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day it is ill with public affairs, if I am the only obstacle to your attaining supreme power. You can not even defend your own family, and you lately lost a lawsuit against a mere freedman.[1] What! have you no resources or power in any other matter than to attack the emperor? I renounce the office, if I alone stand in the way of your hopes. Do you think that Paulus or Fabius, that the Cossæans and the Servilians will tolerate you? and so great a throng of nobles — not noble in name alone, but who honour their nobility by their valour?” After many other remarks (for he talked to him for more than two full hours), “Now, go,” he said; “I give to you, Cinna, a traitor and parricide, the life that I gave you before as a foe. Let friendship this day begin between us: let us see which of us is the more loyal, I who have given you your life, or you who have accepted it.” And so he parted from him. Some time after, he gave him the consulship, lamenting that he [Cinna] had not dared to ask it of him. He was regarded by him [Augustus] thenceforth as a devoted friend, and was made by him his sole heir. Now, after this incident, which happened to Augustus in his fortieth year, there was never any conspiracy or enterprise against him, and he received the due reward of this clemency on his part. But our prince had not the same fortune; for his mildness was unable to protect him from falling afterward into the net of a similar treason.[2] So vain and idle a thing is human circumspection! and amid all our plans, our counsels and precautions, fortune always retains the control of events.

We call physicians lucky when they attain some good result, as if there were no art but theirs which can not sustain itself unaided, and whose bases are too weak to be leaned on with its whole weight, and as if it alone needed to have chance and fortune lend a hand in its operations. I believe the worst or the best of it that you choose, for we have, God be praised! no commerce together. I am different from other men: for I despise it heartily at all times; but when I am ill, instead of arranging a compromise, I begin still more

  1. Par le faveur d’un simple libertin.
  2. Francois de Guise was assassinated at the siege of Orleans, in 1563, by Poltrot de Meré.