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29. [62]

His tribuneship followed. Why need I speak of his extraordinary magnanimity, and of his incredible virtue? You remember that day on which, when the temple was occupied by his colleague,1 and while we were all alarmed for the life of that good man and that great citizen, he himself came most courageously into the temple, stilled the clamours of the men by his authority and checked the violence of the wicked by his intrepidity. Then, indeed, he encountered danger, but he encountered it for an adequate reason and how great that motion was, it is not necessary for me to say at present. But if he had not obeyed that most wicked motion with respect to the affairs of Cyprus, the same disgrace would nevertheless have attached to the republic. For after the kingdom had been confiscated, the motion was made about Cato mentioning him expressly by name. And suppose he had refused to obey it, can you doubt that violence would have been used towards him, since in that case all the acts of that year would have seemed to be undermined by that one man? [63]

And he saw this also: since the stain attached to the republic of having confiscated that kingdom, a stain which no one could efface; he thought it more advantageous, that whatever good could arise to the republic out of those evils, should be secured by him rather than by others. And if, by any means whatever, he had been expelled out of the city at that time, he would have borne it easily. In truth, could he,—who in the former year had absented himself from the senate, though, if he had come thither, he would have been able to have me as the partner of all his counsels which concerned the government of the state,—could he, I say, have continued with equanimity in this city then, after I had been expelled, and with me the whole senate too, and when his own opinions had been condemned? But he yielded to the same time to which we did; to the same frenzy, to the same consuls, to the same threats, and plots, and dangers that we did ourselves. We, indeed, suffered the greatest misfortune of the two, but his indignation and grief of mind was not less than our own.

1 Metellus Celer

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