Quid ego nunc tibi de Africa, quid de testium dictis scribam? nota sunt, et ea tu saepius legito; sed tamen hoc mihi non praetermittendum videtur, quod primum ex eo iudicio tam egens discessit quam quidam iudices eius ante illud iudicium fuerunt, deinde tam invidiosus ut aliud in eum iudicium cottidie flagitetur. hic se sic habet ut magis timeant, etiam si quierit, quam ut contemnant, si quid commoverit. quanto melior tibi fortuna petitionis data est quam nuper homini novo, C. Coelio! ille cum duobus hominibus ita nobilissimis petebat ut tamen in iis omnia pluris essent quam ipsa nobilitas, summa ingenia, summus pudor, plurima beneficia, summa ratio ac diligentia petendi; ac tamen eorum alterum Coelius, cum multo inferior esset genere, superior nulla re paene, superavit. qua re tibi, si facies ea quae natura et studia quibus semper usus es largiuntur, quae temporis tui ratio desiderat, quae potes, quae debes, non erit difficile certamen cum iis competitoribus qui nequaquam sunt tam genere insignes quam vitiis nobiles; quis enim reperiri potest tam improbus civis qui velit uno suffragio duas in rem publicam sicas destringere?
(Quintus Tullius Cicero, Commentariolum Petitionis 10-12)
Need I write now to you of Africa and the statements of the witness? All that is well known; read it yourself, again and again. Yet this, I think, I should not leave out—that he came out of that trial as impoverished as some of his jury were before that trial, and so hated that there are daily clamours for another prosecution against him. His condition is such that, so far from fearing him even if he is doing nothing, I should despise him if he makes trouble. How much better luck has fallen to you in your canvass than to C. Coelius, another “new man,” a while ago! He stood against two men of the highest nobility, yet whose nobility was the least of their assets—great intelligence, high conscience, many claims to gratitude, great judgement and perseverance in electioneering; yet Coelius, though much inferior in birth and superior in almost nothing, defeated one of them. So for you, if you do what you are well endowed for doing by nature and by the studies which you have always practised—what the occasion demands, what you can and should do—it wil not be a hard contest with these competitors who are by no means as eminent in birth as they are notable in vice. Can there be a citizen so vile as to want to unsheathe, with one vote, two daggers against the State? (tr. David Roy Shackleton Bailey)