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14. [32]

The senate then was in grief, the city wore an appearance of mourning, its garments having been changed in accordance with the public resolution of the senate. There was no municipal town in all Italy, no colony, no prefecture, no company of men concerned in farming the public revenues, no guild or council,—no public body, in short, of any kind whatever,—which had not passed most honourable resolutions concerning my safety, when all on a sudden the two consuls issue an edict that the senators are to return to their former dress. What consul ever prohibited the senate from obeying its own decrees? What tyrant ever forbade men who were miserable to mourn? Is it a small thing, O Piso,—for I will say nothing about Gabinius, that you have deceived men to such a degree as to disregard the authority of the senate? to despise the advice of every virtuous man? to betray the republic? to crush a citizen of consular rank? that you must dare also to issue an edict that men are not to mourn for a disaster affecting me, and themselves, and the republic, and are not to show their grief by changing their garments? Whether that change of garment was assumed as a token of grief, or as a form of solicitation, who ever was so cruel before as to forbid any one mourning for himself, or entreating for others? [33] What? Are not men accustomed of their own accord to change their garments on the occasion of danger to their friends? Is there no one who will change it ever for you, O Piso? will not even those men do so whom you have appointed as your lieutenants, not only without any resolution of the senate to authorize such a step, but even in defiance of a vote of that body? shall, then, whoever pleases mourn for the misfortune of a desperate man, of a traitor to the commonwealth, and shall not the senate be allowed to mourn for the danger of a citizen, strong above all men in the good-will of all virtuous men, who has deserved admirably well of his country, which he has saved, especially when with his danger is combined danger to the whole state?

Those same consuls, (if, indeed, it is proper to call those men consuls who, every one thinks, deserve not only to be eradicated from men's memories, but to have their names erased from the consular registers,) after the treaty about the provinces had been ratified, being brought forward to the assembly in the Flaminian Circus by that fury and pest of his country, amid universal grief on the part of all of you, gave their verbal sanction and formal decision in approval of all the things which that fellow had then uttered against me and against the republic.

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