BLTC Press Titles


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Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller


Vanity Fair

William Thackery


The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas


Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle


Cicero

by Marcus Tullius Cicero

Excerpt:

* These words appear to have been the preamble to all the bills which the Roman people passed.

quire the consent of the people;" for the right of requiring such consent we have received from our ancestors, and the people in form consented. What people 1 they who are excluded. By what right 1 is it by that which is totally abolished by force and arms 1 And this I speak, because it may possibly happen; as it is the part of a friend to mention beforehand what may be avoided: if the things do not happen, then my speech will be confuted. I speak of the laws that are proposed, which it is yet in your power to prevent passing. I point out faults, amend them; I speak of force and arms, remove them.

You must not be angry with me, Dolabella, for speaking in my country's cause; though indeed I do not think you will, for I know your good-nature. They tell me that your colleague in this his good fortune, as he thinks it, though to me, not to make use of a harsher expression, he would appear more fortunate were he to imitate the consulate of his uncle and ancestors :f but they tell me he is angry. I am sensible how undesirable a thing it is that a man should at once be incensed and armed, especially as the sword can now act with impunity. But I will propose what appears to me just and reasonable; and this, I imagine, Antony will not reject. If I reflect on his life or character, let him become my greatest enemy; but if I speak my sentiments freely, in regard to public affairs, as I have always done, I beg, in the first place, that he would not be angry: in the next, if he is, that he would show such resentment as becomes one citizen to another. Let him use arms, if they are necessary for the defence of his person, as he says they are; but let not these arms injure those who speak what they think necessary for the good of the state. What can be more equitable than this request? But if, as I am informed by some of his acquaintance, every speech that opposes his pleasure, though free from abuse, offends him greatly, we must bear with the humour of a friend. The same persons tell me, however, that the same liberty will not be allowed to me, who am the enemy of Caesar, that was allowed to Piso, his father-inlaw. They likewise admonish me. of something, which I shall guard against: nor shall sickness, conscript fathers, be a better excuse for not attending this house than death.

t M. Antony, the celebrated orator, was his grandfather, who fell a victim to Mariila's cruelty; and the uncle here meant was L. Cesar, who had been consul with C. Fignlas; he waa a person of great integrity, and well affected to the state.

But, by the immortal gods, while I behold you, Dolabella, for whom 1 have the tenderest regard, I cannot forbear mentioning the errors of you both: for I take you to be men of noble and exalted views, whose aim, as some who are too credulous suspect, is not money, which the great and illustrious always despise, nor a formidable interest, nor power intolerable to Rome; but the love of your fellow-citizens, and glory. Now true glory is the praise attending virtuous actions and eminent services performed for our country, confirmed by the voice of every good man, and by that of the public. I would here, Dolabella, mention the fruits of virtuous actions, did I not know that you have tasted a few of them. Can you recollect that any day of your life has given you greater pleasure than that on which you retired to your own house, after having expiated the forum,* scattered the assembly of the wicked, punished the ringleaders of iniquity, and delivered the city from all apprehensions of flames and slaughter? What rank, what condition, what station did not, with the warmest zeal, applaud and congratulate you? Even I, by whose advice these actions were thought to have been performed, received the thanks of the worthy on that occasion, and was complimented on your success. Call to mind, I beseech you, Dolabella, that applause of the theatre, when all men, forgetting what you had done to offend them,* declared that your late services had made them forgive your past conduct. Can you, Dolabella (with deep concern I speak it), can you, I say, patiently relinquish such distinguished honour ?f

* This refers to the demolition of the pillar mentioned above, which was matter of so great joy to the city that the whole body of the people attended Dolabella to his house, and in the theatres gave him the usual testimony of their thanks, by the loudest acclamations.

And do not you, Mark Antony (for I speak to you, though absent), prefer that one day, when the senate met in the temple of Tellus,J to all those months, during which some who think very differently from me deem you happy 1 what a speech you then made about concord! from what apprehensions did you then deliver the veterans, and from what anxiety the city! On that day, laying aside resentment, forgetting the auspices, and acting yourself as augur, you first consented that your colleague should be your colleague.fy Your little son, delivered by your own hands into the capitol, was the pledge of peace. Was there ever a day of greater joy to the senate 7 of greater joy to the people of Rome 1 Was there


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