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Marcus Cato   


charge even till it died. The graves of Cimon's horses, which thrice
won the Olympian races, are yet to be seen close by his own
monument. Old Xanthippus, too (amongst many others who buried the dogs
they had bred up), entombed his which swam after his galley to
Salamis, when the people fled from Athens, on the top of a cliff,
which they call the Dog's Tomb to this day. Nor are we to use living
creatures like old shoes or dishes and throw them away when they are
worn out or broken with service; but if it were for nothing else,
but by way of study and practice in humanity, a man ought always to
prehabituate himself in these things to be of a kind and sweet
disposition. As to myself, I would not so much as sell my draught ox
on the account of his age, much less for a small piece of money sell a
poor old man, and so chase him, as it were, from his own country, by
turning him not only out of the place where he has lived a long while,
but also out of the manner of living he has been accustomed to, and
that more especially when he would be as useless to the buyer as to
the seller. Yet Cato for all this glories that he left that very horse
in Spain which he used in the wars when he was consul, only because he
would not put the public to the charge of his freight. Whether these
acts are to be ascribed to the greatness or pettiness of his spirit,
let every one argue as they please.
For his general temperance, however, and self-control he really
deserves the highest admiration. For when he commanded the army, he
never took for himself, and those that belonged to him, above three
bushels of wheat for a month, and somewhat less than a bushel and a
half a day of barley for his baggage-cattle. And when he entered
upon the government of Sardinia, where his predecessors had been
used to require tents, bedding and clothes upon the public account,
and to charge the state heavily with the cost of provisions and
entertainments for a great train of servants and friends, the
difference he showed in his economy was something incredible. There
was nothing of any sort for which he put the public to expense; he
would walk without a carriage to visit the cities, with one only of
the common town officers, who carried his dress, and a cup to offer
libation with. Yet though he seemed thus easy and sparing to all who
were under his power, he, on the other hand, showed most inflexible
severity and strictness in what related to public justice, and was
rigorous and precise in what concerned the ordinances of the
commonwealth; so that the Roman government never seemed more terrible,
nor yet more mild than under his administration.
His very manner of speaking seemed to have such a kind of idea
with it; for it was courteous, and yet forcible; pleasant, yet
overwhelming; facetious, yet austere; sententious, and yet vehement;
like Socrates, in the description of Plato, who seemed outwardly to
those about him to be but a simple, talkative, blunt fellow; whilst at
the bottom he was full of such gravity and matter, as would even
move tears and touch the very hearts of his auditors. And,
therefore, I know not what has persuaded some to say that Cato's style
was chiefly like that of Lysias. However, let us leave those to
judge of these things who profess most to distinguish between the
several kinds of oratorical style in Latin; whilst we write down
some of his memorable sayings; being of the opinion that a man's
character appears much more by his words than, as some think it
does, by his looks.
Being once desirous to dissuade the common people of Rome from their
unseasonable and impetuous clamour for largesses and distributions
of corn, he began thus to harangue them: "It is a difficult task, O
citizens, to make speeches to the belly, which has no ears."
Reproving, also, their sumptuous habits, he said it was hard to
preserve a city where a fish sold for more than an ox. He had a
saying, also, that the Roman people were like sheep; for they, when
single, do not obey, but when altogether in a flock, they follow their
leaders: "So you," said he, "when you have got together in a body, let
yourselves be guided by those whom singly you would never think of

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