THE FOURTH ORATION OF M.T. CICERO AGAINST MARCUS ANTONIUS.
Called also the fourth Philippic.
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After delivering the preceding speech in the senate, Cicero proceeded to the forum, where he delivered the following speech to the people, to give them information of what had been done.
I. The great numbers in which you are here met this day, O Romans, and this assembly, greater than, it seems to me, I ever remember, inspires me with both an exceeding eagerness to defend the republic, and with a great hope of reestablishing it. Although my courage indeed has never failed; what has been unfavourable is the time; and the moment that that has appeared to show any dawn of light, I at once have been the leader in the defence of your liberty. And if I had attempted to have done so before, I should not be able to do so now. For this day, O Romans, (that you may not think it is but a trifling business in which we have been engaged,) the foundations have been laid for future actions. For the senate has no longer been content with styling Antonius an enemy in words, but it has shown by actions that it thinks him one. And now I am much more elated still, because you too with such great unanimity and with such a clamour have sanctioned our declaration that he is an enemy.
And indeed, O Romans, it is impossible but that either the men must be impious who have levied armies against the consul, or else that he must be an enemy against whom they have rightly taken arms. And this doubt the senate has this day removed—not indeed that there really was any; but it has prevented the possibility of there being any. Caius Caesar, who has upheld and who is still upholding the republic and your freedom by his seal and wisdom, and at the expense of his patrimonial estate, has been complimented with the highest praises of the senate. I praise you,—yes, I praise you greatly, O Romans, when you follow with the most grateful minds the name of that most illustrious youth, or rather boy; for his actions belong to immortality, the name of youth only to his age. I can recollect many things; I have heard of many things; I have read of many things; but in the whole history of the whole world I have never known anything like this. For, when we were weighed down with slavery, when the evil was daily increasing, when we had no defence, while we were in dread of the pernicious and fatal return of Marcus Antonius from Brundusium, this young man adopted the design which none of us had ventured to hope for, which beyond all question none of us were acquainted with, of raising an invincible army of his father’s soldiers, and so hindering the frenzy of Antonius, spurred on as it was by the most inhuman counsels, from the power of doing mischief to the republic.