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Then people in their joy went up to the Capitol and, at last, gave thanks to the gods. They threw down the statues of Poppæa; they bore on their shoulders the images of Octavia, covering them with flowers, and setting them up in the forum and in the temples. There was even a burst of applause for the emperor, men hailing the recalled Octavia. And now they were pouring into the Palace in crowds, with loud shoutings, when some companies of soldiers rushed out and dispersed the tumultuous throng with blows, and at the point of the sword. Whatever changes had been made in the riot, were reversed, and Poppæa's honours restored. Ever relentless in her hatred, she was now enraged by the fear that either the violence of the mob would burst on her with yet fiercer fury, or that Nero would be swayed by the popular bias, and so, flinging herself at his knees, she exclaimed that she was not in the position of a rival fighting for marriage, though that was dearer to her than life, but that her very life was brought into jeopardy by the dependants and slaves of Octavia, who had assumed the name of the people, and dared in peace what could hardly happen in war. "Those arms," she said, "have been taken up against the emperor; a leader only is wanting, and he will easily be found in a commotion. Only let her whose mere beck, though she is far away, stirs up tumult, quit Campania, and make her way in person to Rome. And, again, what is my sin? What offence have I caused any one? Is it that I am about to give to the house of the Cæsars a lawful heir? Do the people of Rome prefer that the offspring of an Egyptian flute-player should be raised to the imperial throne? In a word, if it be expedient, Nero should of his own choice rather than on compulsion send for her who ruled him, or else secure his safety by a righteous vengeance. The beginning of a commotion has often been quieted by slight precautions; but if people once despair of Octavia being Nero's wife, they will soon find her a husband."

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