The great numbers in which you are here met this day, O Romans, and this
assembly, greater than, it seems to me, I ever remember, inspires me with both
an exceeding eagerness to defend the republic, and with a great hope of
reestablishing it. Although my courage indeed has never failed; what has been
unfavorable is the time; and the moment that that has appeared to show any dawn
of light, I at once have been the leader in the defense of your liberty. And if
I had attempted to have done so before, I should not be able to do so now. For
this day, O Romans (that you may not think it is but a trifling business in
which we have been engaged), the foundations have been laid for future actions.
For the senate has no longer been content with styling Antonius an enemy in
words, but it has shown by actions that it thinks him one.
And now I am much more elated still, because you too with
such great unanimity and with such a clamor have sanctioned our declaration that
he is an enemy.
And indeed, O Romans, it is impossible but that either the men must be impious
who have levied armies against the consul, or else that he must be an enemy
against whom they have rightly taken arms. And this doubt the senate has this
day removed—not indeed that there really was any; but it has prevented
the possibility of there being any. Caius Caesar, who has upheld and who is
still upholding the republic and your freedom by his zeal and wisdom, and at the
expense of his patrimonial estate, has been complimented with the highest
praises of the senate.
I praise you,—yes, I praise you greatly, O Romans, when you follow with
the most grateful minds the name of that most illustrious youth, or rather boy;
for his actions belong to immortality, the name of youth only to his age. I can
recollect many things; I have heard of many things; I have read of many things;
but in the whole history of the whole world I have never known any thing like
this. For, when we were weighed down with slavery, when the evil was daily
increasing, when we had no defense, while we were in dread of the pernicious and
fatal return of Marcus Antonius from Brundusium
, this young man adopted the design which none of us
had ventured to hope for, which beyond all question none of us were acquainted
with, of raising an invincible army of his father's soldiers, and so hindering
the frenzy of Antonius, spurred on as it was by the most inhuman counsels, from
the power of doing mischief to the republic.