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[24] And from these incessant and daily conversations of his, and because I saw who the men were with whom he lived in the more retired part of his house, and because his house itself (as I may say) smoked so as to emit a steam from his discourse, and to show what he was about, I made up my mind that nothing good was to be looked for from such a trifler; but at the same time certainly that no evil need be feared. But the fact is, O judges, that, if you give a sword to a little child, or to a powerless and decrepit old man, he himself by his own violence cannot injure any one, but still if the sword touches the naked body of even the strongest man, it is possible that he may be wounded by the mere sharpness and power of the weapon; in like manner, when the consulship had been given as a sword to enervated and worn-out men, who, of their own strength, would never be able to wound any one, they, armed with the name of supreme command, murdered the republic. They openly made a treaty with the tribune of the people, to receive from him whatever provinces they chose, and an army, and as much money as they chose, on this condition,—that they themselves were the first to hand over the afflicted republic in fetters to the tribune. And they thought that that treaty could be ratified in my blood.

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