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Two courses were open to Catiline: to leave the city or to run his chances of being put to death. If he left the city, he could, of course, either join his accomplice Manlius in the insurgent camp at Faesulae, or abandon his projects and go into voluntary exile. Apparently some of the Senators had privately urged him to adopt the latter alternative, promising, in that case, that all proceedings should be dropped, and Catiline, though rejecting their advice, had declared that he would not refuse to obey a senatus consultum decreeing his banishment. Such a decree would, however, have been favorable to Catiline's plans, for, since he bad not been formally brought to trial, he would have been able to pose as an injured citizen exiled by an arbitrary aristocratic party. Hence Cicero refuses to put the question to the Senate, though he asserts there could be no doubt about the result. By taking this course Cicero forced Catiline to make his intentions plain by the overt act of leaving the city of his own accord and hastening to the camp of Manlius.

refer . . . ad senatum: the technical term for the action of the presiding officer (regularly the consul) in bringing a matter before the Senate for action. See general Introduction, p. lvii.

si hic ordo placere, etc.: fut. cond. in indir. disc.

placere (sc. sibi): the subject is te . . . exsilium.

abhorret, is contrary to: because the Senate would have no legal power to pronounce such a judgment.

faciam ut, etc.: ยง 568 (332); B. 297, I G. 553, I ; H. 568 (498, ii); H.-B. 502, 3, a. To make the feelings of the Senate clear, Cicero formally commands Catiline to leave the city (egredere, etc.); then pauses to allow the Senators a chance to protest, and then points out that no objections are heard.

ecquid attendis, are you listening? The adverbial ecquid (at all) can hardly be idiomatically rendered, but gives an emphasis to the question.

patiuntur, they tolerate this, i.e. they make no objection to this extreme exercise of authority on my part.

quid exspectas, etc.: why do you wait for those to express their opinion in words whose wishes you see clearly by their silence? The Latin idiom is quite different: why do you wait for the expressed opinion (auctoritatem) of [those] speaking whose wishes you see [when] silent?

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