The Life of Cicero - Volume II.
by Anthony Trollope
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There are some beautiful passages in this oration. "Who is there, I ask," he says, "who alleges Ligarius to have been in fault because he was in Africa? He does so who himself was most anxious to be there, and now complains that he was refused admittance by Ligarius, he who was in arms against Caesar. What was your sword doing, Tubero, in that Pharsalian army? Whom did you seek to kill then? What was the meaning of your weapon? What was it that you desired so eagerly, with those eyes and hands, with that passion in your heart? I press him too much; the young man seems to be disturbed. I will speak of myself, then, for I also was in that army."[146] This was in Caesar's presence, and no doubt told with Caesar. We were all together in the same cause—you, and I, and Ligarius. Why should you and I be pardoned and not Ligarius? The oration is for the most part simply eulogistic. At any rate it was successful, and became at Rome, for the time, extremely popular. He writes about it early in the following year to Atticus, who has urged him to put something into it, before it was published, to mitigate the feeling against Tubero. Cicero says in his reply to Atticus that the copies have already been given to the public, and that, indeed, he is not anxious on Tubero's behalf.

Early in this year he had divorced Terentia, and seems at once to have married Publilia. Publilia had been his ward, and is supposed to have had a fortune of her own. He explains his own motives very clearly in a letter to his friend Plancius. In these wretched times he would have formed no new engagement, unless his own affairs had been as sad for him as were those of the Republic; but when he found that they to whom his prosperity should have been of the greatest concern were plotting against him within his own walls, he was forced to strengthen himself against the perfidy of his old inmates by placing his trust in new.[147] It must have been very bad with him when he had recourse to such a step as this. Shortly after this letter just quoted had been written, he divorced Publilia also—we are told because Publilia had treated Tullia with disrespect. We have no details on the subject, but we can well understand the pride of the young woman who declined to hear the constant praise of her step-daughter, and thought herself to be quite as good as Tullia. At any rate, she was sent away quickly from her new home, having remained there only long enough to have made not the most creditable episode in Cicero's life.

At this time Dolabella, who assumed the Consulship upon Caesar's death, and Hirtius, who became Consul during the next year, used to attend upon Cicero and take lessons in elocution. So at least the story has been told, from a letter written in this year to his friend Poetus; but I should imagine that the lessons were not much in earnest. "Why do you talk to me of your tunny-fish, your pilot-fish, and your cheese and sardines? Hirtius and Dolabella preside over my banquets, and I teach them in return to make speeches."[148] From this we may learn that Caesar's friends were most anxious to be also Cicero's friends. It may be said that Dolabella was his son-in-law; but Dolabella was at this moment on the eve of being divorced. It was in spite of his marriage that Dolabella still clung to Cicero. All Caesar's friends in Rome did the same; so that I am disposed to think that for this year, just till Tullia's death, he was falling, not into a happy state, but to the passive contentment of those who submit themselves to be ruled over by a single master. He had struggled all his life, and now finding that he must yield, he thought that he might as well do so gracefully. It was so much easier to listen to the State secrets of Balbus, and hear from Oppius how the money was spent, and then to dine with Hirtius or Dolabella, than to sit ever scowling at home, as Cato would have done had Cato lived. But with his feelings about the Republic at heart, how sad it must have been! Cato was gone, and Pompey, and Bibulus; and Marcellus was either gone or just about to go. Old age was creeping on. It was better to write philosophy, in friendship with Caesar's friends, than to be banished again whither he could not write it at all. Much, no doubt, he did in preparation for all those treatises which the next eighteen months were to bring forth.

Caesar, just at the end of the year, had been again called to Spain, B.C. 46, to quell the last throbbings of the Pompeians, and then to fight the final battle of Munda. It would seem odd to us that so little should have been said about such an event by Cicero, and that the little should depend on the education of his son, were it not that if we look at our own private letters, written to-day to our friends, we find the same omission of great things. To Cicero the doings of his son were of more immediate moment than the doings of Caesar. The boy had been anxious to enlist for the Spanish war. Quintus, his cousin, had gone, and young Marcus was anxious to flutter his feathers beneath the eyes of royalty. At his age it was nothing to him that he had been taken to Pharsalia and made to bear arms on the opposite side. Caesar had become Caesar since he had learned to form his opinion on politics, and on Caesar's side all things seemed to be bright and prosperous. The lad was anxious to get away from his new step-mother, and asked his father for the means to go with the army to Spain. It appears by Cicero's letter to Atticus on the subject[149] that, in discussing the matter with his son, he did yield. These Roman fathers, in whose hands we are told were the very lives of their sons, seem to have been much like Christian fathers of modern days in their indulgences. The lad was now nineteen years old, and does not appear to have been willing, at the first parental attempt, to give up his military appanages and that swagger of the young officer which is so dear to the would-be military mind. Cicero tells him that if he joined the army he would find his cousin treated with greater favor than himself. Young Quintus was older, and had been already able to do something to push himself with Caesar's friends. "Sed tamen permisi"—"Nevertheless, I told him he might go," said Cicero, sadly. But he did not go. He was allured, probably, by the promise of a separate establishment at Athens, whither he was sent to study with Cratippus. We find another proof of Cicero's wealth in the costliness of his son's household at Athens, as premeditated by the father. He is to live as do the sons of other great noblemen. He even names the young noblemen with whom he is to live. Bibulus was of the Calpurnian "gens." Acidinus of the Manlian, and Messala of the Valerian, and these are the men whom Cicero, the "novus homo" from Arpinum, selects as those who shall not live at a greater cost than his son.[150] "He will not, however, at Athens want a horse." Why not? Why should not a young man so furnished want a horse at Athens? "There are plenty here at home for the road," says Cicero. So young Cicero is furnished, and sent forth to learn philosophy and Greek. But no one has essayed to tell us why he should not want the horse. Young Cicero when at Athens did not do well. He writes home in the coming year, to Tiro, two letters which have been preserved for us, and which seem to give us but a bad account, at any rate, of his sincerity. "The errors of his youth," he says, "have afflicted him grievously." Not only is his mind shocked, but his ears cannot bear to hear of his own iniquity.[151] "And now," he says, "I will give you a double joy, to compensate all the anxiety I have occasioned you. Know that I live with Cratippus, my master, more like a son than a pupil. I spend all my days with him, and very often part of the night." But he seems to have had some wit. Tiro has been made a freedman, and has bought a farm for himself. Young Marcus—from whom Tiro has asked for some assistance which Marcus cannot give him—jokes with him as to his country life, telling him that he sees him saving the apple-pips at dessert. Of the subsequent facts of the life of young Marcus we do not know much. He did not suffer in the proscriptions of Antony and Augustus, as did his father and uncle and his cousin. He did live to be chosen as Consul with Augustus, and had the reputation of a great drinker. For this latter assertion we have only the authority of Pliny the elder, who tells us an absurd story, among the wonders of drinking which he adduces.[152] Middleton says a word or two on behalf of the young Cicero, which are as well worthy of credit as anything else that has been told. One last glance at him which we can credit is given in that letter to Tiro, and that we admit seems to us to be hypocritical.

[Sidenote: B.C. 45, aetat. 62.]

In the spring of the year Cicero lost his daughter Tullia. We have first a letter of his to Lepta, a man with whom he had become intimate, saying that he had been kept in Rome by Tullia's confinement, and that now he is still detained, though her health is sufficiently confirmed, by the expectation of obtaining from Dolabella's agents the first repayment of her dowry. The repayment of the divorced lady's marriage portion was a thing of every-day occurrence in Rome, when she was allowed to take away as much as she had brought with her. Cicero, however, failed to get back Tullia's dowry. But he writes in good spirits. He does not think that he cares to travel any more. He has a house at Rome better than any of his villas in the country, and greater rest than in the most desert region. His studies are now never interrupted. He thinks it probable that Lepta will have to come to him before he can be induced to go to Lepta. In the mean time let the young Lepta take care and read his Hesiod.[153]

Then he writes in the spring to Atticus a letter from Antium, and we first hear that Tullia is dead. She had seemed to recover from childbirth; but her strength did not suffice, and she was no more.[154] A boy had been born, and was left alive. In subsequent letters we find that Cicero gives instructions concerning him, and speaks of providing for him in his will.[155] But of the child we hear nothing more, and must surmise that he also died. Of Tullia's death we have no further particulars; but we may well imagine that the troubles of the world had been very heavy on her. The little stranger was being born at the moment of her divorce from her third husband. She was about thirty-two years of age, and it seems that Cicero had taken consolation in her misfortunes from the expected pleasure of her companionship. She was now dead, and he was left alone.

She had died in February, and we know nothing of the first outbreak of his sorrow. It appears that he at first buried himself for a while in a villa belonging to Atticus, near Rome, and that he then retreated to his own at Astura. From thence, and afterward from Antium, there are a large number of letters, all dealing with the same subject. He declares himself to be inconsolable; but he does take consolation from two matters—from his books on philosophy, and from an idea which occurs to him that he will perpetuate the name of Tullia forever by the erection of a monument that shall be as nearly immortal as stones and bricks can make it.

His letters to Atticus at this time are tedious to the general reader, because he reiterates so often his instructions as to the purchase of the garden near Rome in which the monument is to be built; but they are at the same time touching and natural. "Nothing has been written," he says, "for the lessening of grief which I have not read at your house; but my sorrow breaks through it all."[156] Then he tells Atticus that he too has endeavored to console himself by writing a treatise on Consolation. "Whole days I write; not that it does any good." In that he was wrong. He could find no cure for his grief; but he did know that continued occupation would relieve him, and therefore he occupied himself continually. "Totos dies scribo." By doing so, he did contrive not to break his heart. In a subsequent letter he says, "Reading and writing do not soften it, but they deaden it."[157]

On the Appian Way, a short distance out of Rome, the traveller is shown a picturesque ancient building, of enormous strength, called the Mole of Caecilia Metella. It is a castle in size, but is believed to have been the tomb erected to the memory of Caecilia, the daughter of Metellus Creticus, and the wife of Crassus the rich. History knows of her nothing more, and authentic history hardly knows so much of the stupendous monument. There it stands, however, and is supposed to be proof of what might be done for a Roman lady in the way of perpetuating her memory. She was, at any rate, older than Tullia, having been the wife of a man older than Tullia's father. If it be the case that this monument be of the date named, it proves to us, at least, that the notion of erecting such monuments was then prevalent. Some idea of a similar kind—of a monument equally stupendous, and that should last as long—seems to have taken a firm hold of Cicero's mind. He has read all the authors he could find on the subject, and they agree that it shall be done in the fashion he points out. He does not, he says, consult Atticus on that matter, nor on the architecture, for he has already settled on the design of one Cluatius. What he wants Atticus to do for him now is to assist him in buying the spot on which it shall be built. Many gardens near Rome are named. If Drusus makes a difficulty, Atticus must see Damasippus. Then there are those which belong to Sica and to Silius! But at last the matter dies away, and even the gardens are not bought. We are led to imagine that Atticus has been opposed to the monument from first to last, and that the immense cost of constructing such a temple as Cicero had contemplated is proved to him to be injudicious. There is a charming letter written to him at this time by his friend Sulpicius, showing the great feeling entertained for him. But, as I have said before, I doubt whether that or any other phrases of consolation were of service to him. It was necessary for him to wait and bear it, and the more work that he did when he was bearing it, the easier it was borne. Lucceius and Torquatus wrote to him on the same subject, and we have his answers.

[Sidenote: B.C. 45, aetat. 62.]

In September Caesar returned from Spain, having at last conquered the Republic. All hope for liberty was now gone. Atticus had instigated Cicero to write something to Caesar as to his victories—something that should be complimentary, and at the same time friendly and familiar; but Cicero had replied that it was impossible. "When I feel," he said, "that to draw the breath of life is in itself base, how base would be my assent to what has been done![158] But it is not only that. There are not words in which such a letter ever can be written. Do you not know that Aristotle, when he addressed himself to Alexander, wrote to a youth who had been modest; but then, when he had once heard himself called king, he became proud, cruel, and unrestrained? How, then, shall I now write in terms which shall suffice for his pride to the man who has been equalled to Romulus?" It was true; Caesar had now returned inflated with such pride that Brutus, and Cassius, and Casca could no longer endure him. He came back, and triumphed over the five lands in which he had conquered not the enemies of Rome, but Rome itself. He triumphed nominally over the Gauls, the Egyptians, the Asiatics of Pontus, over the Africans, and the Spaniards; but his triumph was, in truth, over the Republic. There appears from Suetonius to have been five separate triumphal processions, each at the interval of a few days.[159] Amid the glory of the first Vercingetorix was strangled. To the glory of the third was added—as Suetonius tells us—these words, "Veni, vidi, vici," displayed on a banner. This I think more likely than that he had written them on an official despatch. We are told that the people of Rome refused to show any pleasure, and that even his own soldiers had enough in them of the Roman spirit to feel resentment at his assumption of the attributes of a king. Cicero makes but little mention of these gala doings in his letters. He did not see them, but wrote back word to Atticus, who had described it all. "An absurd pomp," he says, alluding to the carriage of the image of Caesar together with that of the gods; and he applauds the people who would not clap their hands, even in approval of the Goddess of Victory, because she had shown herself in such bad company.[160] There are, however, but three lines on the subject, showing how little there is in that statement of Cornelius Nepos that he who had read Cicero's letters carefully wanted but little more to be well informed of the history of the day.

Caesar was not a man likely to be turned away from his purpose of ruling well by personal pride—less likely, we should say, than any self-made despot dealt with in history. He did make efforts to be as he was before. He endeavored to live on terms of friendship with his old friends; but the spirit of pride which had taken hold of him was too much for him. Power had got possession of him, and he could not stand against it. It was sad to see the way in which it compelled him to make himself a prey to the conspirators, were it not that we learn from history how impossible it is that a man should raise himself above the control of his fellow-men without suffering.

[Sidenote: B.C. 45, aetat. 62.]

During these days Cicero kept himself in the country, giving himself up to his philosophical writings, and indulging in grief for Tullia. Efforts were repeatedly made to bring him to Rome, and he tells Atticus in irony that if he is wanted there simply as an augur, the augurs have nothing to do with the opening of temples. In the same letter he speaks of an interview he has just had with his nephew Quintus, who had come to him in his disgrace. He wants to go to the Parthian war, but he has not money to support him. Then Cicero uses, as he says, the eloquence of Atticus, and holds his tongue.[161] We can imagine how very unpleasant the interview must have been. Cicero, however, decides that he will go up to the city, so that he may have Atticus with him on his birthday. This letter was written toward the close of the year, and Cicero's birthday was the 3d of January.

He then goes to Rome, and undertakes to plead the cause of Deiotarus, the King of Galatia, before Caesar. This very old man had years ago become allied with Pompey, and, as far as we can judge, been singularly true to his idea of Roman power. He had seen Pompey in all his glory when Pompey had come to fight Mithridates. The Tetrarchs in Asia Minor, of whom this Deiotarus was one, had a hard part to play when the Romans came among them. They were forced to comply, either with their natural tendency to resist their oppressors, or else were obliged to fleece their subjects in order to satisfy the cupidity of the invaders. We remember Ariobarzanes, who sent his subjects in gangs to Rome to be sold as slaves in order to pay Pompey the interest on his debt. Deiotarus had similarly found his best protection in being loyal to Pompey, and had in return been made King of Armenia by a decree of the Roman Senate. He joined Pompey at the Pharsalus, and, when the battle was over, returned to his own country to look for further forces wherewith to aid the Republic. Unfortunately for him, Caesar was the conqueror, and Deiotarus found himself obliged to assist the conqueror with his troops. Caesar seems never to have forgiven him his friendship for Pompey. He was not a Roman, and was unworthy of forgiveness. Caesar took away from him the kingdom of Armenia, but left him still titular King of Galatia. But this enmity was known in the king's own court, and among his own family. His own daughter's son, one Castor, became desirous of ruining his grandfather, and brought a charge against the king. Caesar had been the king's compelled guest in his journey in quest of Pharnaces, and had passed quickly on. Now, when the war was over and Caesar had returned from his five conquered nations, Castor came forward with his accusation. Deiotarus, according to his grandson, had endeavored to murder Caesar while Caesar was staying with him. At this distance of time and place we cannot presume to know accurately what the circumstances were; but it appears to have been below the dignity of Caesar to listen to such a charge. He did do so, however, and heard more than one speech on the subject delivered in favor of the accused. Brutus spoke on behalf of the aged king, and spoke in vain. Cicero did not speak in vain, for Caesar decided that he would pronounce no verdict till he had himself been again in the East, and had there made further inquiries. He never returned to the East; but the old king lived to fight once more, and again on the losing side. He was true to the party he had taken, and ranged himself with Brutus and Cassius at the field of Philippi.

The case was tried, if tried it can be called, in Caesar's private house, in which the audience cannot have been numerous. Caesar seems to have admitted Cicero to say what could be said for his friend, rather than as an advocate to plead for his client, so that no one should accuse him, Caesar, of cruelty in condemning the criminal. The speech must have occupied twenty minutes in the delivery, and we are again at a loss to conceive how Caesar should have found the time to listen to it. Cicero declares that he feels the difficulty of pleading in so unusual a place—within the domestic walls of a man's private house, and without any of those accustomed supports to oratory which are to be found in a crowded law court. "But," he says, "I rest in peace when I look into your eyes and behold your countenance." The speech is full of flattery, but it is turned so adroitly that we almost forgive it.[162]

There is a passage in which Cicero compliments the victor on his well-known mercy in his victories—from which we may see how much Caesar thought of the character he had achieved for himself in this particular. "Of you alone, O Caesar, is it boasted that no one has fallen under your hands but they who have died with arms in their hands."[163] All who had been taken had been pardoned. No man had been put to death when the absolute fighting was brought to an end. Caesar had given quarter to all. It is the modern, generous way of fighting. When our country is invaded, and we drive back the invaders, we do not, if victorious, slaughter their chief men. Much less, when we invade a country, do we kill or mutilate all those who have endeavored to protect their own homes. Caesar has evidently much to boast, and among the Italians he has caused it to be believed. It suited Cicero to assert it in Caesar's ears. Caesar wished to be told of his own clemency among the men of his own country. But because Caesar boasted, and Cicero was complaisant, posterity is not to run away with the boast, and call it true. For all that is great in Caesar's character I am willing to give him credit; but not for mercy; not for any of those divine gifts the loveliness of which was only beginning to be perceived in those days by some few who were in advance of their time. It was still the maxim of Rome that a "supplicatio" should be granted only when two thousand of the enemy should have been left on the field. We have something still left of the pagan cruelty about us when we send triumphant words of the numbers slain on the field of battle. We cannot but remember that Caesar had killed the whole Senate of the Veneti, a nation dwelling on the coast of Brittany, and had sold all the people as slaves, because they had detained the messengers he had sent to them during his wars in Gaul. "Gravius vindicandum statuit"[164]—"He had thought it necessary to punish them somewhat severely." Therefore he had killed the entire Senate, and enslaved the entire people. This is only one of the instances of wholesale horrible cruelty which he committed throughout his war in Gaul—of cruelty so frightful that we shudder as we think of the sufferings of past ages. The ages have gone their way, and the sufferings are lessened by increased humanity. But we cannot allow Cicero's compliment to pass idly by. The "nemo nisi armatus" referred to Italians, and to Italians, we may take it, of the upper rank—among whom, for the sake of dramatic effect, Deiotarus was placed for the occasion.

This was the last of Cicero's casual speeches. It was now near the end of the year, and on the ides of March following it was fated that Caesar should die. After which there was a lull in the storm for a while, and then Cicero broke out into that which I have called his final scream of liberty. There came the Philippics—and then the end. This speech of which I have given record as spoken Pro Rege Deiotaro was the last delivered by him for a private purpose. Forty-two he has spoken hitherto, of which something of the story has been told; the Philippics of which I have got to speak are fourteen in number, making the total number of speeches which we possess to be fifty-six. But of those spoken by him we have not a half, and of those which we possess some have been declared by the great critics to be absolutely spurious. The great critics have perhaps been too hard upon them: they have all been polished. Cicero himself was so anxious for his future fame that he led the way in preparing them for the press. Quintilian tells us that Tiro adapted them.[165] Others again have come after him and have retouched them, sometimes, no doubt, making them smoother, and striking out morsels which would naturally become unintelligible to later readers. We know what he himself did to the Milo. Others subsequently may have received rougher usage, but still from loving hands. Bits have been lost, and other bits interpolated, and in this way have come to us the speeches which we possess. But we know enough of the history of the times, and are sufficient judges of the language, to accept them as upon the whole authentic. The great critic, when he comes upon a passage against which his very soul recoils, on the score of its halting Latinity, rises up in his wrath and tears the oration to tatters, till he will have none of it. One set of objectionable words he encounters after another, till the whole seems to him to be damnable, and the oration is condemned. It has been well to allude to this, because in dealing with these orations it is necessary to point out that every word cannot be accepted as having been spoken as we find it printed. Taken collectively, we may accept them as a stupendous monument of human eloquence and human perseverance.

[Sidenote: B.C. 45, aetat. 62.]

Late in the year, on the 12th before the calends of January, or the 21st of December, there took place a little party at Puteoli, the account of which interests us. Cicero entertained Caesar at supper. Though the date is given as above, and though December had originally been intended to signify, as it does with us, a winter month, the year, from want of proper knowledge, had run itself out of order, and the period was now that of October. The amendment of the calendar, which was made under Caesar's auspices, had not as yet been brought into use, and we must understand that October, the most delightful month of the year, was the period in question. Cicero was staying at his Puteolan villa, not far from Baiae, close upon the sea-shore—the corner of the world most loved by all the great Romans of the day for their retreat in autumn.[166] Puteoli, we may imagine, was as pleasant as Baiae, but less fashionable, and, if all that we hear be true, less immoral. Here Cicero had one of his villas, and here, a few months before his death, Caesar came to visit him. He gives, in a very few lines to Atticus, a graphic account of the entertainment. Caesar had sent on word to say that he was coming, so that Cicero was prepared for him. But the lord of all the world had already made himself so evidently the lord, that Cicero could not entertain him without certain of those inner quakings of the heart which are common to us now when some great magnate may come across our path and demand hospitality for a moment. Cicero jokes at his own solicitude, but nevertheless we know that he has felt it when, on the next morning, he sent Atticus an account of it. His guest has been a burden to him indeed, but still he does not regret it, for the guest behaved himself so pleasantly! We must remark that Cicero did not ostensibly shake in his shoes before him. Cicero had been Consul, and has had to lead the Senate when Caesar was probably anxious to escape himself as an undetected conspirator. Caesar has grown since, but only by degrees. He has not become, as Augustus did, "facile princeps." He is aware of his own power, but aware also that it becomes him to ignore his own knowledge. And Cicero is also aware of it, but conscious at the same time of a nominal equality. Caesar is now Dictator, has been Consul four times, and will be Consul again when the new year comes on. But other Romans have been Dictator and Consul. All of which Caesar feels on the occasion, and shows that he feels it. Cicero feels it also, and endeavors, not quite successfully, to hide it.

Caesar has come accompanied by troops. Cicero names two thousand men—probably at random. When Cicero hears that they have come into the neighborhood, he is terribly put about till one Barba Cassius, a lieutenant in Caesar's employment, comes and reassures him. A camp is made for the men outside in the fields, and a guard is put on to protect the villa. On the following day, about one o'clock, Caesar comes. He is shut up at the house of one Philippus, and will admit no one. He is supposed to be transacting accounts with Balbus. We can imagine how Cicero's cooks were boiling and stewing at the time. Then the great man walked down upon the sea-shore. Rome was the only recognized nation in the world. The others were provinces of Rome, and the rest were outlying barbaric people, hardly as yet fit to be Roman provinces. And he was now lord of Rome. Did he think of this as he walked on the shore of Puteoli—or of the ceremony he was about to encounter before he ate his dinner? He did not walk long, for at two o'clock he bathed, and heard "that story about Mamurra" without moving a muscle. Turn to your Catullus, the 57th Epigram, and read what Caesar had read to him on this occasion, without showing by his face the slightest feeling. It is short enough, but I cannot quote it even in a note, even in Latin. Who told Caesar of the foul words, and why were they read to him on this occasion? He thought but little about them, for he forgave the author and asked him afterward to supper. This was at the bath, we may suppose. He then took his siesta, and after that "[Greek: emetiken] agebat." How the Romans went through the daily process and lived, is to us a marvel. I think we may say that Cicero did not practise it. Caesar, on this occasion, ate and drank plenteously and with pleasure. It was all well arranged, and the conversation was good of its kind, witty and pleasant. Caesar's couch seems to have been in the midst, and around him lay supping, at other tables, his freedmen, and the rest of his suite. It was all very well; but still, says Cicero, he was not such a guest as you would welcome back—not one to whom you would say, "Come again, I beg, when you return this way." Once is enough. There were no politics talked—nothing of serious matters. Caesar had begun to find now that no use could be made of Cicero for politics. He had tried that, and had given it up. Philology was the subject—the science of literature and languages. Caesar could talk literature as well as Cicero, and turned the conversation in that direction. Cicero was apt, and took the desired part, and so the afternoon passed pleasantly, but still with a little feeling that he was glad when his guest was gone.[167]

Caesar declared, as he went, that he would spend one day at Puteoli and another at Baiae. Dolabella had a villa down in those parts, and Cicero knows that Caesar, as he passed by Dolabella's house, rode in the midst of soldiers—in state, as we should say—but that he had not done this anywhere else. He had already promised Dolabella the Consulship.

Was Cicero mean in his conduct toward Caesar? Up to this moment there had been nothing mean, except that Roman flattery which was simply Roman good manners. He had opposed him at Pharsalia—or rather in Macedonia. He had gone across the water—not to fight, for he was no fighting man—but to show on which side he had placed himself. He had done this, not believing in Pompey, but still convinced that it was his duty to let all men know that he was against Caesar. He had resisted every attempt which Caesar had made to purchase his services. Neither with Pompey nor with Caesar did he agree. But with the former—though he feared that a second Sulla would arise should he be victorious—there was some touch of the old Republic. Something might have been done then to carry on the government upon the old lines. Caesar had shown his intention to be lord of all, and with that Cicero could hold no sympathy. Caesar had seen his position, and had respected it. He would have nothing done to drive such a man from Rome. Under these circumstances Cicero consented to live at Rome, or in the neighborhood, and became a man of letters. It must be remembered that up to the ides of March he had heard of no conspiracy. The two men, Caesar and Cicero, had agreed to differ, and had talked of philology when they met. There has been, I think, as yet, nothing mean in his conduct.



[Sidenote: B.C. 44, aetat. 63.]

After the dinner-party at Puteoli, described in the last chapter, Cicero came up to Rome, and was engaged in literary pursuits. Caesar was now master and lord of everything. In January Cicero wrote to his friend Curio, and told him with disgust of the tomfooleries which were being carried on at the election of Quaestors. An empty chair had been put down, and was declared to be the Consul's chair. Then it was taken away, and another chair was placed, and another Consul was declared. It wanted then but a few hours to the end of the consular year—but not the less was Caninius, the new Consul, appointed, "who would not sleep during his Consulship," which lasted but from mid-day to the evening. "If you saw all this you would not fail to weep," says Cicero![168] After this he seems to have recovered from his sorrow. We have a correspondence with Poetus which always typifies hilarity of spirits. There is a discussion, of which we have but the one side, on "double entendre" and plain speaking. Poetus had advocated the propriety of calling a spade a spade, and Cicero shows him the inexpediency. Then we come suddenly upon his letter to Atticus, written on the 7th of April, three weeks after the fall of Caesar.

Mommsen endeavors to explain the intention of Caesar in the adoption of the names by which he chose to be called, and in his acceptance of those which, without his choosing, were imposed upon him.[169] He has done it perhaps with too great precision, but he leaves upon our minds a correct idea of the resolution which Caesar had made to be King, Emperor, Dictator, or what not, before he started for Macedonia, B.C. 49,[170] and the disinclination which moved him at once to proclaim himself a tyrant. Dictator was the title which he first assumed, as being temporary, Roman, and in a certain degree usual. He was Dictator for an indefinite period, annually, for ten years, and, when he died, had been designated Dictator for life. He had already been, for the last two years, named "Imperator" for life; but that title—which I think to have had a military sound in men's ears, though it may, as Mommsen says, imply also civil rule—was not enough to convey to men all that it was necessary that they should understand. Till the moment of his triumph had come, and that "Veni, vidi, vici" had been flaunted in the eyes of Rome—till Caesar, though he had been ashamed to call himself a king, had consented to be associated with the gods—Brutus, Cassius, and those others, sixty in number we are told, who became the conspirators, had hardly realized the fact that the Republic was altogether at an end. A bitter time had come upon them; but it was softened by the personal urbanity of the victor. But now, gradually, the truth was declaring itself, and the conspiracy was formed. I am inclined to think that Shakspeare has been right in his conception of the plot. "I do fear the people choose Caesar for their king," says Brutus. "I had as lief not be, as live to be in awe of such a thing as I myself," says Cassius.[171] It had come home to them at length that Caesar was to be king, and therefore they conspired.

It would be a difficult task in the present era to recommend to my readers the murderers of Caesar as honest, loyal politicians, who did for their country, in its emergency, the best that the circumstances would allow. The feeling of the world in regard to murder has so changed during the last two thousand years, that men, hindered by their sense of what is at present odious, refuse to throw themselves back into the condition of things a knowledge of which can have come to them only from books. They measure events individually by the present scale, and refuse to see that Brutus should be judged by us now in reference to the judgment that was formed of it then. In an age in which it was considered wise and fitting to destroy the nobles of a barbarous community which had defended itself, and to sell all others as slaves, so that the perpetrator simply recorded the act he had done as though necessary, can it have been a base thing to kill a tyrant? Was it considered base by other Romans of the day? Was that plea ever made even by Caesar's friends, or was it not acknowledged by them all that "Brutus was an honorable man," even when they had collected themselves sufficiently to look upon him as an enemy? It appears abundantly in Cicero's letters that no one dreamed of regarding them as we regard assassins now, or spoke of Caesar's death as we look upon assassination. "Shall we defend the deeds of him at whose death we are rejoiced?" he says: and again, he deplores the feeling of regret which was growing in Rome on account of Caesar's death, "lest it should be dangerous to those who have slain the tyrant for us."[172] We find that Quintilian, among his stock lessons in oratory, constantly refers to the old established rule that a man did a good deed who had killed a tyrant—a lesson which he had taken from the Greek teachers.[173] We are, therefore, bound to accept this murder as a thing praiseworthy according to the light of the age in which it was done, and to recognize the fact that it was so regarded by the men of the day.

We are told now that Cicero "hated" Caesar. There was no such hatred as the word implies. And we are told of "assassins," with an intention to bring down on the perpetrators of the deed the odium they would have deserved had the deed been done to-day; but the word has, I think, been misused. A king was abominable to Roman ears, and was especially distasteful to men like Cicero, Brutus, and the other "optimates" who claimed to be peers. To be "primus inter pares" had been Cicero's ambition—to be the leading oligarch of the day. Caesar had gradually mounted higher and still higher, but always leaving some hope—infinitesimally small at last—that he might be induced to submit himself to the Republic. Sulla had submitted. Personally there was no hatred; but that hope had almost vanished, and therefore, judging as a Roman, when the deed was done, Cicero believed it to have been a glorious deed. There can be no doubt on that subject. The passages in which he praises it are too numerous for direct quotation; but there they are, interspersed through the letters and the Philippics. There was no doubt of his approval. The "assassination" of Caesar, if that is to be the word used, was to his idea a glorious act done on behalf of humanity. The all-powerful tyrant who had usurped dominion over his country had been made away with, and again they might fall back upon the law. He had filched the army. He had run through various provinces, and had enriched himself with their wealth. He was above all law; he was worse than a Marius or a Sulla, who confessed themselves, by their open violence, to be temporary evils. Caesar was creating himself king for all time. No law had established him. No plebiscite of the nation had endowed him with kingly power. With his life in his hands, he had dared to do it, and was almost successful. It is of no purpose to say that he was right and Cicero was wrong in their views as to the government of so mean a people as the Romans had become. Cicero's form of government, under men who were not Ciceros, had been wrong, and had led to a state of things in which a tyrant might for the time be the lesser evil; but not on that account was Cicero wrong to applaud the deed which removed Caesar. Middleton in his life (vol. ii, p. 435) gives us the opinion of Suetonius on this subject, and tells us that the best and wisest men in Rome supposed Caesar to have been justly killed. Mr. Forsyth generously abstains from blaming the deed, as to which he leaves his readers to form their own opinion. Abeken expresses no opinion concerning its morality, nor does Morabin. It is the critics of Cicero's works who have condemned him without thinking much, perhaps, of the judgment they have given.

But Cicero was not in the conspiracy, nor had he even contemplated Caesar's death. Assertions to the contrary have been made both lately and in former years, but without foundation. I have already alluded to some of these, and have shown that phrases in his letters have been misinterpreted. A passage was quoted by M. Du Rozoir—Ad Att., lib. x., 8—"I don't think that he can endure longer than six months. He must fall, even if we do nothing." How often might it be said that the murder of an English minister had been intended if the utterings of such words be taken as a testimony! He quotes again—Ad Att., lib. xiii., 40—"What good news could Brutus hear of Caesar, unless that he hung himself?" This is to be taken as meditating Caesar's death, and is quoted by a French critic, after two thousand years, in proof of Cicero's fatal ill-will![174] The whole tenor of Cicero's letters proves that he had never entertained the idea of Caesar's destruction.

How long before the time the conspiracy may have been in existence we have no means of knowing; but we feel that Cicero was not a man likely to be taken into the plot. He would have dissuaded Brutus and Cassius. Judging from what we know of his character, we think that he would have distrusted its success. Though he rejoiced in it after it was done, he would have been wretched while burdened with the secret. At any rate, we have the fact that he was not so burdened. The sight of Caesar's slaughter, when he saw it, must have struck him with infinite surprise, but we have no knowledge of what his feelings may have been when the crowd had gathered round the doomed man. Cicero has left us no description of the moment in which Caesar is supposed to have gathered his toga over his face so that he might fall with dignity. It certainly is the case that when you take your facts from the chance correspondence of a man you lose something of the most touching episodes of the day. The writer passes these things by, as having been surely handled elsewhere. It is always so with Cicero. The trial of Milo, the passing of the Rubicon, the battle of the Pharsalus, and the murder of Pompey are, with the death of Caesar, alike unnoticed. "I have paid him a visit as to whom we spoke this morning. Nothing could be more forlorn."[175] It is thus the next letter begins, after Caesar's death, and the person he refers to is Matius, Caesar's friend; but in three weeks the world had become used to Caesar's death. The scene had passed away, and the inhabitants of Rome were already becoming accustomed to his absence. But there can be no doubt as to Cicero's presence at Caesar's fall. He says so clearly to Atticus.[176] Morabin throws a doubt upon it. The story goes that Brutus, descending from the platform on which Caesar had been seated, and brandishing the bloody dagger in his hand, appealed to Cicero. Morabin says that there is no proof of this, and alleges that Brutus did it for stage effect. But he cannot have seen the letter above quoted, or seeing it, must have misunderstood it.[177]

It soon became evident to the conspirators that they had scotched the snake, and not killed it. Cassius and others had desired that Antony also should be killed, and with him Lepidus. That Antony would be dangerous they were sure. But Marcus Brutus and Decimus overruled their counsels. Marcus had declared that the "blood of the tyrant was all that the people required."[178] The people required nothing of the kind. They were desirous only of ease and quiet, and were anxious to follow either side which might be able to lead them and had something to give away. But Antony had been spared; and though cowed at the moment by the death of Caesar, and by the assumption of a certain dignified forbearance on the part of the conspirators, was soon ready again to fight the battle for the Caesareans. It is singular to see how completely he was cowed, and how quickly he recovered himself.

Mommsen finishes his history with a loud paean in praise of Caesar, but does not tell us of his death. His readers, had they nothing else to inform them, might be led to suppose that he had gone direct to heaven, or at any rate had vanished from the world, as soon as he had made the Empire perfect. He seems to have thought that had he described the work of the daggers in the Senate-house he would have acknowledged the mortality of his godlike hero. We have no right to complain of his omissions. For research, for labor, and for accuracy he has produced a work almost without parallel. That he should have seen how great was Caesar because he accomplished so much, and that he should have thought Cicero to be small because, burdened with scruples of justice, he did so little, is in the idiosyncrasy of the man. A Caesar was wanted, impervious to clemency, to justice, to moderation—a man who could work with any tools. "Men had forgotten what honesty was. A person who refused a bribe was regarded not as an upright man but as a personal foe."[179] Caesar took money, and gave bribes, when he had the money to pay them, without a scruple. It would be absurd to talk about him as dishonest. He was above honesty. He was "supra grammaticam." It is well that some one should have arisen to sing the praises of such a man—some two or three in these latter days. To me the character of the man is unpleasant to contemplate, unimpressionable, very far from divine. There is none of the human softness necessary for love; none of the human weakness needed for sympathy.

On the 15th of March Caesar fell. When the murder had been effected. Brutus and the others concerned in it went out among the people expecting to be greeted as saviors of their country. Brutus did address the populace, and was well received; but some bad feeling seems to have been aroused by hard expressions as to Caesar's memory coming from one of the Praetors. For the people, though they regarded Caesar as a tyrant, and expressed themselves as gratified when told that the would-be king had been slaughtered, still did not endure to hear ill spoken of him. He had understood that it behooved a tyrant to be generous, and appealed among them always with full hands—not having been scrupulous as to his mode of filling them. Then the conspirators, frightened at menacing words from the crowd, betook themselves to the Capitol. Why they should have gone to the Capitol as to a sanctuary I do not think that we know. The Capitol is that hill to a portion of which access is now had by the steps of the church of the Ara Coeli in front, and from the Forum in the rear. On one side was the fall from the Tarpeian rock down which malefactors were flung. On the top of it was the temple to Jupiter, standing on the site of the present church. And it was here that Brutus and Cassius and the other conspirators sought for safety on the evening of the day on which Caesar had been killed. Here they remained for the two following days, till on the 18th they ventured down into the city. On the 17th Dolabella claimed to be Consul, in compliance with Caesar's promise, and on the same day the Senate, moved by Antony, decreed a public funeral to Caesar. We may imagine that the decree was made by them with fainting hearts. There were many fainting hearts in Rome during those days, for it became very soon apparent that the conspirators had carried their plot no farther than the death of Caesar.

Brutus, as far as the public service was concerned, was an unpractical, useless man. We know nothing of public work done by him to much purpose. He was filled with high ideas as to his own position among the oligarchs, and with especial notions as to what was due by Rome to men of his name. He had a fierce conception of his own rights—among which to be Praetor, and Consul, and Governor of a province were among the number. But he had taken early in life to literature and philosophy, and eschewed the crowd of "Fish-ponders," such as were Antony and Dolabella, men prone to indulge the luxury of their own senses. His idea of liberty seems to have been much the same as Cicero's—the liberty to live as one of the first men in Rome; but it was not accompanied, as it was with Cicero, by an innate desire to do good to those around him. To maintain the Praetors, Consuls, and Governors so that each man high in position should win his way to them as he might be able to obtain the voices of the people, and not to leave them to be bestowed at the call of one man who had thrust himself higher than all—that seems to have been his beau ideal of Roman government. It was Cicero's also—with the addition that when he had achieved his high place he should serve the people honestly. Brutus had killed Caesar, but had spared Antony, thinking that all things would fall into their accustomed places when the tyrant should be no more. But he found that Caesar had been tyrant long enough to create a lust for tyranny; and that though he might suffice to kill a king, he had no aptitude for ruling a people.

It was now that those scenes took place which Shakspeare has described with such accuracy—the public funeral, Antony's oration, and the rising of the people against the conspirators. Antony, when he found that no plan had been devised for carrying on the government, and that the men were struck by amazement at the deed they had themselves done, collected his thoughts and did his best to put himself in Caesar's place. Cicero had pleaded in the Senate for a general amnesty, and had carried it as far as the voice of the Senate could do so. But the amnesty only intended that men should pretend to think that all should be forgotten and forgiven. There was no forgiving, as there could be no forgetting. Then Caesar's will was brought forth. They could not surely dispute his will or destroy it. In this way Antony got hold of the dead man's papers, and with the aid of the dead man's private secretary or amanuensis, one Fabricius, began a series of most unblushing forgeries. He procured, or said that he procured, a decree to be passed confirming by law all Caesar's written purposes. Such a decree he could use to any extent to which he could carry with him the sympathies of the people. He did use it to a great extent, and seems at this period to have contemplated the assumption of dictatorial power in his own hands. Antony was nearly being one of the greatest rascals the world has known. The desire was there, and so was the intellect, had it not been weighted by personal luxury and indulgence.

Now young Octavius came upon the scene. He was the great-nephew of Caesar, whose sister Julia had married one Marcus Atius. Their daughter Atia had married Caius Octavius, and of that marriage Augustus was the child. When Octavius, the father, died, Atia, the widow, married Marcius Philippus, who was Consul B.C. 56. Caesar, having no nearer heir, took charge of the boy, and had, for the last years of his life, treated him as his son, though he had not adopted him. At this period the youth had been sent to Apollonia, on the other side of the Adriatic, in Macedonia, to study with Apollodorus, a Greek tutor, and was there when he heard of Caesar's death. He was informed that Caesar had made him his heir and at once crossed over into Italy with his friend Agrippa. On the way up to Rome he met Cicero at one of his southern villas, and in the presence of the great orator behaved himself with becoming respect. He was then not twenty years old, but in the present difficulty of his position conducted himself with a caution most unlike a boy. He had only come, he said for what his great-uncle had left him; and when he found that Antony had spent the money, does not appear to have expressed himself immediately in anger. He went on to Rome, where he found that Antony and Dolabella and Marcus Brutus and Decimus Brutus and Cassius were scrambling for the provinces and the legions. Some of the soldiers came to him, asking him to avenge his uncle's death; but he was too prudent as yet to declare any purpose of revenge.

Not long after Caesar's death Cicero left Rome, and spent the ensuing month travelling about among his different villas. On the 14th of April he writes to Atticus, declaring that whatever evil might befall him he would find comfort in the ides of March. In the same letter he calls Brutus and the others "our heroes," and begs his friend to send him news—or if not news, then a letter without news.[180] In the next he again calls them his heroes, but adds that he can take no pleasure in anything but in the deed that had been done. Men are still praising the work of Caesar, and he laments that they should be so inconsistent. "Though they laud those who had destroyed Caesar, at the same time they praise his deeds."[181] In the same letter he tells Atticus that the people in all the villages are full of joy. "It cannot be told how eager they are—how they run out to meet me, and to hear my accounts of what was done. But the Senate passes no decree!"[182] He speaks of going into Greece to see his son—whom he never lived to see again—telling him of letters from the lad from Athens, which, he thinks, however, may be hypocritical, though he is comforted by finding their language to be clear. He has recovered his good-humor, and can be jocose. One Cluvius has left him a property at Puteoli, and the house has tumbled down; but he has sent for Chrysippus, an architect. But what are houses falling to him? He can thank Socrates and all his followers that they have taught him to disregard such worldly things. Nevertheless, he has deemed it expedient to take the advice of a certain friend as to turning the tumble-down house into profitable shape.[183] A little later he expresses his great disgust that Caesar, in the public speeches in Rome, should be spoken of as that "great and most excellent man."[184] And yet he had said, but a few months since, in his oration for King Deiotarus, in the presence of Caesar, "that he looked only into his eyes, only into his face—that he regarded only him." The flattery and the indignant reprobation do, in truth, come very near upon each other, and induce us to ask whether the fact of having to live in the presence of royalty be not injurious to the moral man. Could any of us have refused to speak to Caesar with adulation—any of us whom circumstances compelled to speak to him? Power had made Caesar desirous of a mode of address hardly becoming a man to give or a man to receive. Does not the etiquette of to-day require from us certain courtesies of conversation, which I would call abject were it not that etiquette requires them? Nevertheless, making the best allowance that I can for Cicero, the difference of his language within a month or two is very painful. In the letter above quoted Octavius comes to him, and we can see how willing was the young aspirant to flatter him.

He sees already that, in spite of the promised amnesty, there must be internecine feud. "I shall have to go into the camp with young Sextus"—Sextus Pompeius—"or perhaps with Brutus, a prospect at my years most odious." Then he quotes two lines of Homer, altering a word: "To you, my child, is not given the glory of war; eloquence, charming eloquence, must be the weapon with which you will fight." We hear of his contemplated journey into Greece, under the protection of a free legation. He was going for the sake of his son; but would not people say that he went to avoid the present danger? and might it not be the case that he should be of service if he remained?[185] We see that the old state of doubt is again falling upon him. [Greek: Aideomai Troas.] Otherwise he could go and make himself safe in Athens. There is a correspondence between him and Antony, of which he sends copies to Atticus. Antony writes to him, begging him to allow Sextus Clodius to return from his banishment. This Sextus had been condemned because of the riot on the death of his uncle in Milo's affair, and Antony wishes to have him back. Cicero replies that he will certainly accede to Antony's views. It had always been a law with him, he says, not to maintain a feeling of hatred against his humbler enemies. But in both these letters we see the subtilty and caution of the writers. Antony could have brought back Sextus without Cicero, and Cicero knew that he could do so. Cicero had no power over the law. But it suited Antony to write courteously a letter which might elicit an uncivil reply. Cicero, however, knew better, and answered it civilly.

He writes to Tiro telling him that he has not the slightest intention of quarrelling with his old friend Antony, and will write to Antony, but not till he shall have seen him, Tiro; showing on what terms of friendship he stands with his former slave, for Tiro had by this time been manumitted.[186] He writes to Tiro quite as he might have written to a younger Atticus, and speaks to him of Atticus with all the familiarity of confirmed friendship. There must have been something very sweet in the nature of the intercourse which bound such a man as Cicero to such another as Tiro.

Atticus applies to him, desiring him to use his influence respecting a certain question of importance as to Buthrotum. Buthrotum was a town in Epirus opposite to the island of Corcyra, in which Atticus had an important interest. The lands about the place were to be divided, and to be distributed to Roman soldiers—much, as we may suppose to the injury of Atticus. He has earnestly begged the interference of Cicero for the protection of the Buthrotians, and Cicero tells him that he wishes he could have seen Antony on the subject, but that Antony is too much busied looking after the soldiers in the Campagna. Cicero fails to have the wishes of Atticus carried out, and shortly the subject becomes lost in the general confusion. But the discussion shows of how much importance at the present moment Cicero's interference with Antony is considered. It shows also that up to this period, a few months previous to the envenomed hatred of the second Philippic, Antony and Cicero were presumed to be on terms of intimate friendship.

The worship of Caesar had been commenced in Rome, and an altar had been set up to him in the Forum as to a god. Had Caesar, when he perished, been said to have usurped the sovereign authority, his body would have been thrown out as unworthy of noble treatment. Such treatment the custom of the Republic required. It had been allowed to be buried, and had been honored, not disgraced. Now, on the spot where the funeral pile had been made, the altar was erected, and crowds of men clamored round it, worshipping. That this was the work of Antony we cannot doubt. But Dolabella, Cicero's repudiated son-in-law, who in furtherance of a promise from Caesar had seized the Consulship, was jealous of Antony and caused the altar to be thrown down and the worshippers to be dispersed. Many were killed in the struggle—for, though the Republic was so jealous of the lives of the citizens as not to allow a criminal to be executed without an expression of the voice of the entire people, any number might fall in a street tumult, and but little would be thought about it. Dolabella destroyed the altar, and Cicero was profuse in his thanks.[187] For though Tullia had been divorced, and had since died, there was no cause for a quarrel. Divorces were so common that no family odium was necessarily created. Cicero was at this moment most anxious to get back from Dolabella his daughter's dowry. It was never repaid. Indeed, a time was quickly coming in which such payments were out of the question, and Dolabella soon took a side altogether opposed to the Republic—for which he cared nothing. He was bought by Antony, having been ready to be bought by any one. He went to Syria as governor before the end of the year, and at Smyrna, on his road, he committed one of those acts of horror on Trebonius, an adverse governor, in which the Romans of the day would revel when liberated from control. Cassius came to avenge his friend Trebonius, and Dolabella, finding himself worsted, destroyed himself. He had not progressed so far in corruption as Verres, because time had not permitted it—but that was the direction in which he was travelling. At the present moment, however, no praise was too fervid to be bestowed upon him by Cicero's pen. That turning of Caesar into a god was opposed to every feeling of his heart, both, as to men and as to gods.

A little farther on[188] we find him complaining of the state of things very grievously: "That we should have feared this thing, and not have feared the other!"—meaning Caesar and Antony. He declares that he must often read, for his own consolation, his treatise on old age, then just written and addressed to Atticus. "Old age is making me bitter," he says; "I am annoyed at everything. But my life has been lived. Let the young look to the future." We here meet the name of Caerellia in a letter to his friend. She had probably been sent to make up the quarrel between him and his young wife Publilia. Nothing came of it, and it is mentioned only because Caerellia's name has been joined so often with that of Cicero by subsequent writers. In the whole course of his correspondence with Atticus I do not remember it to occur, except in one or two letters at this period. I imagine that some story respecting the lady was handed down, and was published by Dio Cassius when the Greek historian found that it served his purpose to abuse Cicero.

On June 22nd he sent news to Atticus of his nephew. Young Quintus had written home to his father to declare his repentance. He had been in receipt of money from Antony, and had done Antony's dirty work. He had been "Antoni dextella"—"Antony's right hand"—according to Cicero, and had quarrelled absolutely with his father and his uncle. He now expresses his sorrow, and declares that he would come himself at once, but that there might be danger to his father. And there is money to be expected if he will only wait. "Did you ever hear of a worse knave?" Cicero adds. Probably not; but yet he was able to convince his father and his uncle, and some time afterward absolutely offered to prosecute Antony for stealing the public money out of the treasury. He thought, as did some others, that the course of things was going against Antony. As a consequence of this he was named in the proscriptions, and killed, with his father. In the same letter Cicero consults Atticus as to the best mode of going to Greece. Brundisium is the usual way, but he has been told by Tiro that there are soldiers in the town.[189] He is now at Arpinum, on his journey, and receives a letter from Brutus inviting him back to Rome, to see the games given by Brutus. He is annoyed to think that Brutus should expect this. "These shows are now only honorable to him who is bound to give them," he says; "I am not bound to see them, and to be present would be dishonorable."[190] Then comes his parting with Atticus, showing a demonstrative tenderness foreign to the sternness of our northern nature. "That you should have wept when you had parted from me, has grieved me greatly. Had you done it in my presence, I should not have gone at all."[191] "Nonis Juliis!"[192] he exclaims. The name of July had already come into use—the name which has been in use ever since—the name of the man who had now been destroyed! The idea distresses him. "Shall Brutus talk of July?" It seems that some advertisement had been published as to his games in which the month was so called.

Writing from one of his villas in the south, he tells Atticus that his nephew has again been with him, and has repented him of all his sins. I think that Cicero never wrote anything vainer than this: "He has been so changed," he says, "by reading some of my writings which I happened to have by me, and by my words and precepts, that he is just such a citizen as I would have him."[193] Could it be that he should suppose that one whom he had a few days since described as the biggest knave he knew should be so changed by a few words well written and well pronounced? Young Quintus must in truth have been a clever knave. In the same letter Cicero tells us that Tiro had collected about seventy of his letters with a view to publication. We have at present over seven hundred written before that day.

Just as he is starting he gives his friend a very wide commission: "By your love for me, do manage my matters for me. I have left enough to pay everything that I owe. But it will happen, as it often does, that they who owe me will not be punctual. If anything of that kind should happen, only think of my character. Put me right before the world by borrowing, or even by selling, if it be necessary."[194] This is not the language of a man in distress, but of one anxious that none should lose a shilling by him. He again thinks of starting from Brundisium, and promises, when he has arrived there, instantly to begin a new work. He has sent his De Gloria to Atticus; a treatise which we have lost. We should be glad to know how he treated this most difficult subject. We are astonished at his fecundity and readiness. He was now nearly sixty-three, and, as he travels about the country, he takes with him all the adjuncts necessary for the writing of treatises such as he composed at this period of his life! His Topica, containing Aristotelian instructions as to a lawyer's work, he put together on board ship, immediately after this, for the benefit of Trebatius, to whom it had been promised.

July had come, and at last he resolved to sail from Pompeii and to coast round to Sicily. He lands for a night at Velia, where he finds Brutus, with whom he has an interview. Then he writes a letter to Trebatius, who had there a charming villa, bought no doubt with Gallic spoils. He is reminded of his promise, and going on to Rhegium writes his Topica, which he sends to Trebatius from that place. Thence he went across to Syracuse, but was afraid to stay there, fearing that his motions might be watched, and that Antony would think that he had objects of State in his journey. He had already been told that some attributed his going to a desire to be present at the Olympian games; but the first notion seems to have been that he had given the Republic up as lost, and was seeking safety elsewhere. From this we are made to perceive how closely his motions were watched, and how much men thought of them. From Syracuse he started for Athens—which place, however, he was doomed never to see again. He was carried back to Leucopetra on the continent; and though he made another effort, he was, he says, again brought back. There, at the villa of his friend Valerius, he learned tidings which induced him to change his purpose, and hurry off to Rome. Brutus and Cassius had published a decree of the Senate, calling all the Senators, and especially the Consulares, to Rome. There was reason to suppose that Antony was willing to relax his pretensions. They had strenuously demanded his attendance, and whispers were heard that he had fled from the difficulties of the times. "When I heard this, I at once abandoned my journey, with which, indeed, I had never been well pleased."[195] Then he enters into a long disquisition with Atticus as to the advice which had been given to him, both by Atticus and by Brutus, and he says some hard words to Atticus. But he leaves an impression on the reader's mind that Brutus had so disturbed him by what had passed between them at Velia, that from that moment his doubts as to going, which had been always strong, had overmastered him. It was not the winds at Leucopetra that hindered his journey, but the taunting words which Brutus had spoken. It was suggested to him that he was deserting his country. The reproach had been felt by him to be heavy, for he had promised to Atticus that he would return by the first of January; yet he could not but feel that there was something in it of truth. The very months during which he would be absent would be the months of danger. Indeed, looking out upon the political horizon then, it seemed as though the nearest months, those they were then passing, would be the most dangerous. If Antony could be got rid of, be made to leave Italy, there might be something for an honest Senator to do—a man with consular authority—a something which might not jeopardize his life. When men now call a politician of those days a coward for wishing to avoid the heat of the battle, they hardly think what it is for an old man to leave his retreat and rush into the Forum, and there encounter such a one as Antony, and such soldiers as were his soldiers. Cicero, who had been brave enough in the emergencies of his career, and had gone about his work sometimes regardless of his life, no doubt thought of all this. It would be pleasant to him again to see his son, and to look upon the rough doings of Rome from amid the safety of Athens; but when his countrymen told him that he had not as yet done enough—when Brutus, with his cold, bitter words, rebuked him for going—then his thoughts turned round on the quick pivot on which they were balanced, and he hurried back to the fight.

He travelled at once up to Rome, which he reached on the last of August, and there received a message from Antony demanding his presence in the Senate on the next day. He had been greeted on his journey once again by the enthusiastic welcome of his countrymen, who looked to receive some especial advantage from his honesty and patriotism. Once again he was made proud by the clamors of a trusting people. But he had not come to Rome to be Antony's puppet. Antony had some measure to bring before the Senate in honor of Caesar which it would not suit Cicero to support or to oppose. He sent to say that he was tired after his journey and would not come. Upon this the critics deal hardly with him, and call him a coward. "With an incredible pusillanimity," says M. Du Rozoir, "Cicero excused himself, alleging his health and the fatigue of his voyage." "He pretended that he was too tired to be present," says Mr Long. It appears to me that they who have read Cicero's works with the greatest care have become so enveloped by the power of his words as to expect from them an unnatural weight. If a politician of to-day, finding that it did not suit him to appear in the House of Commons on a certain evening, and that it would best become him to allow a debate to pass without his presence, were to make such an excuse, would he be treated after the same fashion? Pusillanimity, and pretence, in regard to those Philippics in which he seems to have courted death by every harsh word that he uttered! The reader who has begun to think so must change his mind, and be prepared, as he progresses, to find quite another fault with Cicero. Impetuous, self-confident, rash; throwing down the gage with internecine fury; striving to crush with his words the man who had the command of the legions of Rome; sticking at nothing which could inflict a blow; forcing men by his descriptions to such contempt of Antony that they should be induced to leave the stronger party, lest they too should incur something of the wrath of the orator—that they will find to be the line which Cicero adopted, and the demeanor he put on during the next twelve months! He thundered with his Philippics through Rome, addressing now the Senate and now the people with a hardihood which you may condemn as being unbecoming one so old, who should have been taught equanimity by experience; but pusillanimity and pretence will not be the offences you will bring against him.

Antony, not finding that Cicero had come at his call, declared in the Senate that he would send his workmen to dig him out from his house. Cicero alludes to this on the next day without passion.[196] Antony was not present, and in this speech he expresses no bitterness of anger. It should hardly have been named one of the Philippics, which title might well have been commenced with the second. The name, it should be understood, has been adopted from a jocular allusion by Cicero to the Philippics of Demosthenes, made in a letter to Brutus. We have at least the reply of Brutus, if indeed the letter be genuine, which is much to be doubted.[197] But he had no purpose of affixing his name to them. For many years afterward they were called Antonianae, and the first general use of the term by which we know them has probably been comparatively modern. The one name does as well as another, but it is odd that speeches from Demosthenes should have given a name to others so well known as these made by Cicero against Antony. Plutarch, however, mentions the name, saying that it had been given to the speeches by Cicero himself.

In this, the first, he is ironically reticent as to Antony's violence and unpatriotic conduct. Antony was not present, and Cicero tells his hearers with a pleasant joke that to Antony it may be allowed to be absent on the score of ill-health, though the indulgence had been refused to him. Antony is his friend, and why had Antony treated him so roughly? Was it unusual for Senators to be absent? Was Hannibal at the gate, or were they dealing for peace with Pyrrhus, as was the case when they brought the old blind Appius down to the House? Then he comes to the question of the hour, which was, nominally, the sanctioning as law those acts of Caesar's which he had decreed by his own will before his death. When a tyrant usurps power for a while and is then deposed, no more difficult question can be debated. Is it not better to take the law as he leaves it, even though the law has become a law illegally, than encounter all the confusion of retrograde action? Nothing could have been more iniquitous than some of Sulla's laws, but Cicero had opposed their abrogation. But here the question was one not of Caesar's laws, but of decrees subsequently made by Antony and palmed off upon the people as having been found among Caesar's papers. Soon after Caesar's death a decision had been obtained by Antony in favor of Caesar's laws or acts, and hence had come these impudent forgeries under the guise of which Antony could cause what writings he chose to be made public. "I think that Caesar's acts should be maintained," says Cicero, "not as being in themselves good, for that no one can assert. I wish that Antony were present here without his usual friends," he adds, alluding to his armed satellites. "He would tell us after what manner he would maintain those acts of Caesar's. Are they to be found in notes and scraps and small documents brought forward by one witness, or not brought forward at all but only told to us? And shall those which he engraved in bronze, and which he wished to be known as the will of the people and as perpetual laws—shall they go for nothing?"[198] Here was the point in dispute. The decree had been voted soon after Caesar's death, giving the sanction of the Senate to his laws. For peace this had been done, as the best way out of the difficulty which oppressed the State. But it was intolerable that, under this sanction, Antony should have the power of bringing forth new edicts day after day, while the very laws which Caesar had passed were not maintained. "What better law was there, or more often demanded in the best days of the Republic, than that law," passed by Caesar, "under which the provinces were to be held by the Praetors only for one year, and by the Consuls for not more than two? But this law is abolished. So it is thus that Caesar's acts are to be maintained?"[199] Antony, no doubt, and his friends, having an eye to the fruition of the provinces, had found among Caesar's papers—or said they had found—some writing to suit their purpose. All things to be desired were to be found among Caesar's papers. "The banished are brought back from banishment, the right of citizenship is given not only to individuals but to whole nations and provinces, exceptions from taxations are granted, by the dead man's voice."[200] Antony had begun, probably, with some one or two more modest forgeries, and had gone on, strengthened in impudence by his own success, till Caesar dead was like to be worse to them than Caesar living. The whole speech is dignified, patriotic, and bold, asserting with truth that which he believed to be right, but never carried into invective or dealing with expressions of anger. It is very short, but I know no speech of his more closely to its purpose. I can see him now, with his toga round him, as he utters the final words: "I have lived perhaps long enough—both as to length of years and the glory I have won. What little may be added, shall be, not for myself, but for you and for the Republic." The words thus spoken became absolutely true.



[Sidenote: B.C. 44, aetat. 63.]

Cicero was soon driven by the violence of Antony's conduct to relinquish the idea of moderate language, and was ready enough to pick up the gauntlet thrown down for him. From this moment to the last scene of his life it was all the fury of battle and the shout of victory, and then the scream of despair. Antony, when he read Cicero's speech, the first Philippic, the language of which was no doubt instantly sent to him, seems to have understood at once that he must either vanquish Cicero or be vanquished by him. He appreciated to the letter the ironically cautious language in which his conduct was exposed. He had not chosen to listen to Cicero, but was most anxious to get Cicero to listen to him. Those "advocates" of whom Cicero had spoken would be around him, and at a nod, or perhaps without a nod, would do to Cicero as Brutus and Cassius had done to Caesar. The last meeting of the Senate had been on the 2d of September. When it was over, Antony, we are told, went down to his villa at Tivoli, and there devoted himself for above a fortnight to the getting up of a speech by which he might silence, or at any rate answer Cicero. Nor did he leave himself to his own devices, but took to himself a master of eloquence who might teach him when to make use of his arms, where to stamp his feet, and in what way to throw his toga about with a graceful passion. He was about forty at this time,[201] and in the full flower of his manhood, yet, for such a purpose, he did not suppose himself to know all that lessons would teach him in the art of invective. There he remained, mouthing out his phrases in the presence of his preceptor, till he had learned by heart all that the preceptor knew. Then he summoned Cicero to meet him in the Senate on the 19th. This Cicero was desirous of doing, but was prevented by his friends, who were afraid of the "advocates." There is extant a letter from Cicero to Cassius in which he states it to be well known in Rome that Antony had declared that he, Cicero, had been the author of Caesar's death, in order that Caesar's old soldiers might slay him.[202] There were other Senators, he says, who did not dare to show themselves in the Senate-house—Piso, and Servilius, and Cotta. Antony came down and made his practised oration against Cicero. The words of his speech have not been preserved, but Cicero has told us the manner of it, and some of the phrases which he used. The authority is not very good, but we may imagine from the results that his story is not far from the truth. From first to last it was one violent tirade of abuse which he seemed to vomit forth from his jaws, rather than to "speak after the manner of a Roman Consular." Such is Cicero's description.

It has been said of Antony that we hear of him only from his enemies. He left behind him no friend to speak for him, and we have heard of him certainly from one enemy; but the tidings are of a nature to force upon us belief in the evil which Cicero spoke of him. Had he been a man of decent habits of life, and of an honest purpose, would Cicero have dared to say to the Romans respecting him the words which he produced, not only in the second Philippic, which was unspoken, but also in the twelve which followed? The record of him, as far as it goes, is altogether bad. Plutarch tells us that he was handsome, and a good soldier, but altogether vicious. Plutarch is not a biographer whose word is to be taken as to details, but he is generally correct in his estimate of character. Tacitus tells us but little about him as direct history, but mentions him ever in the same tone. Tacitus knew the feeling of Rome regarding him. Paterculus speaks specially of his fraud, and breaks out into strong repudiation of the murder of Cicero.[203] Valerius Maximus, in his anecdotes, mentions him slightingly, as an evil man is spoken of who has forced himself into notice. Virgil has stamped his name with everlasting ignominy. "Sequiturque nefas Egyptia conjux." I can think of no Roman writer who has named him with honor. He was a Roman of the day—what Rome had made him—brave, greedy, treacherous, and unpatriotic.

Cicero again was absent from the Senate, but was in Rome when Antony attacked him. We learn from a letter to Cornificius that Antony left the city shortly afterward, and went down to Brundisium to look after the legions which had come across from Macedonia, with which Cicero asserts that he intends to tyrannize over them all in Rome.[204] He then tells his correspondent that young Octavius has just been discovered in an attempt to have Antony murdered, but that Antony, having found the murderer in his house, had not dared to complain. He seems to think that Octavius had been right! The state of things was such that men were used to murder; but this story was probably not true. He passes on to declare in the next sentence that he receives such consolation from philosophy as to be able to bear all the ills of fortune. He himself goes to Puteoli, and there he writes the second Philippic. It is supposed to be the most violent piece of invective ever produced by human ingenuity and human anger. The readers of it must, however, remember that it was not made to be spoken—was not even written, as far as we are aware, to be shown to Antony, or to be published to the world. We do not even know that Antony ever saw it. There has been an idea prevalent that Antony's anger was caused by it, and that Cicero owed to it his death; but the surmise is based on probability—not at all on evidence. Cicero, when he heard what Antony had said of him, appears to have written all the evil he could say of his enemy, in order that he might send it to Atticus. It contained rather what he could have published than what he did intend to publish. He does, indeed, suggest, in the letter which accompanied the treatise when sent to Atticus, in some only half-intelligible words, that he hopes the time may come when the speech "shall find its way freely even into Sica's house;"[205] but we gather even from that his intention that it should have no absolutely public circulation. He had struggled to be as severe as he knew how, but had done it, as it were, with a halter round his neck; and for Antony's anger—the anger which afterward produced the proscription—there came to be cause enough beyond this. Before that day he had endeavored to stir up the whole Empire against Antony, and had all but succeeded.

It has been alleged that Cicero again shows his cowardice by writing and not speaking his oration, and also by writing it only for private distribution. If he were a coward, why did he write it at all? If he were a coward, why did he hurry into this contest with Antony? If he be blamed because his Philippic was anonymous, how do the anonymous writers of to-day escape? If because he wrote it, and did not speak it, what shall be said of the party writers of to-day? He was a coward, say his accusers, because he avoided a danger. Have they thought of the danger which he did run when they bring those charges against him? of what was the nature of the fight? Do they remember how many Romans in public life had been murdered during the last dozen years? We are well aware how far custom goes, and that men became used to the fear of violent death. Cicero was now habituated to that fear, and was willing to face it. But not on that account are we to imagine that, with his eyes open, he was to be supposed always ready to rush into immediate destruction. To write a scurrilous attack, such as the second Philippic, is a bad exercise for the ingenuity of a great man; but so is any anonymous satire. It is so in regard to our own times, which have received the benefit of all antecedent civilization. Cicero, being in the midst of those heartless Romans, is expected to have the polished manners and high feelings of a modern politician! I have hardly a right to be angry with his critics because by his life he went so near to justify the expectation.

He begins by asking his supposed hearers how it has come to pass that during the last twenty years the Republic had had no enemy who was not also his enemy. "And you, Antony, whom I have never injured by a word, why is it that, more brazen-faced than Catiline, more fierce than Clodius, you should attack me with your maledictions? Will your enmity against me be a recommendation for you to every evil citizen in Rome? * * * Why does not Antony come down among us to-day?" he says, as though he were in the Senate and Antony were away. "He gives a birthday fete in his garden: to whom, I wonder? I will name no one. To Phormio, perhaps, or Gnatho, or Ballion? Oh, incredible baseness; lust and impudence not to be borne!" These were the vile knaves of the Roman comedy—the Nyms. Pistols, and Bobadils. "Your Consulship no doubt will be salutary; but mine did only evil! You talk of my verses," he says—Antony having twitted him with the "cedant arma togae." "I will only say that you do not understand them or any other. Clodius was killed by my counsels—was he? What would men have said had they seen him running from you through the Forum—you with your drawn sword, and him escaping up the stairs of the bookseller's shop?[206] * * * It was by my advice that Caesar was killed! I fear, O conscript fathers, lest I should seem to have employed some false witness to flatter me with praises which do not belong to me. Who has ever heard me mentioned as having been conversant with that glorious affair? Among those who did do the deed, whose name has been hidden—or, indeed, is not most widely known? Some had been inclined to boast that they were there, though they were absent; but not one who was present has ever endeavored to conceal his name."

"You deny that I have had legacies? I wish it were true, for then my friends might still be living. But where have you learned that, seeing that I have inherited twenty million sesterces?[207] I am happier in this than you. No one but a friend has made me his heir. Lucius Rubrius Cassinas, whom you never even saw, has named you." He here refers to a man over whose property Antony was supposed to have obtained control fraudulently. "Did he know of you whether you were a white man or a negro? * * * Would you mind telling me what height Turselius stood?" Here he names another of whose property Antony is supposed to have obtained possession illegally. "I believe all you know of him is what farms he had. * * * Do you bear in mind," he says, "that you were a bankrupt as soon as you had become a man? Do you remember your early friendship with Curio, and the injuries you did his father?" Here it is impossible to translate literally, but after speaking as he had done very openly, he goes on: "But I must omit the iniquities of your private life. There are things I cannot repeat here. You are safe, because the deeds you have done are too bad to be mentioned. But let us look at the affairs of your public life. I will just go through them;" which he does, laying bare as he well knew how to do, every past act. "When you had been made Quaestor you flew at once to Caesar. You knew that he was the only refuge for poverty, debt, wickedness, and vice. Then, when you had gorged upon his generosity and your plunderings—which indeed you spent faster than you got it—you betook yourself instantly to the Tribunate. * * * It is you, Antony, you who supplied Caesar with an excuse for invading his country." Caesar had declared at the Rubicon that the Tribunate had been violated in the person of Antony. "I will say nothing here against Caesar, though nothing can excuse a man for taking up arms against his country. But of you it has to be confessed that you were the cause. * * * He has been a very Helen to us Trojans. * * * He has brought back many a wretched exile, but has forgotten altogether his own uncle"—Cicero's colleague in the Consulship, who had been banished for plundering his province. "We have seen this Tribune of the people carried through the town on a British war-chariot. His lictors with their laurels went before him. In the midst, on an open litter, was carried an actress. When you come back from Thessaly with your legions to Brundisium you did not kill me! Oh, what a kindness! * * * You with those jaws of yours, with that huge chest, with that body like a gladiator, drank so much wine at Hippea's marriage that in the sight of all Rome you were forced to vomit.* * * When he had seized Pompey's property he rejoiced like some stage-actor who in a play is as poor as Poverty, and then suddenly becomes rich. All his wine, the great weight of silver, the costly furniture and rich dresses, in a few days where were they all? A Charybdis do I call him? He swallowed them all like an entire ocean!" Then he accuses him of cowardice and cruelty in the Pharsalian wars, and compares him most injuriously with Dolabella. "Do you remember how Dolabella fought for you in Spain, when you were getting drunk at Narbo? And how did you get back from Narbo? He has asked as to my return to the city. I have explained to you, O conscript fathers, how I had intended to be here in January, so as to be of some service to the Republic. You inquire how I got back. In daylight—not in the dark, as you did; with Roman shoes on and a Roman toga—not in barbaric boots and an old cloak.* * * When Caesar returned from Spain you again pushed yourself into his intimacy—not a brave man, we should say, but still strong enough for his purposes. Caesar did always this—that if there were a man ruined, steeped in debt, up to his ears in poverty—a base, needy, bold man—that was the man whom he could receive into his friendship." This as to Caesar was undoubtedly true. "Recommended in this way, you were told to declare yourself Consul." Then he describes the way in which he endeavored to prevent the nomination of Dolabella to the same office. Caesar had said that Dolabella should be Consul, but when Caesar was dead this did not suit Antony. When the tribes had been called in their centuries to vote, Antony, not understanding what form of words he ought to have used as augur to stop the ceremony, had blundered. "Would you not call him a very Laelius?" says Cicero. Laelius had made for himself a name among augurs for excellence.

"Miserable that you are, you throw yourself at Caesar's feet asking only permission to be his slave. You sought for yourself that state of slavery which it has ever been easy for you to endure. Had you any command from the Roman people to ask the same for them? Oh, that eloquence of yours; when naked you stood up to harangue the people! Who ever saw a fouler deed than that, or one more worthy scourges?" "Has Tarquin suffered for this; have Spurius Cassius, Melius, and Marcus Manlius suffered, that after many ages a king should be set up in Rome by Marc Antony?" With abuse of a similar kind he goes on to the end of his declamation, when he again professes himself ready to die at his post in defence of the Republic. That he now made up his mind so to die, should it become necessary, we may take for granted, but we cannot bring ourselves to approve of the storm of abuse under which he attempted to drown the memory and name of his antagonist. So virulent a torrent of words, all seeming, as we read them, to have been poured out in rapid utterances by the keen energy of the moment, astonish us, when we reflect that it was the work of his quiet moments. That he should have prepared such a task in the seclusion of his closet is marvellous. It has about it the very ring of sudden passion; but it must be acknowledged that it is not palatable. It is more Roman and less English than anything we have from Cicero—except his abuse of Piso, with whom he was again now half reconciled.

But it was solely on behalf of his country that he did it. He had grieved when Caesar had usurped the functions of the government; but in his grief he had respected Caesar, and had felt that he might best carry on the contest by submission. But, when Caesar was dead, and Antony was playing tyrant, his very soul rebelled. Then he sat down to prepare his first instalment of keen personal abuse, adding word to word and phrase to phrase till he had built up this unsavory monument of vituperation. It is by this that Antony is now known to the world. Plutarch makes no special mention of the second Philippic. In his life of Antony he does not allude to these orations at all, but in that of Cicero he tells us how Antony had ordered that right hand to be brought to him with which Cicero had written his Philippics.

The "young Octavius" of Shakespeare had now taken the name of Octavianus—Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus—and had quarrelled to the knife with Antony. He had assumed that he had been adopted by Caesar, and now demanded all the treasures his uncle had collected as his own. Antony, who had already stolen them, declared that they belonged to the State. At any rate there was cause enough for quarrelling among them, and they were enemies. Each seems to have brought charges of murder against the other, and each was anxious to obtain possession of the soldiery. Seen as we see now the period in Rome of which we are writing—every safeguard of the Republic gone, all law trampled under foot, Consuls, Praetors, and Tribunes not elected but forced upon the State, all things in disorder, the provinces becoming the open prey of the greediest plunderer—it is apparent enough that there could be no longer any hope for a Cicero. The marvel is that the every-day affairs of life should have been carried on with any reference to the law. When we are told that Antony stole Caesar's treasures and paid his debts with them, we are inclined to ask why he had paid his debts at all. But Cicero did hope. In his whole life there is nothing more remarkable than the final vitality with which he endeavored to withstand the coming deluge of military despotism. Nor in all history is there anything more wonderful than the capacity of power to re-establish itself, as is shown by the orderly Empire of Augustus growing out of the disorder left by Caesar. One is reminded by it of the impotency of a reckless heir to bring to absolute ruin the princely property of a great nobleman brought together by the skill of many careful progenitors. A thing will grow to be so big as to be all but indestructible. It is like that tower of Caecilia Metella against which the storms of twenty centuries have beaten in vain. Looking at the state of the Roman Empire when Cicero died, who would not declare its doom? But it did "retrick its beams," not so much by the hand of one man, Augustus, as by the force of the concrete power collected within it—"Quod non imber edax non aquilo impotens Possit diruere."[208] Cicero with patriotic gallantry thought that even yet there might be a chance for the old Republic—thought that by his eloquence, by his vehemence of words, he could turn men from fraud to truth, and from the lust of plundering a province to a desire to preserve their country. Of Antony now he despaired, but he still hoped that his words might act upon this young Caesar's heart. The youth was as callous as though he had already ruled a province for three years. No Roman was ever more cautious, more wise, more heartless, more able to pick his way through blood to a throne, than the young Augustus. Cicero fears Octavian—as we must now call him—and knows that he can only be restrained by the keeping of power out of his hands. Writing to Atticus from Arpinum, he says, "I agree altogether with you. If Octavian gets power into his hands he will insist upon the tyrant's decrees much more thoroughly than he did when the Senate sat in the temple of Tellus. Everything then will be done in opposition to Brutus. But if he be conquered, then see how intolerable would be the dominion of Antony."[209] In the same letter he speaks of the De Officiis, which he has just written. In his next and last epistle to his old friend he congratulates himself on having been able at last to quarrel with Dolabella. Dolabella had turned upon him in the end, bought by Antony's money. He then returns to the subject of Octavian, and his doubts as to his loyalty. He has been asked to pledge himself to Octavian, but has declined till he shall see how the young man will behave when Casea becomes candidate for the Tribunate. If he show himself to be Casea's enemy, Casea having been one of the conspirators, Cicero will know that he is not to be trusted. Then he falls into a despairing mood, and declares that there is no hope. "Even Hippocrates was unwilling to bestow medicine on those to whom it could avail nothing." But he will go to Rome, into the very jaws of the danger. "It is less base for such as I am to fall publicly than privately." With these words, almost the last written by him to Atticus, this correspondence is brought to an end: the most affectionate, the most trusting, and the most open ever published to the world as having come from one man to another. No letters more useful to the elucidation of character were ever written; but when read for that purpose they should be read with care, and should hardly be quoted till they have been understood.

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