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[63] This violence, O priests, this wickedness, this frenzy, I, opposing my single person to the storm, warded off from the necks of all good men, and I received on my body all the attacks of disaffection, all the long-collected violence of the wicked, which, having been long coming to a head, with silent and repressed hatred, was at last breaking out now that it had got such audacious leaders. Against me alone were directed the consular firebrands hurled from the hands of the tribunes; all the impious arrows of the conspiracy, which I had once before blunted, now stuck in me. But if, as was the advice of many most gallant men, I had determined to contend with violence and arms against violence, I should either have gained the day with a great slaughter of wicked men, who notwithstanding were citizens, or else all the good men would have been slain, to the great joy of the wicked, and I too should have perished together with the republic.

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