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MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO 423
mixed and mingled with us all, in the centre of this most grave and venerable assembly—are men sitting, quietly incubating a plot against my life, against all your lives, the life of every virtuous Senator and citizen; while I, with the whole nest of traitors brooding beneath my eyes, am parading in the petty formalities of debate, and the very men appear scarcely vulnerable by my voice who ought long since to have been cut down by the sword. Proceed, Catiline, in your meritorious career | Go where destiny and desire drive you. Evacuate the city for a season. The gates stand open. Begone | What a pity that the Manlian army should look so long for their generall Take all your loving friends along with you; or, if that be a vain hope, take, at least, as many as you can, and cleanse the city for some short time. Let the walls of Rome be the mediators between me and thee; for, at present, yon are much too near. I will not suffer you, I will not longer endure you ! Lucius Catiline, away ! Begin as soon as you can this shameful and unnatural war. Begin it, on your part, under the shade of every dreadful omen; on mine, with the sure and certain hope of safety to my country, and glory to myself; and, when this you have done, then do thou, whose altar was first founded by the founder of our State—thou, the establisher of this city—pour out thy vengeance upon this man, and all his adherents' Save us from his fury, our public altars, our sacred temples, our houses and household goods, our liberties, our lives | Pursue, tutelar god, pursue them, these foes, to the gods and to goodness, these plunderers of Italy, these assassins of Rome ! Erase them out of this life, and in the next let thy vengeance follow them still, insatiable, implacable, immortal.
THE CRUELTY OF VERRES
[From the arraignment of Verres we select Guthrie's translation of a passage in which Cicero announces, with words of burning indignation, his outrage against a Roman citizen—the claim of citizenship being held as a secure protection against stripes and torture.]
As it happened Verres came on that very day to Messana. The matter was brought before him. He was told that the man was a Roman citizen; was complaining that at Syracuse he had been confined in the stone quarries, and how he, when he was actually embarking on board ship and uttering violent threats against Verres, had been brought back by them, and reserved in order that he might himself decide what should be done with him.
He thanks the men, and praises their good-will and diligence in his behalf. He himself, inflamed with wickedness and frenzy, came into the
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forum. His eyes glared ; cruelty was visible in his whole countenance; all men waited to see what steps he was going to take; what he was going to do; when all of a sudden he orders the man to be seized, and to be stripped and bound in the middle of the forum, and the rods to be got ready. The miserable man cried out that he was a Roman citizen ; a citizen also of the municipal town of Cosa; that he had served with Lucius Pretius, a most illustrious Roman knight, who was living as a trader at Panormus, and from whom Verres might know that he was speaking the truth. Then Verres says that he has ascertained that he was sent into Sicily by the leaders of the runaway slaves in order to act as a spy; a matter as to which there was no evidence, no trace, nor even the slightest suspicion in the mind of any one. Then he orders the man to be most violently scourged on all sides, in the middle of the forum of Messana a Roman citizen, O judges, was beaten with rods ! while, in the meantime, no groan was heard, no other expression was heard from the wretched man, amid all his pain, and between the sounds of the blows, except these words: “I am a citizen of Rome.’’ He fancied that by this one statement of his citizenship he could ward off all blows and remove all torture from his person. He not only did not succeed in averting by his entreaties the violence of the rods, but as he kept on repeating his entreaties, and the assertion of his citizenship a cross—a cross, I say—was got ready for that miserable man, who had never witnessed such a stretch of power. O the sweet name of Liberty O the admirable privileges of citizenship ! O Porcian law O Sempronian laws O power of the tribunes, bitterly regretted by and at last restored to the Roman people !—in a town of our confederate allies—a Roman citizen should be bound in the forum and beaten with rods, by a man who had only the fasces and axes through the kindness of the Roman people ! If the bitter entreaties and the miserable cries of that man had no power to restrain you; were you not moved even by the weeping and loud cries of the Roman citizens who were present at the time * Did you dare to drag any one to the cross who said that he was a Roman citizen?
MARK ANTONY (83-30 B.C.)
THE AVENGER OF CAESAR
ARCUS ANTONIUS, or Mark Antony, as he is usually called, M a brave and able general and the friend and lieutenant of Caesar, became his avenger after his death at the hands of Brutus and his fellow-conspirators. By his artful and eloquent funeral oration over the body of the slain dictator he roused the fury of the populace against the conspirators, who were forced to flee from Rome. In the war that succeeded, Antony commanded the army by which that of Brutus and Cassius was defeated, Brutus killing himself on the battlefield. The remainder of the story of Antony has to do with the triumvirate (the three-man power) formed by Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus, by which the freedom of Rome was again overthrown, —his fatal love for Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, his war with and defeat by Octavius, and his final suicide.
[Brutus, the leader of the conspirators, made a brief oration in his own defense over the dead body of Caesar. He was followed by Mark Antony, as above stated. From Shakespeare's “Julius Caesar,” we extract Antony's skillful and insidious reply, one of the most famous examples of oratorical composition in all literature. As we were obliged to go to the pages of the ancient historians for our examples of the speeches of several Greek and Roman orators, we seem equally justified in selecting those of Brutus and Antony from the great modern dramatist.]
FRIENDS, Romans, countrymen | Lend me your ears.
The noble Brutus
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
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Let but the commons hear this testament