn in a most unworthy manner from all good men, and from the entire state; at which time he, though dying, when on other points his senses appeared to be bewildered, retained his senses to the last as far as his recollection of the republic was concerned; and beholding me in tears, he intimated with broken and failing voice, how great a storm he saw was impending over the city,—how great a tempest was threatening the state; and frequently striking that wall which separated his house from that of Catulus, he kept on mentioning Catulus by name, and me myself, and the republic, so as to show that he was grieving, not so much because he was dying, as because both his country and I were about to be deprived of his aid and protection.  But, if no violence of sudden wickedness had carried off that great man, with what vigour would he, as a man of consular rank, have resisted that frantic cousin of his,—he, who as consul said in the hearing of the senate, at a time when he was beginning and endeavouring to give reins to his fury, that he would slay him with his own hand! And shall that woman, proceeding from this house, dare to speak of the rapidity of the operation of poison? Is she not afraid of the very house itself, lest she should make it utter some sound? Does she not dread the very walls, which are privy to her wickedness? does she not shudder at the recollection of that fatal and melancholy night? But I will return to the accusation: but this mention of that most illustrious and most gallant man has both weakened my voice with weeping, and overcome my mind with sorrow.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST PUBLIUS VATINIUS; CALLED ALSO, THE EXAMINATION OF PUBLIUS VATINIUS.
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF MARCUS CAELIUS.
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