the misery of sovereign power

General Saturninus, reflecting on his rebellion against his friend emperor Probus:

You know not,” continued he, “the misery of sovereign power: a sword is perpetually suspended over our head. We dread our very guards, we distrust our companions. The choice of action or of repose is no longer in our disposition, nor is there any age, or character, or conduct, that can protect us from the censure of envy. In thus exalting me to the throne, you have doomed me to a life of cares, and to an untimely fate. The only consolation which remains is the assurance that I shall not fall alone.”

From Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, read in 2017 (Volume 1 of 6)