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But a little time before, he even asked me what need I had of his assistance? why I had not resisted my enemies with my own resources? Just as if not only I who had often been of assistance to many others, but as if any one were ever in so wholly desperate a condition as to consider himself not only safer if he had that man for a protector but more ready for the struggle if he had him only for an advocate or seconder. [19] Was I, forsooth, anxious to lean on the counsel or protection of that piece of senseless cattle, of that bit of rotten flesh? was I likely to seek for any support or ornament for myself from that contemptible carcass? I suppose I was looking for a consul, I say, but one (that I was not likely to find in that hog) who might uphold the cause of the republic with his dignity and wisdom, not one who like a stock or like a trunk of a tree, if he only stood upright, might maintain the title of consul. For as the whole of my cause was the cause of a consul and of the senate, I had need of the assistance of the consul and senate; one of which sources of aid was even turned by you when you were consuls to my injury; the other was entirely suspended, if not abolished in the republic.

But if you ask what were my intentions; I would not have yielded, and the republic should still have retained me in its embrace, if I had only had to contend with contemptible gladiators,1 and with you, and with your colleague. For the cause of that most admirable man Quintus Metellus was a wholly different one; a citizen whom, in my opinion, I consider equal in glory to the immortal gods; [20] who thought it best for him to leave the city in order to avoid a contest with Caius Marius—a most gallant man, a consul, yes, a man who had been consul six times—and with his invincible legions. For what contest like this lay before me? Should I have had to fight with Caius Marius or with any one like him, or rather with one consul who was a sort of barbarian Epicurus, and with the other, a mere hut-boy of Catiline's? I was not, in truth, afraid of your supercilious looks, or of the cymbals and castanets of your colleague; nor was I so nervous, after having guided the vessel of the state amid the most terrible storms and billows of the republic, and placed it safe in harbour, as to fear the little cloud which gathered on your brow, or the polluted breath of your colleague.

They were other gales which I beheld threatening; they were other storms which my mind foresaw; [21] and I did not so much yield to those other storms which were impending, but rather exposed myself alone to them to secure the safety of all the rest of the citizens.

Accordingly at that time, on my departure, all those wicked swords fell from the hands of those most cruel men; when you, O senseless and insane man,—while all good men shut themselves up and hid themselves out of grief, and lamented for the temples, and bewailed the very houses of the city,—you, I say, embraced that fatal monster, the progeny of nefarious licentiousness, and civil bloodshed, and the foulness or every sort of wickedness, and the impunity of every crime; and in the same temple, at that very same time and in the very same place, you forbade the senate to express its opinion not only on my destruction, but on that of their country.

1 The Latin is bustuarius; literally, one who fights at the funeral pile in honour of the dead.

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