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48. [102]

Imitate those men, I beg you in the name of the immortal gods, you who seek for dignity, and praise, and glory. These examples are honourable; these are godlike; these are immortal; these are celebrated in fame, and are committed to the eternal recollection of our annals, and are handed down to posterity. It is a labour, I do not deny it. The dangers are great, I admit it,—“ The path of virtuous men is full of snares.
” That is a most true saying. The poet says further,—“ But to demand those honours which excite
The general envy and desire of all,
And yet to shun the toil and ceaseless care
Which can alone conduct to such a goal,
Is purest ignorance.

The same poet says in another place, (a sentence which wicked citizens are inclined to catch at,) “Let them hate me, as long as they fear.” For he gave those admirable precepts to the young men. [103] But nevertheless this path and this system of undertaking public affairs was formerly more formidable, as in many particulars the desire of the multitude and the whim of the people were at variance with the interests of the republic. A law for the establishment of the ballot was brought forward by Lucius Cassius. The people thought that its liberties were at stake; the chief men of the state dissented, and in a matter affecting the safety of the nobles, they feared the rashness of the multitude, and the licentiousness of the ballot. Tiberius Gracchus brought forward an Agrarian law. It was very acceptable to the people; the fortunes of the poorer classes appeared likely to be established by it. The nobles strove against it, because they saw that discord was excited by it; and because, as the object of it was to deprive the wealthy men of their ancient possessions, they thought that by it the republic was being deprived of its defenders. Caius Gracchus brought forward a law respecting corn. It was a very pleasing proposal to the common people at Rome; for food was to be supplied to them in abundance without any trouble. The good resisted it because they thought that its effect would be to lead the common people away from industry to idleness, and because the treasury was likely to be drained by such a measure.

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