previous next

31. [74]

I wish indeed that his desire for glory had led him in some other direction; but the time for this complaint has passed by. He prosecuted Caius Antonius, my colleague; an unhappy man, to whom the recollection of the great service which he did the republic was no benefit, but to whom the belief of the evil which he had designed was the greatest prejudice. After that he never was behind any of his fellows in his constant appearance in the forum, in his incessant application to business and to the causes of his friends, and in the great influence which he acquired over his relations. He achieved by his labour and diligence all those objects which they cannot attain who are other than vigilant, and sober, and industrious men. [75] At this turning-point of his life, (for I place too much reliance on your humanity and on your good sense to conceal anything,) the fame of the young man stood trembling in the balance, owing to his new acquaintance with this woman, and his unfortunate neighbourhood to her, and his want of habituation to pleasure; for the desire of pleasure when it has been too long pent up, and repressed, and chained down in early youth, sometimes bursts forth on a sudden, and throws down every barrier. But from this course of life, and from being in this way the subject of common conversation, (though his excesses were not by any means as great as report made them out to be;)—however, from this course of life, I say, whatever it was, he soon emerged, and delivered himself wholly from it and raised himself out of it, and he is now so far removed from the discredit of any familiarity with that woman, that he is occupied in warding off the attacks which are instigated against him by her enmity and hatred.

[76] And in order to put a violent end to the reports which had arisen of his luxury and inactivity,—(what he did, he did in fact greatly against my will, and in spite of my strongest remonstrances, but still he did it,)—he instituted a prosecution against a friend of mine for bribery and corruption. And after he is acquitted he pursues him still, drags him back before the court, refuses to be guided by any one of us, and is far more violent than I approve of. But I am not speaking of wisdom,—which indeed does not belong to men of his age,—I am speaking of his ardent spirit, of his desire for victory, of the eagerness of his soul in the pursuit of glory. Those desires indeed in men of our age ought to have become more limited and moderate, but in young men, as in herbs, they show what ripeness of virtue and what great crops are likely to reward our industry. In truth, youths of great ability have always required rather to be restrained from the pursuit of glory, than to be spurred on to it: more things required to be pruned away from that age,—if indeed, it deserves distinction for ability and genius,—than to be implanted in it. [77] If, therefore, the energy, and fierceness, and pertinacity of Caelius appear to any one to have boiled over too much, either in respect of his voluntary incurring, or of his mode of carrying on enmities; if even any of the most trifling particulars of his conduct in this respect seem offensive to any one; or if any one feels displeased at the magnificence of his purple robe, or at the troops of friends who escort him, or at the general splendour and brilliancy of his appearance, let him recollect that all these things will soon pass away,—that a riper age, and circumstances, and the progress of time, will soon have softened down all of them.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Albert Clark, Albert Curtis Clark, 1908)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: