17I have made this digression, O conscript fathers, not so much for the sake of speaking of myself, (for I should be in a sorry plight if I were not sufficiently acquitted in your eyes without the necessity of making a formal defence,) as with the view of warning some men of too grovelling and narrow minds, to adopt the line of conduct which I myself have always pursued, and to think the virtue of excellent citizens worthy of imitation, not of envy. There is a great field in the republic, as Crassus used very wisely to say; the road to glory is open to many.
VII. Would that those great men were still alive, who, after my consulship, when I myself was willing to yield to them, were themselves desirous to see me in the post of leader. But at the present moment, when there is such a dearth of wise and fearless men of consular rank, how great do you not suppose must be my grief and indignation, when I see some men absolutely disaffected to the republic, others wholly indifferent to everything, others incapable of persevering with any firmness in the cause which they have espoused; and regulating their opinions not always by the advantage of the republic, but sometimes by hope, and sometimes by fear.