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11.

On this, the senate being anxious, you knights being in a state of great excitement, all Italy being agitated,—in short, all citizens of every sort and of every rank, thought that they must seek help for the republic from the consuls and from the supreme power, while they were the only men, besides that frantic tribune,—those two whirlwinds (so to say) of the republic,—who not only did not come to the assistance of their falling country, but who even grieved that it was falling so slowly. They were every day solicited both by the complaints of all good men, and by the direct entreaties of the senate, to undertake my cause, to act on my behalf, and to bring some proposition before the senate. They attacked all the most eminent men of that body, not only refusing their request but even laughing at it. [26] But when on a sudden an incredible multitude from the whole city, and from all Italy, had assembled at the Capitol, they all decided that they should put on mourning garments and defend me in every possible way by their private resources, since the republic was destitute for the time of its public leaders. At the same time the senate was assembled in the temple of Concord, a temple which of itself recalled the recollection of my consulship, when the whole body in tears addressed this curled consul with entreaties; for the other rough and fierce-looking one was keeping himself at home on purpose. With what haughtiness did that filthy fellow, that pest of the republic, reject the prayers of that most honourable body, and the tears of the most illustrious citizens. How did that glutton and devourer of his country scorn me! For why should I say devourer of his patrimony, which he lost while engaged in some sort of trade? You, I say,—you, O Roman knights,—you and all virtuous men changed your garments, and in the cause of my safety threw yourselves at the feet of that most profligate debauchee. You and your prayers were alike trampled on by that robber. A man of extraordinary integrity, magnanimity, wisdom, and firmness, Lucius Ninnius made a motion to the senate concerning the republic and the senate in a full house passed a resolution that they should change their garments for my safety.


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