Cicero, post Reditum ad Populum (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Red. Pop.].
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That which I requested in my prayers of the all-good and all-powerful Jupiter, and the rest of the immortal gods, O Romans, at the time when I devoted myself and my fortunes in defence of your safety, and tranquillity, and concord,—namely, that if I had at any time preferred my own interests to your safety, I might find that punishment, which I was then encountering of my own accord, everlasting; but that if I had done those things which I had done out of an honest desire to preserve the state, and if I had undertaken that miserable journey on which I was then setting out for the sake of ensuring your safety, in order that the hatred which wicked and audacious men had long since conceived and entertained against the republic and against all good men, might break upon me alone, rather than on every virtuous man, and on the entire republic—if I say these were my feelings towards you and towards your children, that in that case, a recollection of me, a pity and regret for me should, at some time or other come upon you and the conscript fathers, and all Italy, I now rejoice above all things that that request is heard that I am bound to perform all that I then vowed, by the judgment of the immortal gods,—by the testimony of the senate by the unanimous consent of all Italy,—by the confession of my enemies,—by your godlike and never-to-be-forgotten kindness, O citizens of Rome.

2 For although there is nothing more to be wished for by

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man than prosperous, equal, continual good-fortune in life, flowing on in a prosperous course, without any misadventure; still, if all my life had been tranquil and peaceful, I should have been deprived of the incredible and almost heavenly delight and happiness which I now enjoy through your kindness. What sweeter thing has been given to the race of man, or to each individual, by nature, than his own children? To me especially, mine, on account of my affectionate nature, and on account of their own excellent qualities, are dearer to me than my life. And yet I did not feel that pleasure when they were born, that I feel now when they are restored to me.

3 Nothing was ever more acceptable to any one, than my brother is to me. I was not so aware of this when I enjoyed his society, as I became when I was deprived of it, and after you again restored me to him and him to me. His own private estate is a pleasure to every one. The relics of my fortune, which I have recovered, give me now greater delight than they used to give when they were unimpaired. Friendship, familiar intercourse, acquaintance with my neighbours, the dependence of one's clients on one, even games and days of festival, are things the delights of which I have learnt to appreciate better by being deprived of them than I did while I was enjoying them.

4 And honour, dignity, my rank and order, and, above all, your kindness, although they at all times appeared to me most splendid possessions, yet, now that they are recovered, after having been lost, they appear more bright than if they had never been hidden from my sight. And as for my country, O ye immortal gods, it is scarcely possible to express how dear, how delightful it is to me. How great is the beauty of Italy! how renowned are its cities! how varied are the enchantments of its scenery! What lands, what crops are here! How noble is the splendour of this city, and the civilization of its citizens, and the dignity of the republic, and your majesty, O people of Rome! Even of old, no one took greater delight in all those things than I did. But as good health is more welcome to those who are just recovered from a severe illness than to those who have never been sick, so all those things, now that they have been once missed, delight me more than they did when enjoyed without interruption.

ch. 2


Why, then, am I making all those statements? To what purpose are they? I wish to make you understand that no man ever existed of such eloquence, or of such a god-like and incredible genius in oratory, as to be able (I will not say to exaggerate or embellish by his language, but even) to count up and describe the importance and number of the kindnesses which I, and my brother, and my children, have received from you. I (as was necessarily the case) was born of my parents but a little child; it is of you that I am born a man of consular dignity. They gave me a brother, without knowing how he would turn out; you have restored him to me after he has been tried and proved to be a man of incredible piety. I received the republic from them, when it was almost lost; I have recovered it by your means, after every one had acknowledged that it had been saved by the labours of one man. The immortal gods gave me children; you restored them to me. Besides these things, I have received many things which I wished for from the immortal gods; but if it had not been for your good-will, I should have lost all those divine gifts. Last of all, those honours which I obtained separately and step by step, I now receive again from you all together. So that all that we owed of old to our parents, all that we owed to the immortal gods, and all that we owed to you,—all that put together we now owe at this time to the entire Roman people.

6 For as, in the case of your very kindness itself, its magnitude is so great that I cannot do adequate justice to it in my speech; so also in your zeal such great good-will and inclination towards me was displayed, that you seem not only to have taken my misfortune off from me, but even to have increased my dignity.

ch. 3

For it was not my youthful sons and many other relations and kinsmen who offered up their prayers for my return, as they did for that of Publius Popillius, a most noble man. It was not, as it was in the case of Quintus Metellus, that most illustrious man, a son of an age fully proved by this time; or Lucius Diadematus, a man of consular rank and of the greatest authority; or Caius Metellus, a man of censorian rank; or their children; or Quintus Metellus Nepos, who at that time was standing for the consulship; or the sons of his sisters, the Luculli, the Servilii, and the Scipios;—for at that time there were many Metelli, or sons of the Metelli, who addressed supplications to you and to your fathers for the return of Quintus Metellus. And if my own preeminent

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dignity and most glorious achievements were not of sufficient influence, still the piety of my son, the prayers of my relations, the mourning garb of all the young men, the tears of all the old, had power to move the Roman people to pity.

Cicero, post Reditum ad Populum (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Red. Pop.].
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