With such words did Numa decline the kingdom. Then the Romans put forth every effort to meet his objections, and begged him not to plunge them again into faction and civil war, since there was none other on whom both parties could unite. His father also and Marcius, when the envoys had withdrawn, beset him privately, and tried to persuade him to accept so great a gift of the gods.
‘Even though,’ they said,
‘thou neither desirest wealth for thyself, because thou hast enough, nor covetest the fame which comes from authority and power, because thou hast the greater fame which comes from virtue, yet consider that the work of a true king is a service rendered to God, who now rouses up and refuses to leave dormant and inactive the great righteousness which is within thee. Do not, therefore, avoid nor flee from this office, which a wise man will regard as a field for great and noble actions, where the gods are honoured with magnificent worship, and the hearts of men are easily and quickly softened and inclined towards piety, through the moulding influence of their ruler.
This people loved Tatius, though he was a foreign prince, and they pay divine honours to the memory of Romulus. And who knows but that the people, even though victorious, is sated with war, and, now that it is glutted with triumphs and spoils, is desirous of a gentle prince, who is a friend of justice, and will lead them in the paths of order and peace? But if, indeed, they are altogether intemperate and mad in their desire for war, then were it not better that thou, holding the reins of government in thy hand shouldst turn their eager course another way, and that thy native city and the whole Sabine nation should have in thee a bond of goodwill and friendship with a vigorous and powerful city?’
These appeals were strengthened, we are told, by auspicious omens and by the zealous ardour of his fellow-citizens, who, when they learned of the embassy from Rome, begged him to return with it and assume the royal power there, in order to unite and blend together the citizens.