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[10] 4. I was as fond of Quintus Fabius Maximus, who recovered Tarentum, as if he had been of my own age, though he was old and I was young. For there was in him a dignity tempered with courtesy, and age had not altered his disposition; and yet when I began to cultivate him he was not extremely old, though he was well advanced in life. For he had been consul for the first time the year after I was born; and when he was in his fourth consulship I was a mere lad, and set out as a private soldier with him for Capua, and five years later for Tarentum; then, four years after that I became quaestor, which office I held while Tuditanus and Cethegus were consuls, and he, at that very time, though far advanced in age, made speeches in favour of the Cincian law1 on fees and gifts. Though quite old he waged war like a young man, and by his patient endurance checked the boyish impetuosity of Hannibal. My friend Ennius admirably speaks of him thus:
One man's delay alone restored our State:
He valued safety more than mob's applause;
Hence now his glory more resplendent grows.

1 This law was proposed by M. Cincius Alimentus in 204 B.C. and prohibited lawyers from receiving fees from clients and the rich from receiving gifts from the poor for services. Cato's irrelevant digression here is a happy illustration of Cicero's art in impressing us with Cato's age.

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