Cicero’s First Oration Against Catiline
How long, pray, Catiline will you abuse our patience?
How long will that madness of yours make sport of us?
To what end will your unbridled audacity go on vaunting itself?
Have not the nightly garrisons of the Palatine, nor the watches of the city, nor the fear of the people, nor the gathering of all good citizens, nor this very well fortified place for convening the senate, nor the expressions on the faces of all these senators moved you at all?
Do you not realize that your plans are made public, do you not see that your conspiracy is held and bound fast by the knowledge of all these people around you?
Who of us do you think is ignorant of what you did last night, and the night before, where you were, whom you called together, and what plan you adopted?
Oh, the times, oh, the morals…the senate understands these things, the consul sees them: yet this man lives.
He even comes into the senate, he is made a sharer in the public debate, while he notes and marks out with his eyes each one of us for murder.
We brave men, however, think that we are doing enough for the state if we avoid the madness and weapons of that man.
You ought to have been led to death long ago, Catiline, by order of the consul; that destruction which you have been planning for all of us for a long time should have been visited upon you.
In truth, that very distinguished man, Publius Scipio, as pontifex maximus and merely a private citizen, killed Tiberius Gracchus when he was only moderately weakening the condition of the state: shall we consuls put up with Catiline who is desiring to lay waste the whole world with murder and fires?
For I pass over these other incidents as too ancient, for example, that Gaius Servilius Ahala killed with his own hands Spurius Maelius, who was desiring a revolution.
There was…once there was, in this state such courage that brave men punished a dangerous citizen with more severe penalties than a very bitter enemy.
We have a decree of the senate against you, Catiline, vehement and stern; the planning and the support of this body is not lacking; we, I admit openly, we consuls are remiss.