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Of these occupation us, however, civil and military offices,1 and all administration of public affairs, seem to me at the present time, by no means to be desired; for neither is honor conferred on merit, nor are those, who have gained power by unlawful means, the more secure or respected for it. To rule our country or subjects2 by force, though we may have the ability, and may correct what is wrong, is yet an ungrateful undertaking; especially as all changes in the state lead to3 bloodshed, exile, and other evils of discord; while to struggle in ineffectual attempts, and to gain nothing, by wearisome exertions, but public hatred, is the extreme of madness; unless when a base and pernicious spirit, perchance, may prompt a man to sacrifice his honor and liberty to the power of a party.

1 III Civil and military offices] “Magistratus et imperia.” “"Illo vocabulo civilia, hoc militaria munera, significantur."Dietsch.

2 To rule our country or subjects, etc.] “Nam vi quidem regere patriam aut parents,” etc. Cortius, Gerlach, Kritz, Dietsch, and Müller are unanimous in understanding parentes as the participle of the verb parco. That this is the sense, says Gerlach, is sufficiently proved by the conjunction aut; for if Sallust had meant parents, he would have used ut; and in this opinion Allen coincides. Doubtless, also, this sense of the word suits extremely well with the rest of the sentence, in which changes in government are mentioned. But Bernouf, with Crispinus, prefers to follow Aldus Manutius, who took the word in the other signification, supposing that Sallust borrowed the sentiment from Plato, who says in his Epistle ad Dionis Propinquos: Πατέρα δὲ μητέρα ὀυχ ὅσιον ἡγοῦμαι προσβιύζεσθαι, μὴ νόσῳ παραφροσύνης ἐχομένους. Βίαν δὲ πατρίδι πολιτέιας μεταβολῆς ηὴ προσφερειν, ὅταν ἄνευ φυγῶν, καὶ σφαγῆζ ἀνδρῶν, μὴ δυνατὸν γίνεσθαι τὴν ἀριστὴν. And he makes a similar observation in his Crito: Πανταχοὖ ποιητέον, ἃν κελεύοι πόλις τε, καὶ πατρὶς.----Βιάζεζθαι δὲ ὀυχ ὅσιον ὄυτε μητέρα, ὄυτε πατέρα πολὺ δὲ τούτων ἔτι ἠττον τὴν πατρίδα. On which sentiments Cicero, ad Fam. i. 9, thus comments: Id enim jubet idem ille Plato, quem ego auctorem vehementer sequor; tantum contender in republica quantum probare tuis civibus possis: vim neque parenti, neque patriœ afferre oportere. There is also another passage in Cicero, Cat. i. 3, which seems to favor this sense of the word: Si te parentes timerent atque odissent tui, neque eos ullâ ratione placare posses, ut opinor, ab eorum oculis aliquò concederes; nunc te patria, quœ communis est omnium nostrum parens odit ac metuit, etc. Of the first passage cited from Plato, indeed, Sallust's words may seem to be almost a translation. Yet, as the majority of commentators have followed Cortius, I have also followed him. Sallust has the word in this sense in Jug., c. 102: Parentes abunde habemus. So Vell. Pat. ii. 108: Principatis constans ex voluntate parentium.

3 Lead to] “Portendant.” “"Portendere in a pregnant sense, meaning not merely to indicate, but quasi secum ferre, to carry along with them."” Kritzius.

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