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32. [79]

I know well that Caius Caesar has not always had the same opinion about the republic that I have; but nevertheless, as I have often said of him before, in the hearing of these men, he communicated to me all his intentions during the whole of his consulship, and he wished me to be his partner in all the honours which he shared with his nearest friends; he offered them to me, he invited, he entreated me to accept them. I was not brought over to his party, perhaps out of too great a regard for my character for consistency; I did not wish to be exceedingly beloved by him to whose kindnesses I would never have given up my own opinion. While you were consul, the matter was supposed to be disputed and to have come to a close contest, whether the acts which he had carried the previous year should continue in force, or be rescinded. Why need I say more on this subject? If he thought that there was so much virtue, and vigour, and influence in me, that all the acts which he had performed would be undone if I opposed them, why should I not excuse him if he preferred his own safety to mine? [80]

But I will say nothing of what is past. When Cnaeus Pompeius embraced my cause with all his energies, using all his exertions, and encountering even danger to his life for my sake; when he was going round to the municipal towns to plead my cause, and was imploring the good faith of all Italy; when he was continually sitting by Publius Lentulus, the consul, the author of my safety; when he was always delivering his opinion to the senate, and when in all his harangues he was not only professing himself the defender of my safety, but was descending even to supplications in my behalf; he then took to himself as a companion of and an assistant in his zeal for me, Caius Caesar, whom he knew to have the very greatest influence, and to be no enemy of mine. You see now that I am not an antagonist of yours, not an enemy to you; and that, as for those men whom you hint at, I am bound not only not to be offended with them, but to be a friend to them. One of them, and I will take care always to remember it, has been as great a friend to me as to himself; the other, what I will forget some day or other, certainly was more of a friend to himself than to me. [81] But this is a common state of things, that brave men, even after they have fought together in close combat sword in hand, still lay aside the hostility engendered by the contest at the same time that they cease from the battle itself, and lay down their arms. Nor, indeed, was he ever able to hate me, not even when we were most at variance. Virtue, which you do not even know by sight, has this quality, that its appearance and beauty delight brave men even when existing in an enemy.

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