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I should have been very glad, O judges, if Publius Sulla had been able formerly to retain the honour of the dignity to which he was appointed, and had been allowed, after the misfortune which befell him, to derive some reward from his moderation in adversity. But since his unfriendly fortune has brought it about that he has been damaged, even at a time of his greatest honour, by the unpopularity ensuing not only from the common envy which pursues ambitious men, but also by the singular hatred in which Autronius is held, and that even in this sad and deplorable wreck of his former fortunes, he has still some enemies whose hostility he is unable to appease by the punishment which has fallen upon him; although I am very greatly concerned at his distresses, yet in his other misfortunes I can easily endure that an opportunity should be offered to me of causing virtuous men to recognise my lenity and merciful disposition, which was formerly known to every one, but which has of late been interrupted as it were; and of forcing wicked and profligate citizens, being again defeated and vanquished, to confess that, when the republic was in danger, I was energetic and fearless; now that it is said, I am lenient and merciful.


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