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That year, the whole republic being in a state of great commotion, and many people being in just fear, had been like a bow bent against me alone, as men ignorant of state affairs used commonly to say; but in reality against the whole republic, by the transference to the common people of a furious and profligate man, angry with me, but a far more zealous enemy to tranquillity and the general safety. This man, that most illustrious of citizens, and, though many tried to alienate him from me, most friendly to me, Cnaeus Pompeius, had bound by every sort of security, and promise, and oath to do nothing during his tribuneship contrary to my interest. But that wicked man, sprung as it were from the very dregs of every sort of wickedness, thought that he should not be doing enough in the way of violating his engagements, unless he terrified the man who was so eager to guard against danger for another, by personal danger to himself. [16] This foul and savage brute, hampered as he was by the auspices, tied down by the precedents of our ancestors, fettered by the bonds of holy laws, was on a sudden released by the consul,1 who, as I imagine, was either won over by entreaties, or, as many people thought, influenced by hostility to me, and to at all events was ignorant and unsuspicious of the impending crimes and misfortunes. And that tribune of the people, if he was successful in his design of throwing the republic into confusion, did not owe it to any energy of his own. For what energy could there be in the life of a man maddened by the infamy of his brother, by his own adultery with his sister, and by every sort of unheard-of licentiousness? [17]

But that, forsooth, did seem like a fortune appointed for the republic by fate itself, that that blind and senseless tribune of the people should find two—must I call them consuls? must I honour by this name the overthrowers of this empire, the betrayers of your dignity, the enemies of all good men? men who thought that they had been adorned with those fasces, and with all the other insignia of supreme honour and command, for the purpose of destroying the senate, of crushing the equestrian order, and extinguishing all the rights and established principles of our ancestors. And, I beg you in the name of the immortal gods, if you do not yet wish to recall their wickedness and the wounds which they have burnt into the republic, still turn your recollection to their countenances and their gait. Their actions will more easily present themselves to your minds if you bring their faces before your eyes.

1 There is great reason to think that there is some corruption here.

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