How long, at last, will you abuse our patience, Catinline? How long indeed will your madness make sport of us? To what end will your unbridled audacity boast? Have in no way at all the nocturnal garrison of the Palatine, the night watches in the city, the fear of the people, the gathering of all good men, this meeting place of the senate strenuously fortified, the expressions and faces of these men moved you? Do you not perceive that your plans are laid bare, do you not see that your conspiracy is choked and repressed by the knowledge of all these men? What were you doing last night, and on the previous night, where were you, whom did you gather, what counsel did you take up, whom of us do you suppose to be ignorant?
i. Oh what times, what practices! The senate understands this, the consul sees it; nonetheless this man lives. Does he live? No, indeed, rather he even enters the senate, he participates in public debate, he marks out and points out with his eyes each and every one of us for slaughter. We, however, brave men, seem to do enough for the Republic, if we evade the madness and weapons of that man. You, Catline, ought to have been led to the death by order of the consul long ago, against you ought to have been turned that destruction which you have been devising against us all.
i. Did indeed that great man, P. Scipio, the high priest, a private citizen, kill Ti. Gracchus when he was only somewhat weakening the state of the Republic; and we consuls shall endure Catiline, who desires to lay waste the whole world through slaughter and conflagration? For I will pass over those rather ancient examples, namely how C. Servilius Ahala killed with his own hand Sp. Maelius when he sought a revolution. There was, there was indeed once such courage in this Republic that brave men would restrain a destructive citizen with fiercer punishments than the fiercest foe. We have a forceful and serious senatorial decree against you, Catiline; neither a plan of action nor the authority of this class fails the Republic: we, we the consuls, I say openly, are failing it.
i. The Senate formerly decreed that the consul L. Opimius might see to it that the Republic not receive any harm: not a single night passed; C. Gracchus, descendent of a most distinguished father, grandfather and ancestors, was killed due to some suspicions of rebellions, M. Fulvius, an ex-consul, along with his sons was killed. By a similar decree of the Senate the Republic was entrusted to the consuls C. Marius and L. Valerius: did death and capital punishment wait on L. Saturninus, the tribune of the plebs, and the praetor C. Servilius for one day afterwards?
But indeed, we already the twentieth day allow the edge of the authority of these men to grow dull. For we have a decree of the Senate of this kind, indeed enclosed in the public records, as if concealed in a scabbard, due to which decree of the Senate, it is fitting that you, Catiline, by killed immediately. You live! and you live not in order to set aside your audacity, but to strengthen it. I desire, Senators, to be merciful myself, I desire not to seem irresponsible in such great dangers to the Republic, but I already find myself guilty of neglect and worthlessness.
i. Their camp in Italy against the Roman people is located in the passes of Etruria, the number of enemies grows every day; but the general of their camp and the leader of the enemy you see inside the walls and all the way into the Senate daily attempting some threat to the Republic. If I order you at once to be seized, and killed, I believe, that I should fear not lest all good men might say that this was done too late by me, but that anyone might say that it was done too cruelly. But that which now ought to have been done a long time ago, I am not yet induced from a sure reason to do. Finally, you shall be killed, at that time, when no one so wicked, so corrupt, so similar to you can be found, such as might admit that it has not been justly done.
As long as there is anyone who will dare to defend you, you will live, and you will live even as you now are living, surrounded by my many firm garrisons, so that you cannot rouse yourself against the Republic. The eyes and ears of many whom you do not perceive will watch and guard you, just as they have done till now.
And indeed, what more do you now expect, Catiline, if night cannot cover up your wicked meetings in shadows nor a private home contain the voices of your conspiracy within walls, if all is revealed, all broken out? Change now that plan, trust me, forget the murders and arsons. You are restrained from all sides; all your plans are clearer than day to us, which you can review together with me.
Therefore, you were at Laeca’s house on that night, Catiline, you divided the parts of Italy, you decided to where it was pleasing for each to set out, you chose whom to leave at Rome, whom to lead out with you, you assigned parts of the city for arsons, you affirmed that you yourself would be going out, you said that even now you had a little cause for delay, namely that I was still alive. Two Roman eques were discovered to free you of those cares and promise that on that very night itself a little before dawn you would kill me in my bed.
I discovered all this when your meeting was scarcely even dismissed; I fortified and strengthened my home with greater defences, I shut out those who you had sent to greet me in the morning, since the very ones had come whom I had already foretold would come to me at this time, as I had told many of the foremost citizens.
Since these things are so, proceed to where you have begun: depart at last from the city; the gates are open; go forth. That camp of yours and Manlius’ misses your leadership too long. Take with you, too, all of your men, if not as many as possible; cleanse the city. You have freed me of great fear, so long as a wall lies between me and you. You cannot be among us any longer; I will not bear it, not endure it, not allow it.
Great thanks should be given the immortal gods and to Jupiter Stator here himself, that most ancient guardian of this city, that so often have we escaped so foul, so horrible ad so hostile a destruction to the Republic as this. It is not too often that the very existence of the Republic is put to the test on account of one person. As long as you plotted against me while I was consul designate, Catiline, I defended myself not with public garrison, but with private vigilance. When in the most recent consular elections you wanted to kill me and your opponents in the plain, I restrained your wicked attempts through the protection and forces of friends without occasioning any public riot having been incited; in short, as often as you made an attempt on me, I opposed you all by myself, although I saw that my destruction would be joined to great upheaval for the Republic.