Cicero, de Haruspicum Responso (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Har.].
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Yesterday, O conscript fathers, when I was greatly moved by the thoughts of your dignity, and of the great attendance of the Roman knights to whom a senate was given, I thought myself bound to check the shameless impudence of Publius Clodius, when he was hindering the cause of the publicans from being proceeded with by the most foolish possible

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questions, and was studying to save Publius Tullio the Syrian and was, even before your eyes selling himself to him to whom, indeed, he had already been entirely sold. Therefore I checked the man in his frenzy and exultation, the very moment that I gave him a hint of the danger of a public trial; and by two half-uttered words I bridled all the violence and ferocity of that gladiator.


But he, ignorant what sort of men the consuls were, pale and fuming with me burst on a sudden out of the senate house, with some broken and empty threats and with those denunciations with which he used to terrify us in the time of Piso and Gabinius. And when I began to press upon him, as he was departing, I received the greatest reward of my exertions by all of you rising up at the same time with me, and by all the publicans thronging round me to escort me. But that senseless man stopped on a sudden out of countenance, colourless, and voiceless; then he looked back; and, as soon as he beheld Cnaeus Lentulus [Note] the consul, he fell down almost on the threshold of the senate house from the recollection, I imagine, of his dear friend Gabinius and from regret for Piso. And why need I speak at all of his unbridled and headlong fury? He cannot be wounded by me with more severe language than he was on the instant being crushed and overwhelmed at the very moment of his acting in that manner by Publius Servilius. And even if I were able to equal the extraordinary and almost divine energy and dignity of that man, still I cannot doubt that those weapons which out enemy hurled at him would appear less powerful and less sharp than those which the colleague of his father aimed at him.

ch. 2


But still I wish to explain the principles of my conduct to those men who thought that I was carried away yesterday by my indignation, and that, out of passion, I made a wider digression than the deliberate calmness of a philosopher allowed. I did nothing in anger nothing from not being able to restrain my temper nothing which I had not maturely considered and determined on a long time before. For I, O conscript fathers, have always professed myself an enemy to those two men who were bound to have defended and were

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able to have preserved both me and the republic; and who though they were called to the performance of their duty as consuls by the very ensigns of their office, and to the preservation of my safety, not only by your authority but even by your prayers, first of all deserted, then betrayed, and last of all opposed me; and, having received the rewards of their nefarious covenant, wished utterly to overwhelm and destroy me together with the republic; and who, during the time of their magistracy and command, bloody and fatal that it was, were neither able to defend the walls of our allies from chastisement, nor to inflict chastisement on the cities of the enemy; but who bore along into all my houses and lands, razing, and conflagration, and destruction, and depopulation, and devastation, to the great enriching of themselves with my plunder.


Against these furies and firebrands, with these destructive monsters and pests, which have been (I may almost say) desolating this empire, I do say that I have undertaken inexpiable war; and yet, even that is not as great as my sufferings and those of my relations require, though it may be enough to satisfy your indignation and that of all virtuous men.

ch. 3

But my hatred towards Clodius is not greater this day than it was then, when I knew that he was scorched, as it were, by those most holy fires, and that he had escaped in female attire from the house of the Pontifex Maximus, after attempting an act of most atrocious licentiousness. Then, I say, then I perceived, and foresaw long beforehand, how great a tempest was being raised, how great a storm was threatening the republic. I saw that that ill-omened wickedness, that that intolerable audacity of a young man, mad, nobly born, and disgraced as he was, could not be hindered from breaking through the bounds of tranquillity; that that evil would certainly break out some day or other to the destruction of the state, if it were allowed to remain unpunished. There has not been much since to add to my detestation of that man.

5 For he has not done anything against me out of hatred to me, but out of hatred to strictness, out of hatred to dignity, out of hatred to the republic. He has not insulted me more than he has the senate, or the Roman knights, or all good men, or the whole of Italy. Lastly, he has not behaved more wickedly towards me than he has towards the immortal gods. In truth, he has polluted those gods with his

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impiety whom no one before ever did. Towards me his disposition has been the same as that of his dear friend Catiline would have been, if he had been victorious. Therefore, I never thought it necessary for me to prosecute him, any more than that blockhead, whose very nation we should be ignorant of if he did not himself say that he was a Ligurian. For why should I pursue this animal, this beast, bribed by the food and acorns thrown him by my enemy? a fellow, who, if he had only sense to know to what wickedness he has bound himself, would be, I doubt not, most wretched; but if he is not aware of it there is some danger lest he may save himself by the excuse of stupidity.

Cicero, de Haruspicum Responso (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Har.].
<<Cic. Har. 1 Cic. Har. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Har. 8

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