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[20] For while I admit that he stood on the loftiest pinnacle of eloquence, and can discover scarcely a single deficiency in him, although I [p. 367] might perhaps discover certain superfluities which I think he would have pruned away (for the general view of the learned is that he possessed many virtues and a few faults, and he himself1 states that he has succeeded in suppressing much of his youthful exuberance), none the less, in view of the fact that, although he had by no means a low opinion of himself, he never claimed to be the perfect sage, and, had he been granted longer life and less troubled conditions for the composition of his works, would doubtless have spoken better still, I shall not lay myself open to the charge of ungenerous criticism, if I say that I believe that he failed actually to achieve that perfection to the attainment of which none have approached more nearly,

1 Brut. xci. 316. Orat. xxx. 107.

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