« ZurückWeiter »
For what is there, Cataline, that can now give you pleasure in this city? wherein, »f we except the profligate crew of your accomplices, there is not a man but dreads and abhors you? Is there a domestic stain from which your character is exempted? Have you not rendered yourself infamous by every vice that can brand private life f What scenes of lust have not your eyes beheld? What guilt has not stained your hands? What pollution has not defiled your whole body? What youth, entangled by thee in the allurements of debauchery, last thou not prompted by arms to deeds of violence, or seduced by incentives into the snares of sensuality? And lately, when by procuring the death of your former wife, you had made room in your house for another, did you not add to the enormity of that crime, by a new and unparalled measure of guilt? But I pass over this, and chuse to let it remain in filence, that the memory of so monstrous a piece of wickedness, or at least of its laving been committed with impunity, may not descend to posterity. I pass over too the entire ruin of your fortunes, which you are sensible must befal you the very next month; and shall proceed to the mention of such particulars as regard not the infamy of your private character, nor the distresses and turpitude of your domestic life; but such as concern the very being of the republic, and the lives and safety of us all. Can the light of life, or the air you breathe, be grateful to you, Cataline; when you are conscious there is not a man here present but knows, that on the last of December, in the consulstiip of Lepidus and Tullus, you appeared in the Comitium with a dagger? That you had got together a band of ruffians, to assassinate the consuls, and the most considerable men in Rome? and that this execrable and frantic design was defeated, not by any awe or remorse in you, but by the prevailing good fortune of the people of Rome. But I pass over those things, as beingalready well known: there are others of a later date. How many attempts have you made upon my life, since I was nominated consul, and since 1 entered upon the actual execution of that office? How many thrusts of thine, so well aimed that they seemed unavoidable, have I parried by an artful evasion, and, as they term it, a gentle deflection of body? You attempt, you contrive, you set on foot nothing, of which 1 have not timely information.
Yet you cease not to concert, and enterprize. How often has that dagger been wrested out of thy hands? How often, by some accident, has it dropped before the moment of execution? yet you cannot resolve to lay it aside. How, or with what rites you have consecrated it, is hard to fay, that you think yourself thus obliged to lodge it in the bosom of a consul!
What are we to think of your present situation and conduct? For I will now address you, not with the detestation your actions deserve, but with a companion to which you have no just claim. You came some time ago into the senate. Did a single person of this numerous assembly, not excepting your most intimate relations and friends, deign to salute you? If there be no instance of this kind in the memory of man, do you expect that I should embitter with reproaches, a doom confirmed by the silent detestation of all present? Were not the benches where you fit forsaken, as soon as you was observed to approach them? Did not all the consular senators, whose destruction you have so often plotted, quit immediately die part of the house where you thought proper to place yourself? How are you able to bear all this treatment? For my own part, were my staves to discover luch a dread of me, as your fellow-citizens express of you, J should think it necessary to abandon my own house: and do you hesitate about leaving the city r Was I even wrongfully suspected, and thereby rendered obnoxious to my countrymen, 1 would sooner withdraw myself from public view, than be beheld with looks full of reproach and indignation. And do you, whose conscience tells you that you are the object of an universal, a just, and a long merited hatred, delay a moment to escape from the looks and presence of a people, whose eyes and senses can no longer endure you among them? Should your parents dread and hate you, and be obstinate to all your endeavours to appease them, you would doubtless withdraw somewhere from their light. But now your country, the common parent of us all, hates and dreads you, and has long regarded you as a parricide, intent upon the design of destroying her. And will you neither respect her authority, submit to her advice, nor stand in awe of her power? Thus docs slie reason with you, Cataline; and thus does she, in some measure, address you by .her silence: not an enormity has happened these many years, bat has had thee for its author: not a trime has been perpetrated without thee: the murder ot" so many of our citizens, the oppression and plunder of our allies, has through thee alone escaped punishment, and been exercised with unrestrained violence: thou hall found means not only to trample upon law and justice, but even to sebvert and destroy them. Though this past behaviour of thine was beyond all patience, yet have I borne with it as 1 could. But now, to be in continual apprehension from thee alone ; on every alarm to tremble at the name of Cataline; to fee no designs formed against me that speak not thee for their author, is altogether insupportable. Be gone then, and rid me of my present terror; that if just, I may avoid ruin; if groundless, I may at length cease to far.
Should your country, as I said, address you in these terms, ought she not to find obedience, even supposing her unable to compel you to such a step? But did you cot even offer to become a prisoners Did you not say, that, to avoid suspicion, you would submit to be confined in the house of M. Lepidus? When he declined reviving you, vou had the assurance to come tome, and request you might be secured at my house. When I likewise told you, that 1 could never think myself safe in the same house, when 1 judged it even dangerous to be in the fame city with you, you applied to Q;_ Metellus the prætor. Being repulsed here too, you went to1 the excellent M. Marcellus, your companion; *bo, no doubt, you imagined would be very watchful in confining you, very quick in discerning your secret practices, and very resolute in bringing you to justice. How justly may we pronounce him worthy of irons and a jail, whose own conscience condemns him to restraint,? If it be so then, Cataline, and you cannot submit to the thought of dying here, do you hesitate to retire to some other country, and commit to flight and solitude a life, so often and fo justly forfeited to thy country? But say you, put the question to the senate, (ior so you affect to talk) and if it be their pleasure that I go into banishment, I am ready te obey. I will put no such question; it is contrary to my temper: yet will I give you an opportunity of knowing the sentiments of the senate with regard to you. Leave the city, Cataline; deliver the republic from its fears; go, if
you wait only for that word, into banish
ment. Observe now, Cataline; mark the silence and composure of the assembly. Does a single senator remonstrate, or so much as offer to speak? Is it needful they should confirm by their voic?, what they so expressly declare by their silence t But had 1 addressed myself in this manner to that excellent youth P. Sextius, or to the brave M. Marcellus, the senate would ere now have risen up against me, and laid violent hinds upon their consul in this very temple ; and justly too. But with regard to you, Cataline, their silence declares their approbation, their acquiescence amounts to a decree, an.l by faying nothing they proclaim ih?ir consent. Nor is this true of the senators alone, whose authority you affect to prize, while you make no account of their lives; but of these brave and worthy Roman knights, and other illustrious citizens, who guard the avenues of the senate; whose numbers you might have seen, whose sentiments you might have known, whose voices a little while ago vou might have heard; and; whose sworcb and hands I have for some time with difficulty restrained from your person: yet all these will 1 easily engage to attend you to the very gates, if you but consent to leave this city, which you have so long devoted to destruction.
But why do I talk, as if your resolution was to be shaken, or there was any room, to hope you would reform! Can we expect you will ever think of flight, or entertain the design of going into banishment? May the immortal gods inspires you with that resolution 1 Though 1 clearly perceive, should my threats frighten you into exile, what a storm of envy wilt light upon my own head; if not at prefenr, whilst the memory of thy crimes is frelh, yet surely in suture times. But I little regard that thought, provided the calamity falls on myself alone, and is not attended with any danger to my country. But to feel the stings of remorse, to dread the rigour of the lawt, to yield to the exigencies of the state, are things not to be expected from thee. Thou, O Cataline, art none of those, whom shame reclaims from distionourable pursuits, fear from danger, or reason from madness. Be gone then, as I have already often said; and if you would swell the measure of popular odium against me, for being, as you give out, your enemy, depart directly into banishment. By this step you will bring upon me an insupportable load of censure:
nor nor shall I be able to sustain the weight of the public indignation, shouldst thou, by order of the consul, retire into exile. But if you mean to advance my reputation and glory, march off with your abandoned crew of ruffians; repair to Manlius; ronze every desperate citizen to rebel; separate yourself from the worthy; declare war against your country; triumph in your impious depredations; that it may appear you was not forced by me into a foreign treason, but voluntarily joined your aslbciates. But why should I urge you to this step, when 1 know you have already sent forward a body of armed men, to wait you at the Forum Aurelium f When I know you have concerted and fi\-ed a day with Manlius? When I know you have sent off the silver eagle, that domestic shrine of your impieties, which I doubt not will bring ruin upon you and your accomplices? Can you absent yourself longer from an idol to which you had recourse in every bloody attempt? And from whose altars th.it impious right-hand was frequently transferred to the murder of your countrymen:
Thus will you at length repair, whither your frantic and unbridled rage has long been hurrying you. Nor does this issue of thy plots give thee pain; but, on the contrary, fills thee with inexpressible delight. Nature has formed you, inclination trained you, and fate reserved you, for this desperate enterprize. Ycu never took delight cither in peace or war, unless when they were flagitious and destructive. You have got together a band of ruffians and profligates, not only utterly abandoned of fortune, but even without hope. With what pleasure will you enjoy yourself? how will you exult? how will you triumph? when amongst so great a number of your associates, you shall neither hear nor see an honest man? To attain the enjoyment of such a life, have you exercised yourself in all those toils, which are emphatically stiled yours: your lying on the ground, not only in pursuit of lewd amours, but of bold and hardy enterpriz.es:
her as a consul; and your impious treason will be deemed the efforts; not of an enemy, but of a robber.
And now, conscript fathers, that I may obviate and remove a complaint, which my country might with some appearance of justice urge against me; attend diligently to what I am about to-fay, and treasure it up in your minds and hearts. For should my country, which is to me much dearer than life, should all Italy, should the whole state thus accost me, What are you about, Marcus Tullius? Will you suffer a man to escape out of Rome, whom you have discovered to be a public enemy? whom you see ready to enter upon a war against the state? whose arrival the conspirators wait with impatience, that thc-v may put themselves under his conduct? the prime author of the treason; the contriver and manager of the revolt; the man who enlists all the staves and ruined citizens he can find? will you suffer him, I say, to escape; and appear as one rather sent against the city, than driven from it? will you not order him to be put in irons, to be dragged to execution, and to atone for his guilt by the most rigorous punishment? what restrains vouon thisoccafion? is i t the custom of our ancestors? But it is well known in this commonwealth, that even persons in a private station have often put pestilent citizens to death. Do the laws relating to the punishment of Roman citizens hold you in awe? Certainly traitors against their country can have no claim to the privileges of citizens. Are you afraid of the reproaches of posterity? A noble proof indeed, of your gratitude to the Roman people, that you, a new man, who without any recommendation from your ancestors, have been raised by them through all the degrees of honour, to sovereign dignity, should, for the sake of any danger to yourself, neglect the care of the publicsafety. But if censure be that whereof you are afraid, think which is to be most apprehended, the censure incurred for having acted with firmness and courag«, or that for having acted with sloth and pusillani
your treacherous watchfulness, not only to 'mity? When Italy shall be laid desolate
take advantage of the husband's slumber, but to spoil the murdered citizen. Here may you exert all that boasted patience of hunger, cold, and want, by which however you iv ill shortly find yourself undone, iio much have I gained by excluding you from the consulship, that you can only attack your country as an exile, not oppress
with war, her cities plundered, her dwellings on fire; can you then hope to escape the flames of public indignation?
To this molt sacred voice of my country, and to all those who blame me after the same manner, I shall make this short reply; That if I had thought it the most advisable to put Cataline to death, I
would not have allowed that gladiator the use of one moment's life. For if, in former davs, our greatest men, and most illustrious citizens, instead of sullying, have cone honour to their memories, by the destructionof Saturninus, the Gracchi, Flaccus, and many others; there is no ground to fear, that by killing this parricide, any envy would lie upon me with posterity. Ytt if the greatest was sure to befal me, it was always my persuasion, that envy acquired by virtue was really glory, not envy. Eut there are some of this very order, who do not either fee the dangers which hang over us, or else dissemble what they see; who, by the softness of their votes, cherish Caialine's hopes, and add strength to the conspiracy by not believing it; ivhose authority influences many, not only of the wicked, but the weak; who, if I had punished this man as he deserved, would not have failed to charge me with ading cruelly and tyrannically. Now I am persuaded, that when he is once gone into Madius's camp, wTrither he actually designs to go, none can be so silly, as not to fee that there is a plot; none so wicked, as not to acknowledge it: whereas by eking ofFhim alone, though this pestilence would be somewhat checked, it could not he suppressed: but when he has thrown h;mse]finto rebellion, and carried out his friends along with him, and drawn together die profligate and desperate from all P'rts of the empire, not only this ripened plague of the republic, but the v; ry root and feed of ail our evils, will be extirpated w::h him at once.
It is now a long time, conscript fathers, that we have trod amidil the dangers and machinations of this conspiracy: but I Know not how it comes to pass, the full maturity of all those crimes, and of this long nperiing rage and insolence, has now broke cut during the period of my consulship. Should he alone be removed from this powerful band of traitors, it may abate, perhaps, our fears and anxieties for a while; but the danger will still remain, and continue lurking in the veins and vitals of the republic. For as men, oppressed with a sevpre fit of illness, and labouring under the raging heat of a fever, are often at first seemingly relieved by a draught of told water, but afterwards find the disease return upon them with redoubled fury; in like manner, this distemper which h» seized the commonwealth, eased a little by the punishment of this traitor, will
from his surviving associates soon assume new force. Wherefore, conscript fathers,let the wicked retire, let them separate themselves from the honest, let them rendezvous in one place. In fine, as I have often said, let a wall be between them and us: let them cease to lay snares for the consul in his own house, to beset the tribunal of the city prætor, to invest the senate-house with armed ruffians, and to prepare fire-balls and torches for burning the city: in short, let every man's sentiments with regard to the public be inscribed on his forehead. This I engage for and promise, conscript .fathers, that by the diligence of the consuls, the weight of your authority, the coujage and firmness of the Roman knights, and the unanimity of all the honest, Cataline being driven from the city, you shall behold all his treasons detected, exposed, crushed, and punished. With these omens, Cataline, of all prosperity to the republic, but of destruction to thyself, and all those who have joined themselves with thee in ail kinds of parricide, go thy way then to this impious and abominable war: whilst thou, Jupiter, whose religion was established with the foundation of this city, whom we truly call Stator, the stay and prop of this empire, will drive this man and his accomplices from thy altars and temples, from the houses and walls of the city, from the lives and fortunes of us all; and wilt destroy with eternal punishments, both living and dead, all the haters of good men, the enemies of their country, the plunderers of Italy, now confederated in this detestable league and partnership of villainy.
§ 6. Oration agairij} Cataline.
Cataline,-astonished by the thunder of the last speech, had little to say sor himself in answer to it; yet with downcast looks, and suppliant voice, he begged of the fathers, not to believe too hastily what was said against him by an enemy; that Iiis birth and past life offered every thing' to him that was hopeful; and it v.as not to be imagined, that a man ofpatricinn family, whose ancestors, as well as himself, hid given many proofs of their affection to the Roman people, should want to overturn the f^oveniment-; while Cicero, a stronger, and
late inhabitant of Rome, was so zealous to preserve it. But as he was going on to give foul language, the senate interrupted him by a general outcry, calling him traitor and parricide: upon which, being furious and desperate, he declared again aloud what he had said before to Cato, that since he was circumvented and driven headlong by his enemies, he would quench the flame which was raised about him by the common ruin; and so rushed out of the assembly. As soon as he was come to his house, and began to reflect on what had passed, perceiving it in vain to dissemble any longer, he resolved to enter into action immediately, before the troops of the republic were increased, or any new levies made: so that after a soort conference with Lentulus, Cethegus, and the rest, about what had been concerted in the last meeting, saving given fresh orders and afl'uranccs of his speedy return at the head os a strong army, he left Rome that very night with a small retinue, to make the best of his way towards Eutruria, He no sooner disappeared, than his friends gave out that he was gone into a voluntarv exile at Marseilles, which was industriously spread through the city the next morning, to raise an odium upon Cicero, for driving an innocent man into banishment, without any previous trial or proof of his guilt. But Cicero was too well informed of his motions, to entertain any doubt about his going to Manlius's camp, and into actual rebellion. He knew that he had sent thither already a great quantity of arms, and all the ensigns of military command, with that silver eagle, which he used to keep with great superstition in his house, for its having belonged to C. Marius, in his expedition against the Cimbri. But, lest the story should make an ill impression on the city, he callei the people together into the forum, to give them an account of what passed in the senate the day before, and of Catalinc's leaving Rome upon it. And this makes the subject of the oration now before us,
AT length, Romans, have we driven, dilcarded, and pursued with the keenest
reproaches to the very gates of Rome, L\ Cataline, intoxicated with fury, breathing mischief, impiously plotting the destruction of his country, and threatening to lay waste this city with fire and sword. He is gone, he is fled, he has escaped, he has broke away. No longer shall that monster, that prodigy of mischief, plot the ruin of this city within her very walls. We have gained a clear conquest over this chief and ringleader of domestic broils. His threatening dagger is no longer pointed at our breasts, nor (hall we now any more tremble in the field of Mars, the forum, the senate-house, or within our domestic walls. In driving him from the city, we have forced his most advantageous post. We (hall now, without opposition, carry on a just waragamst an open enemy. We have effectually ruined the man, and gained a glorious victory, by driving him from his secret plots into open rebellion. But how do you think he is overwhelmed and crushed with regret, at carrying away his dagger unbathed in blood, at leaving the city before he had effected my death, at seeing the weapons prepared for our destruction wrested out of his hands: in a word, that Rome is still standing, and her citizens safe. He is now quite overthrown, Romans, and perceives himself impotent and despised, often casting back his eyes upon this city, which he fees,with regret, rescued from his destructive jaws; and which seems to me to rejoice for having disgorged and rid herself os so pestilent a citizen.
But if there be any here, who blame me for what I am boasting of, as you all indeed justly may, that I did not rather seize than send away so capital an enemy: that is not my fault, citizens, but the fault of the times. Cataline ought long ago to ha/e suffered the last punishment; the custom os our ancestors, the discipline of the empire, and the republic itself required it: but how many would there have been, who would not have believed what I charged him with? How many, wh°> through weakness, would never have imagined it? how many, who would even have defended him? how many, who, throughwickedness, would have espoused his cause? But had I judged that his death would have put a final period to all your dangers, I would long ago have ordered hint to execution, at the hazard not only w public censure, but even of my lifewhen I saw, that by sentencing him to the