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12. [29]

I say nothing of those things which if they are less brought on the stage than others, still at all events are always praised when they do come to light; for instance, how he lives among his own relations; in the first place with his father, (for in my opinion filial affection is the foundation of all the virtues,) whom he venerates as a god, (and indeed a parent does not stand in a very different relation to his children,) but loves as a companion, as a brother, as a friend of his own age. Why should I speak of his conduct to his uncle? to his connections? to his relations? to this Cnaeus Saturninus whom you see in court, a most gallant man? And you may judge how desirous this man was of his attaining honour, when you see how he partakes of his grief. Why should I speak of myself? for I seem to myself, now that he is in danger, to be put on my own defence too. Why should I speak of all these virtuous men whom you see in court, with their garments changed for mourning robes? But these are all solid and well marked proofs, O judges; these are evidences of integrity, not coloured by forensic artifice, but deeply dyed with the indelible marks of truth. All that running about and caressing of the people is very easy work; it is looked at at a distance, not taken into the hand and examined; it makes a fine show if you do not get too near and shake it.

[30] I say, then, that this man is adorned with every high quality, both such as are eminent abroad and amiable at home. I admit that he was inferior to you in some points, such as those of name and family; but in others I assert that he was superior to every one within the recollection of the present generation, in the zeal of his fellow-citizens, and neighbours, and of the companies of farmers in his behalf; equal to any one in virtue, integrity, and modesty; and yet do you wonder at his being elected aedile?

Do you try to defile the brilliancy of such a life as this with those imputations? You impute adulteries to him which no one can recognise, not only by having ever heard any one's name mentioned, but even by having heard a suspicion breathed against him. You call him twice-married, in order to invent new words, and not only new accusations. You say that some one was taken by him into his province to gratify his lust; but that is not an accusation, but a random lie, ventured on from the expectation of impunity. You say that an actress was ravished by him. And this is said to have happened at Atina, while he was quite young, by a sort of established licence of proceeding towards theatrical people, well known in all towns. [31] O how elegantly must his youth have been passed, when the only thing which is imputed to him is one that there was not much harm in, and when even that is found to be false. He released some one from prison illegally. The man you allude to was discharged out of ignorance—discharged, as you know, at the request of an intimate friend and a most virtuous young man; and the same man was arrested subsequently again. And these, and no others, are all the faults which you can discover to attribute to him throughout the whole of his life, while at the same time you affect to doubt his virtue, and religion, and integrity.


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