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O ye immortal gods! Do you, do you,—you two whirlpools and rocks which endanger the republic—do you seek to disparage my fortune? to extol your own? when concerning me in my absence such resolutions of the senate were passed, such speeches were delivered, such agitation pervaded all the municipal towns and colonies, such votes were passed by all the farmers of the revenue, by all the different guilds, by all ranks and classes of the citizens, as I should not only never have dared to hope for, but as I could not possibly hare dreamt of; and while you, on the other hand, have met with the everlasting brand of the deepest infamy. [42] Should I, if I were to see you and Gabinius both nailed to a cross, feel greater rejoicing at the laceration of your bodies, than I do at the tearing to pieces of your reputations? Surely not: for there is no punishment imaginable, which, owing to some accident or other, even virtuous and brave men may not have inflicted on them. And this is what even your Greek followers of pleasure say; men whom I wish you would listen to in the spirit in which they deserve to be listened to; you would never have immersed yourself in such a vortex of wickedness. But you listen to them in brothels, in scenes of adultery, in reveling and drunkenness.

But they themselves those very men who define evil by pain, and good by pleasure say that the wise man even if he were shut up in Phalaris's bull and roasted by fire being placed under him would still say that it was pleasant and would not allow himself to be moved the least from his assertion. They insist upon it that the power of virtue is so great that it is absolutely impossible for a virtuous man ever to be otherwise than happy. [43] What then is punishment? what is chastisement? A thing which in my opinion, can happen to no one unless he is guilty; it is dishonesty undertaken; it is a mind hampered and overwhelmed by conscience; it is the hatred of all virtuous men; it is the deserved brand of the senate; it is the loss of dignity.

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