IF your legions, which are most bitterly hostile to my name and to that of the Roman people, had left it possible for me to come into the senate and hold debate in the presence of the Republic, I would have done so, and not so much with pleasure as from necessity. For no remedies applied to wounds are so painful as those that are healing. But since, being hemmed round with armed cohorts, the senate cannot decree anything expressing its real sentiments except that it is in terror, since in the Capitol there are military standards, since in the city soldiers roam at will, since in the Campus Martius a camp is pitched, since the whole of Italy is distracted by legions enrolled to secure our freedom, but brought here to enslave us, and by the cavalry of foreign tribes—I will for the present yield you possession of the forum, the senate-house, and the most sacred temples of the immortal gods, in which, as liberty first revives and then is trampled out, the senate is consulted about nothing, has countless fears, and only passes decrees to flatter. Presently, when the state of things seems to demand it, I shall quit the city, which, once preserved as it was by me that it might be free, I shall never endure to see enslaved. I shall quit a life which, although filled with anxiety, yet, if destined to profit the Republic, consoles me with a good hope of future fame. If that hope is taken from me, I shall fall without a moment's hesitation, and shall depart, though taking care to make it clear that in my judgment fortune and not courage has deserted me. But there is one thing I will not omit as a proof of my recent wrong, as a record of past outrage, and a declaration of the feeling of those that are away: since I am prevented from remonstrating with you face to face, I will do so in your absence in the defence of the Republic and in my own. And I say "in my own defence," since my safety is either useful to the Republic or at least closely bound up with the public safety. For in the name of the immortal gods—unless by chance it is vain for me to appeal to those, whose ears and hearts are turned from us—and in the name of the fortune of the Roman people, which though hostile to us was once propitious, and, as I hope, will be so again—who is there so lost to all feelings of manhood, who is there so bitterly hostile to the name and dwelling-places of this city, as to be able to ignore what is happening, or not to grieve at it, or, if he can by no means remedy the public disasters, not to avoid his own danger by death?

For, to begin at the beginning and to trace events to the end, and to compare the last with the first, what morrow has dawned on the Roman people that was not more disastrous than the day before, and what hour that was not more calamitous than that which it succeeded? Marcus Antonius, a man of great courage—I only wish he had been wiser !—when Gaius Caesar had by an act of the greatest resolution, though with no happy results, been removed from his despotic rule over the Republic, had conceived the ambition for a more regal primacy than a free state could tolerate. He was throwing away the public money, exhausting the treasury, reducing the revenues, presenting cities and whole tribes with immunity in virtue of Caesar's memoranda. He was playing the part of dictator, imposing his laws upon us: and while forbidding a dictator to be named, he himself assumed the authority of a king while he was still consul, and had set his heart on controlling all the provinces by himself. What had we to expect or look for from a man who thought the province of Macedonia, which Caesar when victorious had taken as his own, 2 as too mean for him? You stood forward then as the champion of our liberty, the best that was possible at the time—and oh! that neither our opinion of you nor your own good faith had been forfeited !—and having hired veterans to form a body of soldiers, and having induced two legions 3 to abandon the destruction of their country for its preservation, when the Republic was now in all but a desperate and utterly prostrate position, you suddenly raised it by your own resources What honours, before you demanded them, on a greater scale than you desired, more numerous than you hoped, did not the senate bestow upon you? It gave you the fasces that it might have a defender with full authority, not that he might by this imperium take arms against itself. It gave you the title of imperator, when the army of the enemy had been repulsed, by way of paying you a compliment, not that that fugitive army, shattered by the slaughter which it had itself incurred, 4 might hail you imperator. It decreed you a statue in the forum, a 'place in the senate, the highest office before the legal age. If there is anything else that can be given, it will add it. What is there greater than this that you desire to take? But if on the other hand you have had every kind of honour bestowed on you before the legal age, beyond the ordinary usage, beyond even the reach of human nature, why do you curtail the authority of the senate as though it were ungrateful, or forgetful of your good services? Is it wanton cruelty or deliberate crime on your part? Whither have we sent you? From whom are you returning? Against whom have we armed you? On whom arc you meditating war? From whom are you withdrawing an army? Against whom are you drawing out your line of battle? Why is the public enemy left untouched, and the citizen attacked as an enemy? Why in the very midst of your march is your camp pushed farther from the adversary and nearer the city? Their hope is perforce our terror. Oh, how unwise I have always been, and what an ill-grounded reputation has mine turned out to be! How greatly, oh people of Rome, have you been deceived in me! What an old age of disaster and ruin! Oh, what a disgrace to my grey hairs, when life is all but gone and dotage has set in! I—I have led the senate to its bloody doom! I have deceived the Republic! I have forced the senate to lay violent hands upon itself, when I said that Iuno smiled on your birth, and that your mother had brought forth a golden age ! 5 In reality the fates were foretelling you to be the Paris of your country, destined to devastate the city with fire, Italy with war; to pitch your camp in the temples of the immortal gods; and to hold the senate in a camp. What a miserable upsetting of the constitution—how sudden and rapid and complicated! Who is likely to arise with a genius capable of narrating these events so as to make them seem fact and not fiction? Who will there ever be of such quick intelligence as not to think that events which have been recorded with the most absolute truthfulness only resemble the incidents of a drama? For think of Antony declared a public enemy; of a consul-designate, and he too a father of the state, besieged by him; of you setting out to relieve the consul and crush the enemy; of the enemy being put to flight by you and the consul released from the siege; and then shortly afterwards of this same routed enemy invited back as your coheir to receive, after the death of the Republic, the property of the Roman people; and of the consul-designate again surrounded where he had no walls to defend himself, but only streams and mountains. Who will attempt to give a picture of these events? Who will be bold enough to believe them? Let me be once pardoned for having made a mistake; let confession atone for an error. For I will speak frankly. Would to heaven, Antony, we had not driven you away as our despot, rather than have received this one! Not that any servitude is a thing to be wished, but because the condition of a slave is rendered less degrading by the rank of his master; while of two evils the greater is to be shunned, the less is to be chosen. He after all used to ask for what he desired to carry oft; you wrench it from our hands. He sought to obtain a province when he was consul, you set your heart on one when a private Citizen. He established courts and carried laws to protect the bad, you to destroy the best. He protected the Capitol from bloodshed and the incendiary fire of slaves, you wish to wipe out everything in blood and flame. If the man who granted provinces to Cassius and the Bruti, and those other guardians of the Roman name, acted as despot, what will he do who deprives them of life? If the man who ejected them from the City was a tyrant, what are we to call the man, who does not leave them even a place of exile? Therefore, if the buried ashes of our ancestors have any Consciousness, if all sensation is not destroyed along with the body in one and the same fire, what will one of our people say who has most recently departed to that eternal home, when questioned as to the present fortunes of the Roman people? What kind of news will the famous men of old—the Africani, the Maximi, the Paulli, and the Scipiones—receive about their posterity? What will they hear about their country, which they adorned with spoils and triumphs? Will it be that there was a youth eighteen years old, whose grandfather was a money-changer, 6 his father a touting witness, 7 both in truth making a precarious livelihood, but one of them up to old age so that he could not deny it, the other from boyhood so that he could not but confess it: and that this youth was plundering the Republic? And that, too, though he had no provinces subdued and added to the empire, and no ancestral position to give him a claim to that overweening power? Though his good looks had gained him money by his shame and a noble name stained by unchastity? Though he had forced old gladiators of Iulius, reduced by wounds and age—the starveling remainders of Caesar's training school—to accept the wand of dismissal, 8 surrounded by whom he wrought general havoc, spared no one, lived for his own enjoyment, and held the Republic as his private possession, as though in marriage with a rich wife he had received it as a legacy? The two Decii will hear that those citizens are slaves, to secure whose supremacy over their enemies they devoted themselves for victory. Gaius Marius, who refused to have even a common soldier who was unchaste, 9 will hear that we are the slaves of an immoral despot. Brutus will hear that the people, whom he first and afterwards his descendants liberated from tyrants, has been consigned to slavery as the price of shame. These reports, if by no one else, will be quickly carried down to them by myself. For as I shall be unable to escape your tyrannies while living, I have determined to fly from life and from them at the same time.

1 This rhetorical exercise was evidently composed by some one who knew the general facts of the last year of Cicero's life well. But it is not a successful imitation of his style, nor is there any conceivable juncture of affairs at which Cicero would have ventured to write thus to Octavian.

2 After the battle of Pharsalia Caesar seems to have ruled Macedonia and Greece by legates, first as a mere military occupation under Fufius, and then in a more regular way under Servius Sulpicius Rufus (vol. iii., p.136).

3 The fourth and the Martian.

4 Sua caede. Perhaps it should be tua, "by the slaughter you inflicted on it."

5 For Cicero's dream of a child let down from heaven by a gold chain, see Suet. Aug. 94; Dio, 45, 12; Plut. Cic. 44. This seems a confused reference to it.

6 Suet. Aug. 4.

7 Apparently men who hang about the forum ready for a consideration to make depositions or act as formal guarantees, like the touts at Doctors' Commons described in Pickwick.

8 He seems to mean "to accept dismissal from the gladiatorial school and serve him as a bodyguard." Cp. vol. ii., p.251.

9 Plutarch, Marius, 14.

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