"Romans, so disagreeable to me are contentions with the tribunes of the people, that in my most melancholy exile, whilst I resided at Ardea, I had. no other consolation than that I was removed from these contests; and for this same reason I would never have returned, even though you recalled me by a decree of the senate, and by order of the people.
Nor has it been any change in my own sentiments, but in your fortune, that has persuaded me to return now. For the question was that my country should remain in its own established seat, not that I should reside in my country. And on the present occasion I would gladly remain quiet and silent, were not the present struggle also appertaining to my country's interests, to be wanting to which, as long as life lasts, were [p. 385]
base in others, in Camillus impious. For why have we recovered it?
Why have we rescued it when besieged out of the hands of the enemy, if we ourselves desert it when recovered? And when, the Gauls being victorious, the entire city captured, both the gods and the natives of Rome still retained and inhabited the Capitol and citadel, shall even the citadel and the Capitol be deserted, now when the Romans are victorious and the city has been recovered? And s all our prosperous fortune cause more desolation to this city than our adverse caused?
Truly if we had no religious institutions established together with the city, and regularly transmitted down to us, still the divine power has so manifestly interested itself in behalf of the Roman state on the present trying occasion, that I should think that all neglect of the divine worship was removed from the minds of men.
For consider the events of these latter years one after the other, whether prosperous or adverse; you will find that all things succeeded favourably with us whilst we followed the gods, and unfavourably when we neglected them.
Now, first of all the Veientian war —of how many years' duration, with what immense labour waged! —was not brought to a termination, until the water was discharged from the Alban lake by the admonition of the gods.
What, in the name of heaven, regarding this recent calamity of our city? did it arise, until the voice sent from heaven concerning the approach of the Gauls was treated with slight? until the law of nations was violated by our ambassadors, and until such violation was passed over by us with the same indifference towards the gods, when it should have been punished by us?
Accordingly vanquished, made captives and ransomed, we have suffered such punishments at the hands of gods and men, as that we are now a warning to the whole world. Afterwards our misfortunes reminded us of our religious duties.
We fled for refuge to the gods, to the seat of Jupiter supremely good and great; amid the ruin of all our effects our sacred utensils we partly concealed in the earth; part of them we carried away to the neighbouring cities and removed from the eyes of the enemy. Though deserted by gods and men, still we intermitted not the worship of the gods.
Accordingly they have restored to us our country, and victory, our ancient renown in war which had been lost, and on our enemies, who, blinded by avarice, have violated [p. 386]
the faith of a treaty with respect to the weight of gold, they have turned dismay, and flight, and slaughter.