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3. [6]

In truth, to return to myself, it is from such beginnings as his that I myself have risen to credit among men; and this forensic labour of mine, and the system of conduct which I have adopted, has made its way to the favourable opinion of men, by means of the extended commendation and favourable opinion of my own relations and friends. For as to the attacks which have been made on him on the score of chastity, which has been harped upon by all the accusers, not by regular charges, but by outcry and abuse; Marcus Caelius will never be indignant at that, so far as to repent of not being ugly. For those sort of reproaches are habitually heaped upon every one, whose person and appearance in youth is at all gentlemanly. But to vituperate is one thing, and to accuse is another. An accusation requires a crime in order to define the matter, to bind the man, to prove its charges by argument, and to confirm them by witnesses. But vituperation has no settled object except insult and if any one is attacked in that way with ill-temper it is called abuse; but if it is done with some sort of wit and mirth, it is then styled bantering. [7] And I wondered and was indignant at that department of the accusation being given to Atratinus above all men; for it did not become him, nor did his age justify it, nor (as indeed you might have observed yourself) did the modesty of that excellent young man allow him to show to advantage in a speech on that subject. I should have preferred having one of you who are older and more robust, to undertake this part of vituperation; and we should then have been able with more freedom of speech and more vigour, and in a manner more in accordance with our usual habits, to refute the licentiousness of that vituperation. With you, O Atratinus, I will deal more gently, both because your own modesty is a check on my language, and because I am bound to have a regard to the good-will which I entertain towards you and your parent. [8]

I wish, however, that you would keep one thing in mind; first of all, to form a correct estimate of yourself, and to learn to think yourself such a man as in truth you are; in order to keep yourself as clear of licentiousness of language as you are free from all impropriety of conduct; and secondly, to avoid alleging those things against another, which would make you blush if in reply they were falsely imputed to you. For who is there to whom such a path as that is not open? who is there who is not able to attack a man of Caelius's age and of Caelius's rank as petulantly as he pleases on that subject, even if without any real grounds for suspicion, at all events not without some apparent argument? But the people who are to blame for your undertaking that part, are they who compelled you to make these allegations. This praise belongs to your own modesty, of being, as we saw that you were, unwilling to make them; and to your genius, of making them in a courteous and polite manner.

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