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3. [5]

Did you then, O you deadly pest of the republic, by means of the sword and arms, by the terror of an armed force, by the wickedness of the consuls, and the threats of most audacious men,—by enlisting slaves, by besieging the temples, by occupying the forum, by oppressing the senate, contrive to compel the departure of that citizen from his home and from his country, in order to prevent actual battles between the virtuous and wicked citizens,—though you now confess that he was regretted and sent for back and recalled by the senate, by all good men, and by the whole of Italy, as the only means of preserving the republic? “But on that day of disturbance you ought not,” says he, “to have come into the senate, you ought not to have entered the Capitol.” [6] But I did not come, and I kept in my own house as long as that disturbance lasted; while it was notorious that your slaves had come with you armed into the Capitol, ready for plunder and for the massacre of all good men, with all that band of wicked and profligate partisans of yours. And when this was reported to me, I know that I remained at home, and would not give you and your gladiators power of renewing the massacre. After news was brought to me that the Roman people had assembled at the Capitol, because of their fear for, and difficulty of procuring corn, and that the ministers of your crimes had been frightened and had fled, some having dropped their swords, and some having had them taken from them, I came forward not only without any armed band, but with only a very few friends. [7] Should I, when Publius Lentulus the consul, who had conferred the greatest benefits on me and on the republic,—when Quintus Metellus, your brother, O Metellus, who, though he had been my enemy, had still preferred my safety and dignity to any desire to keep alive our quarrel, and to your entreaties that he would do so, sent for me to the senate,—when that great multitude of citizens, who had lately shown such zeal in my behalf, entreated me by name to show my gratitude to them,—should I, I say, have declined to come forward, especially when it was notorious that you with your band of runaway slaves had already left the place? Have you dared to call me—me, the guardian and defender of the Capitol and of every temple—the enemy of the Capitol, because, when the two consuls were holding the senate in the Capitol, I came thither? Is there any time at which it can be discreditable to have attended the senate? or was that business which was then being transacted of such a nature that I was bound to repudiate the affair itself, and to condemn those who were promoting it?

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