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12. [27]

Alas for that day, O judges, fatal to the senate and to all good men! grievous to the republic! bitter for me as far as my domestic grief was concerned, but glorious as relates to my fame in the eyes of posterity. For what since the first beginning of human memory, can any one produce more splendid than for all good men by their own tacit agreement as individuals and for the whole senate by public resolution to have changed their garments and put on mourning for the sake of a single citizen? And that change of dress was not adopted at that time for the sake of averting a calamity from me by entreaty, but to show their grief at that which had befallen me. For to whom could they address their entreaties, when all were in mourning alike, and when the fact of a man's not having changed his dress was a sufficient proof of his being an ill-disposed person? After this change of garments had taken place, and while the city was in such grief, I say nothing of what that tribune, that plunderer of all things both human and divine, proceeded to do; a fellow who ordered all the most noble youths, and the most honourable Roman knights who were eager to entreat him to ensure my safety, to attend at his house, and who then exposed them to the swords and stones of his troop of artisans. I am speaking now of the consuls, on whose good faith the republic had a right to rely. [28] Frightened out of his wits, he flies from the senate with a mind and countenance less agitated than it would have been a few years before, if he had fallen in with a crowd of his creditors. He convenes an assembly. He, the consul, addresses them in such a speech as even Catiline himself, if he had been victorious, would never have delivered. He said “that men were greatly mistaken if they thought that the senate had any power in the republic; and that the Roman knights should suffer severely for that day on which, in my consulship, they had appeared with their swords on the Capitoline Hill: that the time had come for those who had been in fear” (he evidently meant the conspirators) “to avenge themselves.” If he had said no more than this, he would have been worthy of the last extremity of punishment; for a mischievous speech of a consul can of itself undermine the republic. But see now what he did. [29] In that assembly he banished Lucius Lamia, who was exceedingly attached to me on account of the exceeding intimacy which subsisted between me and his brother and his father, and who was also willing to encounter even death itself for the sake of the republic; and issued an edict that he should remove two hundred miles from the city because he had dared to address solicitations to him on behalf of a citizen,—of a citizen who had deserved well of the state, and who was his own friend,—and on behalf of the republic.

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