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Cato the Younger
By Plutarch

(died 46 B.C.E.)

Translated by John Dryden

The family of Cato derived its first lustre from his great-grandfather
Cato, whose virtue gained him such great reputation and authority
among the Romans, as we have written in his life. 

This Cato was, by the loss of both his parents, left an orphan, together
with his brother Caepio, and his sister Porcia. He had also a half-sister,
Servilia, by the mother's side. All these lived together, and were
bred up in the house of Livius Drusus, their uncle by the mother,
who, at that time, had a great share in the government, being a very
eloquent speaker, a man of the greatest temperance, and yielding in
dignity to none of the Romans. 

It is said of Cato that even from his infancy, in his speech, his
countenance, and all his childish pastimes, he discovered an inflexible
temper, unmoved by any passion, and firm in everything. He was resolute
in his purposes, much beyond the strength of his age, to go through
with whatever he undertook. He was rough and ungentle toward those
that flattered him, and still more unyielding to those who threatened
him. It was difficult to excite him to laughter, his countenance seldom
relaxed even into a smile; he was not quickly or easily provoked to
anger, but if once incensed, he was no less difficult to pacify.

When he began to learn, he proved dull, and slow to apprehend, but
of what he once received, his memory was remarkably tenacious. And
such in fact, we find generally to be the course of nature; men of
fine genius are readily reminded of things, but those who receive
with most pains and difficulty, remember best; every new thing they
learn, being, as it were, burnt and branded in on their minds. Cato's
natural stubbornness and slowness to be persuaded may also have made
it more difficult for him to be taught. For to learn is to submit
to have something done to one; and persuasion comes soonest to those
who have least strength to resist it. Hence young men are sooner persuaded
than those that are more in years, and sick men, than those that are
well in health. In fine, where there is least previous doubt and difficulty,
the new impression is most easily accepted. Yet Cato, they say, was
very obedient to his preceptor, and would do whatever he was commanded;
but he would also ask the reason, and inquire the cause of everything.
And, indeed, his teacher was a very well-bred man, more ready to instruct
than to beat his scholars. His name was Sarpedon. 

When Cato was a child, the allies of the Romans sued to be made free
citizens of Rome. Pompaedius Silo, one of their deputies, a brave
soldier and a man of great repute, who had contracted a friendship
with Drusus, lodged at his house for several days, in which time being
grown familiar with the children, "Well," said he to them, "will you
entreat your uncle to befriend us in our business?" Caepio, smiling,
assented, but Cato made no answer, only he looked steadfastly and
fiercely on the strangers. Then said Pompaedius, "And you, young sir,
what say you to us? will not you, as well as your brother, intercede
with your uncle in our behalf?" And when Cato continued to give no
answer, by his silence and his countenance seeming to deny their petition,
Pompaedius snatched him up to the window as if he would throw him
out, and told him to consent, or he would fling him down, and, speaking
in a harsher tone, held his body out of the window, and shook him
several times. When Cato had suffered this a good while, unmoved and
unalarmed, Pompaedius, setting him down, said in an undervoice to
his friend, "What a blessing for Italy that he is but a child! If
he were a man, I believe we should not gain one voice among the people."
Another time, one of his relations, on his birthday, invited Cato
and some other children to supper, and some of the company diverted
themselves in a separate part of the house, and were at play, the
elder and the younger together, their sport being to act the pleadings
before the judges, accusing one another, and carrying away the condemned
to prison. Among these a very beautiful young child, being bound and
carried by a bigger into prison, cried out to Cato, who seeing what
was going on, presently ran to the door, and thrusting away those
who stood there as a guard, took out the child, and went home in anger,
followed by some of his companions. 

Cato at length grew so famous among them, that when Sylla designed
to exhibit the sacred game of young men riding courses on horseback,
which they called Troy, having gotten together the youth of good birth,
he appointed two for their leaders. One of them they accepted for
his mother's sake, being the son of Metella, the wife of Sylla; but
as for the other, Sextus, the nephew of Pompey, they would not be
led by him, nor exercise under him. Then Sylla asking whom they would
have, they all cried out, Cato; and Sextus willingly yielded the honour
to him, as the more worthy. 

Sylla, who was a friend of their family, sent at times for Cato and
his brother to see them and talk with them; a favour which he showed
to very few, after gaining his great power and authority. Sarpedon,
full of the advantage it would be, as well for the honour as the safety
of his scholars, would often bring Cato to wait upon Sylla at his
house, which, for the multitude of those that were being carried off
in custody, and tormented there, looked like a place of execution.
Cato was then in his fourteenth year, and seeing the heads of men
said to be of great distinction brought thither, and observing the
secret sighs of those that were present, he asked his preceptor, "Why
does nobody kill this man?" "Because," said he, "they fear him, child,
more than they hate him." "Why, then," replied Cato, "did you not
give me a sword, that I might stab him, and free my country from this
slavery?" Sarpedon hearing this, and at the same time seeing his countenance
swelling with anger and determination, took care thenceforward to
watch him strictly, lest he should hazard any desperate attempt.

While he was yet very young, to some that asked him whom he loved
best, he answered, his brother. And being asked, whom next, he replied,
his brother, again. So likewise the third time, and still the same,
till they left off to ask any further. As he grew in age, this love
to his brother grew yet the stronger. When he was about twenty years
old, he never supped, never went out of town, nor into the forum,
without Caepio. But when his brother made use of precious ointments
and perfumes, Cato declined them; and he was, in all his habits, very
strict and austere, so that when Caepio was admired for his moderation
and temperance, he would acknowledge that indeed he might be accounted
such, in comparison with some other men, "but," said he, "when I compare
myself with Cato, I find myself scarcely different from Sippius,"
one at that time notorious for his luxurious and effeminate living.

Cato being made priest of Apollo, went to another house, took his
portion of their paternal inheritance, amounting to a hundred and
twenty talents, and began to live yet more strictly than before. Having
gained the intimate acquaintance of Antipater the Tyrian, the Stoic
philosopher, he devoted himself to the study, above everything, of
moral and political doctrine. And though possessed, as it were, by
a kind of inspiration for the pursuit of every virtue, yet what most
of all virtue and excellence fixed his affection was that steady and
inflexible justice which is not to be wrought upon by favour or compassion.
He learned also the art of speaking and debating in public, thinking
that political philosophy, like a great city, should maintain for
its security the military and warlike element. But he would never
recite his exercises before company, nor was he ever heard to declaim.
And to one that told him men blamed his silence, "But I hope not my
life." he replied, "I will begin to speak, when I have that to say
which had not better be unsaid." 

The great Porcian Hall, as it was called, had been built and dedicated
to the public use by the old Cato, when aedile. Here the tribunes
of the people used to transact their business, and because one of
the pillars was thought to interfere with the convenience of their
seats, they deliberated whether it were best to remove it to another
place, or to take it away. This occasion first drew Cato, much against
his will, into the forum; for he opposed the demand of the tribunes,
and in so doing gave a specimen both of his courage and his powers
of speaking, which gained him great admiration. His speech had nothing
youthful or refined in it, but was straightforward, full of matter,
and rough, at the same time that there was a certain grace about his
rough statements which won the attention; and the speaker's character,
showing itself in all he said, added to his severe language something
that excited feelings of natural pleasure and interest. His voice
was full and sounding, and sufficient to be heard by so great a multitude,
and its vigour and capacity of endurance quite indefatigable, for
he often would speak a whole day and never stop. 

When he had carried this cause, he betook himself again to study and
retirement. He employed himself in inuring his body to labour and
violent exercise; and habituated himself to go bareheaded in the hottest
and the coldest weather, and to walk on foot at all seasons. When
he went on a journey with any of his friends, though they were on
horseback and he on foot, yet he would often join now one, then another,
and converse with them on the way. In sickness the patience he showed
in supporting, and the abstinence he used for curing, his distempers
were admirable. When he had an ague, he would remain alone, and suffer
nobody to see him, till he began to recover, and found the fit was
over. At supper, when he threw dice for the choice of dishes, and
lost, and the company offered him nevertheless his choice, he declined
to dispute, as he said, the decision of Venus. At first, he was wont
to drink only once after supper, and then go away; but in process
of time he grew to drink more, insomuch that oftentimes he would continue
till morning. This his friends explained by saying that state affairs
and public business took him up all day, and being desirous of knowledge,
he liked to pass the night at wine in the conversation of philosophers.
Hence, upon one Memmius saying in public, that Cato spent whole nights
in drinking, "You should add," replied Cicero, "that he spends whole
days in gambling." And in general Cato esteemed the customs and manners
of men at that time so corrupt, and a reformation in them so necessary,
that he thought it requisite, in many things, to go contrary to the
ordinary way of the world. Seeing the lightest and gayest purple was
then most in fashion, he would always wear that which was the nearest
black; and he would often go out of doors, after his morning meal,
without either shoes or tunic; not that he sought vain-glory from
such novelties, but he would accustom himself to be ashamed only of
what deserves shame, and to despise all other sorts of disgrace.

The estate of one Cato, his cousin, which was worth one hundred talents,
falling to him, he turned it all into ready money, which he kept by
him for any of friends that should happen to want, to whom he would
lend it without interest. And for some of them, he suffered his own
land and his slaves to be mortgaged to the public treasury.

When he thought himself of an age fit to marry, having never before
known any woman, he was contracted to Lepida, who had before been
contracted to Metellus Scipio, but on Scipio's own withdrawal from
it, the contract had been dissolved, and she left at liberty. Yet
Scipio afterwards repenting himself, did all he could to regain her,
before the marriage with Cato was completed, and succeeded in so doing.
At which Cato was violently incensed, and resolved at first to go
to law about it; but his friends persuaded him to the contrary. However,
he was so moved by the beat of youth and passion that he wrote a quantity
of iambic verses against Scipio, in the bitter, sarcastic style of
Archilochus, without, however, his licence and scurrility. After this,
he married Atilia, the daughter of Soranus, the first but not the
only woman he ever knew, less happy thus far than Laelius, the friend
of Scipio, who in the whole course of so long a life never knew but
the one woman, to whom he was united in his first and only marriage.

In the war of the slaves, which took its name from Spartacus, their
ringleader, Gellius was general, and Cato went a volunteer, for the
sake of his brother Caepio, who was a tribune in the army. Cato could
find here no opportunity to show his zeal or exercise his valour,
on account of the ill conduct of the general. However, amidst the
corruption and disorders of that army, he showed such a love of discipline,
so much bravery upon occasion, and so much courage and wisdom in everything,
that it appeared he was in no way inferior to the old Cato. Gellius
offered him great rewards, and would have decreed him the first honours;
which, however, he refused, saying he had done nothing that deserved
them. This made him be thought a man of strange and eccentric temper.

There was a law passed, moreover, that the candidates who stood for
any office should not have prompters in their canvass, to tell them
the names of the citizens; and Cato, when he sued to be elected tribune,
was the only man that obeyed this law. He took great pains to learn
by his own knowledge to salute those he had to speak with, and to
call them by their names; yet even those who praised him for this,
did not do so without some envy and jealousy, for the more they considered
the excellence of what he did, the more they were grieved at the difficulty
they found to do the like. 

Being chosen tribune, he was sent into Macedon to join Rubrius, who
was general there. It is said that his wife showing much concern,
and weeping at his departure, Munatius, one of Cato's friends, said
to her, "Do not trouble yourself, Atilia, I will engage to watch over
him for you." "By all means," replied Cato; and when they had gone
one day's journey together, "Now," said he to Munatius, after they
had supped, "that you may be sure to keep your promise to Atilia,
you must not leave me day nor night," and from that time, he ordered
two beds to be made in his own chamber, that Munatius might lie there.
And so he continued to do, Cato making it his jest to see that he
was always there. There went with him fifteen slaves, two freedmen,
and four of his friends; these rode on horseback, but Cato always
went on foot, yet would he keep by them, and talk with each of them
in turn as they went. 

When he came to the army, which consisted of several legions, the
general gave him the command of one; and as he looked upon it as a
small matter, and not worthy a commander, to give evidence of his
own signal valour, he resolved to make his soldiers, as far as he
could, like himself, not, however, in this relaxing the terrors of
his office, but associating reason with his authority. He persuaded
and instructed every one in particular, and bestowed rewards or punishments
according to desert; and at length his men were so well disciplined,
that it was hard to say whether they were more peaceable or more warlike,
more valiant or more just; they were alike formidable to their enemies
their enemies and courteous to their allies, fearful to do wrong,
and forward to gain honour. And Cato himself acquired in the fullest
measure, what it had been his least desire to seek, glory and good
repute; he was highly esteemed by all men, and entirely beloved by
the soldiers. Whatever he commanded to be done, he himself took part
in the performing; in his apparel, his diet, and mode of travelling,
he was more like a common soldier than an officer; but in character,
high purpose, and wisdom, he far exceeded all that had the names and
titles of commanders, and he made himself, without knowing it, the
object of general affection. For the true love of virtue is in all
men produced by the love and respect they bear to him that teaches
it; and those who praise good men, yet do not love them, may respect
their reputation, but do not really admire, and will never imitate
their virtue. 

There dwelt at that time in Pergamus, Athenodorus, surnamed Cordylio,
a man of high repute for his knowledge of the Stoic philosophy, who
was now grown old, and had always steadily refused the friendship
and acquaintance of princes and great men. Cato understood this; so
that imagining he should not be able to prevail with him by sending
or writing, and being by the laws allowed two months' absence from
the army, he resolved to go into Asia to see him in person, trusting
to his own good qualities not to lose his labour. And when he had
conversed with him, and succeeded in persuading him out of his former
resolutions, he returned and brought him to the camp as joyful and
as proud of this victory as if he had done some heroic exploit, greater
than any of those of Pompey or Lucullus, who with their armies at
that time were subduing so many nations and kingdoms. 

While Cato was yet in the service, his brother, on a journey towards
Asia, fell sick at Aenus in Thrace, letters with intelligence of which
were immediately despatched to him. The sea was very rough, and no
convenient ship of any size to be had; so Cato getting into a small
trading-vessel, with only two of his friends, and three servants,
set sail from Thessalonica, and having very narrowly escaped drowning,
he arrived at Aenus just as Caepio expired. Upon this occasion, he
was thought to have showed himself more a fond brother than a philosopher,
not only in the excess of his grief, bewailing and embracing the dead
body, but also in the extravagant expenses of the funeral, the vast
quantity of rich perfumes and costly garments which were burnt with
the corpse, and the monument of Thasian marble, which he erected,
at the cost of eight talents, in the public place of the town of Aenus.
For there were some who took upon them to cavil at all this, as not
consistent with his usual calmness and moderation, not discerning
that though he were steadfast, firm, and inflexible to pleasure, fear
or foolish entreaties, yet he was full of natural tenderness and brotherly
affection. Divers of the cities and princes of the country sent him
many presents, to honour the funeral of his brother; but he took none
of their money, only the perfumes and ornaments he received, and paid
for them also. And afterwards, when the inheritance was divided between
him and Caepio's daughter, he did not require any portion of the funeral
expenses to be discharged out of it. Notwithstanding this, it has
been affirmed that he made his brother's ashes be passed through a
sieve, to find the gold that was melted down when burnt with the body.
But he who made this statement appears to have anticipated an exemption
for his pen, as much as for his sword, from all question and criticism.

The time of Cato's service in the army being expired, he received,
at his departure, not only the prayers and praises, but the tears
and embraces of the soldiers, who spread their clothes at his feet
and kissed his hand as he passed, an honour which the Romans at that
time scarcely paid even to a very few of their generals and commanders-in-chief.
Having left the army, he resolved, before he would return home and
apply himself to state affairs, to travel in Asia, and observe the
manners, the customs, and the strength of every province. He was also
unwilling to refuse the kindness of Deiotarus, King of Galatia, who
having had great familiarity and friendship with his father, was very
desirous to receive a visit from him. Cato's arrangements in his journey
were as follows. Early in the morning he sent out his baker and his
cook towards the place where he designed to stay the next night; these
went soberly and quietly into the town, in which, if there happened
to be no friend or acquaintance of Cato or his family, they provided
for him in an inn, and gave no disturbance to anybody; but if there
were no inn, then and in this case only, they went to the magistrates,
and desiring them to help them to lodgings, took without complaint
whatever was allotted to them. His servants thus behaving themselves
towards the magistrates, without noise and threatening, were often
discredited, or neglected by them, so that Cato many times arrived
and found nothing provided for him. And it was all the worse when
he appeared himself; still less account was taken of him. When they
saw him sitting, without saying anything, on his baggage, they set
him down at once as a person of no consequence, who did not venture
to make any demand. Sometimes, on such occasions, he would call them
to him and tell them, "Foolish people, lay aside this inhospitality.
All your visitors will not be Catos. Use your courtesy, to take off
the sharp edge of power. There are men enough who desire but a pretence,
to take from you by force, what you give with such reluctance."

While he travelled in this manner, a diverting accident befell him
in Syria. As he was going into Antioch, he saw a great multitude of
people outside the gates, ranged in order on either side the way;
here the young men with long cloaks, there the children decently dressed;
others wore garlands and white garments who were the priests and magistrates.
Cato imagining all this could mean nothing but a display in honour
of his reception, began to be angry with his servants, who had been
sent before, for suffering it to be done; then making his friends
alight, he walked along with them on foot. As soon as he came near
the gate, an elderly man, who seemed to be master of these ceremonies,
with a wand and a garland in his hand, came up to Cato, and without
saluting him, asked him where he had left Demetrius, and how soon
he thought he would he there. This Demetrius was Pompey's servant,
and as at this time the whole world, so to say, had its eyes fixed
upon Pompey, this man also was highly honoured, on account of his
influence with his master. Upon this Cato's friends fell into such
violent laughter, that they could not restrain themselves while they
passed through the crowd; and he himself, ashamed and distressed,
uttered the words, "Unfortunate city!" and said no more. Afterwards
however, it always made him laugh, when he either told the story or
was otherwise reminded of it. 

Pompey himself shortly after made the people ashamed of their ignorance
and folly in thus neglecting him, for Cato, coming in his journey
to Ephesus, went to pay his respects to him, who was the elder man,
had gained much honour, and was then general of a great army. Yet
Pompey would not receive him sitting, but as soon as he saw him, rose
up, and going to meet him, as the more honourable person, gave him
his hand, and embraced him with great show of kindness. He said much
in commendation of his virtue both at that time when receiving him,
and also yet more after he had withdrawn. So that now all men began
at once to display their respect for Cato, and discovered in him the
very same things for which they despised him before, an admirable
mildness of temper and greatness of spirit. And indeed the civility
that Pompey himself showed him appeared to come from one that rather
respected than loved him; and the general opinion was, that while
Cato was there he paid him admiration, but was not sorry when he was
gone. For when other young men came to see him he usually urged and
entreated them to continue with him. Now he did not at all invite
Cato to stay, but as if his own power were lessened by the other's
presence, he very willingly allowed him to take his leave. Yet to
Cato alone, of all those who went for Rome, he recommended his children
and his wife, who was indeed connected by relationship with Cato.

After this, all the cities through which he passed strove and emulated
each other in showing him respect and honour. Feasts and entertainments
were made for his reception, so that he bade his friends keep strict
watch and take care of him, lest he should end by making good what
was said by Curio, who though he were his familiar friend, yet disliking
the austerity of his temper, asked him one day if, when he left the
army, he designed to see Asia, and Cato answering, "Yes, by all means."
"You do well," replied Curio, "you will bring back with you a better
temper and pleasanter manners;" pretty nearly the very words he used.

Deiotarus, being now an old man, had sent for Cato, to recommend his
children and family to his protection; and as soon as he came, brought
him presents of all sorts of things, which he begged and entreated
him to accept. And his importunities displeased Cato so much, that
though he came but in the evening, he stayed only that night, and
went away early the next morning. After he was gone one day's journey,
he found at Pessinus a yet greater quantity of presents provided for
him there, and also letters from Deiotarus entreating him to receive
them, or at least to permit his friends to take them, who for his
sake deserved some gratification, and could not have much done for
them out of Cato's own means. Yet he would not suffer it, though he
saw some of them very willing to receive such gifts, and ready to
complain of his severity; but he answered, that corruption would never
want pretence, and his friends should share with him in whatever he
should justly and honestly obtain, and so returned the presents to

When he took ship for Brundusium, his friends would have persuaded
him to put his brother's ashes into another vessel; but he said he
would sooner part with his life than leave them, and so set sail.
And as it chanced, he, we are told, had a very dangerous passage,
though others at the same time went over safely enough. 

After he was returned to Rome, he spent his time for the most part
either at home, in conversation with Athenodorus, or at the forum,
in the service of his friends. Though it was now the time that he
should become quaestor, he would not stand for the place till he had
studied the laws relating to it, and by inquiry from persons of experience,
had attained a distinct understanding of the duty and authority belonging
to it. With this knowledge, as soon as he came into the office, he
made a great reformation among the clerks and under-officers of the
treasury, people who had long practice and familiarity in all the
public records and the laws, and, when new magistrates came in year
by year so ignorant and unskillful as to be in absolute need of others
to teach them what to do, did not submit and give way, but kept the
power in their own hands, and were in effect the treasurers themselves.
Till Cato, applying himself roundly to the work, showed that he possessed
not only the title and honour of a quaestor, but the knowledge and
understanding and full authority of his office. So that he used the
clerks and under-officers like servants as they were, exposing their
corrupt practices, and instructing their ignorance. Being bold, impudent
fellows, they flattered the other quaestors his colleagues, and by
their means endeavoured to maintain an opposition against him. But
he convicted the chiefest of them of a breach of trust in the charge
of an inheritance, and turned him out of his place. A second he brought
to trial for dishonesty, who was defended by Lutatius Catulus, at
that time censor, a man very considerable for his office, but yet
more for his character, as he was eminent above all the Romans of
that age for his reputed wisdom integrity. He was also intimate with
Cato, and much commended his way of living. So perceiving he could
not bring off his client, if he stood a fair trial, he openly began
to beg him off. Cato objected to his doing this. And when he continued
still to be importunate, "It would be shameful, Catulus," he said,
"that the censor, the judge of all our lives, should incur the dishonour
of removal by our officers." At this expression, Catulus looked as
if he would have made some answer; but he said nothing and either
through anger or shame went away silent, and out of countenance. Nevertheless,
the man was not found guilty, for the voices that acquitted him were
but one in number less than those that condemned him, and Marcus Lollius,
one of Cato's colleagues, who was absent by reason of sickness, was
sent for by Catulus, and entreated to come and save the man. So Lollius
was brought into court in a chair, and gave his voice also for acquitting
him. Yet Cato never after made use of that clerk, and never paid him
his salary, nor would he make any account of the vote given by Lollius.
Having thus humbled the clerks, and brought them to be at command,
he made use of the books and registers as he thought fit, and in a
little while gained the treasury a higher name than the senate-house
itself; and all men said, Cato had made the office of a quaestor equal
to the dignity of a consul. When he found many indebted to the state
upon old accounts, and the state also in debt to many private persons,
he took care that the public might no longer either do or suffer wrong;
he strictly and punctually exacted what was due to the treasury, and
as freely and speedily paid all those to whom it was indebted. So
that the people were filled with sentiments of awe and respect, on
seeing those made to pay, who thought to have escaped with their plunder,
and others receiving all their due, who despaired of getting anything.
And whereas usually those who brought false bills and pretended orders
of the senate, could through favour get them accepted, Cato would
never be so imposed upon; and in the case of one particular order,
on the question arising whether it had passed the senate, he would
not believe a great many witnesses that attested it, nor would admit
of it, till the consuls came and affirmed it upon oath. 

There were at that time a great many whom Sylla had made use of as
his agents in the proscription, and to whom he had for their service
in putting men to death, given twelve thousand drachmas apiece. These
men everybody hated as wicked and polluted wretches, but nobody durst
be revenged upon them. Cato called every one to account, as wrongfully
possessed of the public money, and exacted it of them, and at the
same time sharply reproved them for their unlawful and impious actions.
After these proceedings they were presently accused of murder, and
being already in a manner prejudged as guilty, they were easily found
so, and accordingly suffered; at which the whole people rejoiced and
thought themselves now to see the old tyranny finally abolished, and
Sylla himself, so to say, brought to punishment. 

Cato's assiduity also, and indefatigable diligence, won very much
upon the people. He always came first of any of his colleagues to
the treasury, and away the last. He never missed any assembly of the
people, or sitting of the senate; being always anxious and on the
watch for those who lightly, or as a matter of interest, passed votes
in favour of this or that person, for remitting debts or granting
away customs that were owing to the state. And at length, having kept
the exchequer pure and clear from base informers, and yet having filled
it with treasure, he made it appear that the state might be rich without
oppressing the people. At first he excited feelings of dislike and
irritation in some of his colleagues, but after a while they were
well contented with him, since he was perfectly willing that they
should cast all the odium on him, when they declined to gratify their
friends with the public money, or to give dishonest judgments in passing
their accounts; and when hard-pressed by suitors, they could readily
answer it was impossible to do anything unless Cato would consent.
On the last day of his office, he was honourably attended to his house
by, almost all the people; but on the way he was informed that several
powerful friends were in the treasury with Marcellus, using all their
interest with him to pass a certain debt to the public revenue, as
if it had been a gift. Marcellus had been one of Cato's friends from
his childhood, and so long as Cato was with him, was one of the best
of his colleagues in this office, but when alone, was unable to resist
the importunity of suitors, and prone to do anybody a kindness. So
Cato immediately turned back, and finding that Marcellus had yielded
to pass the thing, he took the book, and while Marcellus silently
stood by and looked on, struck it out. This done, he brought Marcellus
out of the treasury, and took him home with him; who for all this,
neither then, nor ever after, complained of him, but always continued
his friendship and familiarity with him. 

Cato, after he had laid down his office, yet did not cease to keep
a watch upon the treasury. He had his servants who continually wrote
out the details of the expenditure, and he himself kept always by
him certain books, which contained the accounts of the revenue from
Sylla's time to his own quaestorship, which he had bought for five

He was always first at the senate, and went out last; and often, while
the others were slowly collecting, he would sit and read by himself,
holding his gown before his book. He was never once out of town when
the senate was to meet. And when afterwards Pompey and his party,
finding that he could never be either persuaded or compelled to favour
their unjust designs, endeavoured to keep him from the senate, by
engaging him in business for his friends, to plead their causes, or
arbitrate in their differences, or the like, he quickly discovered
the trick, and to defeat it, fairly told all his acquaintance that
he would never meddle in any private business when the senate was
assembled. Since it was not in the hope of gaining honour or riches,
nor out of mere impulse, or by chance that he engaged himself in politics,
but he undertook the service of the state as the proper business of
honest man, and therefore he thought himself obliged to be as constant
to his public duty as the bee to the honeycomb. To this end, he took
care to have his friends and correspondents everywhere, to send him
reports of the edicts, decrees, judgments, and all the important proceedings
that passed in any of the provinces. Once when Clodius, the seditious
orator, to promote his violent and revolutionary projects, traduced
to the people some of the priests and priestesses (among whom Fabia,
sister to Cicero's wife, Terentia, ran great danger), Cato having
boldly interfered, and having made Clodius appear so infamous that
he was forced to leave the town, was addressed, when it was over,
by Cicero, who came to thank him for what he had done. "You must thank
the commonwealth," said he, for whose sake alone he professed to do
everything. Thus he gained a great and wonderful reputation; so that
an advocate in a cause, where there was only one witness against him,
told the judges they ought not to rely upon a single witness, though
it were Cato himself. And it was a sort of proverb with many people,
if any very unlikely and incredible thing were asserted, to say, they
would not believe it, though Cato himself should affirm it. One day
a debauched and sumptuous liver talking in the senate about frugality
and temperance, Anaeus standing up, cried, "Who can endure this, sir,
to have you feast like Crassus, build like Lucullus, and talk like
Cato." So likewise those who were vicious and dissolute in their manners,
yet affected to be grave and severe in their language, were in derision
called Catos. 

At first, when his friends would have persuaded him to stand to be
tribune of the people, he thought it undesirable; for that the power
of so great an office ought to be reserved, as the strongest medicines,
for occasions of the last necessity. But afterwards in a vacation
time, as he was going, accompanied with his books and philosophers,
to Lucania, where he had lands with a pleasant residence, they met
by the way a great many horses, carriages, and attendants, of whom
they understood, that Metellus Nepos was going to Rome, to stand to
be tribune of the people. Hereupon Cato stopped, and after a little
pause, gave orders to return back immediately; at which the company
seeming to wonder, "Don't you know," said he, "how dangerous of itself
the madness of Metellus is? and now that he comes armed with the support
of Pompey, he will fall like lightning on the state, and bring it
to utter disorder; therefore this is no time for idleness and diversion,
but we must go and prevent this man in his designs, or bravely die
in defence of our liberty." Nevertheless, by the persuasion of his
friends, he went first to his country-house, where he stayed but a
very little time, and then returned to town. 

He arrived in the evening, and went straight the next morning to the
forum, where he began to solicit for the tribuneship, in opposition
to Metellus. The power of this office consists rather in controlling
than performing any business; for though all the rest except any one
tribune should be agreed, yet his denial or intercession could put
a stop to the whole matter. Cato, at first, had not many that appeared
for him; but as soon as his design was known, all the good and distinguished
persons of the city quickly came forward to encourage and support
him, looking upon him, not as one that desired a favour of them, but
one that proposed to do a great favour to his country and all honest
men; who had many times refused the same office, when he might have
had it without trouble, but now sought it with danger, that he might
defend their liberty and their government. It is reported that so
great a number flocked about him that he was like to be stifled amidst
the press, and could scarce get through the crowd. He was declared
tribune, with several others, among whom was Metellus. 

When Cato was chosen into this office, observing that the election
of consuls was become a matter of purchase, he sharply rebuked the
people for this corruption, and in the conclusion of his speech protested
he would bring to trial whomever he should find giving money, making
an exception only in the case of Silanus, on account of their near
connection, he having married Servilia, Cato's sister. He therefore
did not prosecute him, but accused Lucius Murena, who had been chosen
consul by corrupt means with Silanus. There was a law that the party
accused might appoint a person to keep watch upon his accuser, that
he might know fairly what means he took in preparing the accusation.
He that was set upon Cato by Murena, at first followed and observed
him strictly, yet never found him dealing any way unfairly or insidiously,
but always generously and candidly going on in the just and open methods
of proceeding. And he so admired Cato's great spirit, and so entirely
trusted to his integrity, that meeting him in the forum, or going
to his house, he would ask him if he designed to do anything that
day in order to the accusation, and if Cato said no, he went away,
relying on his word. When the cause was pleaded Cicero, who was then
consul and defended Murena, took occasion to be extremely witty and
jocose, in reference to Cato, upon the Stoic philosophers, and their
paradoxes, as they call them, and so excited great laughter among
the judges; upon which Cato, smiling, said to the standers-by, "What
a pleasant consul we have, my friends." Murena was acquitted, and
afterwards showed himself a man of no ill-feeling or want of sense;
for when he was consul, he always took Cato's advice in the most weighty
affairs and, during all the time of his office, paid him much honour
and respect. Of which not only Murena's prudence, but also Cato's
own behaviour, was the cause; for though he were terrible and severe
as to matters of justice, in the senate, and at the bar, yet after
the thing was over his manner to all men was perfectly friendly and

Before he entered on the office of tribune, he assisted Cicero, at
that time consul, in many contests that concerned his office, but
most especially in his great and noble acts at the time of Catiline's
conspiracy; which owed their last successful issue to Cato. Catiline
had plotted a dreadful and entire subversion of the Roman state by
sedition and open war, but being convicted by Cicero, was forced to
fly the city. Yet Lentulus and Cethegus remained, with several others,
to carry on the same plot; and blaming Catiline, as one that wanted
courage, and had been timid and petty in his designs, they themselves
resolved to set the whole town on fire, and utterly to overthrow the
empire, rousing whole nations to revolt and exciting foreign wars.
But the design was discovered by Cicero (as we have written in his
life), and the matter brought before the senate. Silanus, who spoke
first, delivered his opinion, that the conspirators ought to suffer
the last of punishments, and was therein followed by all who spoke
after him; till it came to Caesar, who being an excellent speaker,
and looking upon all changes and commotions in the state as materials
useful for his own purposes, desired rather to increase than extinguish
them; and standing up, he made a very merciful and persuasive speech,
that they ought not to suffer death without fair trial according to
law, and moved that they might be kept in prison. Thus was the house
almost wholly turned by Caesar, apprehending also the anger of the
people; insomuch that even Silanus retracted, and said he did not
mean to propose death, but imprisonment, for that was the utmost a
Roman could suffer. 

Upon this they were all inclined to the milder and more merciful opinion,
when Cato, standing up, began at once with great passion and vehemence
to reproach Silanus for his change of opinion, and to attack Caesar,
who would, he said, ruin the commonwealth by soft words and popular
speeches, and was endeavouring to frighten the senate, when he himself
ought to fear, and be thankful, if he escaped unpunished or unsuspected,
who thus openly and boldly dared to protect the enemies of the state,
and while finding no compassion for his own native country, brought,
with all its glories, so near to utter ruin, could yet be full of
pity for those men who had better never have been born, and whose
death must deliver the commonwealth from bloodshed and destruction.
This only of all Cato's speeches, it is said, was preserved; for Cicero,
the consul, had disposed in various parts of the senate-house, several
of the most expert and rapid writers, whom he had taught to make figures
comprising numerous words in a few short strokes; as up to that time
they had not used those we call shorthand writers, who then, as it
is said, established the first example of the art. Thus Cato carried
it, and so turned the house again, that it was decreed the conspirators
should be put to death. 

Not to omit any small matters that may serve to show Cato's temper,
and add something to the portraiture of his mind, it is reported,
that while Caesar and he were in the very heat, and the whole senate
regarding them two, a little note was brought in to Caesar which Cato
declared to be suspicious, and urging that some seditious act was
going on, bade the letter be read. Upon which Caesar handed the paper
to Cato; who, discovering it to be a love-letter from his sister Servilia
to Caesar, by whom she had been corrupted, threw it to him again,
saying, "Take it, drunkard," and so went on with his discourse. And,
indeed, it seems Cato had but ill-fortune in women; for this lady
was ill-spoken of for her familiarity with Caesar, and the other Servilia,
Cato's sister also, was yet more ill-conducted; for being married
to Lucullus, one of the greatest men in Rome, and having brought him
a son, she was afterwards divorced for incontinency. But what was
worst of all, Cato's own wife Atilia was not free from the same fault;
and after she had borne him two children, he was forced to put her
away for her misconduct. After that, he married Marcia, the daughter
of Philippus, a woman of good reputation, who yet has occasioned much
discourse; and the life of Cato, like a dramatic piece, has this one
scene or passage full of perplexity and doubtful meaning.

It is thus related by Thrasea, who refers to the authority of Munatius,
Cato's friend and constant companion. Among many that loved and admired
Cato, some were more remarkable and conspicuous than others. Of these
was Quintus Hortensius, a man of high repute and approved virtue,
who desired not only to live in friendship and familiarity with Cato,
but also to unite his whole house and family with him by some sort
or other of alliance in marriage. Therefore he set himself to persuade
Cato that his daughter Porcia, who was already married to, Bibulus,
and had borne him two children, might nevertheless be given to him,
as a fair plot of land, to bear fruit also for him. "For," said he,
"though this in the opinion of men may seem strange, yet in nature
it is honest, and profitable for the public that a woman in the prime
of her youth should not lie useless, and lose the fruit of her womb,
nor, on the other side, should burden and impoverish one man, by bringing
him too many children. Also by this communication of families among
worthy men, virtue would increase, and be diffused through their posterity;
and the commonwealth would be united and cemented by their alliances."
Yet if Bibulus would not part with his wife altogether, he would restore
her as soon as she had brought him a child, whereby he might be united
to both their families. Cato answered, that he loved Hortensius very
well, and much approved of uniting their houses, but he thought it
strange to speak of marrying his daughter, when she was already given
to another. Then Hortensius, turning the discourse, did not hesitate
to speak openly and ask for Cato's own wife, for she was young and
fruitful, and he had already children enough. Neither can it be thought
that Hortensius did this, as imagining Cato did not care for Marcia;
for, it is said, she was then with child. Cato, perceiving his earnest
desire, did not deny his request, but said that Philippus, the father
of Marcia, ought also to be consulted. Philippus, therefore, being
sent for, came; and finding they were well agreed, gave his daughter
Marcia to Hortensius in the presence of Cato, who himself also assisted
at the marriage. This was done at a later time, but since I was speaking
of women, I thought it well to mention it now. 

Lentulus and the rest of the conspirators were put to death; but Caesar,
finding so much insinuated and charged against him in the senate,
betook himself to the people, and proceeded to stir up the most corrupt
and dissolute elements of the state to form a party in his support.
Cato, apprehensive of what might ensue, persuaded the senate to win
over the poor and unprovided-for multitude by a distribution of corn,
the annual charge of which amounted to twelve hundred and fifty talents.
This act of humanity and kindness unquestionably dissipated the present
danger. But Metellus, coming into his office of tribune, began to
hold tumultuous assemblies, and had prepared a decree, that Pompey
the Great should presently be called into Italy, with all his forces,
to preserve the city from the danger of Catiline's conspiracy. This
was the fair pretence; but the true design was to deliver all into
the hands of Pompey, and to give him an absolute power. Upon this
the senate was assembled, and Cato did not fall sharply upon Metellus,
as he often did, but urged his advice in the most reasonable and moderate
tone. At last he descended even to entreaty, and extolled the house
of Metellus as having always taken part with the nobility. At this
Metellus grew the more insolent, and despising Cato, as if he yielded
and were afraid, let himself proceed to the most audacious menaces,
openly threatening to do whatever he pleased in spite of the senate.
Upon this Cato changed his countenance, his voice, and his language;
and after many sharp expressions, boldly concluded that, while he
lived, Pompey should never come armed into the city. The senate thought
them both extravagant, and not well in their safe senses; for the
design of Metellus seemed to be mere rage and frenzy, out of excess
of mischief bringing all things to ruin and confusion, and Cato's
virtue looked like a kind of ecstasy of contention in the cause of
what was good and just. 

But when the day came for the people to give their voices for the
passing this decree, and Metellus beforehand occupied the forum with
armed men, strangers, gladiators, and slaves, those that in hopes
of change followed Pompey were known to be no small part of the people,
and besides, they had great assistance from Caesar, who was then praetor;
and though the best and chiefest men of the city were no less offended
at these proceedings than Cato, they seemed rather likely to suffer
with him than able to assist him. In the meantime Cato's whole family
were in extreme fear and apprehension for him; some of his friends
neither ate nor slept all the night, passing the whole time in debating
and perplexity; his wife and sisters also bewailed and lamented him.
But he himself, void of all fear, and full of assurance, comforted
and encouraged them by his own words and conversation with them. After
supper he went to rest at his usual hour, and was the next day waked
out of a profound sleep by Minucius Thermus, one of his colleagues.
So soon as he was up, they two went together into the forum, accompanied
by very few, but met by a great many, who bade them have a care of
themselves. Cato, therefore, when he saw the temple of Castor and
Pollux encompassed with armed men, and the steps guarded by gladiators,
and at the top Metellus and Caesar seated together, turning to his
friends, "Behold," said he, "this audacious coward, who has levied
a regiment of soldiers against one unarmed naked man; and so he went
on with Thermus. Those who kept the passages gave way to these two
only, and would not let anybody else pass. Yet Cato taking Munatius
by the hand, with much difficulty pulled him through along with him.
Then going directly to Metellus and Caesar, he sat himself down between
them, to prevent their talking to one another, at which they were
both amazed and confounded. And those of the honest party, observing
the countenance, and admiring the high spirit and boldness of Cato,
went nearer, and cried out to him to have courage, exhorting also
one another to stand together, and not betray their liberty nor the
defender of it. 

Then the clerk took out the bill, but Cato forbade him to read it,
whereupon Metellus took it, and would have read it himself, but Cato
snatched the book away. Yet Metellus, having the decree by heart,
began to recite it without book; but Thermus put his hand to his mouth,
and stopped his speech. Metellus seeing them fully bent to withstand
him, and the people cowed, and inclining to the better side, sent
to his house for armed men. And on their rushing in with great noise
and terror, all the rest dispersed and ran away, except Cato, who
alone stood still, while the other party threw sticks and stones at
him from above, until Murena, whom he had formerly accused, came up
to protect him, and holding his gown before him, cried out to them
to leave off throwing; and, in fine, persuading and pulling him along,
he forced him into the temple of Castor and Pollux. Metellus, now
seeing the place clear, and all the adverse party fled out of the
forum, thought he might easily carry his point; so he commanded the
soldiers to retire, and recommencing in an orderly manner, began to
proceed to passing the decree. But the other side having recovered
themselves, returned very boldly, and with loud shouting, insomuch
that Metellus's adherents were seized with a panic, supposing them
to be coming with a reinforcement of armed men, fled every one out
of the place. They being thus dispersed, Cato came in again, and confirmed
the courage, and commended the resolution of the people; so that now
the majority were, by all means, for deposing Metellus from his office.
The senate also being assembled, gave orders once more for supporting
Cato, and resisting the motion, as of a nature to excite sedition
and perhaps civil war in the city. 

But Metellus continued still very bold and resolute; and seeing his
party stood greatly in fear of Cato, whom they looked upon as invincible,
he hurried out of the senate into the forum, and assembled the people,
to whom he made a bitter and invidious speech against Cato, crying
out, he was forced to fly from his tyranny, and this conspiracy against
Pompey; that the city would soon repent their having dishonoured so
great a man. And from hence he started to go to Asia, with the intention,
as would he supposed, of laying before Pompey all the injuries that
were done him. Cato was highly extolled for having delivered the state
from this dangerous tribuneship, and having in some measure defeated,
in the person of Metellus, the power of Pompey; but he was yet more
commended when, upon the senate proceeding to disgrace Metellus and
depose him from his office, he altogether opposed and at length diverted
the design. The common people admired his moderation and humanity,
in not trampling wantonly on an enemy whom he had overthrown, and
wiser men acknowledged his prudence and policy in not exasperating

Lucullus soon after returned from the war in Asia, the finishing of
which, and thereby the glory of the whole, was thus, in all appearance,
taken out of his hands by Pompey. And he was also not far from losing
his triumph, for Caius Memmius traduced him to the people, and threatened
to accuse him; rather, however, out of love to Pompey, than for any
particular enmity to him. But Cato, being allied to Lucullus, who
had married his sister Servilia, and also thinking it a great injustice,
opposed Memmius, thereby exposing himself to much slander and misrepresentation,
insomuch that they would have turned him out of his office, pretending
that he used his power tyrannically. Yet at length Cato so far prevailed
against Memmius that he was forced to let fall the accusations, and
abandon the contest. And Lucullus having thus obtained his triumph,
yet more sedulously cultivated Cato's friendship, which he looked
upon as a great guard and defence for him against Pompey's power.

And now Pompey also returning with glory from the war, and confiding
in the good-will of the people, shown in their splendid reception
of him, thought he should be denied nothing, and sent therefore to
the senate to put off the assembly for the election of consuls, till
he could be present to assist Piso, who stood for that office. To
this most of the senators were disposed to yield; Cato only not so
much thinking that this delay would be of great importance, but, desiring
to cut down at once Pompey's high expectations and designs, withstood
his request, and so overruled the senate that it was carried against
him. And this not a little disturbed Pompey, who found he should very
often fail in his projects unless he could bring over Cato to his
interest. He sent, therefore, for Munatius, his friend; and Cato having
two nieces that were marriageable, he offered to marry the eldest
himself, and take the youngest for his son. Some say they were not
his nieces, but his daughters. Munatius proposed the matter to Cato,
in presence of his wife and sisters; the women were full of joy at
the prospect of an alliance with so great and important a person.
But Cato, without delay or balancing, forming his decision at once,
answered, "Go, Munatius, go and tell Pompey that Cato is not assailable
on the side of the women's chamber; I am grateful indeed for the intended
kindness, and so long as his actions are upright, I promise him a
friendship more sure than any marriage alliance, but I will not give
hostages to Pompey's glory against my country's safety." This answer
was very much against the wishes of the women, and to all his friends
it seemed somewhat harsh and haughty. But afterwards, when Pompey,
endeavouring to get the consulship for one of his friends, gave pay
to the people for their votes, and the bribery was notorious, the
money being counted out in Pompey's own gardens, Cato then said to
the women, they must necessarily have been concerned in the contamination
of these misdeeds of Pompey, if they had been allied to his family;
and they acknowledged that he did best in refusing it. Yet if we may
judge by the event, Cato was much to blame in rejecting that alliance,
which thereby fell to Caesar. And then that match was made, which,
uniting his and Pompey's power, had well-nigh ruined the Roman empire,
and did destroy the commonwealth. Nothing of which, perhaps, had come
to pass, but that Cato was too apprehensive of Pompey's least faults,
and did not consider how he forced him into conferring on another
man the opportunity of committing the greatest. 

These things, however, were yet to come. Lucullus and Pompey, meantime,
had a great dispute concerning their orders and arrangements in Pontus,
each endeavouring that his own ordinances might stand. Cato took part
with Lucullus, who was manifestly suffering wrong; and Pompey, finding
himself the weaker in the senate, had recourse to the people, and
to gain votes he proposed a law for dividing the lands among the soldiers.
Cato opposing him in this also made the bill he rejected. Upon this
he joined himself with Clodius, at that time the most violent of all
the demagogues, and entered also into friendship with Caesar, upon
an occasion of which also Cato was the cause. For Caesar, returning
from his government in Spain, at the same time sued to be chosen consul,
and yet desired not to lose his triumph. Now the law requiring that
those who stood for any office should be present, and yet that whoever
expected a triumph should continue without the walls, Caesar requested
the senate that his friends might be permitted to canvass for him
in his absence. Many of the senators were willing to consent to it,
but Cato opposed it, and perceiving them inclined to favour Caesar,
spent the whole day in speaking, and so prevented the senate from
coming to any conclusion. Caesar, therefore, resolving to let fall
his pretensions to the triumph, came into the town, and immediately
made a friendship with Pompey, and stood for the consulship. As soon
as he was declared consul elect, he married his daughter Julia to
Pompey. And having thus combined themselves together against the commonwealth,
the one proposed laws for dividing the lands among the poor people,
and the other was present to support the proposals. Lucullus, Cicero,
and their friends, joined with Bibulus, the other consul, to hinder
their passing, and, foremost of them all, Cato, who already looked
upon the friendship and alliance of Pompey and Caesar as very dangerous,
declared he did not so much dislike the advantage the people should
get by this division of the lands, as he feared the reward these men
would gain, by thus courting and cozening the people. And in this
he gained over the senate to his opinion, as likewise many who were
not senators, who were offended at Caesar's ill-conduct, that he,
in the office of consul, should thus basely and dishonourably flatter
the people; practising, to win their favour, the same means that were
wont to be used only by the most rash and rebellious tribunes. Caesar,
therefore, and his party, fearing they should not carry it by fair
dealing, fell to open force. First a basket of dung was thrown upon
Bibulus as he was going to the forum; then they set upon his lictors
and broke their rods; at length several darts were thrown, and many
men wounded; so that all that were against those laws fled out of
the forum, the rest with what haste they could, and Cato, last of
all, walking out slowly, often turning back and calling down vengeance
upon them. 

Thus the other party not only carried their point of dividing the
lands, but also ordained that all the senate should swear to confirm
this law, and to defend it against whoever should attempt to alter
it, inflicting great penalties on those that should refuse the oath.
All these senators, seeing the necessity they were in, took the oath,
remembering the example of Metellus in old time, who, refusing to
swear upon the like occasion, was forced to leave Italy. As for Cato,
his wife and children with tears besought him, his friends and familiars
persuaded and entreated him, to yield and take the oath; but he that
principally prevailed with him was Cicero, the orator, who urged upon
him that it was perhaps not even right in itself, that a private man
should oppose what the public had decreed; that the thing being already
past altering, it were folly and madness to throw himself into danger
without the chance of doing his country any good; it would be the
greatest of all evils to embrace, as it were, the opportunity to abandon
the commonwealth, for whose sake he did everything, and to let it
fall into the hands of those who designed nothing but its ruin, as
if he were glad to be saved from the trouble of defending it. "For,"
said he, "though Cato have no need of Rome, yet Rome has need of Cato,
and so likewise have all his friends." Of whom Cicero professed he
himself was the chief, being at that time aimed at by Clodius, who
openly threatened to fall upon him, as soon as ever he should get
to be tribune. Thus Cato, they say, moved by the entreaties and the
arguments of his friends, went unwillingly to take the oath, which
he did the last of all, except only Favonius, one of his intimate

Caesar, exalted with this success, proposed another law, for dividing
almost all the country of Campania among the poor and needy citizens.
Nobody durst speak against it but Cato, whom Caesar therefore pulled
from the rostra and dragged to prison: yet Cato did not even thus
remit his freedom of speech, but as he went along continued to speak
against the law, and advised the people to put down all legislators
who proposed the like. The senate and the best of the citizens followed
him with sad and dejected looks, showing their grief and indignation
by their silence, so that Caesar could not be ignorant how much they
were offended; but for contention's sake he still persisted, expecting
Cato should either supplicate him, or make an appeal. But when he
saw that he did not so much as think of doing either, ashamed of what
he was doing and of what people thought of it, he himself privately
bade one of the tribunes interpose and procure his release. However,
having won the multitude by these laws and gratifications, they decreed
that Caesar should have the government of Illyricum, and all Gaul,
with an army of four legions, for the space of five years, though
Cato still cried out they were, by their own vote, placing a tyrant
in their citadel. Publius Clodius, a patrician, who illegally became
a plebeian, was declared tribune of the people, as he had promised
to do all things according to their pleasure, on condition he might
banish Cicero. And for consuls, they set up Calpurnius Piso, the father
of Caesar's wife, and Aulus Gabinius, one of Pompey's creatures, as
they tell us, who best knew his life and manners. 

Yet when they had thus firmly established all things, having mastered
one part of the city by favour, and the other by fear, they themselves
were still afraid of Cato, and remembered with vexation what pains
and trouble their success over him had cost them, and indeed what
shame and disgrace, when at last they were driven to use violence
to him. This made Clodius despair of driving Cicero out of Italy while
Cato stayed at home. Therefore having first laid his design, as soon
as he came into his office, he sent for Cato, and told him that he
looked upon him as the most incorrupt of all the Romans, and was ready
to show he did so. "For whereas," said he, "many have applied to be
sent to Cyprus on the commission in the case of Ptolemy and have solicited
to have the appointment, I think you alone are deserving of it, and
I desire to give you the favour of the appointment." Cato at once
cried out it was a mere design upon him, and no favour, but an injury.
Then Clodius proudly and fiercely answered, "If you will not take
it as a kindness, you shall go, though never so unwillingly;" and
immediately going into the assembly of the people he made them pass
a decree, that Cato should be sent to Cyprus. But they ordered him
neither ship, nor soldier, nor any attendant, except two secretaries,
one of whom was a thief and a rascal, and the other a retainer to
Clodius. Besides, as if Cyprus and Ptolemy were not work sufficient,
he was ordered also to restore the refugees of Byzantium. For Clodius
was resolved to keep him far enough off whilst himself continued tribune.

Cato, being in this necessity of going away, advised Cicero, who was
next to be set upon, to make no resistance, lest he should throw the
state into civil war and confusion, but to give way to the times,
and thus become once more the preserver of his country. He himself
sent forward Canidius, one of his friends, to Cyprus, to persuade
Ptolemy to yield, without being forced; which if he did, he should
want neither riches nor honour, for the Romans would give him the
priesthood of the goddess at Paphos. He himself stayed at Rhodes,
making some preparations, and expecting an answer from Cyprus. In
the meantime, Ptolemy, King of Egypt, who had left Alexandria, upon
some quarrel between him and his subjects, and was sailing for Rome,
in hopes that Pompey and Caesar would send troops to restore him,
in his way thither desired to see Cato, to whom he sent, supposing
he would come to him. Cato had taken purging medicine at the time
when the messenger came, and made answer, that Ptolemy had better
come to him, if he thought fit. And when he came, he neither went
forward to meet him, nor so much as rose up to him, but saluting him
as an ordinary person, bade him sit down. This at once threw Ptolemy
into some confusion, who was surprised to see such stern and haughty
manners in one who made so plain and unpretending an appearance; but
afterwards, when he began to talk about his affairs, he was no less
astonished at the wisdom and freedom of his discourse. For Cato blamed
his conduct, and pointed out to him what honour and happiness he was
abandoning, and what humiliations and troubles he would run himself
into; what bribery he must resort to, and what cupidity he would have
to satisfy when he came to the leading men at Rome, whom all Egypt
turned into silver would scarcely content. He therefore advised him
to return home, and be reconciled to his subjects, offering to go
along with him, and assist him in composing the differences. And by
this language Ptolemy being brought to himself, as it might be out
of a fit of madness or delirium, and discerning the truth and wisdom
of what Cato said, resolved to follow his advice; but he was again
over-persuaded by his friends to the contrary, and so, according to
his first design, went to Rome. When he came there, and was forced
to wait at the gate of one of the magistrates, he began to lament
his folly in having rejected, rather, as it seemed to him, the oracle
of a god than the advice merely of a good and wise. 

In the meantime, the other Ptolemy, in Cyprus, very luckily for Cato,
poisoned himself. It was reported he had left great riches; therefore,
Cato designing to go first to Byzantium, sent his nephew Brutus to
Cyprus, as he would not wholly trust Canidius. Then, having reconciled
the refugees and the people of Byzantium, he left the city in peace
and quietness; and so sailed to Cyprus, where he found a royal treasure
of plate, tables, precious stones and purple, all which was to be
turned into ready money. And being determined to do everything with
the greatest exactness, and to raise the price of everything to the
utmost, to this end he was always present at selling the things, and
went carefully into all the accounts. Nor would he trust to the usual
customs of the market, but looked doubtfully upon all alike, the officers,
criers, purchasers, and even his own friends; and so in fine he himself
talked with the buyers, and urged them to bid high, and conducted
in this manner the greatest part of the sales. 

This mistrustfulness offended most of his friends, and in particular,
Munatius, the most intimate of them all, became almost irreconcilable.
And this afforded Caesar the subject of his severest censures in the
book he wrote against Cato. Yet Munatius himself relates, that the
quarrel was not so much occasioned by Cato's mistrust, as by his neglect
of him, and by his own jealousy of Canidius. For Munatius also wrote
a book concerning Cato, which is the chief authority followed by Thrasea.
Munatius says, that coming to Cyprus after the other, and having a
very poor lodging provided for him, he went to Cato's house, but was
not admitted, because he was engaged in private with Canidius; of
which he afterwards complained in very gentle terms to Cato, but received
a very harsh answer, that too much love, according to Theophrastus,
often causes hatred; "and you," he said, "because you bear me much
love, think you receive too little honour, and presently grow angry.
I employ Canidius on account of his industry and his fidelity; he
has been with me from the first, and I have found him to be trusted."
These things were said in private between them two; but Cato afterwards
told Canidius what had passed, on being informed of which, Munatius
would no more go to sup with him, and when he was invited to give
his counsel, refused to come. Then Cato threatened to seize his goods,
as was the custom in the case of those who were disobedient; but Munatius
not regarding his threats, returned to Rome, and continued a long
time thus discontented. But afterwards, when Cato was come back also,
Marcia, who as yet lived with him, contrived to have them both invited
to sup together at the house of one Barca; Cato came in last of all,
when the rest were laid down, and asked, where he should be. Barca
answered him, where he pleased; then looking about, he said he would
be near Munatius, and went and placed himself next to him; yet he
showed him no other mark of kindness all the time they were at table
together. But another time, at the entreaty of Marcia, Cato wrote
to Munatius that he desired to speak with him. Munatius went to his
house in the morning and was kept by Marcia till all the company was
gone; then Cato came, threw both his arms about him, and embraced
him very kindly they were reconciled. I have the more fully related
this passage, for that I think the manners and tempers of men are
more clearly discovered by things of this nature, than by great and
conspicuous actions. 

Cato got together little less than seven thousand talents of silver;
but apprehensive of what might happen in so long a voyage by sea,
he provided a great many coffers that held two talents and five hundred
drachmas apiece; to each of these he fastened a long rope, and to
the other end of the rope a piece of cork, so that if the ship should
miscarry, it might be discovered whereabout the chests lay under water.
Thus all the money, except a very little, was safely transported.
But he had made two books, in which all the accounts of his commission
were carefully written out, and neither of these was preserved. For
his freedman Philargyrus, who had the charge of one of them, setting
sail from Cenchreae, was lost, together with the ship and all her
freight. And the other Cato himself kept safe till he came to Corcyra,
but there he set up his tent in the market-place, and the sailors,
being very cold in the night, made a great many fires, some of which
caught the tents, so that they were burnt, and the book lost. And
though he had brought with him several of Ptolemy's stewards, who
could testify to his integrity, and stop the mouths of enemies and
false accusers, yet the loss annoyed him, and he was vexed with himself
about the matter, as he had designed them not so much for a proof
of his own fidelity, as for a pattern of exactness to others.

The news did not fail to reach Rome that he was coming up the river.
All the magistrates, the priests, and the whole senate, with great
part of the people, went out to meet him; both the banks of the Tiber
were covered with people; so that his entrance was in solemnity and
honour not inferior to a triumph. But it was thought somewhat strange,
and looked like willfulness and pride, that when the consuls and praetors
appeared, he did not disembark nor stay to salute them, but rowed
up the stream in a royal galley of six banks of oars, and stopped
not till he brought his vessels to the dock. However, when the money
was carried through the streets, the people much wondered at the vast
quantity of it, and the senate being assembled, decreed him in honourable
terms an extraordinary praetorship, and also the privilege of appearing
at the public spectacles in a robe faced with purple. Cato declined
all these honours, but declaring what diligence and fidelity he had
found in Nicias, the steward of Ptolemy, he requested the senate to
give him his freedom. 

Philippus, the father of Marcia, was that year consul, and the authority
and power of the office rested in a manner in Cato; for the other
consul paid him no less regard for his virtue's sake than Philippus
did on account of the connection between them. And Cicero, now being
returned from his banishment, into which he was driven by Clodius,
and having again obtained great credit among the people, went, in
the absence of Clodius, and by force took away the records of his
tribuneship, which had been laid up in the capitol. Hereupon the senate
was assembled and Clodius complained of Cicero, who answered, that
Clodius was never legally tribune, and therefore whatever he had done
was void, and of no authority. But Cato interrupted him while he spoke,
and at last standing up said, that indeed he in no way justified or
approved of Clodius's proceedings: but if they questioned the validity
of what had been done in his tribuneship, they might also question
what himself had done at Cyprus, for the expedition was unlawful,
if he that sent him had no lawful authority: for himself, he thought
Clodius was legally made tribune, who, by permission of the law, was
from a patrician adopted into a plebeian family; if he had done ill
in his office, he ought to be called to account for it; but the authority
of the magistracy ought not to suffer for the faults of the magistrate.
Cicero took this ill, and for a long time discontinued his friendship
with Cato; but they were afterwards reconciled. 

Pompey and Crassus, by agreement with Caesar, who crossed the Alps
to see them, had formed a design, that they two should stand to be
chosen consuls a second time, and when they should be in their office,
they would continue to Caesar his government for five years more,
and take to themselves the greatest provinces, with armies and money
to maintain them. This seemed a plain conspiracy to subvert the constitution
and parcel out the empire. Several men of high character had intended
to stand to be consuls that year, but upon the appearance of these
great competitors, they all desisted, except only Lucius Domitius,
who had married Porcia, the sister of Cato, and was by him persuaded
to stand it out, and not abandon such an undertaking, which, he said,
was not merely to gain the consulship, but to save the liberty of
Rome. In the meantime, it was the common topic among the more prudent
part of the citizens, that they ought not to suffer the power of Pompey
and Crassus to be united, which would then be carried beyond all bounds,
and become dangerous to the state; that therefore one of them must
be denied. For these reasons they took part with Domitius, whom they
exhorted and encouraged to go on, assuring him that many who feared
openly to appear for him, would privately assist him. Pompey's party
fearing this, laid wait for Domitius, and set upon him as he was going
before daylight, with torches, into the Field. First, he that bore
the light next before Domitius was knocked down and killed; then several
others being wounded, all the rest fled, except Cato and Domitius,
whom Cato held, though himself were wounded in the arm, and crying
out, conjured the others to stay, and not, while they had any breath,
forsake the defence of their liberty against those tyrants, who plainly
showed with what moderation they were likely to use the power which
they endeavoured to gain by such violence. But at length Domitius,
also, no longer willing to face the danger, fled to his own house,
and so Pompey and Crassus were declared elected. 

Nevertheless, Cato would not give over, but resolved to stand himself
to be praetor that year, which he thought would be some help to him
in his design of opposing them; that he might not act as a private
man, when he was to contend with public magistrates. Pompey and Crassus
apprehended this; and fearing that the office of praetor in the person
of Cato might be equal in authority to that of consul, they assembled
the senate unexpectedly, without giving notice to a great many of
the senators, and made an order, that those who were chosen praetors
should immediately enter upon their office, without attending the
usual time, in which, according to law, they might be accused, if
they had corrupted the people with gifts. When by this order they
had got leave to bribe freely, without being called to account, they
set up their own friends and dependents to stand for the praetorship,
giving money, and watching the people as they voted. Yet the virtue
and reputation of Cato was like to triumph over all these stratagems;
for the people generally felt it to be shameful that a price should
be paid for the rejection of Cato, who ought rather to be paid himself
to take upon him the office. So he carried it by the voices of the
first tribe. Hereupon Pompey immediately framed a lie, crying out,
it thundered; and straight broke up the assembly, for the Romans religiously
observed this as a bad omen, and never concluded any matter after
it had thundered. Before the next time, they had distributed larger
bribes, and driving also the best men out of the Field, by these foul
means they procured Vatinius to be chosen praetor, instead of Cato.
It is said, that those who had thus corruptly and dishonestly given
their voices hurried, as if it were in flight, out of the Field. The
others staying together, and exclaiming at the event, one of the tribunes
continued the assembly, and Cato standing up, as it were by inspiration,
foretold all the miseries that afterwards befell the state, exhorted
them to beware of Pompey and Crassus, who were guilty of such things,
and had laid such designs, that they might well fear to have Cato
praetor. When he had ended this speech, he was followed to his house
by a greater number of people than all the new praetors elect put

Caius Trebonius now proposed the law for allotting provinces to the
consuls, one of whom was to have Spain and Africa, the other Egypt
and Syria, with full power of making war, and carrying it on both
by sea and land, as they should think fit. When this was proposed,
all others despaired of putting any stop to it, and neither did nor
said anything against it. But Cato, before the voting began, went
up into the place of speaking, and desiring to be heard, was with
much difficulty allowed two hours to speak. Having spent that time
in informing them and reasoning with them, and in foretelling to them
much that was to come, he was not suffered to speak any longer; but
as he was going on, a serjeant came and pulled him down; yet when
he was down, he still continued speaking in a loud voice, and finding
many to listen to him, and join in his indignation. Then the serjeant
took him, and forced him out of the forum; but as soon as he got loose,
he returned again to the place of speaking, crying out to the people
to stand by him. When he had done thus several times, Trebonius grew
very angry, and commanded him to be carried to prison; but the multitude
followed him, and listened to the speech which he made to them as
he went along; so that Trebonius began to be afraid again, and ordered
him to be released. Thus that day was expended, and the business staved
off by Cato. But in the days succeeding, many of the citizens being
overawed by fears and threats, and others won by gifts and favours,
Aquillius, one of the tribunes, they kept by an armed force within
the senate-house; Cato, who cried it thundered, they drove out of
the forum; many were wounded, and some slain; and at length by open
force they passed the law. At this many were so incensed that they
got together and were going to throw down the statues of Pompey; but
Cato went and diverted them from that design. 

Again, another law was proposed, concerning the provinces and legions
of Caesar. Upon this occasion Cato did not apply himself to the people,
but appealed to Pompey himself; and told him, he did not consider
now that he was setting Caesar upon his own shoulders, who would shortly
grow too weighty for him; and at length, not able to lay down the
burden, nor yet to bear it any longer, he would precipitate both it
and himself with it upon the commonwealth; and then he would remember
Cato's advice, which was no less advantageous to him than just and
honest in itself. Thus was Pompey often warned, but still disregarded
and slighted it, never mistrusting Caesar's change, and always confiding
in his own power and good fortune. 

Cato was made praetor the following year; but, it seems, he did not
do more honour and credit to the office by his signal integrity than
he disgraced and diminished it by his strange behaviour. For he would
often come to the court without his shoes, and sit upon the bench
without any undergarment, and in this attire would give judgment in
capital causes, and upon persons of the highest rank. It is said,
also, he used to drink wine after his morning meal, and then transact
the business of his office; but this was wrongfully reported of him.
The people were at that time extremely corrupted by the gifts of those
who sought offices, and most made a constant trade of selling their
voices. Cato was eager utterly to root this corruption out of the
commonwealth; he therefore persuaded the senate to make an order,
that those who were chosen into any office, though nobody should accuse
them, should be obliged to come into the court, and give account upon
oath of their proceedings in their election. This was extremely obnoxious
to those who stood for the offices, and yet more to those vast numbers
who took the bribes. Insomuch that one morning, as Cato was going
to the tribunal, a great multitude of people flocked together, and
with loud cries and maledictions reviled him, and threw stones at
him. Those that were about the tribunal presently fled, and Cato himself
being forced thence, and jostled about in the throng, very narrowly
escaped the stones that were thrown at him, and with much difficulty
got hold of the rostra; where, standing up with a bold and undaunted
countenance, he at once mastered the tumult, and silenced the clamour;
and addressing them in fit terms for the occasion, was heard with
great attention, and perfectly quelled the sedition. Afterwards, on
the senate commending him for this, "But I," said he, "do not commend
you for abandoning your praetor in danger, and bringing him no assistance."

In the meantime, the candidates were in great perplexity; for every
one dreaded to give money himself, and yet feared lest his competitors
should. At length they agreed to lay down one hundred and twenty-five
thousand drachmas apiece, and then all of them to canvass fairly and
honestly, on condition, that if any one was found to make use of bribery
he should forfeit the money. Being thus agreed, they chose Cato to
keep the stakes, and arbitrate the matter; to him they brought the
sum concluded on, and before him subscribed the agreement. The money
he did not choose to have paid for them, but took their securities
who stood bound for them. Upon the day of election, he placed himself
by the tribune who took the votes, and very watchfully observing all
that passed, he discovered one who had broken the agreement, and immediately
ordered him to pay his money to the rest. They, however, commending
his justice highly, remitted the penalty, as thinking the discovery
a sufficient punishment. It raised, however, as much envy against
Cato as it gained him reputation, and many were offended at his thus
taking upon himself the whole authority of the senate, the courts
of judicature, and the magistracies. For there is no virtue, the honour
and credit for which procures a man more odium than that of justice;
and this, because more than any other, it acquires a man power and
authority among the common people. For they only honour the valiant
and admire the wise, while in addition they also love just men, and
put entire trust and confidence in them. They fear the bold man, and
mistrust the clever man, and moreover think them rather beholding
to their natural complexion, than to any goodness of their will, for
these excellences; they look upon valour as a certain natural strength
of the mind, and wisdom as a constitutional acuteness; whereas a man
has it in his power to be just, if he have but the will to be so,
and therefore injustice is thought the most dishonourable, because
it is least excusable. 

Cato upon this account was opposed by all the great men, who thought
themselves reproved by his virtue. Pompey especially looked upon the
increase of Cato's credit as the ruin of his own power, and therefore
continually set up men to rail against him. Among these was the seditious
Clodius, now again united to Pompey, who declared openly, that Cato
had conveyed away a great deal of the treasure that was found in Cyprus;
and that he hated Pompey only because he refused to marry his daughter.
Cato answered, that although they had allowed him neither horse nor
man, he had brought more treasure from Cyprus alone, than Pompey had,
after so many wars and triumphs, from the ransacked world; that he
never sought the alliance of Pompey; not that he thought him unworthy
of being related to him, but because he differed so much from him
in things that concerned the commonwealth. "For," said he, "I laid
down the province that was given me, when I went out of my praetorship;
Pompey, on the contrary, retains many provinces for himself, and he
bestows many on others; and but now he sent Caesar a force of six
thousand men into Gaul, which Caesar never asked the people for, nor
had Pompey obtained their consent to give. Men, and horse, and arms,
in any number, are become the mutual gifts of private men to one another;
and Pompey, keeping the titles of commander and general, hands over
the armies and provinces to others to govern, while he himself stays
at home to preside at the contests of the canvass, and to stir up
tumults at elections; out of the anarchy he thus creates among us,
seeking, we see well enough, a monarchy for himself." Thus he retorted
on Pompey. 

He had an intimate friend and admirer of the name of Marcus Favonius,
much the same to Cato as we are told Apollodorus, the Phalerian, was
in old time to Socrates, whose words used to throw him into perfect
transports and ecstasies, getting into his head, like strong wine,
and intoxicating him to a sort of frenzy. This Favonius stood to be
chosen aedile, and was like to lose it; but Cato, who was there to
assist him, observed that all the votes were written in one hand,
and discovering the cheat, appealed to the tribunes, who stopped the
election. Favonius was afterwards chosen aedile, and Cato, who assisted
him in all things that belonged to his office, also undertook the
care of the spectacles that were exhibited in the theatre; giving
the actors crowns, not of gold, but of wild olive, such as used to
be given at the Olympic games; and instead of the magnificent presents
that were usually made, he offered to the Greeks beet root, lettuces,
radishes, and pears; and to the Romans earthen pots of wine, pork,
figs, cucumbers, and little faggots of wood. Some ridiculed Cato for
his economy, others looked with respect on this gentle relaxation
of his usual rigour and austerity. In fine, Favonius himself mingled
with the crowd, and sitting among the spectators, clapped and applauded
Cato, bade him bestow rewards on those who did well, and called on
the people to pay their honours to him, as for himself he had placed
his whole authority in Cato's hands. At the same time, Curio, the
colleague of Favonius, gave very magnificent entertainments in another
theatre; but the people left his, and went to those of Favonius, which
they much applauded, and joined heartily in the diversion, seeing
him act the private man, and Cato the master of the shows, who, in
fact, did all this in derision of the great expenses that others incurred,
and to teach them, that in amusements men ought to seek amusement
only, and the display of a decent cheerfulness, not great preparations
and costly magnificence, demanding the expenditure of endless care
and trouble about things of little concern. 

After this, Scipio, Hypsaeus, and Milo, stood to be consuls, and that
not only with the usual and now recognized disorders of bribery and
corruption, but with arms and slaughter, and every appearance of carrying
their audacity and desperation to the length of actual civil war.
Whereupon it was proposed that Pompey might be empowered to preside
over that election. This Cato at first opposed, saying that the laws
ought not to seek protection from Pompey, but Pompey from the laws.
Yet the confusion lasting a long time, the forum continually, as it
were, besieged with three armies, and no possibility appearing of
a stop being put to these disorders, Cato at length agreed that, rather
than fall into the last extremity, the senate should freely confer
all on Pompey; since it was necessary to make use of a lesser illegality
as a remedy against the greatest of all, and better to set up a monarchy
themselves than to suffer a sedition to continue that must certainly
end in one. Bibulus, therefore, a friend of Cato's, moved the senate
to create Pompey sole consul; for that either he would reestablish
the lawful government, or they should serve under the master. Cato
stood up, and, contrary to all expectation, seconded this motion,
concluding that any government was better than mere confusion, and
that he did not question but Pompey would deal honourably, and take
care of the commonwealth thus committed to his charge. Pompey being
hereupon declared consul, invited Cato to see him in the suburbs.
When he came, he saluted and embraced him very kindly, acknowledged
the favour he had done him, and desired his counsel and assistance,
in the management of this office. Cato made answer, that what he had
spoken on any former occasion was not out of hate to Pompey, nor what
he had now done out of love to him, but all for the good of the commonwealth;
that in private, if he asked him, he would freely give his advice;
and in public, though he asked him not, he would always speak his
opinion. And he did accordingly. For first, when Pompey made severe
laws, for punishing and laying great fines on those who had corrupted
the people with gifts, Cato advised him to let alone what was already
passed, and to provide for the future; for if he should look up past
misdemeanours, it would be difficult to know where to stop; and if
he would ordain new penalties, it would be unreasonable to punish
men by a law, which at that time they had not the opportunity of breaking.
Afterwards, when many considerable men, and some of Pompey's own relations,
were accused, and he grew remiss, and disinclined to the prosecution,
Cato sharply reproved him, and urged him to proceed. Pompey had made
a law, also, to forbid the custom of making commendatory orations
in behalf of those that were accused; yet he himself wrote one for
Munatius Plancus, and sent it while the cause was pleading; upon which
Cato, who was sitting as one of the judges, stopped his ears with
his hands, and would not hear it read. Whereupon Plancus, before sentence
was given, excepted against him, but was condemned notwithstanding.
And indeed Cato was a great trouble and perplexity to almost all that
were accused of anything, as they feared to have him one of their
judges, yet did not dare to demand his exclusion. And many had been
condemned because, by refusing him, they seemed to show that they
could not trust to their own innocence; and it was a reproach thrown
in the teeth of some by their enemies, that they had not accepted
Cato for their judge. 

In the meanwhile, Caesar kept close with his forces in Gaul, and continued
in arms; and at the same time employed his gifts, his riches, and
his friends above all things, to increase his power in the city. And
now Cato's old admonitions began to rouse Pompey out of the negligent
security in which he lay, into a sort of imagination of danger at
hand; but seeing him slow and unwilling, and timorous to undertake
any measures of prevention against Caesar, Cato resolved himself to
stand for the consulship, and presently force Caesar either to lay
down his arms or discover his intentions. Both Cato's competitors
were persons of good position; Sulpicius, who was one, owed much to
Cato's credit and authority in the city, and it was thought unhandsome
and ungratefully done, to stand against him; not that Cato himself
took it ill. "For it is no wonder." said he, "if a man will not yield
to another, in that which he esteems the greatest good." He had persuaded
the senate to make an order, that those who stood for offices should
themselves ask the people for their votes, and not solicit by others,
nor take others about with them to speak for them, in their canvass.
And this made the common people very hostile to him, if they were
to lose not only the means of receiving money, but also the opportunity
of obliging several persons, and so to become by his means both poor
and less regarded. Besides this, Cato himself was by nature altogether
unfit for the business of canvassing, as he was more anxious to sustain
the dignity of his life and character than to obtain the office. Thus
by following his own way of soliciting, and not suffering his friends
to do those things which take away the multitude, he was rejected
and lost the consulship. 

But whereas, upon such occasions, not only those who missed the office,
but even their friends and relations, used to feel themselves disgraced
and humiliated, and observed a sort of mourning for several days after,
Cato took it so unconcernedly that he anointed himself, and played
at ball in the field, and after breakfasting, went into the forum,
as he used to do, without his shoes or his tunic, and there walked
about with his acquaintance. Cicero blames him, for that when affairs
required such a consul, he would not take more pains, nor condescend
to pay some court to the people, as also because that he afterwards
neglected to try again; whereas he had stood a second time to be chosen
praetor. Cato answered that he lost the praetorship the first time,
not by the voice of the people, but by the violence and corrupt dealing
of his adversaries; whereas in the election of consuls there had been
no foul play. So that he plainly saw the people did not like his manners,
which an honest man ought not to alter for their sake; nor yet would
a wise man attempt the same thing again, while liable to the same

Caesar was at this time engaged with many warlike nations, and was
subduing them at great hazards. Among the rest, it was believed he
had set upon the Germans, in a time of truce, and had thus slain three
hundred thousand of them. Upon which, some of his friends moved the
senate for a public thanksgiving; but Cato declared they ought to
deliver Caesar into the hands of those who had been thus unjustly
treated, and so expiate the offence and not bring a curse upon the
city; "Yet we have reason," said he, "to thank the gods, for that
they spared the commonwealth, and did not take vengeance upon the
army, for the madness and folly of the general." Hereupon Caesar wrote
a letter to the senate which was read openly, and was full of reproachful
language and accusations against Cato; who, standing up, seemed not
at all concerned, and without any heat or passion, but in a calm and,
as it were, premeditated discourse, made all Caesar's charges against
him show like mere common scolding and abuse, and in fact a sort of
pleasantry and play on Caesar's part; and proceeding then to go into
all Caesar's political courses, and to explain and reveal (as though
he had been not his constant opponent, but his fellow-conspirator)
his whole conduct and purpose from its commencement, he concluded
by telling the senate, it was not the sons of the Britons or the Gauls
they need fear, but Caesar himself, if they were wise. And this discourse
so moved and awakened the senate, that Caesar's friends repented they
had had a letter read, which had given Cato an opportunity of saying
so many reasonable things, and such severe truths against him. However,
nothing was then decided upon; it was merely said, that it would be
well to send him a successor. Upon that, Caesar's friends required
that Pompey also should lay down his arms, and resign his provinces,
or else that Caesar might not be obliged to either. Then Cato cried
out, what he had foretold was come to pass; now it was manifest he
was using his forces to compel their judgment, and was turning against
the state those armies he had got from it by imposture and trickery.
But out of the senate-house Cato could do but little, as the people
were ever ready to magnify Caesar; and the senate, though convinced
by Cato, were afraid of the people. 

But when the news was brought that Caesar had seized Ariminum, and
was marching with his army toward Rome, then all men, even Pompey,
and the common people too, cast their eyes on Cato, who had alone
foreseen and first clearly declared Caesar's intentions. He therefore
told them, "If you had believed me, or regarded my advice, you would
not now have been reduced to stand in fear of one man, or to put all
your hopes in one alone." Pompey acknowledged that Cato indeed had
spoken most like a prophet, while he himself had acted too much like
a friend. And Cato advised the senate to put all into the hands of
Pompey; "For those who can raise up great evils," said he, "can best
allay them." 

Pompey, finding he had not sufficient forces, and that those he could
raise were not very resolute, forsook the city. Cato, resolving to
follow Pompey into exile, sent his younger son to Munatius, who was
then in the country of Bruttium, and took his eldest son with him;
but wanting somebody to keep his house and take care of his daughters,
he took Marcia again, who was now a rich widow, Hortensius being dead,
and having left her all his estate. Caesar afterward made use of this
action also, to reproach him with covetousness, and a mercenary design
in his marriage. "For," said he, "if he had need of a wife why did
he part with her? And if he had not, why did he take her again? Unless
he gave her only as a bait to Hortensius; and lent her when she was
young, to have her again when she was rich." But in answer to this,
we might fairly apply the saying of Euripides- 

"To speak of mysteries- the chief of these 
Surely were cowardice in Hercules." For it is much the same thing
to reproach Hercules for cowardice, and to accuse Cato of covetousness;
though otherwise, whether he did altogether right in this marriage,
might be disputed. As soon, however, as he had again taken Marcia,
he committed his house and his daughters to her, and himself followed
Pompey. And it is said, that from that day he never cut his hair,
nor shaved his beard, nor wore a garland, but was always full of sadness,
grief, and dejectedness for the calamities of his country, and continually
showed the same feeling to the last, whatever party had misfortune
or success. 

The government of Sicily being allotted to him, he passed over to
Syracuse; where, understanding that Asinius Pollio was arrived at
Messena, with forces from the enemy, Cato sent to him, to know the
reason of his coming thither: Pollio, on the other side, called upon
him to show reason for the present convulsions. And being at the same
time informed how Pompey had quite abandoned Italy, and lay encamped
at Dyrrhachium, he spoke of the strangeness and incomprehensibility
of the divine government of things; "Pompey, when he did nothing wisely
nor honestly, was always successful; and now that he would preserve
his country, and defend her liberty, he is altogether unfortunate."
As for Asinius, he said, he could drive him out of Sicily, but as
there were larger forces coming to his assistance, he would not engage
the island in a war. He therefore advised the Syracusans to join the
conquering party and provide for their own safety; and so set sail
from thence. 

When he came to Pompey, he uniformly gave advice to protract the war;
as he always hoped to compose matters, and was by no means desirous
that they should come to action; for the commonwealth would suffer
extremely, and be the certain cause of its own ruin, whoever were
conqueror by the sword. In like manner, he persuaded Pompey and the
council to ordain that no city should be sacked that was subje