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“ What then,” said he, “is it possible that I am to live in perpetual anxiety and alarm, and suffer my would-be assassin, meantime, to walk abroad at liberty?Shall he go unpunished, after having conspired against my life, a life that I have hitherto defended in so many civil wars, in so many battles by land and by sea?
Yes, thou hast undertaken to murder me in such a place, on such a day, in such and such company, and in such a manner.” At which words, seeing Cinna astounded and silent, not upon the account of his promise so to be, but interdict with the weight of his conscience: “ Why,” proceeded Augustus, “to what end wouldst thou do it? Believe me, the Republic is in very ill condition, if I am the only man betwixt thee and the empire.
Thou art not able so much as to defend thy own house, and but t’other day was baffled in a suit, by the opposed interest of a mere manumitted slave.
Canst thou believe that Paulus, that Fabius, that the Cossii and the Servilii, and so many noble Romans, not only so in title, but who by their virtue honor their nobility, would suffer or endure thee?
” After this, and a great deal more that he said to him (for he was two long hours in speaking), “ Now go, Cinna, go thy way: I give thee that life as traitor and parricide, which I before gave thee in the quality of an enemy.
The sacerdotal office which thou madest suit to me for, I conferred upon thee, after having denied it to others, whose fathers have ever borne arms in my service.
After so many obligations, thou hast undertaken to kill me.” At which Cinna crying out that he was very far from entertaining any so wicked a thought: “ Thou dost not keep thy promise, Cinna,” continued Augustus, “that thou wouldst not interrupt me.Now, from the time of this accident which befell Augustus in the fortieth year of his age, he never had any conspiracy or attempt against him, and so reaped the due reward of this his so generous clemency.But it did not so happen with our prince, his moderation and mercy not so securing him, but that he afterwards fell into the toils of the like treason, so vain and futile a thing is human prudence; throughout all our projects, counsels and precautions, Fortune will still be mistress of events.And after having settled the universal peace of the whole world, shall this man be pardoned, who has conspired not only to murder, but to sacrifice me?”—for the conspiracy was to kill him at sacrifice.or have I, through private hatred or malice, offended any kinsman or friend of yours?It is not above three weeks that I have known you; what inducement, then, could move you to attempt my death?Let friendship from this time forward begin betwixt us, and let us show whether I have given, or thou hast received thy life with the better faith;” and so departed from him.Some time after, he preferred him to the consular dignity, complaining that he had not the confidence to demand it; had him ever after for his very great friend, and was, at last, made by him sole heir to all his estate.What, hast thou neither means nor power in any other thing, but only to undertake Caesar?I quit the throne, if there be no other than I to obstruct thy hopes.