Therefore, I will do now before you what I have just done in the senate. I call
you to witness, I give notice, I predict beforehand, that Marcus. Antonius will
do nothing whatever of those things which the ambassadors are commissioned to
command him to do; but that he will lay waste the lands, and besiege Mutina
, and enlist soldiers, wherever he
can. For he is a man who has at all times despised the judgment and authority of
the senate, and your inclinations and power. Will he do what it has been just
now decreed that he shall do,—lead his army back across the Rubicon
which is the frontier of Gaul
, and yet
at the same time not come nearer Rome
than two hundred miles? Will he obey this notice? will he allow himself to be
confined by the river Rubicon
, and by the limit of two hundred miles?
Antonius is not that sort of man. For if he had been,
he would never have allowed matters to come to such a pass, as for the senate to
give him notice, as it did to Hannibal at the beginning of the Punic war not to
. But what ignominy it
is to be called away from Mutina
and at the same time to be forbidden to approach the city as if he were some
fatal conflagration! what an opinion is this for the senate to have of a man!
What? As to the commission which is given to the ambassadors to visit Decimus
Brutus and his soldiers, and to inform them that their excellent zeal in behalf
of, and services done to the republic, are acceptable to the senate and people
, and that that conduct shall
tend to their great glory and to their great honor; do you think that Antonius
will permit the ambassadors to enter Mutina
? and to depart from thence in safety? He never will
allow it, believe me. I know the violence of the man, I know his impudence, I
know his audacity.
Nor, indeed, ought we to think of him as of a
human being, but as of a most ill-omened beast. And as this is the case, the
decree which the senate has passed is not wholly improper. The embassy has some
severity in it; I only wish it had no delay. For as in the conduct of almost
every affair slowness and procrastination are hateful, so above all things does
this war require promptness of action. We must assist Decimus Brutus; we must
collect all our forces from all quarters; we can not lose a single hour in
effecting the deliverance of such a citizen without wickedness.
Was it not in his power, if he had considered Antonius a
consul, and Gaul
the province of
Antonius, to have given over the legions and the province to Antonius? and to
return home himself? and to celebrate a triumph? and to be the first man in this
body to deliver his opinion, until he entered on his magistracy? What was the
difficulty of doing that?
But as he remembered
that he was Brutus, and that he was born for your freedom, not for his own
tranquillity, what else did he do but—as I may almost
say—put his own body in the way to prevent Antonius from entering
? Ought we then to send
ambassadors to this man, or legions? However, we will say nothing of what is
past. Let the ambassadors hasten, as I see that they are about to do. Prepare
your robes of war. For it has been decreed, that, if he does not obey the
authority of the senate, we are all to betake ourselves to our military dress.
And we shall have to do so. He will never obey. And we shall lament that we have
lost so many days, when we might have been doing something.