Page:Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.djvu/73

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A.D. 355.]
61
URSICINUS GOES TO COLOGNE.

23. And now all of us, fearing mainly for ourselves, accompanied him a long distance on his journey; and although we seemed as exposed to danger as gladiators about to fight with wild beasts, yet considering in our minds that evils are often the forerunners of good, we recollected with admiration that expression of Cicero's, uttered by him in accordance with the eternal maxims of truth, which runs in these words:[1]—"And although it is a thing most desirable that one's fortune should always continue in a most flourishing condition; still that general level state of life brings not so much sensation of joy as we feel when, after having been surrounded by disasters or by dangers, fortune returns into a happier condition."

24. Accordingly we hastened onwards by forced journeys, in order that the master of the horse, who was eager to acquire the honour of suppressing the revolt, might make his appearance in the suspected district before any rumour of the usurpation of Silvanus had spread among the Italians. But rapidly as we hastened, fame, like the wind, had outstripped us, and had revealed some part of the facts; and when we reached Agrippina we found matters quite out of the reach of our attempts.

25. For a vast multitude of people, assembled from all quarters, were, with a mixture of haste and alarm, strengthening the foundations of Silvanus's enterprise, and a numerous military force was collected; so that it seemed more advisable, on the existing emergency, for our unfortunate general to await the intentions and pleasure of the new emperor, who was assuring himself by ridiculous omens and signs that he was gaining accessions of strength. By permitting his feelings of security to increase, by different

  1. There is no such passage in any extant work of Cicero, but a sentence in his speech ad Pontifices resembles it: "For although it be more desirable to end one's life without pain, and without injury, still it tends more to an immortality of glory to be regretted by one's countrymen, than to have been always free from injury." And a still closer likeness to the sentiment is found in his speech ad Quirites post reditum: "Although there is nothing more to be wished for by man than prosperous, equal, continual good-fortune in life, flowing on in a prosperous course, without any misadventure; still, if all my life had been tranquil and peaceful, I should have been deprived of the incredible and almost heavenly delight and happiness which I now enjoy through your kindness." — Orations, v. 2; Bohn, p. 491-2.