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[61] Henceforth in vain will you look for a citizen who will expose himself to unpopularity for the welfare of his country. We can then preserve even this state of things which now exists, such as it is, by no other means than by unanimity; for although we may become better off, that cannot even be hoped for as long as he is unpunished. And if we are to be worse off than we are, there is but one step slower, that of death or slavery. And the immortal gods themselves warn us against allowing ourselves to be thrust down into that abyss, since all human counsels have long since failed.

And I, O conscript fathers, should not have undertaken this speech, so melancholy and so serious; not but that owing to the honours conferred on me by the Roman people, and to the numberless distinctions which you have heaped upon me, I am both bound and able to support this character and to play this part; but still, when every one else was silent, I should willingly have remained silent too. All this speech which I have made has not proceeded from my authority, but from my regard for the general religion. My words have, perhaps, been too many, but the whole sentiment has proceeded from the soothsayers. And either you ought never to have referred the prodigies which have been reported to you to them at all, or else you must be influenced by their answers.


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