24XI. “But it is the bitterest thing of all that you, O Aulus Hirtius, who have been distinguished by Cæsar’s kindness, and who have been left by him in a condition which you yourself marvel at. * * * *”
I cannot indeed deny that Aulus Hirtius was distinguished by Cæsar, but such distinctions are only of value when conferred on virtue and industry. But you, who cannot deny that you also were distinguished by Cæsar, what would you have been if he had not showered so many kindnesses on you? Where would your own good qualities have borne you? Where would your birth have conducted you? You would have spent the whole period of your manhood in brothels, and cookshops, and in gambling and drinking, as you used to do when you were always burying your brains and your beard in the laps of actresses.
“And you too, O boy—”
He calls him a boy whom he has not only experienced and shall again experience to be a man, but one of the bravest of men. It is indeed the name appropriate to his age; but he is the last man in the world who ought to use it, when it is his own madness that has opened to this boy the path to glory.
“You who owe everything to his name—”
He does indeed owe everything, and nobly is he paying it.