from the path of duty or from the claims of friendship, for I have never thought that a man should shrink from an honorable death; nay, I have often thought that he should seek it. But why are they angry at me, if I wish them to repent of their deed? for I desire to have Caesar’s death a bitter thing to all men.
“‘But I ought as a citizen to desire the welfare of the state.’ Unless my life in the past and my hope for the future, without words from me, prove that I desire that very end, I do not seek to establish the fact by words. Wherefore I beg you the more earnestly to consider deeds more than words, and to believe, if you feel that it is well for the right to prevail, that I can have no intercourse with dishonorable men. For am I now, in my declining years, to change that course of action which I maintained in my youth, when I might even have gone astray with hope of indulgence, and am I to undo my life’s work? I will not do so. Yet I shall take no step which may be displeasing to any man, except to grieve at the cruel fate of one most closely bound to me, of one who was a most illustrious man. But if I were otherwise minded, I would never deny what I was doing lest I should be regarded as shameless in doing wrong, a coward and a hypocrite in concealing it.
“’Yet the games which the young Caesar gave in memory of Caesar’s victory I superintended.’ But that has to do with my private obligation and not with the condition of the state; a duty, however, which I owed to the memory and the distinguished position of a dear friend even though he was dead, a duty which I could not decline when asked by a young man of most excellent promise and most worthy of Caesar. ’I even went frequently to the house of the consul Antony to pay my respects!’ to whom you will find that those who think that I am lacking in devotion to my country kept coming in throngs to ask some favor forsooth or secure some reward. But what arrogance this is that, while Caesar never interfered with my cultivating the friendship of men whom I pleased, even when he himself did not like them, these men who have taken my friend from me should try to prevent me by their slander from loving those whom I will.
“But I am not afraid lest the moderation of my life may prove too weak to withstand false reports, or that even those who do not love me because of my loyalty to Caesar may not prefer to have friends like me rather than like themselves. So far as I myself am concerned, if what I prefer shall be my lot, the life which is left me I shall spend in retirement at Rhodes; but if some untoward circumstance shall prevent it, I shall live at Rome in such a wise as to desire always that right be done. Our friend Trebatius I thank heartily in that he has disclosed your sincere and friendly feeling toward me, and has shown me that him whom I have always loved of my own free will I ought with the more reason