42. [101]

O what miserable nights of watching did you pass, O Cnaeus Plancius! O what tearful vigils! O what bitter nights! O what a miserable task was that which you undertook of protecting my life! if I, now that I am alive, am unable to be of any service to you, though perhaps I might have been of some if I had been dead. For I recollect, I well recollect, and I never shall forget, that night when I, miserable man that I was, and led on by ungrounded hopes, made you who were watching over me, and sitting by me, and lamenting, some vain and empty promises. I promised that, if I were restored to my country, then I would in person show my gratitude; but, if chance deprived me of life, or if any greater violence prevented my return, then I undertook that these men, these whom we see here, (for what others could I then be thinking of?) would make you a fitting return on my behalf, for all your exertions. Why do you fix your eyes upon me now? Why do you claim the performance of my promise? Why do you implore my observance of good faith? I was not promising you at that time anything from my own resources, but from the good-will of these men towards me. I saw that these men were mourning for me; that they were groaning for me; that they were willing to do battle in defence of my rights and safety, even at the hazard of their own lives—I, as well as you, was hearing every day of the regret, and grief, and complaints of these men; and now I fear that I may be able to make you no other return beyond tears, of which you yourself shed plenty for my distresses. [102] For what can I do more than grieve? more than weep? more than consider your safety bound up with my own? The same men who gave me safety are the only men who have the power to give it to you. But I (rise up and stand forward, I beg you,) will cling to you and embrace you; and I will profess myself, not only one who prays to the judges to protect your fortunes, but one who will be your companion and partner in them. And, as I hope, no one will be of so cruel and inhuman a disposition, nor so unmindful—I will not say of the services which I have done the good, but of the services which the good have done me—as to tear away and separate the saviour of my very existence as a citizen from me. I beg of you, O judges, to save a man who has been, not loaded with kindnesses by me, but the guardian of my safety. I am not striving in his behalf with wealth, and authority, and influence; but with prayers, and tears, and appeals to your mercy. And his unhappy and most virtuous father, whom you see before you, joins his entreaties to mine; we, being as it were two parents of his, pray your mercy for our one son. [103]

Do not, O judges, I entreat you in the name of yourselves, of your fortunes, and of your children, give joy to my enemies, especially to those whom I have made my enemies by labouring for your safety, by allowing them to boast that you have by this time forgotten me, and that you have shown yourselves enemies to the safety of the man by whom my safety was ensured. Do not crush my spirit not only with grief, but also with fear that your kind regard for myself is altered; allow me to pay the man from you, that which I repeatedly promised him because I relied on you. [104]

And you, O Caius Flavius,1 you I beg and entreat—you who were the partner of my counsels during my consulship, and the sharer of my dangers, and my assistant in the exploits which I performed; and who have at all times wished me to be not only safe, but prosperous also and flourishing,—I entreat you, I say, to preserve for me, by the instrumentality of these men, that man to whom it is owing that you see me preserved to them and to you. It is not only my own tears, but yours also, O Flavius, and yours too, O judges, that hinder me from saying more: and by them I—though I am in a state of great apprehension—am induced to hope that you will show yourselves the same men with reference to the saving of Plancius that you did in my case; since by those tears which I now behold, I am reminded of those which you so repeatedly and abundantly shed for my sake.

1 Caius Flavius was one of the praetors of the year, and, as such, president of this court.

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