131 Is it right, then, that in these matters anything should be passed over without the ruler knowing it? It is not right, O judges, but it is inevitable. In truth, if the great and kind Jupiter, by whose will and command the heaven, the earth, and the seas are governed, has often by too violent winds, or by immoderate tempests, or by too much heat, or by intolerable cold, injured men, destroyed cities, or ruined the crops; nothing of which do we suppose to have taken place, for the sake of causing injury, by the divine intention, but owing to the power and magnitude of the affairs of the world; but on the other hand we see that the advantages which we have the benefit of, and the light which we enjoy, and the air which we breathe, are all given to and bestowed upon us by him; how can we wonder that Lucius Sulla, when he alone was governing the whole republic, and administering the affairs of the whole world, and strengthening by his laws the majesty of the empire, which he had recovered by arms, should have been forced to leave some things unnoticed? Unless this is strange that human faculties have not a power which divine might is unable to attain to.
132 But to say no more about what has happened already, cannot any one thoroughly understand from what is happening now, that Chrysogonus alone is the author and contriver of all this, and that it is he who caused Sextus Roscius to be accused? this trial in which Erucius says that he is the accuser out of regard for honour
They think they are leading a convenient life, and one arranged rationally, who have a house among the Salentii or Brutii, from which they can scarcely receive news three times a year.
133 Another comes down to you from his palace on the Palatine; he has for the purposes of relaxation to his mind a pleasant suburban villa, and many farms besides, and not one which is not beautiful and contiguous; a house filled with Corinthian and Delian vessels, among which is that celebrated stove which he has lately bought at so great a price, that passers by, who heard the money being counted out, thought that a farm was being sold. What quantities besides of embossed plate, of embroidered quilts; of paintings, of statues, and of marble, do you think he has in his house? All, forsooth, that in a time of disturbance and rapine can be crammed into one house from the plunder of many magnificent families. But why should I mention how vast a household too was his, and in what various trades was it instructed?
134 I say nothing of those ordinary arts, cooks, bakers, and litter-bearers; he has so many slaves to gratify his mind and ears, that the whole neighbourhood resounds with the daily music of voices, and stringed instruments, and flutes. In such a life as this, O judges, how great a daily expense, and what extravagance do you think there must be? And what banquets? Honourable no doubt in such a house; if that is to be called a house rather than a workshop of wickedness, and a lodging for every sort of iniquity.
135 In what a style he himself flutters through the forum, with his hair curled and perfumed, and with a great retinue of citizens, you yourselves behold, O judges; in truth you see how he despises every one, how he thinks no one a human being but himself, how he thinks himself the only happy, the only powerful man. But if I were to wish too mention what he does and what he attempts, O judges, I am afraid that some ignorant people would think that I wish to injure the cause of the nobility, and to detract from their victory; although I have a right to find fault if anything in that party displeases me. For I am not afraid that any one will suppose that I have a disposition disaffected to the cause of the nobility.
They who know me, know that I, to the extent of my small and insignificant power, (when that which I was most eager for could not be brought about, I mean an accommodation between the parties) laboured to ensure the victory of that party which got it. For who was there who did not see that meanness was disputing with dignity for the highest honours? a contest in which it was the part of an abandoned citizen not to unite himself to those, by whose safety dignity at home and authority abroad would be preserved. And that all this was done, and that his proper honour and rank was restored to every one, I rejoice, O judges, and am exceedingly delighted; and I know that it was all done by the kindness of the gods, by the zeal of the Roman people, by the wisdom and government, and good fortune [Note] of Lucius Sulla.
137 I have no business to find fault with punishment having been inflicted on those who laboured with all their energies on the other side; and I approve of honours having been paid to the brave men whose assistance was eminent in the transaction of all these matters. And I consider that the struggle was to a great extent with this object, and I confess that I shared in that desire in the part I took. But if the object was, and if arms were taken with the view of causing the lowest of the people to be enriched with the property of others, and of enabling them to make attacks on the fortunes of every one, and if it is unlawful not only to hinder that by deed, but even to blame it in words, then the Roman people seems to me not to have been strengthened and restored by that war, but to have been subdued and crushed.
138 But the ease is totally different: nothing of this, O judges, is the truth: the cause of the nobility will not only not be injured if you resist these men, but it will even be embellished.
In truth, they who are inclined to find fault with this complain that Chrysogonus has so much influence; they who praise it, declare that he has not so much allowed him. And now it is impossible for any one to be either so foolish or so worthless as to say: “I wish it were allowed me, I would have said...” You may say... “I would have done...” You may do... No one hinders you. “I would have decreed...” “Decree, only decree rightly, every one will approve.” “I should have judged...” All will praise you if you judge rightly and properly.