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32.

Preserve, therefore, to the republic, O judges, a citizen devoted to liberal studies, and to the most virtuous party in the state, and to all good men. I promise you this,—and I give this undertaking to the republic provided we ourselves have by our own conduct given satisfaction to the republic,—that Caelius's conduct will never be at variance with our own. And I promise not only because I rely on the intimacy that subsists between him and me, but also because he has taken upon himself already the obligation of the most stringent engagements. [78] For a man who has ventured on such a step as that of prosecuting a man of consular rank because he says that the republic has been injured by his violence, cannot possibly behave as a turbulent citizen in the republic himself: a man who will not allow another to be at peace, even after he his been acquitted of bribery and corruption, can never himself become a briber of others with impunity.

The republic, O judges, has two prosecutions, which have been carried on by Marcus Caelius, as pledges to secure it from any danger from him and guarantees of his good-will and devotion. Wherefore I do pray and entreat you, O judges, after Sextus Clodius has been acquitted within these few days in this very city;—a man whom you have seen for the last two years acting on all occasions as the minister or leader of sedition;—a man who has burnt sacred temples and even the census of the Roman people and all the public records and registers1 with his own hands;—a man without property, without honesty, without hope, without a home, without any character or position, polluted in face, and tongue, and hand, and in every particular of his life;—a man who has degraded the monument of Catulus, who has pulled down my house, and burnt that belonging to my brother;—who on the Palatine Hill, and in the sight of all the city, stirred up the slaves to massacre and to the conflagration of the city;—I entreat you, I say, not to suffer that man to have been acquitted in this city by the influence of a woman, and at the same time to allow Marcus Caelius to be sacrificed, in the same city, to a woman's lusts. I entreat you never to permit the same woman, in conjunction with a man who is at the same time her brother and her husband, to save a most infamous robber, and to overwhelm a most honourable and virtuous young man. [79] And when you have given due consideration to the fact of his youth, then place also before your eyes, I entreat you, the old age of his miserable father whom you see before you; whose whole dependence is on this his only son; who reposes on the hopes which he has formed of him; who fears nothing but the disasters which may befall him. Support, I pray you, that old man, now a suppliant for your mercy, the slave of your power, who while he throws himself at your feet, so appeals more strongly still to your virtuous habits, and to your kind and right feelings; support him, I say, moved either by the recollection of your own parents, or by the affection with which you regard your own children, so as, while relieving the misery of another, to yield to your own pious or indulgent dispositions. Do not, O judges, cause this old man, who is already, by the silent progress of nature, declining and hastening to his end, to fail prematurely through a wound inflicted by you, before the day which his natural destiny has appointed for him. [80] Do not overthrow this other man, now flourishing in the prime of life, now that his virtue has just taken firm root, as it were by some whirlwind or sudden tempest. Preserve the son for the father, the father for the son, lest you should appear either to have despised the old age of a man almost in despair, or on the other hand not only to have abstained from cherishing, but even to have struck down and crushed, a youth pregnant with the greatest promise. And if you do preserve him to yourselves, to his own relations, and to the republic, you will have him dedicated, devoted, and wholly bound to you and to your children, and you will enjoy, O judges, in the greatest possible degree, the abundant and lasting fruits of all his exertions and labours.


1 This refers to Clodius having set on fire the temple of the Nymphs, where the registers of the censors were kept.

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