37.  You say that I was afraid of death. But I should think it wrong to accept even immortality at the expense of the welfare of the republic; much less should I be willing to die, if by that means I was to damage the commonwealth. For as for those men who have given up their lives for the sake of the state, (although you may say that I am talking foolishly,) I have never considered that they had met with death so much as with immortality. But if I had at that time fallen by the weapons and hands of wicked men, the republic would for ever have lost the civil guardian of its safety. Moreover, if any violence of disease, or if nature itself had carried me off, still the resources of posterity would have been diminished, because by my death the opportunity would have been lost of showing what great zeal of the senate and people of Rome was to be exerted in retaining me. Should I, if I had ever had any extravagant fondness for life, have challenged the weapons of all those parricides in the month of December of the year of my consulship, when, if I had remained quiet for twenty days longer, they would all have fallen on the vigilance of other consuls? Wherefore, if fondness for life when contrary to the interests of the republic is shameful, at all events a desire for death in my case, which must have been accompanied with injury to the state, would have been more shameful still.  For as for your boasting that you were a free man in the republic, I confess that you are, and I rejoice at it, and I also congratulate you on that account; but as for your denying that I am free also, as to that particular I will neither allow you nor any one else to continue in your mistake any longer.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF CNAEUS PLANCIUS.
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST PUBLIUS VATINIUS; CALLED ALSO, THE EXAMINATION OF PUBLIUS VATINIUS.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.