Cicero, pro Plancio (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Planc.].
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Do you think that the judges will be the less inclined to do anything for my sake, because you accuse me of gratitude? Or, when the senators themselves, in that resolution of the senate which was passed in the monument of Marius, [Note] in which my safety was recommended to all nations, returned thanks to Plancius alone, (for he was the only defender of my safety, of all the magistrates or vice-magistrates, to whom the senate thought it proper to return thanks on my behalf,) shall I think that I myself am not bound to show my gratitude to him? And when you see all these things, what do you suppose must be my feelings towards you, O Laterensis? Do you think that there is any danger, or any labour, or any

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contest of so arduous a nature that I would shun it if it could advance not only your safety, but even your dignity? And I am so much the more, I will not say miserable, (for that is an expression which is inconsistent with the character of a virtuous man) but severely tried not because I am under obligations to many people, (for gratitude for kindness received is a very light burden) but because circumstances often happen, on account of the quarrels of some men who have deserved well of me with one another which make me fear that it is impossible for me to appear grateful to them all at the same time.

79 But I must weigh in my own scales not only what I owe to each individual, but also of what importance the case is to each person, and what the necessities of each require of me at the particular moment.

ch. 33

What is at stake now on your part is this,—your eager wishes, or even, if you like, your reputation and the glory of the aedileship. But on the side of Cnaeus Plancius, it is his safety, his rights as a Roman and a citizen which are in peril. You wished me to be safe; he even ensured every safety by his actions. Yet I am torn asunder and rent in pieces by grief—I do grieve that in a contest where the stakes are so unequal, you should be offended by my conduct, but, I declare most solemnly, I would much rather endanger my own safety on your behalf than abandon the safety of Cnaeus Plancius to your hostility in this contest.

80 In truth, O judges, while I wish to be adorned with every virtue, yet there is nothing which I can esteem more highly than the being and appearing grateful. For this one virtue is not only the greatest, but is also the parent of all the other virtues. What is filial affection, but a grateful inclination towards one's parents?—who are good citizens, who are they who deserve well of their country both in war and at home but they who recollect the kindness which they have received from their country?—who are pious men who are men attentive to religious obligations, but they who with proper honours and with a grateful memory acquit themselves to the immortal gods of the gratitude which they owe to them?—what pleasure can there be in life, if friendships be taken away?—and, moreover, what friendship can exist between ungrateful people?—

81Who of us has been liberally educated, by whom his bringers up, and his teachers, and his governors, and even

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the very mute place itself in which he has been brought up and taught, are not preserved in his mind with a grateful recollection?—who ever can have, or who ever had such resources in himself as to be able to stand without many acts of kindness on the part of many friends?—and yet no such acts can possibly exist, if you take away memory and gratitude. I, in truth, think nothing so much the peculiar property of man, as the quality of being bound, not only by a kindness received, but by even the intimation of good-will towards one; and I think nothing so inconsistent with one's idea of a man—nothing so barbarous or so brutal—as to appear, I will not say unworthy of, but surpassed by kindness.

82 And as this is the case, I will succumb, O Laterensis, to your accusation; and in that very particular in which there cannot by any possibility be any excess,—namely, in gratitude, I will confess that I have gone to excess, since you insist upon it that it is so. And I will entreat you, O judges, to bind that man to you by a kindness, in whom the only fault that those who blame him find with him is that they accuse him of being immoderately grateful. And that ought not to prevail with you so as to make you think lightly of my gratitude, when he said that you were neither guilty men nor litigious men, so that there was the less reason for your allowing me any great influence over you: as if in my intercourse with my friends I did not always prefer that these abilities of mine (if indeed I have any abilities) should be at the service of my friends, rather than they should become necessary to them. In truth, I do venture to say this of myself, that my friendship has been a pleasure to more men than those to whom it has been a protection; and I should greatly repent of my past life; if there was no room in my friendship for any one who was not either a litigious person or a guilty one.

ch. 34


But somehow or other you have repeated over and over again, and have dwelt upon the assertion, that you did not choose to connect this case with the games, lest I, according to my usual custom, should say something about the sacred cars, for the sake of exciting pity; as I had done before in the case of other aediles. No doubt you got something by this; for you deprived me of an embellishment of my speech. I shall be laughed at now if I make any mention

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of the sacred cars, after you have predicted that I should do so. And without the sacred cars what can I find to say? And here you added, too, that this was the reason why I by my law had established the penalty of banishment in cases of bribery, that I might be able to sum up my orations in ways more calculated to excite pity. Does he not, when he says all this, seem to you to be arguing against some teacher of declamation, and not with one who is a pupil, as I may say, of the real toils of the forum?

Cicero, pro Plancio (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Planc.].
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