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[44] if I alone was to have perished, and if that incurable and deadly wound would not also have been inevitably inflicted on the republic, with which he threatened it—I should have preferred at that time, O judges, to perish once rather than conquer twice. For that second struggle would have been such, that whether we were conquered or conquerors, we should have been alike unable to preserve the republic. What would have happened if in the first struggle, being overcome by the violence of the tribune, I had fallen in the forum, with many virtuous citizens? The consuls, I imagine, would have convened the senate, which they had already expunged from the state; they would summon men to arms who had decided that the republic should not be upheld, no not even by a change of garments; they would, no doubt, have been sure to revolt from the tribune of the people after my death, who had intended the same hour to be that of my ruin and of their own reward!

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