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28. [66]

For I ask why that army under the command of the woman allowed Licinius, when embarrassed, hesitating, receding, and endeavouring to fly, to slip through their fingers? why they did not seize him? why they did not prove beyond all denial a crime of such enormous wickedness by his own confession, by the eye-witness of many people, by even the voice of the crime itself if I may say so? Were they afraid that so many men would not be able to get the better of one, that strong men would not be able to beat a weak man, or active men to surprise one in such a fright?

No corroborative proof is to be found in the circumstances; no ground for suspicion in any part of the case, no object for or result of the crime, can be imagined. Therefore, this cause, instead of being supported by arguments, by conjecture, and by those tokens by which the truth generally has a light thrown upon it rests wholly on the witnesses. And those witnesses, O judges, I long to see, not only without the least apprehension, but with a soft of hope of great enjoyment. [67] My mind is exceedingly eager to behold them, first, because they are luxurious youths, the intimate friends of a rich and high-born woman; secondly, because they are gallant men, placed by their Amazonian general in ambush, and as a sort of garrison to the baths. And, when I see them, I will ask them how they lay hid, and where; whether it was a canal, or a second Trojan horse, which bore and concealed so many invincible men waging war for the sake of a woman? And this I will compel them to tell me, why so many gallant men did not either at once seize this man, who was but a single individual, and as slight and weak a man as you see, while he was standing there; or, at all events, why they did not pursue him when he fled.

And, in truth, they will never be able to get out of their perplexity, if they ever do go into that witness-box; not though they may be ever so witty and talkative at banquets, and sometimes, over their wine, even eloquent. For the forum is one thing, and the banqueting couch another. The benches of counselors are very different from the sofas of revelers. A tribunal of judges is not particularly like a row of hard-drinkers. In short, the radiance of the sun is a very different thing from the light of lamps. So that we will soon scatter all those gentlemen's delicate airs, all their absurdities, if they do appear. But if they will be guided by me; let them apply themselves to some other task; let them curry the favour of some one else by some other means; let them display their capacity in other employments; let them flourish in that woman's house in beauty; let them regulate her expenses let them cling to her, sup with her, serve her in every possible way, but let them spare the lives and fortunes of innocent men.


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