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The death of Agricola (A. D. 93) was felt by his family with the deepest sorrow, by his friends with tender concern, and even by foreigners with universal regret. During his illness, the common people were constantly at his door, making their inquiries. In the forum, and all circular meetings, he was the subject of conversation. When he breathed his last, no man was so hardened as to rejoice at the news. He died lamented, and not soon forgotten. What added to the public affliction, was a report that so valuable a life was ended by a dose of poison. No proof of the fact appearing, I leave the story to shift for itself. Thus much is certain, during his illness, instead of formal messages, according to the usual practice of courts, the freedmen most in favour, and the principal physicians of the Emperor, were assiduous in their visits. Was this the solicitude of friendship, or were these men the spies of state?

On the day that closed his life, while he was yet in the agony of death, the quickest intelligence of every symptom was conveyed to Domitian by messengers in waiting for the purpose. That so much industry was exerted to hasten news which the Emperor did not wish to hear, no man believed. As soon as the event was known Domitian put on an air of sorrow, and even affected to be touched with real regret. The will of the deceased gave him entire satisfaction; he was named joint heir with Agricola's excellent wife and his most dutiful daughter, and this the tyrant considered as a voluntary mark of the testator's love and esteem. A mind like his, debauched and blinded by continued flattery, could not perceive that by a good father, none but an evil prince is ever called to a share in the succession.

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load focus Latin (Henry Furneaux)
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