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5. [11]

Having then been so many years about the forum without any suspicion, and without any slur on his character, he espoused the cause of Catiline when he offered himself for the consulship a second time. How long then do you think that men of his age are to be kept in a state of pupilage? Formerly, we had one year established by custom during which the arm was restrained by our robe and during which we practised our exercises and sports in the Campus Martius in our tunics. And the very same practice prevailed in the camps and in the army, if we began to serve in campaigns at once. And at that age, unless a man protected himself by great gravity and chastity on his own part and not only by rigid domestic discipline, but by an extraordinary degree of natural virtue, however he was looked after by his relations, he still could not escape some slur on his character. But any one who passed that beginning of his life in perfect purity, and free from all stain, never was liable to have any one speak against his fair fame and his chastity when his principles had gained strength, and when he was a man and among men. [12] Caelius espoused the cause of Catiline, when he had been for several years mixing in the forum; and many of every rank and of every age did the very same thing. For that man, as I should think many of you must remember, had very many marks—not indeed fully brought out, but only in outline as it were of the most eminent virtues. He was intimate with many thoroughly wicked men; but he pretended to be entirely devoted to the most virtuous of the citizens. He had many things about him which served to allure men to the gratification of their passions; he had also many things which acted as incentives to industry and toil. The vices of lust raged in him; but at the same time he was conspicuous for great energy and military skill. Nor do I believe that there ever existed so strange a prodigy upon the earth, made up in such a manner of the most various, and different and inconsistent studies and desires.


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