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Perhaps in any other matter, Senators, it would be more convenient that I should be consulted in your presence, and then state what I think to be for the public good. In this debate it was better that my eyes should not be on you, for while you were noting the anxious faces of individual senators charged with shameful luxury, I too myself might observe them and, as it were, detect them. Had those energetic men, our ædiles, first taken counsel with me, I do not know whether I should not have advised them to let alone vices so strong and so matured, rather than merely attain the result of publishing what are the corruptions with which we cannot cope. They however have certainly done their duty, as I would wish all other officials likewise to fulfil their parts. For myself, it is neither seemly to keep silence nor is it easy to speak my mind, as I do not hold the office of ædile, prætor, or consul. Something greater and loftier is expected of a prince, and while everybody takes to himself the credit of right policy, one alone has to bear the odium of every person's failures. For what am I first to begin with restraining and cutting down to the old standard? The vast dimensions of country houses? The number of slaves of every nationality? The masses of silver and gold? The marvels in bronze and painting? The apparel worn indiscriminately by both sexes, or that peculiar luxury of women which, for the sake of jewels, diverts our wealth to strange or hostile nations?

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