17.  I now on your behalf consult these men, after the time has passed, and in an affair which is not mine, since you forgot to consult them in your own affair, and when it was the proper time. I ask of you, Caius Aquillius, Lucius Lucilius, Publius Quintilius, and Marcus Marcellus;—A certain partner and relation of mine has not appeared to his recognizances; a man with whom I have a long standing intimacy, but a recent dispute about money matters. Can I demand of the praetor to be allowed to take possession of his goods? Or must I, as he has a house, a wife, and children at Rome, not rather give notice at his house? What is your opinion in this matter? If, in truth, I have rightly understood your kindness and prudence, I am not much mistaken what you will answer if you are consulted. You will say at first that I must wait; then, if he seems to be shirking the business and to be trifling with it too long, that I must have a meeting of our friends; must ask who his agent is; must give notice at his house. It can hardly be told how many steps there are which you would make answer ought to be taken before having recourse to this extreme and unnecessary course.  What does Naevius say to all this? Forsooth, he laughs at our madness in expecting a consideration of the highest duty, or looking for the practices of good men in his conduct. What have I to do, says he, with all this sanctimoniousness and punctiliousness? Let good men, says he, look to these duties, but let them think of me thus; let them ask not what I have, but by what means I have acquired it, and in what rank I was born, and in what manner I was brought up. I remember, there is an old proverb about a buffoon; “that it is a much easier thing for him to become rich than to become the head of a family.”  This is what he says openly by his actions, if he does not dare to say it in words. If in truth he wishes to live according to the practices of good men, he has many things to learn and to unlearn, both which things are difficult to a man of his age.
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The speech of M. T. Cicero as the advocate of P. Quinctius.
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