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I am not, O judges, so ignorant of the forms of proceeding in trials, I am not so inexperienced in speaking, as to hunt for topics of every sort, and to gather and taste every sort of flower from every quarter. I know what is due to your dignity, and to my duty as counsel for the defence, and to this court, and to the character of Publius Sestius, and to the magnitude of his danger, and to my own age and to my own honour. But I have considered that while speaking on this point it was desirable to explain to the youth of the city who were the best men. And in explaining that point it was necessary to show that those men are not all friends of the people who are thought to be so. And that I can do most easily, if I represent to them the genuine and unbribed opinion of the Roman people, and the real inmost feelings of the citizens. [120]

How was it that,—when the news of that resolution of the senate which was passed in the temple of Virtue was fresh, and was brought to the people while engaged in beholding the games, and to the actors on the stage, in a very full house—that consummate actor, a man in truth who always performs the best part in the republic as he does on the stage weeping both from recent joy and also from a mixture of grief and regret for me, pleaded my cause before the Roman people in much more impressive language than I could possibly have pleaded for myself? For he gave a representation of the genius of the great poet whose play was being acted not merely by his art as an actor, but by his real grief. “What, shall he who with a constant mind assisted and supported the state; who has always stood on the side of the Greeks
* * *” He said that I had always stood on your side; he pointed to your ranks; he was encored by every body. “Who in a critical state of affairs, did not hesitate to expose his life, did not spare his own person or privileges
* * *.” [121] What shouts were raised as he recited these passages! when, omitting all consideration of his acting, the people applauded the words of the poet and the zeal of the actor, and the encouragement of their expectations respecting me. “A most excellent friend, in a most important war
* * *:” for the actor added that of himself, from his friendly inclination towards me; and perhaps men applauded it on account of their regret for me: “A man endowed with the highest ability.”

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