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Title: The Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series — Volume 1
Author: Pliny, the Younger
Language: English
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and Sue Asscher 




NOTE.--In the following translation the Teubner text, edited by Keil,
has been followed.


Some slight memoir and critical estimate of the author of this
collection of Letters may perhaps be acceptable to those who are
unfamiliar with the circumstances of the times in which he lived.
Moreover, few have studied the Letters themselves without feeling a warm
affection for the writer of them.  He discloses his character therein so
completely, and, in spite of his glaring fault of vanity and his endless
love of adulation, that character is in the main so charming, that one
can easily understand the high esteem in which Pliny was held by the
wide circle of his friends, by the Emperor Trajan, and by the public at
large.  The correspondence of Pliny the Younger depicts for us the
everyday life of a Roman gentleman in the best sense of the term.  We
see him practising at the Bar; we see him engaged in the civil
magistracies at Rome, and in the governorship of the important province
of Bithynia; we see him consulted by the Emperor on affairs of state,
and occupying a definite place among the "Amici Caesaris."  Best of all,
perhaps, we see him in his daily life, a devoted scholar, never so happy
as when he is in his study, laboriously seeking to perfect his style,
whether in verse or prose, by the models of the great writers of the
past and the criticisms of the friends whom he has summoned, in a
friendly way, to hear his compositions read or recited.  Or again we
find him at one of his country villas, enjoying a well-earned leisure
after the courts have risen at Rome and all the best society has betaken
itself into the country to escape the heats and fevers of the capital.
We see him managing his estates, listening to the complaints of his
tenants, making abatements of rent, and grumbling at the agricultural
depression and the havoc that the bad seasons have made with his crops.
Or he spends a day in the open air hunting, yet never omits to take with
him a book to read or tablets on which to write, in case the scent is
cold and game is not plentiful.  In short, the Letters of Pliny the
Younger give us a picture of social life as it was in the closing years
of the first, and the opening years of the second century of the
Christian era, which is as fascinating as it is absolutely unique.

Pliny was born either in 61 or 62 A.D. at Comum on Lake Larius.  His
father, Lucius Caecilius Cilo, had been aedile of the colony, and, dying
young, left a widow, who with her two sons, sought protection with her
brother, Caius Plinius Secundus, the famous author of the Natural
History.  The elder Pliny in his will adopted the younger of the two
boys, and so Publius Caecilius Secundus--as he was originally called--
took thenceforth the name of Caius Plinius, L.F. Caecilius Secundus.
Though later usage has assigned him the name of Pliny the Younger, he
was known to his contemporaries and usually addressed as Secundus.  But
in his early years Pliny was placed under the guardianship of Virginius
Rufus, one of the most distinguished Romans of his day, a successful and
brilliant general who had twice refused the purple, when offered to him
by his legionaries, and who lived to a ripe old age--the Wellington of
his generation.  So it was at Comum that he spent his early boyhood, and
his affection for his birthplace led him in later years to provide for
the educational needs of the youth of the district, who had previously
been obliged to go to Mediolanum (Milan) to obtain their schooling.
What can be better, he asks, than for children to be educated where they
are born, so that they may grow to love their native place by residing
in it?  Pliny was fortunate in having so distinguished an uncle.  On the
accession of Vespasian, the elder Pliny was called to Rome by the
Emperor, and when his nephew--vixdum adolescentus--joined him in the
capital, he took charge of his studies.  At the age of fourteen the
young student had composed a Greek tragedy, to which he playfully refers
in one of his letters, and in Rome he had the benefit of attending the
lectures of the great Quintilian and Nicetes Sacerdos, and of making
literary friendships which were to prove of the utmost value to him in
after years.  Pliny tells us that his uncle looked to him for assistance
in his literary work, and he was thus engaged when his uncle lost his
life in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79, so graphically described in the
two famous letters to Tacitus.  That Pliny deeply felt the loss of his
relative and patron is shown by the eloquent tribute he paid to his
memory, and doubtless, as his death occurred just at his own entry into
public life, he was deprived of an influence which might have helped him
greatly in his career.  Domitian was on the throne, when, in 82, Pliny
joined the 3rd Gallic legion, stationed in Syria, as military tribune.
Service in the field, however, was not to his liking, and, as soon as
his period of soldiering was over, he hurried back to Rome to win his
spurs at the Bar and climb the ladder of civic distinction.  He became
Quaestor in 89 on the recommendation of the Emperor, Tribune in 91, and
Praetor in 93.

So far his advancement had been rapid, but evil times succeeded.
Domitian went from bad to worse.  Always moody, suspicious, and
revengeful, he began to imitate the worst vices of his predecessors of
the line of Augustus.  His hand fell heavily upon the Senatorial order,
and another era of proscription began, in which the dreaded delatores
again became the "terror" of Rome.  It was a time of spoliation and
murder, and Pliny writes of it with a shudder.  Contrasting with the
happy regime of Trajan that which prevailed in his youth and early
manhood, he declares that virtue was regarded with suspicion and a
premium set upon idleness, that in the camps the generals lacked
authority and the soldiers had no sense of obedience, while, when he
entered the Senate, he found it a craven and tongueless assembly (Curiam
trepidam et elinguem), only convened to perpetrate some piece of
villainy for the Emperor, or to humiliate the Senators by the sense of
their own impotence.  Pliny was not the man to make a bold stand against
tyranny, and, during those perilous years, one can well believe that he
did his best to avoid compromising himself, though his sympathies were
wholly on the side of his proscribed friends.  He was a typical
official, suave and polished in manner, yet without that perilous
enthusiasm which would simply have marked him for destruction.  For two
years he was Prefect of the Military Treasury, an office directly in the
gift of the Emperor, and it would seem, therefore, that his character
for uprightness stood him in good stead with the tyrant even in his
worst years.  He did not, like so many of the Roman nobles, retire from
public life and enter into the sullen opposition which enraged the
Emperors even more than active and declared antagonism.

In one passage, indeed, Pliny declares that he, too, was on the black
list of the Emperor, but the words must not be taken too literally.  He
was given to boasting, and he may easily have represented, when the
danger was past, that the peril in which he had stood was greater than
it really was.  No doubt he felt keenly the judicial murder of his
friends Senecio, Rusticus, and Helvidius, and the banishment of
Mauricus, Gratilla, Arria, and Fannia--for women were not spared in the
general proscription; but, after all, the fact that he held office
during the closing years of Domitian's life is ample proof that he knew
how to walk circumspectly, and did not allow his detestation of the
informers to compromise his safety.  When at length, in 96, the Emperor
was assassinated in the palace, and the Senate raised Nerva to the
purple, Pliny stepped forward as the champion of the oppressed, and
impeached Publicius Certus for compassing the death of Helvidius
Priscus, though he was only so far successful that he prevented Certus
from enjoying the consulship which had been promised him.  Pliny revised
the speech and published it in book form, and Certus died a few days
after it appeared, haunted, so Pliny tells us, by the vision of his
prosecutor pursuing him, sword in hand.  Nerva's reign was short, but he
was succeeded by one of the best of the Roman Emperors, Trajan, a prince
under whose just, impartial and strong rule, a man of Pliny's character
was bound to thrive and pass from office to office.  In 98 he had been
appointed by Nerva Prefect of the Treasury of Saturn, and in 100 he held
the Consulship for two months, while still retaining his post at the
Treasury, and delivered his well-known Panegyric on the 1st of
September in that year.  Either in 103 or 104 he was advanced to the
Augurate, and two years later was appointed Curator of the Tiber.  Then
in 111 or 112--according to Mommsen's Chronology--Trajan bestowed upon
him a signal mark of his esteem by selecting him for the Governorship of
the province of Pontus and Bithynia, which he had transferred from the
list of senatorial to that of imperial provinces.  Pliny was given the
special title of Legate Propraetor with full Consular powers, and he
remained in his province for at least fifteen months.  After that the
curtain falls.  Whether he died in Bithynia, or shortly after his return
to Rome, or whether he lived on to enjoy the ripe old age of which he
writes so pleasantly in his letters, we do not know.  Certainly the
probabilities are that, if he had lived, he would have continued to
correspond with his friends, and the absence of further letters makes
for the probability that he died in about his fiftieth year.

In judging these letters for their literary value, the first thing which
strikes the reader is that Pliny did not write for his friends alone.
Whatever the subject of the epistle, whether it was an invitation to
dinner, a description of the charms of the country, an account of a
visit to a friend, or an expression of condolence with some one in his
or her bereavement, he never allowed his pen to run on carelessly.  He
scarcely ever prattles in his letters or lets himself go.  One always
sees in the writer the literary man, who knows that his correspondence
is being passed round from hand to hand, and who hopes that it will find
readers among posterity.  Consequently there is an air of studied
artificiality about many of the letters, which was more to the taste of
the eighteenth than the nineteenth century.  They remind one in many
ways of Richardson and Mackenzie, and Pliny would have been recognised
by those two writers, and by the latter in particular, as a thorough
"man of sentiment."  Herein they differ greatly from the other important
collection which has come down to us from classical times, the Letters
of Cicero.  Pliny, indeed,--and in this he was a true disciple of his
old teacher Quintilian,--took the great Roman orator as his model.
Nothing pleased him more than for his friends to tell him that he was
the Cicero of his time.  Like Marcus Tullius, he was the foremost
pleader of his day; like him again he dabbled in poetry, and his verses,
so far as we know them, were sorry stuff.  Yet again like his master, he
fondly believed that he enjoyed the special inspiration of the Muses.
Pliny, unfortunately for his reputation, gives us a few samples, which
are quite as lame and jingling as the famous "O fortunatam natam, me
Consule, Romam!" which had made generations of Romans smile.  And so, as
Cicero was in all things his master, Pliny too wrote letters, excellent
in their way, but lacking the vivacity and directness of his model, and,
of course, wholly deficient in the political interest which makes
Cicero's correspondence one of the most important authorities for the
history of his troublous time.  Pliny's Letters cover the period from
the accession of Nerva down to 113 A.D.  None precede the death of
Domitian in September 96.  That is to say, they were written in an era
of profound political peace, and most of them in the reign of Trajan,
whose rule Pliny accepted with enthusiastic admiration.  One certainly
could have wished that he had written freely to his friends during the
last years of Domitian's tyranny, for the value of such contemporary
documents would have been enormous.  But he would only have risked his
life by so doing, and that he had no desire to do.  It was not until the
tyrant had fallen under the sword of Stephanus that he felt it safe to
trust his thoughts to paper.  The new era which was inaugurated loosened
his tongue and made him breathe more freely.  He exulted that at last an
honest man could venture to hold his head high without drawing down upon
himself the vengeance of the vile informers who throve upon the
misfortunes of the State.

Two of Pliny's correspondents and friends were Cornelius Tacitus and
Suetonius Tranquillus.  Yet no one can read either the Histories and
Annals of Tacitus or the Lives of the Caesars and then pass to a reading
of Pliny's Letters without being struck by the enormous difference in
their tone and spirit.  It is almost impossible to believe that their
respective authors were contemporaries.  When turning over the pages of
Tacitus one feels that the vices and despotism of the Emperors and the
Empire had crushed all spirit out of the world, had made quiet family
life impossible, and had stamped out every trace of justice and clean
living.  It is a remarkable fact that the great writers of the first
century, as soon as the Augustan era had closed, should have been
masters of a merciless satire, which has rarely been equaled in the
history of the world, and never excelled.  When we think of Roman
society, as it was in the early Empire, our thoughts recur to the lurid
canvases which have been painted for us by Juvenal, by Tacitus, by
Lucan, by Seneca, and by Petronius--pictures which have made the world
shudder, and have led even careful historians astray.  Pliny supplies
the needful corrective and gives us the reverse side of the medal.  Like
the authors we have mentioned, he too writes of the evil days which he
himself has passed through, as of a horrid nightmare from which he has
just awakened; but from his letters, artificial and stilted as they are
in some respects, we learn that there were still to be found those who
had not bowed the knee to Baal.

And so, with this volume in our hands, we obtain a personal introduction
to a number of distinguished Romans and Roman matrons, whose names have
been preserved for all time by the Younger Pliny.  His circle of friends
was a large one.  Let us mention a few of them.  We have already spoken
of Virginius Rufus, the grand old soldier and patriot, who, dying at the
age of eighty-four, was awarded a public funeral, while Cornelius
Tacitus, then Consul, delivered the panegyric in his honour.  Vestricius
Spurinna was  another distinguished general of the old school, and Pliny
relates with enthusiasm how he paid a visit to him in his country-house
when Spurinna was seventy-seven years of age and had retired from public
office.  He tells us how his friend spent his day, how he drove and
walked and played tennis to keep himself in health, wrote Greek and
Latin lyrics, and maintained a keen interest in all that went on in the
capital.  Corellius Rufus is another of the older men of whom Pliny
writes with sincere affection, and he helped to pay the debt of
gratitude he owed him by numerous acts of kindness to his daughter
Crellia.  Voconius Romanus is another of his closest friends, and Pliny
tells us that he wrote such admirable letters that you would think the
Muses themselves must speak in Latin.  His literary associates numbered
among them Caius Cornelius Tacitus, Silius Italicus the poet--whose
veneration for Virgil was so great that he kept his master's birthday
with more solemnity than his own, and visited his tomb on the Bay of
Naples with as much respect as worshippers pay to a temple,--Martial the
epigrammatist, Suetonius Tranquillus the historian, and others such as
Passennus Paullus, Caninius Rufus, Virgilius Romanus, and Caius Fannius,
whose works have not survived the wreck of time, though Pliny showers
upon all of them enthusiastic and indiscriminate praise.  Again, he
enjoyed the friendship of a number of distinguished foreigners,
professional rhetoricians and philosophers, who came back to Rome after
their sentence of banishment, passed by Domitian, had been revoked by
Nerva and Trajan.  Euphrates, Artemidorus, and Isaeus were the three
most famous, and their respective styles are carefully described by
Pliny.  Even more interesting perhaps is the gallery of Roman ladies,
whose portraits are limned with so fine and discriminating a touch.
Juvenal again is responsible for much misconception as to the part the
women of Rome played in Roman society.  The appalling Sixth Satire, in
which he unhesitatingly declares that most women--if not all--are bad,
and that virtue and chastity are so rare as to be almost unknown, in
which he roundly accuses them of all the vices known to human depravity,
reads like a monstrous and disgraceful libel on the sex when one turns
to Pliny and makes the acquaintance of Arria, Fannia, Corellia, and
Calpurnia.  The characters of Arria and Fannia are well known; they are
among the heroines of history.  But in Pliny there are numerous
references to women whose names are not even known to us, but the terms
in which they are referred to prove what sweet, womanly lives they led.
For example, he writes to Geminus:  "Our friend Macrinus has suffered a
grievous wound.  He has lost his wife, who would have been regarded as a
model of all the virtues even if she had lived in the good old days.  He
lived with her for thirty-nine years, without so much as a single
quarrel or disagreement."  "Vixit cum hac triginta novem annis sine
jurgio, sine offensa.  One is reminded of the fine line of Propertius,
in which Cornelia boasts of the blameless union of herself and her
husband, Paullus--

"Viximus insignes inter utramque facem."

This is no isolated example.  One of the most pathetic letters is that
in which Pliny writes of the death of the younger daughter of his friend
Fundanus, a girl in her fifteenth year, who had already "the prudence of
age, the gravity of a matron, and all the maidenly modesty and sweetness
of a girl."  Pliny tells us how it cut him to the quick to hear her
father give directions that the money he had meant to lay out on dresses
and pearls and jewels for her betrothal should be spent on incense,
unguents, and spices for her bier.  What a different picture from
anything we find in Juvenal, who would fain have us believe that
Messalina was the type of the average Roman matron of his day!

Such were some of Pliny's friends.  His distinguished position at the
Bar drew him a host of clients; his official status and his friendship
with Trajan gave him the entree into any society he liked.  He was,
moreover, a man of considerable wealth, generous, even lavish, with his
money, and his disposition was one of the kindest.  He was always ready
to believe the best of any one, always prepared to do a friend a
service, devoted to his wife and her relations, and anxious to deal
justly and honourably with all men.  We have called him vain, and vain
he undoubtedly was to an extraordinary degree.  But Pliny's vanity is
never offensive.  The very naivete with which he acknowledges his
failing disarms all criticism and merely renders it amusing.  Indeed, it
is doubtful whether he would have admitted that it was a failing at all,
inasmuch as it was his love of praise which spurred him on to literary
endeavour.  The Romans, in their grand manner, affected a certain
magniloquence which is alien to the Anglo-Saxon cast of thought, and if
Horace could declare of his own odes that he had erected a monument more
durable than brass, Pliny, who always had the great masters before him,
naturally fell into the same rather vainglorious train of thought.  His
frankest confession is to be found in a letter to Titinius Capito, who
had urged him to write history, when he says:  "Me autem nihil aeque ac
diuturnitatis amor et cupido sollicitat, res homine dignissima, eo
presertime qui nullius sibi conscius culpae posteritatis memoriam non
reformidet."  Or again, he admits that he is not Stoic enough to be
merely content with the consciousness of having done his duty.  He
craves for a public testimony thereto, a little applause from the
bystanders, a vote of thanks from those whom he has benefited.  Most of
us desire the same--the difference is that Pliny does not mind owning up
to it.  But this vanity of his peeps out in curious places.  When we
find him speaking of a young Roman of fashion standing for hours in a
crowd to listen to his pleading in the courts, or of his audience
pressing him not to omit a single line of his poems, or of the
deferential way in which certain young barristers of promise hang on his
lips, copy his gestures and bow to his judgment, one cannot resist a
smile.  When he tells us that he went on calmly reading and taking notes
during the eruption of Vesuvius, though the hot ashes were threatening
to overwhelm the villa in which he was staying, or when he quotes the
really execrable verses which some scribbler of the day composed in his
honour, with the most exquisite self-complacency, one is tempted to show
a little impatience at such extravagant self-satisfaction.  Tacitus
again--that supreme master of irony--must have occasionally curled his
thin lip on reading some of the epistles which were addressed to him by
his friend Pliny.  It is a tribute to Pliny's powers of literary
discernment that he appreciated the marvellous ability of Tacitus,
though had he failed to do so, we should have rated him for his
blindness.  No cultured Roman could fail to see that Tacitus had brought
a new literary style to a pitch of the highest perfection, and his fame
throughout his lifetime was enormous.  So apparently was Pliny's, and
the latter boasts that their names are mentioned together in everyday
conversation, and in the last wills and testaments of people with
literary taste.  Tacitus one day was sitting at the games, and got into
conversation with a stranger sitting in the next seat.  It took a
literary turn, and the stranger was delighted with the learning that
Tacitus displayed.  "Are you a Roman, or from the country" said he.
"You know me quite well," answered Tacitus, "from the books you have
studied."  "Then," rejoined the stranger, "you must be either Tacitus or
Pliny."  It was Tacitus himself who told Pliny the story, and one can
imagine how it would delight him.  He promptly sits down and tells it to
his friend Maximus, and adds another story of a similar character.  But
the most extraordinary passage of all occurs in a letter (vii. 20) to
Tacitus himself.  In it Pliny says that when he was a young man and
Tacitus was already famous, he determined to make him his model.  There
were, he said, many brilliant geniuses, but you--such was the affinity
of our natures--seemed to me to be the most easy to imitate, and the
most worthy of imitation.  Maxime imitabilis, maxime imitandus
videbaris.  Unconscious conceit could go no farther!

And yet one can pardon this egregious vanity when one thinks of Pliny's
other qualities.  Who else is there in Roman literature who so
thoroughly corresponds with our modern ideal of a rich, generous,
cultured public servant?  In one place we find him providing for the
educational needs of his birthplace, Comum.  In another he renounces his
share of an inheritance, and bestows it upon his old township.  Or he
buys a statue for a temple, finds the money for a new shrine, pays the
debts of an acquaintance, gives a friend's daughter a handsome dowry,
opens his purse and enables another deserving friend to acquire the
status of a senator, or finds Martial his travelling expenses.  All the
rising young authors and barristers in Rome looked to him for
encouragement and support; he was ready to attend their public readings,
to rise when the reading was over and say a few words of encouragement,
to canvass for them if they were standing for office, and enlist on
their behalf all the influence at his command.  And he only asked in
return a little deference and acknowledgment of his kindness!  Most
interesting of all, we find him giving a farm to his old nurse, and
asking a friend to look after it for her.  He sends a slave of his, who
was troubled with consumption, to Egypt for a change of air, and
afterwards to the colony of Forum Julii, the modern Frejus on the
Riviera.  Pliny writes of the slaves of his household just as any kind-
hearted Jamaican planter would have written before the Emancipation Act,
and it is to be noted that the head slaves of a Roman gentleman's
establishment were often Greeks of high literary attainments, and
treated by their masters as intimate and affectionate friends.  Pliny
narrates with a shock of uneasiness and horror the story of a Roman
knight who was beaten to death by the servants of his household, and,
though he admits that the knight had been cruel and overbearing, such an
untimely fate brought home to him the insecurity of all masters--that
insecurity which led the Romans to punish with such merciless severity
any attack by a slave upon his owner.  Not that Pliny had any cause for
self-reproach!  He tells us in a charming letter his rule of conduct
with his dependants, and the theory on which he conducted his household.
According to his view, "Servis respublica quaedam et quasi civitas domus
est."  Consequently, he allowed them to make wills and leave their
property as they desired, provided only that the recipients were also
members of the household, and, what was better still, he speaks of his
"facilitas manumittendi"--his readiness to give them their freedom for
faithful service.  One can well imagine that Pliny's was a model family,
that it was his pride to be in every sense of the word a just
paterfamilias, and that he showed his slaves great consideration for
their welfare.  He complains, indeed, jocularly in one place that too
much kindness is not good for servants, as it leads them to presume upon
the easy-going temperament of their master, but that is only a good-
natured grumble on the perennial servant problem.

Pliny was thrice married, twice under Domitian, but his second wife died
in 97, and the lady who figures in the letters is his third wife
Calpurnia, grand-daughter of Calpurnius Fabatus, and niece of a lady
named Hispulla.  We get a charming picture of their mutual happiness in
a letter written by Pliny to Hispulla, who had had charge of his wife's
education when she was a girl.  He praises her intelligence, her
economy, her love for him, and the interest she takes in his career.
When he is pleading in the courts she has messengers to bring her word
of the success of the speech and the result of the trial; when he is
giving a reading to his friends, Calpurnia sits behind a curtain and
greedily drinks in the praises they bestow.  She sets his verses to
music, and Hispulla, who made the match, is neatly rewarded at the
conclusion of the letter by Pliny saying that both he and his wife vie
with one another in seeing who can thank her the more.  When Calpurnia
was obliged to leave her husband and go to Campania for her health, we
find Pliny writing her tender love-letters, describing his anxiety on
her behalf, telling her how he conjures up the very things he most
dreads, how he reads and re-reads her letters, which are his only
comfort, and begging her to write him certainly once, and if possible,
twice a day.  Then in the prettiest passage of all, he tells her how, at
the hours when he used to visit her, he finds his feet carrying him to
the door of her chamber and turns away from the threshold of the empty
room, sad as a lover who finds the door closed against him.  The
glimpses which Roman literature affords us of the conjugal happiness of
man and wife are comparatively few.  Cicero, indeed, wrote in a similar
strain to his wife Terentia, and used even tenderer diminutives than
Pliny, but the sequel was that he soon afterwards divorced her and
married a rich ward.  We do not know the sequel in the case of Pliny.
All we know is that he nearly lost his wife in a dangerous illness
brought on by a miscarriage, and that she accompanied him to Bithynia
during his governorship.  Whether she bore him the child which he so
ardently desired is not stated, but the probabilities are against it, as
there is no mention of such an event in the letters.  His correspondence
clearly proves that for all his ambition he was essentially a family
man.  Nothing could be finer than his description of the heroic devotion
of Arria to her husband, and the pathos with which he describes the
conduct of Fannia, who concealed the death of her dearly loved son from
her sick husband Paetus, telling him the boy was well and resting
quietly, and controlling her motherly tears until she could keep them
back no longer, and rushed from the room to give them free course.
Then, "Satiata siccis oculis composito vultu redibat, tanquam orbitatem
foris reliquisset."  No one could have written that beautiful sentence
but a man of tender heart and sympathies.

Pliny's tastes were catholic.  He writes with delight, but without
pretending to be a connoisseur, of an antique statuette which he had
purchased out of a legacy.  Some rich men in Rome had the mania for
antiques--Corinthian bronzes were the rage in Pliny's day--as badly as
those who haunt our modern sale-rooms.  Pliny's hobby, if he had been
living in our time, would probably have been books.  He is one of the
most bookish men of antiquity.  Wherever he went his books went with
him; in his carriage, in his gardens they never left his side.  He
betrays, moreover, a taste for the beauties of nature which is
distinctly un-Roman.  Even the Roman poets were almost utterly oblivious
to the charms of scenery.  When Horace points out of the window to the
snow lying deep on Soracte, it is not to emphasise the beauty of the
scene, but a preliminary to telling the boy to pile the logs of Algidus
upon the fire.  Even Virgil, who occasionally paints a bit of landscape
or seascape in the Aeneid, does so in a half-hearted fashion, as a mere
preface to the incident which is to follow, not from a poet's love of
beauty.  In Pliny, on the other hand, we find the modern love for a
beautiful view.  Me nihil aeque ac natura opera delectant.  When he
describes his Tuscan villa he uses language with which we feel in
complete harmony.  He specifies the places from which the best views may
be obtained; and if the garden seems to our taste to have been laid out
in rather a formal way, with its box-trees cut into different shapes of
animals and birds, he was in that respect only following the fashion of
his day, and his delight in the unadorned beauties of the surrounding
country has a genuine ring in it.  In another curious respect Pliny was
ahead of his times.  He had no taste for the Circensian games and the
brutalities of the gladiatorial shows.  Writing to Sempronius Rufus (iv.
22), he bluntly declares that he wishes they could be abolished in Rome,
inasmuch as they degrade the character and morals of the whole world.
In another passage (ix. 6) he says that the Circensian games have not
the smallest attraction for him--ne levissime quidem teneor.  He cannot
understand why so many thousands of grown-up people take such a childish
pleasure in watching horses running races.  It is not the speed of the
horses or the skill of the drivers which is the attraction,--if it were,
there might be some reason for their enthusiasm,--what they go to see is
the victory of their pet racing colours, the triumph of the reds, blues,
or greens.  Favent panno, pannum amant.

We find him writing on all manner of subjects.  He asks his scientific
friends to explain to him the mystery of a spring whose waters ebb and
flow, of a lake which contained floating islands, and in one letter he
tells a fascinating ghost story of quite the conventional type, about a
haunted house, which drove any unwary tenant crazy, and the ghost of a
murdered man which walked with clanking chains.  Pliny was no cut and
dried philosopher.  Like his master Cicero he was an eclectic, and
pinned his faith to no single creed.  Whatever was human interested him,
and on whatever interested him he put pen to paper.  It need scarcely be
said how valuable these letters are in filling up the gaps of Roman
history.  We have to thank Pliny for our knowledge of the great eruption
of Vesuvius which overwhelmed Pompeii and Herculaneum, and it was
probably only due to the accident that the elder Pliny was one of the
victims that we possess the two striking letters in which the disaster
is described.  In another letter our author describes how the Emperor
Trajan sent for him and others to his country seat at Centum Cellae, to
help him to try certain important cases, and then he tells us of the
modest, simple living of Trajan--Suavitas simplicitasque convictus--and
the presents he gave them on their departure.  The debates in the
Senate, the trials in the Court of the Hundred, the public readings in
the city, which--first introduced by Asinius Pollio in the time of
Augustus--were then the fashion,--of all these Pliny gives us a clear
presentment.  His charity is hardly ever at fault.  Only when he writes
of Regulus and Pallas does he dip his pen in gall.  But Regulus had been
his bitter enemy and an informer, and the memory of Pallas was justly

A few words may be added respecting the letters which form the Tenth
Book of his correspondence, and which show us Pliny acting as Governor
of the province of Pontus and Bithynia.  He had been sent there because
the finances of many of the cities had been allowed to fall into a
shocking state, and because the Emperor wanted a man whom he could
thoroughly trust to put them straight.  No doubt Pliny, while flattered
at this proof of Trajan's regard, felt the severance from his friends
and ordinary pursuits which this term of absence necessitated.  But
compare his attitude with that of Cicero as Governor of Cilicia!  Cicero
crawled on the outward journey, and when he reached his destination he
counted the days to his return like a bullied school-boy counts the days
to the end of the term.  He writes to his friends in the capital,
begging and praying of them that they will prevent his being obliged to
stay for a second year.  All his thoughts are of Rome and how to return
there.  The wretched provincials bore him to distraction; he yearns for
the wider arena of the capital in which to play the swelling part to
which he aspires.  There is, in short, not a trace in Cicero's letters
from his province to show that he took the slightest interest in his new
surroundings.  Pliny displays a far different spirit.  He reminds us
more of the Colonial Governor of our own day.  He is interested in the
past history and traditions of the country, he is anxious that the
cities shall have good water supplies, good baths, good theatres, good
gymnasia.  He is for ever suggesting to the Emperor that he should send
architects to consult with him on some important public work.  And these
letters disclose to us what a wonderful system of organised government
the Roman Empire possessed.  Pliny even writes to Trajan to ask
permission that an evil-smelling sewer may be covered over in a town
called Amastria.  If all the governors of the provinces wrote home for
orders on such points, the Emperor must indeed have been busy, and some
of his replies to Pliny show that Trajan hinted very plainly that a
governor ought to have some initiative of his own.  None the less, the
tenour of this correspondence proves that Trajan held the threads of
government very jealously in his own hands.  When Pliny suggested the
establishment of a small fire-brigade in Nicomedia, where the citizens
had stood enjoying the aesthetic beauty of a disastrous fire which
destroyed whole streets, instead of putting it out, Trajan sharply
vetoed the suggestion, on the ground that the Greeks were factious
people and would turn even a fire-brigade to illicit and seditious

There is, of course, one letter to Trajan which has achieved world-wide
fame, that in which he asks the Emperor how he wishes him to deal with
the Christians who were brought before him and refused to worship the
statues of the Emperor and the gods.  So much has been written upon this
subject that it is almost superfluous to add more.  Yet it may be
pointed out that the letter only confirms our estimate of the kindliness
and scrupulous justice of Pliny.  He acquits the Christians of all
criminal practices; he bears testimony to the purity of their lives and
their principles.  What baffles and vexes him is their "pertinacity and
inflexible obstinacy"--Neque enim dubitabam, qualecunque esset quod
fateretur, pertinaciam certe et inflexibilem obstinationem debere
puniri.  He could not understand, in other words, why, when the theory
of the Roman religion was so tolerant, the Christians should be so
intolerantly narrow-minded and bigoted.  As we have said, Pliny was an
eclectic, and an eclectic is the last person to understand the frame of
mind which glories in martyrdom.  Such was Pliny's attitude towards the
purely religious side of the question, but that, after all, was not the
main issue.  With him, as the representative of the Roman Emperor, the
crime of the Christians lay not so much in their refusal to worship the
statues of Jupiter and the heavenly host of the Pagan mythology, as in
their refusal to worship the statue of the Emperor.  Church and State
have never been so closely identified in any form of government as in
that of the early Roman Empire.  The genius of the Emperor was the
genius of the Empire; to refuse to sprinkle a few grains of incense on
the ara of Trajan was an act of gross political treason to the best of
rulers.  No wonder, therefore, that Pliny felt constrained to punish
these harmless members of a sect which he could not understand.
Trajan's reply is equally clear and distinct.  He discountenanced all
inquisition and persecution.  The Christians are not to be hunted down,
no notice is to be taken of anonymous accusations, and if any suspected
person renounces his error and offers prayers publicly to the gods of
Rome, no further action is to be taken against him.  On the other hand,
if the case is proved and the accused still remains obstinate,
punishment must follow and the law be maintained.  Pliny evidently
thought that if the Christians were given a chance of renouncing their
past folly the growth of the new religion would be checked.  He speaks
of a certain revival of the old religion, of the temples once more being
thronged by worshippers, and the sacrificial victims again finding
buyers, though almost in the same sentence he describes "the contagion
of the Christian superstition" as having spread not only in the towns
but into the villages and rural districts.  He did not foresee that in
process of time a Roman Emperor would himself embrace the new faith and
persecute the upholders of the old with the same vigour as was in his
day applied to the repression of the new.





You have constantly urged me to collect and publish the more highly
finished of the letters that I may have written.  I have made such a
collection, but without preserving the order in which they were
composed, as I was not writing a historical narrative.  So I have taken
them as they happened to come to hand.  I can only hope that you will
not have cause to regret the advice you gave, and that I shall not
repent having followed it; for I shall set to work to recover such
letters as have up to now been tossed on one side, and I shall not keep
back any that I may write in the future.  Farewell.


As I see that your arrival is likely to be later than I expected, I
forward you the speech which I promised in an earlier letter.  I beg
that you will read and revise it as you have done with other
compositions of mine, because I think none of my previous works is
written in quite the same style.  I have tried to imitate, at least in
manner and turns of phrase, your old favourite, Demosthenes, and Calvus,
to whom I have recently taken a great fancy; for to catch the fire and
power of such acknowledged stylists is only given to the heaven-inspired
few.  I hope you will not think me conceited if I say that the subject-
matter was not unworthy of such imitation, for throughout the whole
argument I found something that kept rousing me from my sleepy and
confirmed indolence, that is to say, as far as a person of my
temperament can be roused.  Not that I abjured altogether the pigments
of our master Cicero; when an opportunity arose for a pleasant little
excursion from the main path of my argument I availed myself of it, as
my object was to be terse without being unnecessarily dry.  Nor must you
think that I am apologising for these few passages.  For just to make
your eye for faults the keener, I will confess that both my friends here
and myself have no fear of publishing the speech, if you will but set
your mark of approval against the passages that possibly show my folly.
I must publish something, and I only hope that the best thing for the
purpose may be this volume which is ready finished.  That is the prayer
of a lazy man, is it not? but there are several reasons why I must
publish, and the strongest is that the various copies I have lent out
are said to still find readers, though by this time they have lost the
charm of novelty.  Of course, it may be that the booksellers say this to
flatter me.  Well, let them flatter, so long as fibs of this kind
encourage me to study the harder.  Farewell.


How is Comum looking, your darling spot and mine?  And that most
charming villa of yours, what of it, and its portico where it is always
spring, its shady clumps of plane trees, its fresh crystal canal, and
the lake below that gives such a charming view?  How is the exercise
ground, so soft yet firm to the foot; how goes the bath that gets the
sun's rays so plentifully as he journeys round it?  What too of the big
banqueting halls and the little rooms just for a few, and the retiring
rooms for night and day?  Have they full possession of you, and do they
share your company in turn? or are you, as usual, continually being
called away to attend to private family business?  You are indeed a
lucky man if you can spend all your leisure there; if you cannot, your
case is that of most of us.  But really it is time that you passed on
your unimportant and petty duties for others to look after, and buried
yourself among your books in that secluded yet beautiful retreat.  Make
this at once the business and the leisure of your life, your occupation
and your rest; let your waking hours be spent among your books, and your
hours of sleep as well.  Mould something, hammer out something that
shall be known as yours for all time.  Your other property will find a
succession of heirs when you are gone; what I speak of will continue
yours for ever--if once it begins to be.  I know the capacity and
inventive wit that I am spurring on.  You have only to think of yourself
as the able man others will think you when you have realised your
ability.  Farewell.


What treasures you have in your villas at Ocriculum, at Narnia, at
Carsola and Perusia!  Even a bathing place at Narnia!  My letters--for
now there is no need for you to write--will have shown you how pleased I
am, or rather the short letter will which I wrote long ago.  The fact
is, that some of my own property is scarcely so completely mine as is
some of yours; the only difference being that I get more thoroughly and
attentively looked after by your servants than I do by my own.  You will
very likely find the same thing yourself when you come to stay in one of
my villas.  I hope you will, in the first place that you may get as much
pleasure out of what belongs to me as I have from what belongs to you,
and in the second that my people may be roused a little to a sense of
their duties.  I find them rather remiss in their behaviour and almost
careless.  But that is their way; if they have a considerate master,
their fear of him grows less and less as they get to know him, while a
new face sharpens their attention and they study to gain their master's
good opinion, not by looking after his wants but those of his guests.


Did you ever see a man more abject and fawning than Marcus Regulus has
been since the death of Domitian?  His misdeeds were better concealed
during that prince's reign, but they were every bit as bad as they were
in the time of Nero.  He began to be afraid that I was angry with him
and he was not mistaken, for I certainly was annoyed.  After doing what
he could to help those who were compassing the ruin of Rusticus
Arulenus, he had openly exulted at his death, and went so far as to
publicly read and then publish a pamphlet in which he violently attacks
Rusticus and even calls him "the Stoics' ape," adding that "he is marked
with the brand of Vitellius."  You recognise, of course, the Regulian
style!  He tears to pieces Herennius Senecio so savagely that Metius
Carus said to him, "What have you to do with my dead men?  Did I ever
worry your Crassus or Camerinus?"--these being some of Regulus's victims
in the days of Nero.  Regulus thought I bore him malice for this, and so
he did not invite me when he read his pamphlet.  Besides, he remembered
that he once mortally attacked me in the Court of the Centumviri.

I was a witness on behalf of Arionilla, the wife of Timon, at the
request of Rusticus Arulenus, and Regulus was conducting the
prosecution.  We on our side were relying for part of the defence on a
decision of Metius Modestus, an excellent man who had been banished by
Domitian and was at that moment in exile.  This was Regulus's
opportunity.  "Tell me, Secundus," said he, "what you think of
Modestus."  You see in what peril I should have placed myself if I had
answered that I thought highly of him, and how disgraceful it would have
been if I had said that I thought ill of him.  I fancy it must have been
the gods who came to my rescue.  "I will tell you what I think of him,"
I said, "when the Court has to give a decision on the point."  He
returned to the charge:  "My question is, what do you think of
Modestus?"  Again I replied:  "Witnesses used to be interrogated about
persons in the dock, not about those who are already convicted."  A
third time he asked:  "Well, I won't ask you now what you think of
Modestus, but what you think of his loyalty."  "You ask me," said I,
"for my opinion.  But I do not think it is in order for you to ask an
opinion on what the Court has already passed judgment."  He was
silenced, while I was congratulated and praised for not having smirched
my reputation by giving an answer that might have been discreet but
would certainly have been dishonest, and for not having entangled myself
in the meshes of such a crafty question.

Well, now the fellow is conscience-stricken, and buttonholes first
Caecilius Celer and then implores Fabius Justsus to reconcile me to him.
Not content with that, he makes his way in to see Spurinna, and begs and
prays of him--you know what an abject coward he is when he is
frightened--as follows.  "Do go," says he, "and call on Pliny in the
morning--early in the morning, for my suspense is unbearable--and do
what you can to remove his anger against me."  I was early awake that
day, when a message came from Spurinna, "I am coming to see you."  I
sent back word, "I will come and see you."  We met at the portico of
Livia, just as we were each of us on the way to see the other.  He
explained his commission from Regulus and added his own entreaties, but
did not press the point too strongly, as became a worthy gentleman
asking a favour for a worthless acquaintance.  This was my answer:
"Well, you must see for yourself what message you think best to take
back to Regulus; I should not like you to be under any misapprehension.
I am waiting till Mauricus returns"--he had not yet returned from exile-
-"and so I cannot give you an answer either way, for I shall do just
what he thinks best.  It is he who is principally interested in this
matter, I am only secondarily concerned."  A few days afterwards Regulus
himself met me when I was paying my respects to the new praetor.  He
followed me thither and asked for a private conversation.  He said he
was afraid that something he once said in the Court of the Centumviri
rankled in my memory, when, in replying to Satrius Rufus and myself, he
remarked, "Satrius Rufus, who is quite content with the eloquence of our
days, and does not seek to rival Cicero."  I told him that as I had his
own confession for it I could now see that the remark was a spiteful
one, but that it was quite possible to put a complimentary construction
upon it.  "For," said I, "I do try to rival Cicero, and I am not content
with the eloquence of our own time.  I think it is very stupid not to
take as models the very best masters.  But how is it that you remember
this case and forget the other one in which you asked me what I thought
of the loyalty of Metius Modestus?"  As you know, he is always pale, but
he grew perceptibly paler at this thrust.  Then he stammered out, "I put
the question not to damage you but Modestus."  Observe the man's
malignant nature who does not mind acknowledging that he wished to do an
injury to an exile.  Then he went on to make this fine excuse; "He wrote
in a letter which was read aloud in Domitian's presence, 'Regulus is the
vilest creature that walks on two legs.'"  Modestus never wrote a truer

That practically closed the conversation.  I did not wish it to go any
further, so that I might not commit myself until Mauricus arrived.
Moreover, I am quite aware that Regulus is a difficult bird to net.  He
is rich, he is a shrewd intriguer, he has no inconsiderable body of
followers and a still larger circle of those who fear him, and fear is
often a more powerful factor than affection.  But, after all, these are
bonds that may be shattered and weakened, for a bad man's influence is
as little to be relied upon as is the man himself.  Moreover, let me
repeat that I am waiting for Mauricus.  He is a man of sound judgment
and sagacity, which he has learned by experience, and he can gauge what
is likely to happen in the future from what has occurred in the past.  I
shall be guided by him, and either strike a blow or put by my weapons
just as he thinks best.  I have written you this letter because it is
only right, considering our regard for one another, that you should be
acquainted not only with what I have said and done, but also with my
plans for the future.  Farewell.


You will laugh, and I give you leave to.  You know what sort of
sportsman I am, but I, even I, have bagged three boars, each one of them
a perfect beauty.  "What!" you will say, "YOU!"  Yes, I, and that too
without any violent departure from my usual lazy ways.  I was sitting by
the nets; I had by my side not a hunting spear and a dart, but my pen
and writing tablets.  I was engaged in some composition and jotting down
notes, so that I might have full tablets to take home with me, even
though my hands were empty.  You need not shrug your shoulders at study
under such conditions.  It is really surprising how the mind is
stimulated by bodily movement and exercise.  I find the most powerful
incentive to thought in having the woods all about me, in the solitude
and the silence which is observed in hunting.  So when next you go
hunting, take my advice and carry your writing tablets with you as well
as your luncheon basket and your flask.  You will find that Minerva
loves to wander on the mountains quite as much as Diana.  Farewell.


See on what a pinnacle you have placed me by giving me the same power
and royal will that Homer attributed to Jupiter, Best and Greatest:--
"One half his prayer the Father granted, the other half he refused."
For I too can answer your request by just nodding a yes or no.  It is
open to me, especially as you press me to do so, to decline to act on
behalf of the Barbici against a single individual; but I should be
violating the good faith and constancy that you admire in me, if I were
to accept a brief against a province to which I am bound by many
friendly ties, and by the work and dangers I have often undertaken in
its behalf.  So I will take a middle course, and of the alternative
favours you ask I will choose the one which will commend itself both to
your interest and your judgment.  For what I have to consider is not so
much what will meet your wishes of the moment, but how to do that which
will win the steady approval of a man of your high character.  I hope to
be in Rome about the Ides of October and then join my credit with yours,
and convince Gallus in person of the wisdom of my resolve, though even
now you may assure him of my good intentions.  "He spake, and Kronios
nodded his dark brows."  Homer again, but why should I not go on plying
you with Homeric lines?  You will not let me ply you with verses of your
own, though I love them so well that I think your permission to quote
them would be the one bribe that would induce me to appear against the
Barbici.  I have almost made a shocking omission, and forgotten to thank
you for the dates you sent me.  They are very fine, and are likely to
prove strong rivals of my figs and mushrooms.  Farewell.


Your letter, asking me to send you one of my compositions, came at an
opportune moment, for I had just made up my mind to do so.  So you were
spurring a willing horse, and you have not only spoiled your only chance
of making excuses for declining, but have enabled me to press work upon
you without feeling ashamed at asking the favour.  For it would be
equally unbecoming for me to hesitate about accepting your offer as for
you who made it to look upon it as a bore.  However, you must not expect
anything of an original kind from a lazy man like me.  I shall only ask
you to find time to again look through the speech which I made to my
townsfolk at the dedication of the public library.  I remember that you
have already criticised a few points therein, but merely in a general
way, and I now beg that you will not only criticise it as a whole, but
will ply your pencil on particular passages as well, in your severest
manner.  For even after a thorough revision it will still be open to us
to publish or suppress it as we think fit.  Very likely the revision
will help us out of our hesitation and enable us to decide one way or
the other.  By looking through it again and again we shall either find
that it is not worth publication or we shall render it worthy by the way
we revise it.

What makes me doubtful is rather the subject-matter than the actual
composition.  It is perhaps a shade too laudatory and ostentatious.  And
this will be more than our modesty can carry, however plain and
unassuming the style in which it is written, especially as I have to
enlarge on the munificence of my relatives as well as on my own.  It is
a ticklish and dangerous subject, even when one can flatter one's self
that there was no way of avoiding it.  For if people grow impatient at
hearing the praises of others, how much more difficult must it be to
prevent a speech becoming tedious when we sing our own praises or those
of our family?  We look askance even at unpretentious honesty, and do so
all the more when its fame is trumpeted abroad.  In short, it is only
the good action that is done by stealth and passes unapplauded which
protects the doer from the carping criticism of the world.  For this
reason I have often debated whether I ought to have composed the speech,
such as it is, simply to suit my own feelings, or whether I should have
looked beyond myself to the public.  I am inclined to the former
alternative by the thought that many actions which are necessary to the
performance of an object lose their point and appositeness when that
object is attained.  I will not weary you with examples further than to
ask whether anything could have been more appropriate than my gracing in
writing the reasons which prompted my generosity.  By so doing, the
result was that I grew familiar with generous sentiments; the more I
discussed the virtue the more I saw its beauties, and above all I saved
myself from the reaction that often follows a sudden fit of open-
handedness.  From all this there gradually grew up within me the habit
of despising money, and whereas nature seems to have tied men down to
their money bags to guard them, I was enabled to throw off the
prevailing shackles of avarice by my long and carefully reasoned love of
generosity.  Consequently my munificence appeared to me to be all the
more worthy of praise, inasmuch as I was drawn to it by reason and not
by any sudden impulse.

Again, I also felt that I was promising not mere games or gladiatorial
shows, but an annual subscription for the upbringing of freeborn youths.
The pleasures of the eye and ear never lack eulogists; on the contrary,
they need rather to be put in the background than in the foreground by
speakers:  but to obtain volunteers who will undertake the fatigue and
hard work of self-culture, we have not only to offer rewards but to
encourage them with the choicest addresses.  For if doctors have to coax
their patients into adopting an insipid but yet wholesome diet, how much
the more ought the man who is giving his fellows good advice to use all
the allurements of oratory to make his hearers adopt a course which,
though most useful, is not generally popular?  Especially is this the
case when we have to try and convince men who have no children of the
value of the boon which is bestowed on those who have, and to induce all
the rest to wait patiently till their turn comes to receive the benefit
now given to a few, and in the meantime show themselves fit recipients
for it.  But just as then, when we wished to explain the meaning and
bearing of our bounty, we were studying the common good and not seeking
an opportunity for self-boasting, so now in the matter of publication we
are afraid lest people should think that we have had an eye not so much
to the benefit of others as to our own glorification.  Besides, we do
not forget how much better it is to seek the reward of a good action in
the testimony of one's conscience than in fame.  For glory ought to
follow of its own accord, and not to be consciously sought for; nor,
again, is a good deed any the less beautiful because owing to some
chance or other no glory attends it.  Those who boast of their own good
deeds are credited not so much with boasting for having done them, but
with having done them in order to be able to boast of them.
Consequently what would have been considered a noble action if told of
by a stranger, loses its striking qualities when recounted by the actual
doer.  For when men find that the deed itself is inassailable they
attack the boastfulness of the doer, and hence if you commit anything to
be ashamed of, the deed itself is blamed, while if you perform anything
deserving of praise, you are blamed for not having kept silence upon it.

Beyond all this, however, there is a special obstacle in the way of
publishing the speech.  I delivered it not before the people but before
the municipal corporation, not in public but in the Council Chamber.  So
I am afraid that it may look inconsistent if, after avoiding the
applause and cheers of the crowd when I delivered the speech, I now seek
for that applause by publishing it, and if, after getting the common
people, whose interests I was seeking, removed from the threshold and
the walls of the Chamber--to prevent the appearance of courting
popularity--I should now seem to deliberately seek the acclamations of
those who are only interested in my munificence to the extent of having
a good example shown them.  Well, I have told you the grounds of my
hesitation, but I shall follow the advice you give me, for its weight
will be reason sufficient for me.  Farewell.


It is surprising how if you take each day singly here in the city you
pass or seem to pass your time reasonably enough when you take stock
thereof, but how, when you put the days together, you are dissatisfied
with yourself.  If you ask any one, "What have you been doing to-day?"
he will say, "Oh, I have been attending a coming-of-age function; I was
at a betrothal or a wedding; so-and-so asked me to witness the signing
of a will; I have been acting as witness to A, or I have been in
consultation with B."  All these occupations appear of paramount
importance on the day in question, but if you remember that you repeat
the round day after day, they seem a sheer waste of time, especially
when you have got away from them into the country; for then the thought
occurs to you, "What a number of days I have frittered away in these
chilly formalities!"  That is how I feel when I am at my Laurentine
Villa and busy reading or writing, or even when I am giving my body a
thorough rest and so repairing the pillars of my mind.  I hear nothing
and say nothing to give me vexation; no one comes backbiting a third
party, and I myself have no fault to find with any one except it be with
myself when my pen does not run to my liking.  I have no hopes and fears
to worry me, no rumours to disturb my rest.  I hold converse with myself
and with my books.  'Tis a genuine and honest life; such leisure is
delicious and honourable, and one might say that it is much more
attractive than any business.  The sea, the shore, these are the true
secret haunts of the Muses, and how many inspirations they give me, how
they prompt my musings!  Do, I beg of you, as soon as ever you can, turn
your back on the din, the idle chatter, and the frivolous occupations of
Rome, and give yourself up to study or recreation.  It is better, as our
friend Attilius once very wittily and very truly said, to have no
occupation than to be occupied with nothingness.  Farewell.


If ever there was a time when this Rome of ours was devoted to learning,
it is now.  There are many shining lights, of whom it will be enough to
mention but one.  I refer to Euphrates the philosopher.  I saw a great
deal of him, even in the privacy of his home life, during my young
soldiering days in Syria, and I did my best to win his affection, though
that was not a hard task, for he is ever easy of access, frank, and full
of the humanities that he teaches.  I only wish that I had been as
successful in fulfilling the hopes he then formed of me as he has been
increasing his large stock of virtues, though possibly it is I who now
admire them the more because I can appreciate them the better.  Even now
my appreciation is not as complete as it might be.  It is only an artist
who can thoroughly judge another painter, sculptor, or image-maker, and
so too it needs a philosopher to estimate another philosopher at his
full merit.  But so far as I can judge, Euphrates has many qualities so
conspicuously brilliant that they arrest the eyes and attention even of
those who have but modest pretensions to learning.  His reasoning is
acute, weighty, and elegant, often attaining to the breadth and
loftiness that we find in Plato.  His conversation flows in a copious
yet varied stream, strikingly pleasant to the ear, and with a charm that
seizes and carries away even the reluctant hearer.  Add to this a tall,
commanding presence, a handsome face, long flowing hair, a streaming
white beard--all of which may be thought accidental adjuncts and without
significance, but they do wonderfully increase the veneration he
inspires.  There is no studied negligence in his dress, it is severely
plain but not austere; when you meet him you revere him without
shrinking away in awe.  His life is purity itself, but he is just as
genial; his lash is not for men but for their vices; for the erring he
has gentle words of correction rather than sharp rebuke.  When he gives
advice you cannot help listening in rapt attention, and you hope he will
go on persuading you even when the persuasion is complete.  He has three
children, two of them sons, whom he has brought up with the strictest
care.  His father-in-law is Pompeius Julianus, a man of great
distinction, but whose chief title to fame is that though, as ruler of a
province, he might have chosen a son-in-law of the highest social rank,
he preferred one who was distinguished not for social dignities but for

Yet why describe at greater length a man whose society I can no longer
enjoy?  Is it to make myself feel my loss the more?  For my time is all
taken up by the duties of an office--important, no doubt, but tedious in
the extreme.  I sit at my magisterial desk; I countersign petitions, I
make out the public accounts; I write hosts of letters, but what
illiterary productions they are!  Sometimes--but how seldom I get the
opportunity--I complain to Euphrates about these uncongenial duties.  He
consoles me and even assures me that there is no more noble part in the
whole of philosophy than to be a public official, to hear cases, pass
judgment, explain the laws and administer justice, and so practise in
short what the philosophers do but teach.  But he never can persuade me
of this, that it is better to be busy as I am than to spend whole days
in listening to and acquiring knowledge from him.  That makes me the
readier to urge you, whose time is your own, to let him put a finish and
polish upon you when you come to town, and I hope you will come all the
sooner on that account.  I am not one of those--and there are many of
them--who grudge to others the happiness they are debarred from
themselves; on the contrary, I feel a very lively sense of pleasure in
seeing my friends abounding in joys that are denied to me.  Farewell.


It is quite a long time since I had a letter from you.  "Oh," you say,
"there has been nothing to write about."  But at least you might write
and say just that, or you might send me the line with which our
grandfathers used to begin their letters:  "All is well if you are well,
for I am well."  I should be quite satisfied with so much; for, after
all, it is the heart of a letter.  Do you think I am joking?  I am
perfectly serious.  Pray, let me know of your doings.  It makes me feel
downright uneasy to be kept in ignorance.  Farewell.


I have suffered a most grievous loss, if loss is a word that can be
applied to my being bereft of so distinguished a man.  Corellius Rufus
is dead, and what makes my grief the more poignant is that he died by
his own act.  Such a death is always most lamentable, since neither
natural causes nor Fate can be held responsible for it.  When people die
of disease there is a great consolation in the thought that no one could
have prevented it; when they lay violent hands on themselves we feel a
pang which nothing can assuage in the thought that they might have lived
longer.  Corellius, it is true, felt driven to take his own life by
Reason--and Reason is always tantamount to Necessity with philosophers--
and yet there were abundant inducements for him to live.  His conscience
was stainless, his reputation beyond reproach; he stood high in men's
esteem.  Moreover, he had a daughter, a wife, a grandson, and sisters,
and, besides all these relations, many genuine friends.  But his battle
against ill-health had been so long and hopeless that all these splendid
rewards of living were outweighed by the reasons that urged him to die.

I have heard him say that he was first attacked by gout in the feet when
he was thirty-three years of age.  He had inherited the complaint, for
it often happens that a tendency to disease is handed down like other
qualities in a sort of succession.  While he was in the prime of life he
overcame his malady and kept it well in check by abstemious and pure
living, and when it became sharper in its attacks as he grew old he bore
up against it with great fortitude of mind.  Even when he suffered
incredible torture and the most horrible agony--for the pain was no
longer confined, as before, to the feet, but had begun to spread over
all his limbs--I went to see him in the time of Domitian when he was
staying at his country house.  His attendants withdrew from his chamber,
as they always did whenever one of his more intimate friends entered the
room.  Even his wife, a lady who might have been trusted to keep any
secret, also used to retire.  Looking round the room, he said:  "Why do
you think I endure pain like this so long?  It is that I may outlive
that tyrant, even if only by a single day."  Could you but have given
him a frame fit to support his resolution, he would have achieved the
object of his desire.  However, some god heard his prayer and granted
it, and then feeling that he could die without anxiety and as a free man
ought, he snapped the bonds that bound him to life.  Though they were
many, he preferred death.

His malady had become worse, though he tried to moderate it by his
careful diet, and then, as it still continued to grow, he escaped from
it by a fixed resolve.  Two, three, four days passed and he refused all
food.  Then his wife Hispulla sent our mutual friend Caius Geminius to
tell me the sad news that Corellius had determined to die, that he was
not moved by the entreaties of his wife and daughter, and that I was the
only one left who might possibly recall him to life.  I flew to see him,
and had almost reached the house when Hispulla sent me another message
by Julius Atticus, saying that now even I could do nothing, for his
resolve had become more and more fixed.  When the doctor offered him
nourishment he said, "My mind is made up," and the word has awakened
within me not only a sense of loss, but of admiration.  I keep thinking
what a friend, what a manly friend is now lost to me.  He was at the end
of his seventy-sixth year, an age long enough even for the stoutest of
us.  True.  He has escaped a lifelong illness; he has died leaving
children to survive him, and knowing that the State, which was dearer to
him than everything else beside, was prospering well.  Yes, yes, I know
all this.  And yet I grieve at his death as I should at the death of a
young man in the full vigour of life; I grieve--you may think me weak
for so doing--on my own account too.  For I have lost, lost for ever,
the guide, philosopher, and friend of my life.  In short, I will say
again what I said to my friend Calvisius, when my grief was fresh:  "I
am afraid I shall not live so well ordered a life now."  Send me a word
of sympathy, but do not say, "He was an old man, or he was infirm."
These are hackneyed words; send me some that are new, that are potent to
ease my trouble, that I cannot find in books or hear from my friends.
For all that I have heard and read occur to me naturally, but they are
powerless in the presence of my excessive sorrow.  Farewell.


This year has brought us a fine crop of poets:  right through April
hardly a day passed without some recital or other.  I am delighted that
literature is so flourishing and that men are giving such open proofs of
brains, even though audiences are found so slow in coming together.
People as a rule lounge in the squares and waste the time in gossip when
they should be listening to the recital.  They get some one to come and
tell them whether the reciter has entered the hall yet, whether he has
got through his introduction, or whether he has nearly reached the end
of his reading.  Not until then do they enter the room, and even then
they come in slowly and languidly.  Nor do they sit it out; no, before
the close of the recital they slip away, some sidling out so as not to
attract attention, others rising openly and walking out boldly.  And
yet, by Hercules, our fathers tell a story of how Claudius Caesar one
day, while walking up and down in the palace, happened to hear some
clapping of hands, and on inquiring the cause and being told that
Nonianus was giving a reading, he suddenly joined the company to every
one's surprise.  But nowadays even those who have most time on their
hands, after receiving early notices and frequent reminders, either fail
to put in an appearance, or if they do come they complain that they have
wasted a day just because they have not wasted it.  All the more praise
and credit, therefore, is due to those who do not allow their love of
writing and reciting to be damped either by the laziness or the
fastidiousness of their audiences.  For my own part, I have hardly ever
failed to attend.  True, the authors are mostly my friends, for almost
all the literary people are also friends of mine, and for this reason I
have spent more time in Rome than I had intended.  But now I can betake
myself to my country retreat and compose something, though not for a
public recital, lest those whose readings I attended should think I went
not so much to hear their works as to get a claim on them to come and
hear mine.  As in everything else, if you lend a man your ears, all the
grace of the act vanishes if you ask for his in return.  Farewell.


You ask me to look out for a husband for your brother's daughter, and
you do well to select me for such a commission.  For you know how I
looked up to him, and what an affection I had for his splendid
qualities; you know, too, what good advice he gave me in my salad days,
and how by his warm praises he actually made it appear that I deserved
them.  You could not have given me a more important commission or one
that I should be better pleased to undertake, and there is no charge
that I could possibly accept as a greater compliment to myself than that
of being set to choose a young man worthy of being the father of
grandchildren to Arulenus Rusticus.  I should have had to look carefully
and long, had it not been that Minucius Acilianus was ready to hand,--
one might almost say that Providence had prepared him for the purpose.
He has for me the close and affectionate regard of one young man for
another--for he is only a few years younger than myself--yet at the same
time he pays me the deference due to a man of years, for he is as
anxious that I should mould and form his character as I used to be that
you and your son should mould mine.  His native place is Brixia, a part
of that Italy of ours which still retains and preserves much of the old-
fashioned courtesy, frugality and even rusticity.  His father, Minucius
Macrinus, was one of the leaders of the Equestrian order, because he did
not wish to attain higher rank; he was admitted by the divine Vespasian
to Praetorian rank, and to the end of his days preferred this modest and
honourable distinction to the--what shall I say?--ambitions or dignities
for which we strive.  His grandmother on his mother's side was Serrana
Procula, who belonged to the township of Patavia.  You know the
character of that place--well, Serrana was a model of austere living
even to the people of Patavia.  His uncle was Publius Acilius, a man of
almost unique weight, judgment, and honour.  In short, you will find
nothing in the whole of his family which will fail to please you as much
as if the family were your own.

As for Acilianus himself, he is an energetic and untiring worker, and
the very pink of courtesy.  He has already acquitted himself with great
credit in the quaestorship, tribunate, and praetorship, and so he has
thus spared you the trouble of having to canvass in his behalf.  He has
a frank, open countenance, fresh-coloured and blooming; a handsome,
well-made figure, and an air that would become a senator.  These are
points which, in my opinion, are not to be neglected, for I regard them
as meet rewards to a girl for her chastity.  I don't know whether I
should add that his father is a well-to-do man, for when I think of you
and your brother for whom we are looking out for a son-in-law, I feel
disinclined to speak of money.  On the other hand, when I consider the
prevailing tendencies of the day and the laws of the state which lay
such prominent stress upon the matter of income, I think it right not to
overlook the point.  Moreover, when I remember the possible issue of the
marriage, I feel that in choosing a bridegroom one must take his income
into account.  Perhaps you will imagine that I have let my affection run
away with me, and that I have exaggerated my friend's merits beyond
their due.  But I pledge you my word of honour that you will find his
virtues to be far in excess of my description of them.  I have the most
intense affection for the young man, and he deserves my love, but it is
one of the proofs of a lover that you do not overburden the object of
your regard with praise.  Farewell.


What a fellow you are!  You promise to come to dinner and then fail to
turn up!  Well, here is my magisterial sentence upon you.  You must pay
the money I am out of pocket to the last farthing, and you will find the
sum no small one.  I had provided for each guest one lettuce, three
snails, two eggs, spelt mixed with honey and snow (you will please
reckon up the cost of the latter as among the costly of all, since it
melts away in the dish), olives from Baetica, cucumbers, onions, and a
thousand other equally expensive dainties.  You would have listened to a
comedian, or a reciter, or a harp-player, or perhaps to all, as I am
such a lavish host.  But you preferred to dine elsewhere,--where I know
not--off oysters, sow's matrices, sea-urchins, and to watch Spanish
dancing girls!  You will be paid out for it, though how I decline to
say.  You have done violence to yourself.  You have grudged, possibly
yourself, but certainly me, a fine treat.  Yes, yourself!  For how we
should have enjoyed ourselves, how we should have laughed together, how
we should have applied ourselves!  You can dine at many houses in better
style than at mine, but nowhere will you have a better time, or such a
simple and free and easy entertainment.  In short, give me a trial, and
if afterwards you do not prefer to excuse yourself to others rather than
to me, why then I give you leave to decline my invitations always.


I used to be very fond of Pompeius Saturninus--our Saturninus, as I may
call him--and to admire his intellectual powers, even before I knew him;
they were so varied, so supple, so many-sided; but now I am devoted to
him body and soul.  I have heard him pleading in the Courts, always keen
and empassioned, and his addresses are as polished and graceful when
they are impromptu as when they have been carefully prepared.  He has a
never-failing flow of apt sentiment; his style is weighty and dignified,
his language is of the sonorous, classical school.  All these qualities
charm me immensely when they come pouring forth in a streaming rush of
eloquence, and they charm me too when I read them in book form.  You
will experience the same pleasure as I do when you take them up, and you
will at once compare them with some one of the old masters whose rival
indeed he is.  You will find even greater charm in the style of his
historical compositions, in its terseness, its lucidity, smoothness,
brilliancy and stateliness, for there is the same vigour in the
historical harangues as there is in his own orations, only rather more
compressed, restricted, and epigrammatic.

Moreover, he writes verses that Catullus or Calvus might have composed.
They are positively brimming over with grace, sweetness, irony and love.
He occasionally, and of set design, interpolates among these smooth and
easy-flowing verses others cast in a more rugged mould, and here again
he is like Catullus and Calvus.  A little while ago he read me some
letters which he declared had been written by his wife.  I thought, on
hearing them, that they were either Plautus or Terence in prose, and
whether they were composed, as he said, by his wife or by himself, as he
denies, his credit is the same.  It belongs to him either as the actual
author of the letters or as the teacher who has made such a polished and
learned lady of his wife--whom he married when she was a girl.  So I
pass the whole day in the company of Saturninus.  I read him before I
set pen to paper; I read him again after finishing my writing, and again
when I am at leisure.  He is always the same but never seems the same.
Let me urge and beg of you to do likewise, for the fact that the author
is still alive ought not to be of any detriment to his works.  If he had
been a contemporary of those on whom we have never set eyes, we should
not only be seeking to procure copies of his books but also asking for
busts of him.  Why then, as he is still amongst us, should his credit
and popularity dwindle, as though we were tired of him?  Surely it is
discreditable and scandalous that we should not give a man the due he
richly deserves, simply because we can see him with our own eyes, speak
to him, hear him, embrace him, and not only praise but love him.


Faith and loyalty are not yet extinct among men:  there are still those
to be found who keep friendly remembrances even of the dead.  Titinius
Capito has obtained permission from our Emperor to erect a statue of
Lucius Silanus in the Forum.  It is a graceful and entirely praiseworthy
act to turn one's friendship with a sovereign to such a purpose, and to
use all the influence one possesses to obtain honours for others.  But
Capito is a devoted hero-worshipper; it is remarkable how religiously
and enthusiastically he regards the busts of the Bruti, the Cassii, and
the Catos in his own house, where he may do as he pleases in this
matter.  He even composes splendid lyrics on the lives of all the most
famous men of the past.  Surely a man who is such an intense admirer of
the virtue of others must know how to exemplify a crowd of virtues in
his own person.  Lucius Silanus quite deserved the honour that has been
paid to him, and Capito in seeking to immortalise his memory has
immortalised his own quite as much.  For it is not more honourable and
distinguished to have a statue of one's own in the Forum of the Roman
People than to be the author of some one else's statue being placed
there.  Farewell.


You say in your letter that you have been troubled by a dream, and are
afraid lest your suit should go against you.  So you ask me to try and
get it postponed, and that I will have to put it off for a few days, or
at least for one day.  It is not an easy matter, but I will do my best,
for, as Homer says, "A dream comes from Zeus."  However, it makes all
the difference whether your dreams usually signify the course of future
events or their opposite.  When I think over a certain dream I once had,
what causes you fear seems to me to promise a splendid termination to
your case.  I had undertaken a brief for Julius Pastor, when there
appeared to me in my sleep a vision of my mother-in-law, who threw
herself on her knees before me and begged that I would not plead.  I was
quite a young man at the time of the action, which was to be heard in
the Fourfold Court, and I was appearing against the most powerful men of
the State, including some of the Friends of Caesar.  All these things or
any one of them might well have shattered my resolution after such an
ominous dream.  Nevertheless, I went on with the case, remembering the
well-known line of Homer:  "But one omen is best, to fight on behalf of
one's country."  For in my case the keeping of my word seemed to me as
important as fighting on behalf of my country or as any other still more
pressing consideration--if any consideration more pressing can be
imagined.  Well, the action went off successfully, and it was the way
that I conducted that case which got me a hearing with men and opened
the door to fame.  So I advise you to see whether you too cannot turn
your dream, as I did mine, to a prosperous issue, or if you think that
it is safer to follow the well-known proverb:  "Never do anything if you
feel the least hesitation," write and tell me so.  I will invent some
excuse or other, and will so arrange matters that you can have your suit
brought on when you like.  For, after all, your position is not the same
as mine was; a trial before the Centumvir's Court cannot be postponed on
any consideration, but an action like yours can be, although it is
rather difficult to arrange.  Farewell.


You and I were born in the same township, we went to school together,
and shared quarters from an early age; your father was on terms of
friendship with my mother and my uncle, and with me--as far as the
disparity in our years allowed.  These are overwhelming reasons why I
ought to advance you as far as I can along the path of dignities.  The
fact of your being a decurio in our town shows that you have an income
of a hundred thousand sesterces, and so, that we may have the pleasure
of enjoying your society not only as a decurio, but as a Roman knight, I
offer you 300,000 numm., to make up the equestrian qualification.  The
length of our friendship is sufficient guarantee that you will not
forget this favour, and I do not even urge you to enjoy with modesty the
dignity which I thus enable you to attain, as perhaps I ought, just
because I know you will do so without any urging from without.  People
ought to guard an honour all the more carefully, when, in so doing, they
are taking care of a gift bestowed by the kindness of a friend.


I am constantly having arguments with a friend of mine who is a learned
and practised speaker, but who admires in pleading nothing so much as
brevity.  I allow that brevity ought to be observed, if the case permits
of it; but sometimes it is an act of collusion to pass over matters that
ought to be mentioned, and it is even an act of collusion to run briefly
and rapidly over points which ought to be dwelt upon, to be thoroughly
driven home, and to be taken up and dealt with more than once.  For very
often an argument acquires strength and weight by being handled at some
length, and a speech ought to be impressed on the mind, not by a short,
sharp shock, but by measured blows, just as a sword should be used in
dealing with the body of an opponent.  Thereupon he plies me with
authorities, and flourishes before me the speeches of Lysias among the
Greeks, and those of the Gracchi and Cato from among Roman orators.  The
majority of these are certainly characterised by conciseness and
brevity, but I quote against Lysias the examples of Demosthenes,
Aeschines, Hyperides, and a multitude of others, while against the
Gracchi and Cato I set Pollio, Caesar, Caelius, and, above all, Marcus
Tullius, whose longest speech is generally considered to be his best.
And upon my word, as with all other good things, the more there is of a
good book, the better it is.  You know how it is with statues, images,
pictures, and the outlines of many animals and even trees, that if they
are at all graceful nothing gives them a greater charm than size.  It is
just the same with speeches,--even the mere volumes themselves acquire a
certain additional dignity and beauty from mere bulk.

These are but a few of the many arguments I usually employ to establish
my point; but there is no pinning my friend down in an argument.  He is
such a slippery fellow that he wriggles off the pin and declares that
these same orators, whose speeches I instance, spoke at less length than
their published addresses seem to show.  I hold the contrary to be the
case, and there are many speeches of many orators in favour of my
opinion, as, for example, the Pro Murena and the Pro Vareno of Cicero,
in which he indicates by side-heads alone, and quite barely and briefly,
how he dealt with certain charges against his clients.  From these it is
clear that he actually spoke at much greater length and left out a
considerable number of passages when he published the addresses.  Cicero
indeed says that in his defence of Cluentius "he had simply followed the
ancient custom and compressed his whole case into a peroration," and
that in defending Caius Cornelius "he had pleaded for four days."  Hence
it cannot be questioned that after speaking somewhat discursively for
several days, as he was bound to do, he subsequently trimmed and revised
his oration and compressed it into a single book--a long one, it is
true, but yet a single book.

But, argues my friend, a good indictment is a different thing from a
good speech.  I know some people hold that view, but I--of course I may
be wrong--feel persuaded that though it is possible to have a good
indictment without a good speech, it is not possible for a good speech
not to be a good indictment.  For a speech is the exemplar of an
indictment--one might even call it its archetype.  Hence in every first-
class oration we find a thousand extempore figures of speech, even in
those which we know to have been carefully edited.  For example, in the
Speech against Verres:--"--some artist.  What was his name?  Yes, you
are quite right.  My friends here tell me it was Polycletus."  It
follows, therefore, that the most perfect indictment is that which most
resembles a spoken speech, provided only that sufficiently adequate time
is allowed for its delivery.  If it is not, then the orator is not at
fault, but the presiding magistrate is very much to blame.  My opinion
receives support from the laws, which are lavish in the amount of time
they place at a pleader's disposal.  They do not inculcate brevity among
counsel, but exhaustiveness--that is to say, they give them time for a
painstaking statement of their case, and this is quite incompatible with
brevity, except the most unimportant actions.  I will add also what
experience has taught me, and experience is the finest master.  I have
constantly acted as counsel, as presiding magistrate, and as one of the
consulting bench.  Different people are influenced by different things,
and it often happens that unimportant details have important
consequences.  Men do not think alike, nor have they the same
inclinations, and hence it comes about that though people have listened
together to the same case being tried, they often form different
opinions about it, and sometimes, though arriving at the same
conclusion, they have been influenced by very different motives.
Moreover, each one has a bias in favour of his own interpretation, and
thus, when a second party enunciates an opinion which he himself has
arrived at, he takes it for gospel and holds to it firmly.
Consequently, a pleader should give each member of the jury something
that he may get hold of and recognise as his own opinion.

Regulus once said to me when we were in Court together:  "You think you
ought to follow up every single point in the case:  I lose no time in
getting a view of my opponent's throat, and consider only the easiest
way of cutting it."  (I must admit that he does cut it when he gets hold
of it, but often in trying to get a hold he makes a mistake.)  Here was
my answer to him:  "Yes, but sometimes what you think is the throat is
only the knee, or the shin bone or the ankle.  As for myself, I may not
be quick at getting a clear view of my enemy's throat, but I keep
feeling for a grip and try him at every point.  In short, as the Greeks
say, 'I leave no stone unturned.'"  I am like a husbandman, I look
carefully after not only my vineyards but my orchards, not only my
orchards but my meadows, while in the meadows I set seed for barley,
beans, and other vegetables, as well as for spelt and the best white
wheat.  So when I plead in the Courts I scatter my arguments like seeds
with a lavish hand, and reap the crop that they produce.  For the minds
of judges are as obscure, as little to be relied upon, and as deceptive
as the dispositions of storms and soils.

Nor do I forget that in his eulogy of that consummate orator, Pericles,
the comedy-writer Eupolis used the following language:--"But besides his
keenness, Persuasion sate upon his lips.  So he charmed all ears and,
alone of all our orators, left his thrill behind him in his hearer's
minds."  But even Pericles would not have possessed the persuasion and
charm of which Eupolis speaks merely owing to his conciseness or to his
keenness, or to both (for they are different attributes), unless he had
also possessed consummate oratorical power.  In order to delight and
carry conviction an orator must have ample time and room allowed him,
for he alone can leave a thrill in his hearers' minds who plants his
weapon besides merely puncturing the skin.  Again, see what another
comic poet writes of the same Pericles:  "He lightened, he thundered, he
turned Hellas upside down."  Such metaphors as thunder, lightning, and
chaos and confusion could not be used of abbreviated and compressed
oratory, but only of oratory on a sweeping scale, pitched in a lofty and
exalted key.

But, you say, the mean is the best.  Quite so, but the mean is as much
neglected by those who fail to do justice to their subject as by those
who overdo it, by those who wear a bearing rein as by those who give
themselves their heads.  And so you often hear the criticism that a
speech was "frigid and weak," just as you hear that another was
"overloaded and a mass of repetition."  The one speaker is said to have
over-elaborated his subject, the other not to have risen to the
occasion.  Both are at fault; one through weakness, the other through
too much strength, and the latter, though he may not show the more
refined intellect, certainly shows the more robust mind.  When I say
this it must not be supposed that I am approving Homer's Thersites--the
man who was a torrent of words--but rather his Ulysses, whose "words
were like snow-flakes in winter," though at the same time I admire his
Menelaus, who spoke "Few words, but well to the point."  Yet, if I had
to choose, I should prefer the speech that is like the winter snow-
storm--viz. fluent, flowing, and of generous width; and not only that,
but divine and celestial.  It may, I know, be said that many people
prefer a short pleading.  No doubt, but they are lazy creatures, and it
is ridiculous to consult the tastes of such sloths as though they were
critics.  For if you take their opinion as worth anything, you will find
that they not only prefer a short pleading, but no pleading at all.

Well, I have told you what I think.  I shall change my opinion if you do
not agree with me, but in that case I beg of you to give me clear
reasons for your disagreement; for although I feel bound to bow to a man
of your judgment, yet in a point of such importance, I consider that I
ought to give way rather to a reasoned statement than to an ipse dixit.
But even if you think I am right, still write and tell me so, and make
the letter as short as you like--for you will thus confirm my judgment.
If I am wrong, see that you write me a very long letter.  I feel sure I
have not estimated you wrongly in thus asking you for a short note if
you agree with me, while laying on you the obligation of writing at
length if you disagree.  Farewell.


Let me acknowledge not only the keenness of your judgment but the
sharpness of your eyesight, not because you are full of wisdom--no,
don't plume yourself on that--but because you are just as wise as I am,
and that is saying a great deal.  Yet, joking apart, I think the slaves
which I bought on your recommendation are a tidy-looking lot.  It now
remains to be seen whether they are honest; because in judging the value
of a slave, it is better to trust one's ears than one's eyes.  Farewell.


Here am I still in Rome, and a good deal surprised to find myself here.
But I am troubled at the long illness of Titus Aristo, which he cannot
shake off.  He is a man for whom I feel an extraordinary admiration and
affection:  search where you will, he is second to none in character,
uprightness, and learning--so much so that I hardly look upon his
illness as that of a mere individual being in danger.  It is rather as
if literature and all good arts were personified in him, and through him
were in grievous peril.  What a knowledge he has of private and public
rights and the laws relating to them!  What a mastery he has of things
in general, what experience, what an acquaintance with the past!  There
is nothing you may wish to learn that he cannot teach you; to me,
certainly, he is a perfect mine of learning whenever I am requiring any
out-of-the-way information.  Then again, how convincing his conversation
is, how strongly it impresses you, how modest and becoming is his
hesitation!  What is there that he does not know straight away?  And
yet, often enough, he shows hesitation and doubt, from the very
diversity of the reasons that come crowding into his mind, and upon
these he brings to bear his keen and mighty intellect, and, going back
to their fountain-head, reviews them, tests them, and weighs them in the
balance.  Again, how sparing he is in his manner of life, how unassuming
in his dress!  I often look at his bedroom and the bed itself, as though
they were models of old-fashioned economy.  However, they are adorned by
his splendid mind, which has not a thought for ostentation, but refers
everything to his conscience.  He seeks his reward for a good deed not
in the praise of the world, but in the deed itself.  In short, you will
not find it easy to discover any one, even among those who prefer to
study wisdom rather than take heed to their bodily pleasures, worthy to
be compared with him.  He does not haunt the training grounds and the
public porticos, nor does he charm the idle moments of others and his
own by indulging in long talks; no, he is always in his toga and always
at work; his services are at the disposal of many in the Courts, and he
helps numbers more by his advice.  Yet in chastity of life, in piety, in
justice, in courage even, there is no one of all his acquaintance to
whom he need give place.

You would marvel, if you were by his side, at the patience with which he
endures his illness, how he fights against his suffering, how he resists
his thirst, how, without moving and without throwing off his bed-
clothes, he endures the dreadful burning heats of his fever.  Just
recently he sent for me and a few others of his especial friends with
me, and begged us to consult his doctors and ask them about the
termination of his illness, so that if there were no hope for him he
might voluntarily give up his life, but might fight against it and hold
out if the illness only threatened to be difficult and long.  He owed
it, he said, to the prayers of his wife, the tears of his daughter, and
the regard of us who were his friends, not to cheat our hopes by a
voluntary death, providing those hopes were not altogether futile.  I
think that such an acknowledgment as that must be especially difficult
to make, and worthy of the highest praise; for many people are quite
capable of hastening to death under the impulse of a sudden instinct,
but only a truly noble mind can weigh up the pros and cons of the
matter, and resolve to live or die according to the dictates of Reason.
However, the doctors give us reassuring promises, and it now remains for
the Deity to confirm and fulfil them, and so at length release me from
my anxiety.  The moment my mind is easy, I shall be off to my Laurentine
Villa--that is to say, to my books and tablets, and to my studious ease.
For now as I sit by my friend's bedside I can neither read nor write,
and I am so anxious that I have no inclination for such study.

Well, I have told you my fears, my hopes, and my future plans; it is
your turn now to write and tell me what you have been doing, what you
are doing now, and what your plans are, and I hope your letter will be a
more cheerful one than mine.  If you have nothing to complain about, it
will be no small consolation to me in my general upset.  Farewell.


You ask me whether I think you ought to practise in the courts while you
are tribune.  The answer entirely depends on the conception you have of
the tribuneship, whether you think it is a mere empty honour, a name
with no real dignity, or an office of the highest sanctity, and one that
no one, not even the holder himself, ought to slight in the least
degree.  When I was tribune, I may have been wrong for thinking that I
was somebody, but I acted as if I were, and I abstained from practising
in the courts.  In the first place, I thought it below my dignity that
I, at whose entrance every one ought to rise and give way, should stand
to plead while all others were sitting; or that I, who could impose
silence on all and sundry, should be ordered to be silent by a water-
clock; that I, whom it was a crime to interrupt, should be subjected
even to abuse, and that I should make people think I was a spiritless
fellow if I let an insult pass unnoticed, or proud and puffed up if I
resented and avenged it.  Again, there was this embarrassing thought
always before me.  Supposing appeal was made to me as tribune either by
my client or by the other party to the suit, what should I do?  Lend him
aid, or keep silence and say not a word, and thus forswear my magistracy
and reduce myself to a mere private citizen?  Moved by these
considerations, I preferred to be at the disposal of all men as a
tribune rather than act as an advocate for a few.  But, to repeat what I
said before, it makes all the difference what conception you happen to
have of the office, and what part you essay to play.  Providing you
carry it through to the end, either will be quite congruous with a man
of wisdom.  Farewell.


My comrade Tranquillus wishes to buy a bit of land which your friend is
said to be offering for sale.  I beg that you will see that he purchases
it at a fair price, for in that case he will be glad to have bought it.
A bad bargain is always annoying, and especially so as it seems to show
that the previous owner has played one a scurvy trick.  As to the plot
in question, if only the price is right, there are many reasons that
tempt my friend Tranquillus to buy--the nearness of the city, the
convenient road, the modest dimensions of his villa and the extent of
the farm, which is just enough to pleasantly disengage his thoughts from
other things, but not enough to give him any worry.  In fact learned
schoolmen, like Tranquillus, on turning land-owners, ought only to have
just sufficient land to enable them to get rid of headaches, cure their
eyes, walk lazily round their boundary paths, make one beaten track for
themselves, get to know all their vines and count their trees.  I have
gone into these details that you might understand what a regard I have
for Tranquillus, and how greatly I shall be indebted to you if he is
enabled to purchase the estate which has all these advantages to commend
it at such a reasonable price that he will not regret having bought it.



Not for many years have the Roman people seen so striking and even so
memorable a spectacle as that provided by the public funeral of
Virginius Rufus, one of our noblest and most distinguished citizens, and
not less fortunate than distinguished.  He lived in a blaze of glory for
thirty years.  He read poems and histories composed in his honour, and
so enjoyed in life the fame that awaited him among posterity.  He held
the consulship three times, so that he might attain the highest
distinction open to a private citizen, as he had declined to lay hands
on the sovereign power.  He escaped unscathed from the Emperors, who
were suspicious of his motives and hated him for his virtues; while the
best Emperor of them all, and the one who was his devoted friend, he
left behind him safely installed on the throne, as though his life had
been preserved for this very reason, that he might be honoured with a
public funeral.  He was eighty-three years of age when he died,
sublimely calm, and respected by all.  He enjoyed good health, for
though his hands were palsied they gave him no pain:  only the closing
scenes were rather painful and prolonged, but even in them he won men's
praise.  For while he was getting ready a speech, to return thanks to
the Emperor during his consulship, he happened to take up a rather heavy
book.  As he was an old man and standing at the time, its weight caused
it to fall from his hands, and while he was stooping to pick it up his
foot slipped on the smooth and slippery floor, and he fell and broke his
collar-bone.  This was not very skilfully set for him, and owing to his
old age it did not heal properly.  But his funeral was a source of glory
to the Emperor, to the age in which he lived, and even to the Roman
Forum and the rostra.  His panegyric was pronounced by Cornelius
Tacitus, and Virginius's good fortune was crowned by this, that he had
the most eloquent man in Rome to speak his praises.

He died full of years, full of honours, full even of the honours he
refused.  We shall seek his like in vain; we shall lose in him a living
example of an earlier age.  I shall miss him most of all, for my
affection equalled my admiration, not only of his public virtue but of
his private life.  In the first place, we came from the same district,
we belonged to neighbouring municipalities, our estates and property lay
alongside, and, moreover, he was left as my guardian and showed me all
the affection of a parent.  When I was a candidate for office he
honoured me with his support; in all my elections he left his private
retreat and hastened to escort me in all my entries upon office--though
for years he had ceased to show his friends these attentions,--and on
the day when the priests are accustomed to nominate those they think to
be worthiest of the priesthood he always gave me his nomination.  Even
in his last illness, when he was afraid lest he should be appointed one
of the commission of five who were being appointed on the decree of the
Senate to lessen public expenditure, he chose me, young as I am--though
he had a number of friends still surviving who were much older than I
and men of consular rank--to act as his substitute, and he used these
words:  "Even if I had a son, I should give this commission to you."
Hence it is that I cannot help but mourn his death on your bosom, as
though he had died before his time; if indeed it is right to mourn at
all in such a case, or speak of death in connection with such a man, who
has rather ceased to be mortal than ceased to live.  For he still lives
and will do for all time, and he will acquire a broader existence in the
memories and conversation of mankind, now that he has gone from our

I wished to write to you on many other subjects, but my whole mind is
given up to and fixed on this one subject of thought.  I keep thinking
of Virginius, I dream of him, and, though my dreams are illusory, they
are so vivid that I seem to hear his voice, to speak to him, to embrace
him.  It may be that we have other citizens like him in his virtues, and
shall continue to have them, but there is none to equal with him in
glory.  Farewell.


I am angry with you; whether I ought to be I am not quite sure, but I am
angry all the same.  You know how affection is often biassed, how it is
always liable to make a man unreasonable, and how it causes him to flare
up on even small provocation.  But I have serious grounds for my anger,
whether they are just or not, and so I am assuming that they are as just
as they are serious, and am downright cross with you because you have
not sent me a line for such a long time.  There is only one way that you
can obtain forgiveness, and that is by your writing me at once a number
of long letters.  That will be the only excuse I shall take as genuine;
any others you may send I shall regard as false.  For I won't listen to
such stuff as "I was away from Rome," or "I have been fearfully busy."
As for the plea, "I have not been at all well," I hope Providence has
been too kind to let you write that.  I am at my country house, enjoying
study and idleness in turns, and both of these delights are born of
leisure-hours.  Farewell.


Isaeus's reputation--and it was a great one--had preceded him to Rome,
but it was found to fall short of his merits.  He has consummate
oratorical power, fluency and choice of expression, and though he always
speaks extempore his speeches might have been carefully written out long
beforehand.  He speaks in Greek, and that the purest Attic; his
prefatory remarks are polished, neat and agreeable, and occasionally
stately and sparkling.  He asks to be supplied with a number of subjects
for discussion, and allows his audience to choose which they will have
and often which side they would like him to take.  Then he rises to his
feet, wraps his gown round him, and begins.  Without losing a moment he
has everything at his fingers' ends, irrespective of the subject
selected.  Deep thoughts come crowding into his mind and words flow to
his lips.  And such words--exquisitely choice!  Every now and then there
come flashes which show how widely he has read and how much he has
written.  He opens his case to the point; he states his position
clearly; his arguments are incisive; his conclusions are forcible; his
word-painting is magnificent.  In a word, he instructs, delights, and
impresses his hearers, so that you can hardly say wherein he most
excels.  He makes constant use of rhetorical arguments, his syllogisms
are crisp and finished--though that is not an easy matter to attain even
with a pen.  He has a wonderful memory and can repeat, without missing a
single word, even his extempore speeches.  He has attained this facility
by study and constant practice, for he does nothing else day or night:
either as a listener or speaker he is for ever discussing.  He has
passed his sixtieth year and is still only a rhetorician, and there is
no more honest and upright class of men living.  For we who are always
rubbing shoulders with others in the Forum and in the lawsuits of
everyday life, cannot help picking up a good deal of roguery, while in
the imaginary cases of the lecture hall and the schoolroom it is like
fighting with the button on the foil and quite harmless, and is every
whit as enjoyable, especially for men of years.  For what can be more
enjoyable for men in their old age than that which gave them the keenest
pleasure in their youth?

Consequently, I look upon Isaeus not only as a wonderfully learned man
but as one who possesses a most enviable lot, and you must be made of
flint and iron if you do not burn to make his acquaintance.  So if there
is nothing else to draw you here, if I myself am not a sufficient
attraction, do come to hear Isaeus.  Have you never read of the man who
lived at Gades who was so fired by the name and glory of Titus Livius
that he came from the remotest corner of the world to see him, and
returned the moment he had set eyes on him?  It would stamp a man as an
illiterate boor and a lazy idler, it would be disgraceful almost for any
one not to think the journey worth the trouble when the reward is a
study which is more delightful, more elegant, and has more of the
humanities than any other.  You will say:  "But I have here authors just
as learned, whose works I can read."  Granted, but you can always read
an author, while you cannot always listen to him.  Moreover, as the
proverb goes, the spoken word is invariably much more impressive than
the written one; for however lively what you read may be, it does not
sink so deeply into the mind as what is pressed home by the accent, the
expression, and the whole bearing and action of a speaker.  This must be
admitted unless we think the story of Aeschines untrue, when, after
reading a speech of Demosthenes at Rhodes, he is said to have exclaimed
to those who expressed their admiration of it:  "Yes, but what would you
have said if you had heard the beast himself?"  And yet Aeschines
himself, if we are to believe Demosthenes, had a very striking delivery!
None the less he acknowledged that the author of the speech delivered it
far better than he had done.  All these things point to this, that you
should hear Isaeus, if only to enable you to say that you have heard
him.  Farewell.


If your father had owed his other creditors, or any one of them, as much
as he owed to me, there would perhaps have been good reason for you to
hesitate about entering on the inheritance of an estate which even a man
might find burdensome.  However, I am now the sole creditor, for as we
are relations I thought it my duty to pay off all those who were--I will
not say importunate--but were rather more particular about getting their
money.  When your father was alive, and you were about to be married, I
contributed 100,000 sesterces towards your dower, in addition to the sum
which your father assigned as your wedding portion, out of my pocket--
for it had to be paid out of my money,--so you have ample proof of my
leniency towards you in money matters, and you may boldly rely thereon
and defend the credit and honour of your dead father.  Moreover, to show
you that I can be generous with my purse as well as with my advice, I
authorise you to enter as paid whatever sum was owing by your father to
me.  You need not be afraid that my generosity will embarrass my
finances.  Though my means are modest, though my position is expensive
to keep up and my income is equally small and precarious owing to the
state of the land market, my unemployed capital is increased by my
economical living, and this is the source, as I may call it, from which
I gratify my generosity.  I have to husband it carefully lest the source
should dry up if I draw on it too freely; but such caution is reserved
for others.  In your case I can easily justify my liberality, even
though it be rather larger than usual.  Farewell.


I have forwarded to you the speech which you have often asked for, and
which I have often promised to send, but not the whole of it.  A portion
thereof is still undergoing the polishing process.  Meanwhile, I thought
it would not be out of place to submit to your judgment the parts which
seemed to me to be more finished.  I hope you will bestow on them the
same critical attention that the writer has given them.  I have never
handled any subject that demanded greater pains from me, for whereas in
other speeches I have submitted merely my carefulness and good faith to
men's judgment, in this I submit my patriotism as well.  It is out of
that that the speech has grown, for it is a pleasure to sing the praises
of one's native place and at the same time to do what I could to help
its interests and its fame.  But be sure you prune even these passages
according to your judgment.  For when I think of the fastidiousness of
the general reader and the niceties of his taste, I understand that the
best way to win praise is to keep within moderate limits.

Yet at the same time, though I ask you to show this strictness, I feel
bound to request you to display the opposite quality also and deal
indulgently with many of the passages.  For we must make certain
concessions to our young readers, especially if the subject-matter
allows of it.  Descriptions of scenery, of which there are more than
usual in this speech, should be treated not in a strict historical
fashion, but with some approach to poetic licence.  However, if any one
thinks that I have written more ornately than is warranted by the
serious nature of the subject, the remaining portions of the address
ought to mollify what one may call the austerity of such a man.  I have
certainly tried, by varying the character of the style, to get hold of
all sorts and conditions of readers, and though I am afraid that each
individual reader will not find every single passage to his liking, yet
I think I may be pretty confident that the variety of styles will
recommend the whole to all classes.  For at a banquet, though we each
one of us taboo certain dishes, yet we all praise the banquet as a
whole, nor do the dishes which our palate declines make those we like
any less enjoyable.  I want my speech to be taken in the same spirit,
not because I think I have succeeded in my aim, but because I have tried
to succeed therein, and I believe my efforts will not have been in vain
if only you will take pains now with what I enclose in this letter and
afterwards with the remaining portions.

You will say that you cannot do this sufficiently carefully until you
have gone through the entire speech.  That is so; but for the present
you will be able to get a thorough acquaintance with what I send you,
and there are sure to be certain passages that can be altered in part.
For if you were to see the head or any limb of a statue torn from the
trunk, though you might not be able to speak definitely of its symmetry
and proportion to the rest of the body, you would at least be able to
judge whether the part you were looking at was sufficiently well shaped.
That is the only reason why authors send round to their friends
specimens of their speeches, because any part can be judged to be
perfect or not apart from the remainder.  The pleasure of speaking with
you has led me farther than I intended, but I will conclude for fear of
exceeding in a letter the limits which I think ought to be set to a
speech.  Farewell.


It would be a long story--and it is of no importance--to tell you how I
came to be dining--for I am no particular friend of his--with a man who
thought he combined elegance with economy, but who appeared to me to be
both mean and lavish, for he set the best dishes before himself and a
few others and treated the rest to cheap and scrappy food.  He had
apportioned the wine in small decanters of three different kinds, not in
order to give his guests their choice but so that they might not refuse.
He had one kind for himself and us, another for his less distinguished
friends--for he is a man who classifies his acquaintances--and a third
for his own freedmen and those of his guests.  The man who sat next to
me noticed this and asked me if I approved of it.  I said no.  "Then how
do you arrange matters?" he asked.  "I set the same before all," I
answered, "for I invite my friends to dine not to grade them one above
the other, and those whom I have set at equal places at my board and on
my couches I treat as equals in every respect."  What! even the
freedmen?" he said.  "Yes," I replied, "for then I regard them as my
guests at table, not as freedmen."  He went on:  "It must cost you a
lot."  "Not at all," said I.  "Then how do you manage it?"  "It's easily
done; because my freedmen do not drink the same wine as I do, but I
drink the same that they do."  And, by Jove, the fact is that if you
keep off gluttony it is not at all ruinously expensive to entertain a
number of people to the fare you have yourself.  It is this gluttony
which is to be put down, to be reduced as it were to the ranks, if you
wish to cut down expenses, and you will find it better to consult your
own moderate living than to care about the nasty things people may say
of you.  What then is my point?  Just this, that I don't want you, who
are a young man of great promise, to be taken in by the extravagance
with which some people load their tables under the guise of economy.
Whenever such a concrete instance comes in my way it becomes the
affection I bear you to warn you of what you ought to avoid by giving
you an example.  So remember that there is nothing you should eschew
more than this new association of extravagance and meanness; they are
abominable qualities when separated and single, and still more so when
you get a combination of them.  Farewell.


Yesterday, on the motion of the Emperor, a triumphal statue was decreed
to Vestricius Spurinna.  He is not one of those heroes, of whom there
have been many, who have never stood in battle, never seen a camp, and
never heard the call of the trumpets except at the public shows:  no, he
is one of the real heroes who used to win that decoration by the sweat
of their brow, by shedding their blood and doing mighty deeds.  For
Spurinna restored by force of arms the king of the Bructeri to his
kingdom, and, after threatening war, subdued that savage race by the
terror of his name, which is the noblest kind of victory.  That was the
reward of his valour, and the fact that his son Cottius, whom he lost
while he was away on his duties, was deemed worthy of being honoured
with a statue has solaced his grief for his loss.  Young men rarely
attain such distinction, but his father deserved this additional honour,
for it required some considerable solace to heal his bitter wound.
Moreover, Cottius himself had given such striking proofs of his splendid
character that his short and narrow life ought to be prolonged by the
immortality, so to speak, that a statue confers upon him; for his
uprightness, his weight of character, his influence were such that his
virtues served as a spur even to the older men with whom he has now been
placed on an equality by the honour paid to him.

If I understand the matter aright, in conferring that dignity upon him,
regard was had not only to the memory of the dead man and the grief of
his father, but also to the effect it would have upon others.  When such
splendid rewards are bestowed upon young men--provided they deserve
them--they will serve to sharpen the inclinations of the rising
generation to the practice of the honourable arts; they will make our
leading men more desirous of bringing up their children, increase the
joy they will have in them if they survive, and provide a glorious
consolation if they lose them.  It is for these reasons that I rejoice
on public grounds that a statue has been decreed to Cottius, and on
personal grounds I am equally delighted.  My affection for that most
accomplished youth was as strong as is my ungovernable sorrow at his
loss.  So I shall find it soothing from time to time to gaze upon his
statue, to look back upon it, to stand beneath it, and to walk past it.
For if the busts of the dead that we set up in our private houses
assuage our grief, how much more soothing should be the statues of our
dead friends erected in the most frequented spots, which recall to us
not only the form and face of our lost ones, but also their dignities
and glory?  Farewell.


Are you at your books, or are you fishing, or hunting, or doing all
three together?  For the latter is possible in the neighbourhood of our
Larian lake.  The lake supplies fish in plenty, the woods that girdle
its shores are full of game, and their secluded recesses inspire one to
study.  But whether you combine the three at once, or occupy yourself
with either one of them, I cannot say "I grudge you your happiness,"
though I feel annoyed to think that I am debarred from pleasures which I
long for as ardently as an invalid longs for wine, and the baths, and
the fountains.  If I cannot unloose the close meshes of the net that
enfolds me, shall I never snap them asunder?  Never, I am afraid, for
new business keeps piling up on top of the old, and that without even
the old being got rid of.  Every day the entangling chain of my
engagements seems to lengthen by acquiring additional links.  Farewell.


I am worried and anxious about the candidature of my friend Sextus
Erucius.  I am quite careworn, and feel for my second self, as it were,
a solicitude that I did not feel on my own account.  Besides, my honour,
my reputation, my position are all at stake:  for it was I who obtained
from our Emperor for Sextus the right to wear the latus clavis, it was I
who secured for him the quaestorship; it was owing to my interest that
he was advanced to the right of standing for the tribunate, and unless
he is elected by the Senate, I am afraid that it will look as if I had
deceived the Emperor.  Consequently, I have to do my best to induce all
the senators to take the same favourable view of him that the Emperor
did on my recommendation.  If this were not reason sufficient to rouse
my zeal in his behalf, yet I should like to see a young man helped on,
who is of such sterling character, who is of such weight and learning,
and is fully worthy of any and every praise, as indeed are all the
members of his family.

His father, Erucius Clarus, is a man of probity of the old-fashioned
sort, full of learning and an experienced counsel, conducting his cases
with splendid honesty, perseverance, and modesty as well.  His uncle is
Caius Septicius, than whom I never met any one more sterling, simple,
frank, and trustworthy.  They all see who can shower most affection upon
me, though they all love me equally, and now I can repay the love of all
in the person of young Erucius.  So I am button-holing all my friends,
begging them for their support, going round to see them and haunting
their houses and favourite resorts, and I am putting both my position
and influence to the test by my entreaties.  I beg of you to think it
worth your while to relieve me of some part of my burden.  I will do the
same for you whenever you ask the return favour; nay I will do so even
if you do not ask me.  You are a favourite with many, people seek your
society, and you have a wide circle of friends.  Do you but give a hint
that you have a wish, and there will be plenty who will make your wish
their desire.  Farewell.


What an indolent fellow you are, or perhaps I should say how hard-
hearted you are and almost cruel to keep back so long such splendid
volumes of verse!  How long will you deprive yourself of the chorus of
praise that awaits you, and us of the pleasure of reading them?  Do let
them be borne on the lips of men and circulate through all the wide
regions where the Roman tongue is spoken.  People have long been eagerly
looking forward to your publishing them, and you really ought not to
cheat and disappoint them any longer.  Some of your verses have become
known, and--no thanks to you--have broken down the barriers you set
round them, and unless you rescue them and include them in the main body
of your work they will one day, like vagrant slaves, find some one else
to claim the ownership of them.  Don't lose sight of the fact that you
are but mortal, and that you can only defend yourself from being
forgotten by such a monument as this:  all other titles to fame are
fragile and perishable, and come to a sudden end as soon as the breath
is out of your body.  You will say, as usual, "Oh! my friends must see
to that for me."  Well, I hope you have friends loyal enough, learned
enough, painstaking enough, to be capable and desirous of undertaking
such a responsible task, but I would have you consider whether it is
altogether prudent to expect from other people the toil which you will
not undergo for yourself.  However, as to publishing, do as you please,
but at least give some public readings, in order to stir you on to
publishing, and that you may at length see how pleased people will be to
hear you, as I have for a long time been bold enough to anticipate on
your account.  For I picture to myself what a run there will be to hear
you, how they will admire your work, what applause is in store for you,
and what a hush of attention.  Personally, when I speak or recite I like
a hush quite as much as loud applause, provided that the people are
quiet, because they are keenly interested and eager to hear more.  With
such a reward before you so absolutely certain, do not go on chilling
our enthusiasm by that never-ending hesitation of yours, for if it once
gets over a certain line, there is a danger of people giving it another
name and saying you are idle, slothful, or even nervous.  Farewell.


I know you are always delighted when the Senate behaves in a way
befitting its rank, for though your love of peace and quiet has caused
you to withdraw from Rome, your anxiety that public life should be kept
at a high level is as strong as it ever was.  So let me tell you what
has been going on during the last few days.  The proceedings are
memorable owing to the commanding position of the person most concerned;
they will have a healthy influence because of the sharp lesson that has
been administered; and the importance of the case will make them famous
for all time.

Marius Priscus, on being accused by the people of Africa, whom he had
governed as proconsul, declined to defend himself before the Senate and
asked to have judges assigned to hear the case.  Cornelius Tacitus and
myself were instructed to appear for the provincials, and we came to the
conclusion that we were bound in honesty to our clients to notify the
Senate that the charges of inhumanity and cruelty brought against
Priscus were too serious to be heard by a panel of judges, inasmuch as
he was accused of having received bribes to condemn and even put to
death innocent persons.  Fronto Catius spoke in reply, and urged that
the prosecution should be confined within the law dealing with
extortion:  he is wonderfully skilled at drawing tears, and throughout
his speech he filled his sails with a breeze of pathos.  Then a hubbub
arose, and there were loud exclamations of applause and dissent; some
held that a trial of the case by the Senate was barred by law; others
declared that the Senate was quite competent and entitled to deal with
it, and argued that the law should punish the whole guilt of the
defendant.  At length Julius Ferox, the consul-designate, a man of
honour and probity, gave it as his opinion that judges should be
assigned for the time being, and that those who were said to have bribed
Priscus to punish innocent persons should be summoned to Rome.  This
proposal not only carried the day, but it was the only one that was
numerously supported in spite of the previous fierce dissension, for it
has often been remarked that though partisanship and pity lead men to
make very keen and heated attacks in the first instance, they gradually
sober down under the influence of further consideration and reason.
Hence it comes about that no one cares to make the point, when the other
people are sitting still, which a number of persons may be anxious to
make if an uproar is going on all round them; for when you get away from
the throng a quiet consideration of the subject at issue makes clear all
the points that were lost sight of in the throng of speakers.

Well, the witnesses who were summoned came to Rome, viz., Vitellius
Honoratus and Flavius Martianus.  Honoratus was charged with having
bribed Priscus to the tune of three hundred thousand sesterces to exile
a Roman knight and put seven of his friends to death; Martianus was
accused of having given Priscus seven hundred thousand sesterces to
sentence a single Roman knight to still more grievous punishment, for he
was beaten with rods, condemned to the mines, and then strangled in
prison.  Honoratus--luckily for him--escaped the investigation of the
Senate by dying; Martianus was brought before them when Priscus was not
present.  Consequently Tuccius Cerealis, a man of consular rank, pleaded
senatorial privileges and demanded that Priscus should be informed of
the attendance of Martianus, either because he thought that Priscus by
being present would have a better chance of awakening the compassion of
the Senate or to increase the feeling against him, or possibly, and I
think this was his real motive, because strict justice demanded that
both should defend themselves against a charge that affected them both,
and that both should be punished if they could not rebut the accusation.

The subject was postponed to the next meeting of the Senate, and a very
august assembly it was.  The Emperor presided in his capacity as consul;
besides, the month of January brings crowds of people to Rome and
especially senators, and moreover the importance of the case, the great
notoriety it had obtained, which had been increased by the delays that
had taken place, and the ingrained curiosity of all men to get to know
all the details of an unusually important matter, had made everybody
flock to Rome from all quarters.  You can imagine how nervous and
anxious we were in having to speak in such a gathering and in the
presence of the Emperor on such an important case.  It was not the first
time that I had pleaded in the Senate, and there is nowhere where I get
a more sympathetic hearing, but then the novelty of the whole position
seemed to afflict me with a feeling of nervousness I had never felt
before.  For in addition to all that I have mentioned above I kept
thinking of the difficulties of the case and was oppressed by the
feeling that Priscus, the defendant, had once held consular rank and
been one of the seven regulators of the sacred feasts, and was now
deprived of both these dignities.  So I found it a very trying task to
accuse a man on whom sentence had already been passed, for though the
shocking offences with which he was charged weighed heavily against him,
he yet was protected to a certain extent by the commiseration felt for a
man already condemned to punishment that one might have thought final.

However, as soon as I had pulled myself together and collected my
thoughts, I began my address, and though I was nervous I was on the best
of terms with my audience.  I spoke for nearly five hours, for, in
addition to the twelve water-clocks--the largest I could get--which had
been assigned to me, I obtained four others.  And, as matters turned
out, everything that I thought before speaking would have proved an
obstacle in the way of a good speech really helped me during my address.
As for the Emperor, he showed me such kind attention and consideration--
for it would be too much to call it anxiety on my behalf--that he
frequently nodded to my freedman, who was standing just behind me, to
give me a hint not to overtax my voice and lungs, when he thought that I
was throwing myself too ardently into my pleading and imposing too great
a burden on my slender frame.  Claudius Marcellinus answered me on
behalf of Martianus, and then the Senate was dismissed and met again on
the following day.  For there was no time to begin a fresh speech, as it
would have had to be broken off by the fall of night.  On the following
day, Salvius Liberalis, a man of shrewd wit, careful in the arrangement
of his speeches, with a pointed style and a fund of learning, spoke for
Marius, and in his speech he certainly brought out all he knew.
Cornelius Tacitus replied to him in a wonderfully eloquent address,
characterised by that lofty dignity which is the chief charm of his
oratory.  Then Fronto Catius made another excellent speech on Marius's
behalf, and he spent more time in appeals for mercy than in rebutting
evidence, as befitted the part of the case that he had then to deal
with.  The fall of night terminated his speech but did not break it off
altogether, and so the proceedings lasted over into the third day.  This
was quite fine and just like it used to be for the Senate to be
interrupted by nightfall, and for the members to be called and sit for
three days running.

Cornutus Tertullus, the consul-designate, a man of high character and a
devoted champion of justice, gave as his opinion that the seven hundred
thousand sesterces which Marius had received should be confiscated to
the Treasury, that Marius should be banished from Rome and Italy, and
that Martianus should be banished from Rome, Italy, and Africa.  Towards
the conclusion of his speech he added the remark that the Senate
considered that, since Tacitus and myself, who had been summoned to
plead for the provincials, had fulfilled our duties with diligence and
fearlessness, we had acted in a manner worthy of the commission
entrusted to us.  The consuls-designate agreed, and all the consulars
did likewise, until it was Pompeius Collega's turn to speak.  He
proposed that the seven hundred thousand sesterces received by Marius
should be confiscated to the Treasury, that Martianus should be banished
for five years, and that Marius should suffer no further penalty than
that for extortion--which had already been passed upon him.  Opinion was
largely divided, and there was possibly a majority in favour of the
latter proposal, which was the more lenient or less severe of the two,
for even some of those who appeared to have supported Cornutus changed
sides and were ready to vote for Collega, who had spoken after them.
But when the House divided, those who stood near the seats of the
consuls began to cross over to the side of Cornutus.  Then those who
were allowing themselves to be counted as supporters of Collega also
crossed over, and Collega was left with a mere handful.  He complained
bitterly afterwards of those who had led him to make the proposal he
did, especially of Regulus, who had failed to support him in the
proposal that he himself had suggested.  But Regulus is a fickle fellow,
rash to a degree, yet a great coward as well.

Such was the close of this most important investigation; but there is
still another bit of public business on hand of some consequence, for
Hostilius Firminus, the lieutenant of Marius Priscus, who was implicated
in the matter, had received a very rough handling.  It was proved by the
accounts of Martianus and a speech he made in the Council of the Town of
Leptis that he had engaged with Priscus in a very shady transaction,
that he had bargained to receive from Martianus 50,000 denarii and had
received in addition ten million sesterces under the head of perfume
money--a most disgraceful thing for a soldier, but one which was not at
all inconsistent with his character as a man with well-trimmed hair and
polished skin.  It was agreed on the motion of Cornutus that the case
should be investigated at the next meeting of the Senate, but at that
meeting he did not put in an appearance, either from some accidental
reason or because he knew he was guilty.

Well, I have told you the news of Rome, you must write and tell me the
news of the country.  How are your shrubs getting on, your vines and
your crops, and those dainty sheep of yours?  In short, unless you send
me as long a letter I am sending you, you mustn't expect anything more
than the scrappiest note from me in the future.  Farewell.


As for the bit of public business which, as I told you in my last
letter, arose out of the case of Marius Priscus, I don't know whether it
has been thoroughly pruned, but it certainly has been trimmed.  When
Firminus was called before the Senate he replied to the charges brought
against him.  What they were you know.  The two consuls-designate
thereupon expressed their opinions as to the sentence and disagreed with
one another.  Cornutus Tertullus proposed that he should be degraded
from his rank as senator; Acutius Nerva urged that when the provinces
were allotted Firminus's claim should not be allowed, and his
suggestion, as being the least severe, carried the day, though on the
whole I think it is the harsher and more vindictive of the two.  For
what could be more wretched than to be cut off and debarred from all the
privileges of senatorship, and yet not to be freed from its toil and
trouble?  What position can be more trying for a man with such a stain
on his name than not to be allowed to hide himself from public view, but
to have to show himself in a position of eminence to the gaze and
pointing fingers of the world?  Moreover, can you imagine anything, from
the point of view of the public interest, less congruous or becoming
than that a member of the Senate who has been branded by that body
should keep his seat among them, that he should retain equal rank with
the very persons who branded him, that after being debarred from holding
a governorship for disgraceful conduct as one of an embassy he should
sit in judgment on other governors, and that after being found guilty of
peculation he should pronounce the condemnation or acquittal of others?
However, the majority approved this proposal, for votes are merely
counted and are not weighed according to merit, and there is no other
way possible in a public council.  Yet in such cases this presumed
equality of opinions is really most unequal, for all are equal in the
right to vote though the judgment of the voters is a very unequal
quantity.  I have fulfilled my promise and made good my word contained
in the earlier letter I sent you, which I reckon you will by this time
have received, for I entrusted it to a fleet and conscientious messenger
who must have reached you unless he has been hindered on the road.  It
now rests with you to recompense me for both these epistles with the
very fullest letter that can be sent from where you are staying.


I know you are only too pleased to seize an opportunity for doing me a
service, and for my own part I would rather be in your debt than in that
of any one else.  So, for both these reasons, I have decided to choose
you of all people as the one from whom to ask a favour which I am very
anxious to have granted me.  You are in command of a magnificent army,
which gives you abundant material for conferring favours, and, moreover,
has provided you with ample time during which you have advanced the
interests of your own friends.  Now give my friends a turn, please.
There are not many of them, though you doubtless wish there were.  But I
am too modest to ask favours for more than one or two.  Indeed there is
only one, and that is Voconius Romanus.  His father held a distinguished
position in the equestrian order; his stepfather, or rather his second
father, an even more distinguished place, for Voconius took the name of
the latter out of his regard for him, while his mother belonged to one
of the leading families of Hither Spain.  You know how sound and weighty
the opinion of that province is--well, Voconius was quite recently its
flamen.  When we were students he and I were close and intimate friends;
we spent our days together in Rome and in the country; he was my
companion both in moments of work and play.  You could not imagine a
more trusty friend or a more delightful companion.  He has wonderful
conversational powers, and a remarkably sweet face and expression, and
besides this he possesses a lofty intellect and is shrewd, pleasant,
ready, and a clever advocate.  The letters he writes are so good as to
make you think the Muses speak Latin.  I have the greatest affection for
him, and he has the same for me.  When we were both young I did all that
I possibly could as a young man to advance him, and just lately I
induced our excellent Emperor to grant him the privileges attached to
the parentage of three children.  That is a favour he bestows but
sparingly and after careful choice, yet he acceded to my request as
though the choice were his own.  There is no better way by which I may
keep up my services to him than by adding to their number, especially as
he, the recipient, shows himself so grateful to me that by accepting
former favours he earns others to come.  I have told you what kind of a
man he is, how thoroughly I esteem him and how dear he is to me, and I
now ask you to use your wits and splendid opportunities for his
advancement.  Above all, give him your regard, for though you shower
upon him your richest dignities you can give him nothing more valuable
than your friendship.  It was to assure you that he is worthy of even
your closest intimacy that I have briefly set before you his tastes, his
character and his whole life.  I would spin out my request to greater
length, but I know that you would rather I did not press you further and
the whole of this letter is nothing but a request.  For the best way of
asking a favour is to give good reason for asking it.  Farewell.


Yes, you are quite right; my time is fully taken up by cases in the
Centumviral Court, but they give me more worry than pleasure, for most
of them are of a minor and unimportant character.  Only rarely does a
case crop up that can be described as a cause celebre, owing either to
the distinguished position of the persons in the suit or to the
magnitude of the interests involved.  Add to this that there are very
few with whom I care to plead; all the other advocates are bumptious,
and for the most part young men of no standing, who come over here to do
their declamations with such utter want of respect and modesty that I
think our friend Atilius just hit the nail on the head when he said that
mere boys begin their forensic career with cases in the Centumviral
Court, just as they begin with Homer in the schools.  For here as there
they make their first beginnings on the hardest subjects.  Yet, by
Heaven, before my time--to use an old man's phrase--not even the
highest-born youths had any standing here, unless they were introduced
by a man of consular rank.

Such was the respect with which this noble profession was regarded, but
now modesty and respect are thrown to the winds and one man is as good
as another.  So far from being introduced, they burst their way in.
Their audiences follow them as if they were actors, bought and paid to
do so; the agent is there to meet them in the middle of the basilica,
where the doles of money are handed over as openly as the doles of food
at a banquet; and they are ready to pass from one court to another for a
similar bribe.  So these hirelings have been rather wittily dubbed
Zophokleis--from their readiness to call bravo,--and they have also been
given the Latin name of Laudicaeni--from their eagerness to applaud for
the sake of getting a dinner.  Yet this disgraceful practice gets worse
from day to day, in spite of the terms of opprobrium applied to it in
both languages.  Yesterday two of my own nomenclators--young men, I
admit, about the age of those who have just assumed the toga--were
enticed off to join the claque for three denarii apiece.  Such is the
outlay you must make to get a reputation for eloquence!  At that price
you can fill the benches, however many there are, you can collect a
great throng of bystanders and obtain thunders of applause as soon as
the conductor gives the signal.  For a signal is absolutely necessary
for people who do not understand and do not even listen to the speeches,
and many of these fellows do not listen at all, though they applaud as
heartily as any.  If you happen to be crossing through the basilica and
wish to know how any one is speaking, there is no need for you to mount
to the Bench or listen.  It is perfectly safe to guess on the principle
that he is speaking worst who gets the most applause.

Largius Licinius was the first to introduce this new fashion of
procuring an audience, but he went no further than asking people to go
and hear him.  At least I remember that Quintilian, my old tutor, used
to tell me so.  He told the story thus:  "I was in attendance on
Domitius Afer when he was pleading in the Centumviral Court in the
deliberate and measured style with which he conducted all his cases.  He
happened to hear from a neighbouring court the sound of extravagant and
unusual applause.  Wondering what it could mean, he stopped, and then
resumed where he had broken off as soon as quiet was restored.  Again
the shouts came, again he stopped, and after a short period of quiet it
began again for the third time.  In the end he inquired who was
speaking, and was told that it was Licinius.  At that he discontinued
his case, exclaiming:  'Centumvirs, this is death to our profession.'"
Indeed, it was beginning to go to the bad in other ways when Afer
thought that it had already gone to the bad, but it is now practically
ruined and destroyed, root and branch.  I am ashamed to tell you what an
affected delivery these people have and with what unnatural cheering
their speeches are greeted.  Their sing-song style only wants clapping
of hands, or rather cymbals and drums, to make them like the priests of
Cybele, for as for howlings--there is no other word to express the
unseemly applause in the theatres--they have enough and to spare.  It is
only a desire to save my friends and my age that has induced me to go on
practising so long, for I am afraid people would think that if I retired
my object was not to shun these indecent scenes but to escape hard work.
Yet I am making fewer appearances than usual, and that is the beginning
of gradually ceasing to attend altogether.  Farewell.


How does your old Marsian property treat you?  And your new purchase?
Do you like the estate now that it is your own?  It is rarely one does,
for we never find things as nice when we have obtained them as when we
wished to obtain them.  My mother's property is giving me considerable
trouble, but I like it because it was my mother's, and besides, I have
put up with so much that I am now hardened.  If people go on complaining
long enough, they end in being ashamed to complain further.  Farewell.


You, with your usual watchfulness on my behalf, advise me that the
codicils of Acilianus, who left me heir to half his estate, may be
treated as though they were non-existent, because they are not confirmed
by the will.  I was quite aware of the law on the subject, for even
those who know nothing else know as much as that.  But I have made a law
of my own for such cases, which leads me to treat as valid the wishes of
a dead man, even though they are not legally binding upon me.  It is
beyond question that the codicils in question were drawn up by Acilianus
in his own hand.  So, even though they are not confirmed by the will, I
shall carefully carry out their intentions as though they were,
especially as there is no loophole for an informer to meddle in the
matter.  For if there were any reason to be afraid of the money I have
given being confiscated, I ought to act with perhaps greater hesitation
and caution; but since an heir is at perfect liberty to give away what
has reverted to him under an inheritance, there is no reason why I
should not abide by my own law, which does not clash with the
regulations of the State.  Farewell.


You are surprised, you say, at my infatuation for my Laurentine estate,
or Laurentian if you prefer it so.  You will cease to wonder when you
are told the charms of the villa, the handiness of its site, and the
stretch of shore it commands.  It is seventeen miles distant from Rome,
so that after getting through all your business, and without loss or
curtailment of your working hours, you can go and stay there.  It can be
reached by more than one route, for the roads to Laurentium and Ostia
both lead in the same direction, but you must branch off on the former
at the fourth, and on the latter at the fourteenth milestone.  From both
of these points onward the road is for the most part rather sandy, which
makes it a tedious and lengthy journey if you drive, but if you ride it
is easy going and quickly covered.  The scenery on either hand is full
of variety.  At places the path is a narrow one with woods running down
to it on both sides, at other points it passes through spreading meadows
and is wide and open.  You will see abundant flocks of sheep and many
herds of cattle and horses, which are driven down from the high ground
in the winter and grow sleek in a pasturage and a temperature like those
of spring.

The villa is large enough for all requirements, and is not expensive to
keep in repair.  At its entrance there is a modest but by no means mean-
looking hall; then come the cloisters, which are rounded into the
likeness of the letter D, and these enclose a smallish but handsome
courtyard.  They make a fine place of refuge in a storm, for they are
protected by glazed windows and deep overhanging eaves.  Facing the
middle of the cloisters is a cheerful inner court, then comes a dining-
room running down towards the shore, which is handsome enough for any
one, and when the sea is disturbed by the south-west wind the room is
just flecked by the spray of the spent waves.  There are folding doors
on all sides of it, or windows that are quite as large as such doors,
and so from the two sides and the front it commands a prospect as it
were of three seas, while at the back one can see through the inner
court, the cloisters, the courtyard, then more cloisters and the hall,
and through them the woods and the distant hills.  A little farther
back, on the left-hand side, is a spacious chamber; then a smaller one
which admits the rising sun by one window and by another enjoys his last
lingering rays as he sets, and this room also commands a view of the sea
that lies beneath it, at a longer but more secure distance.  An angle is
formed by this chamber and the dining-room, which catches and
concentrates the purest rays of the sun.  This forms the winter
apartments and exercise ground for my household.  No wind penetrates
thither except those which bring up rain-clouds and only prevent the
place being used when they take away the fine weather.  Adjoining this
angle is a chamber with one wall rounded like a bay, which catches the
sun on all its windows as he moves through the heavens.  In the wall of
this room I have had shelves placed like a library, which contains the
volumes which I not only read, but read over and over again.  Next to it
is a sleeping chamber, through a passage supported by pillars and fitted
with pipes which catch the hot air and circulate it from place to place,
keeping the rooms at a healthy temperature.  The remaining part of this
side of the villa is appropriated to the use of my slaves and freedmen,
most of the rooms being sufficiently well furnished for the reception of

On the other side of the building there is a nicely decorated chamber,
then another room which would serve either as a large bed-chamber or a
moderate sized dining-room, as it enjoys plenty of sunshine and an
extensive sea-view.  Behind this is an apartment with an ante-room,
suitable for summer use because of its height, and for winter use owing
to it sheltered position, for it is out of reach of all winds.  Another
room with an ante-room is joined to this by a common wall.  Next to it
is the cold bath room, a spacious and wide chamber, with two curved
swimming baths thrown out as it were from opposite sides of the room and
facing one another.  They hold plenty of water if you consider how close
the sea is.  Adjoining this room is the anointing room, then the
sweating room, and then the heating room, from which you pass to two
chambers of graceful rather than sumptuous proportions.  Attached to
these is a warm swimming bath which everybody admires, and from it those
who are taking a swim can command a view of the sea.  Close by is the
tennis court, which receives the warmest rays of the afternoon sun; on
one side a tower has been built with two sitting rooms on the ground
floor, two more on the first floor, and above them a dining-room
commanding a wide expanse of sea, a long stretch of shore, and the
pleasantest villas of the neighbourhood.  There is also a second tower,
containing a bedroom which gets the sun morning and evening, and a
spacious wine cellar and store-room at the back of it.  On the floor
beneath is a sitting-room where, even when the sea is stormy, you hear
the roar and thunder only in subdued and dying murmurs.  It looks out
upon the exercise ground, which runs round the garden.

This exercise ground has a border of boxwood, or rosemary where the box
does not grow well--for box thrives admirably when it is sheltered by
buildings, but where it is fully exposed to wind and weather and to the
spray of the sea, though it stands at a great distance therefrom, it is
apt to shrivel.  On the inside ring of the exercise ground is a pretty
and shady alley of vines, which is soft and yielding even to the bare
foot.  The garden itself is clad with a number of mulberry and fig-
trees, the soil being specially suitable for the former trees, though it
is not so kindly to the others.  On this side, the dining-room away from
the sea commands as fine a view as that of the sea itself.  It is closed
in behind by two day-rooms, from the windows of which can be seen the
entrance to the villa from the road and another garden as rich as the
first one but not so ornamental.

Along its side stretches a covered portico, almost long enough for a
public building.  It has windows on both sides, most of them facing the
sea; those looking on the garden are single ones, and less numerous than
those on the other side, as every alternate window was left out.  All
these are kept open when it is a fine day and there is no wind; when the
wind is high, the windows only on the sheltered side are opened and no
harm is done.  In front of the portico is a terrace walk that is
fragrant with violets.  The portico increases the warmth of the sun by
radiation, and retains the heat just as it keeps off and breaks the
force of the north wind.  Hence it is as warm in front as it is cool
behind.  In the same way it checks the south-west winds, and similarly
with all winds from whatever quarter they blow--it tempers them and
stops them dead.  This is its charm in winter, but in summer it is even
greater, for in the mornings its shade tempers the heat of the terrace
walk, and in the afternoon the heat of the exercise ground and the
nearest part of the garden, the shadows falling longer and shorter on
the two sides respectively as the sun rises to his meridian and sinks to
his setting.  Indeed, the portico has least sunshine when the sun is
blazing down upon its roof.  Consequently it receives the west winds
through its open windows and circulates them through the building, and
so never becomes oppressive through the stuffy air remaining within it.

At the head of the terrace and portico successively is a garden suite of
rooms, my favourite spot and well worthy of being so.  I had them built
myself.  In this is a sunny chamber which commands the terrace on one
side, the sea on another, and the sun on both; besides an apartment
which looks on the portico through folding doors and on the sea through
a window.  In the middle of the wall is a neat recess, which by means of
glazed windows and curtains can either be thrown into the adjoining room
or be cut off from it.  It holds a couch and two easy-chairs, and as you
lie on the couch you have the sea at your feet, the villa at your back,
and the woods at your head, and all these views may be looked at
separately from each window or blended into one prospect.  Adjoining is
a chamber for passing the night in or taking a nap, and unless the
windows are open, you do not hear a sound either of your slaves talking,
or the murmur of the sea, or the raging of the storms; nor do you see
the flashes of the lightning or know that it is day.  This deep
seclusion and remoteness is due to the fact that an intervening passage
separates the wall of the chamber from that of the garden, and so all
the sound is dissipated in the empty space between.  A very small
heating apparatus has been fitted to the room, which, by means of a
narrow trap-door, either diffuses or retains the hot air as may be
required.  Adjoining it is an ante-room and a chamber projected towards
the sun, which the latter room catches immediately upon his rising, and
retains his rays beyond mid-day though they fall aslant upon it.  When I
betake myself into this sitting-room, I seem to be quite away even from
my villa, and I find it delightful to sit there, especially during the
Saturnalia, when all the rest of the house rings with the merry riot and
shouts of the festival-makers; for then I do not interfere with their
amusements, and they do not distract me from my studies.

The convenience and charm of the situation of my villa have one drawback
in that it contains no running water, but I draw my supply from wells or
rather fountains, for they are situated at a high level.  Indeed, it is
one of the curious characteristics of the shore here that wherever you
dig you find moisture ready to hand, and the water is quite fresh and
not even brackish in the slightest degree, though the sea is so close
by.  The neighbouring woods furnish us with abundance of fuel, and other
supplies we get from a colony of Ostia.  The village, which is separated
only by one residence from my own, supplies my modest wants; it boasts
of three public baths, which are a great convenience, when you do not
feel inclined to heat your own bath at home, if you arrive unexpectedly
or wish to save time.  The shore is beautified by a most pleasing
variety of villa buildings, some of which are close together, while
others have great intervals between them.  They give the appearance of a
number of cities, whether you view them from the sea or from the shore
itself, and the sands of the latter are sometimes loosened by a long
spell of quiet weather, or--as more often happens--are hardened by the
constant beating of the waves.  The sea does not indeed abound with fish
of any value, but it yields excellent soles and prawns.  Yet our villa
provides us with plenty of inland produce and especially milk, for the
herds come down to us from the pastures whenever they seek water or

Well, do you think that I have just reasons for living here, for passing
my time here, and for loving a retreat for which your mouth must be
watering, unless you are a confirmed town-bird?  I wish that your mouth
did water!  If it did, the many great charms of my little villa would be
enhanced in the highest degree by your company.  Farewell.


No, you could not have given me a pleasanter commission than to find a
teacher of rhetoric for your brother's children.  For, thanks to you, I
go to school again, and, as it were, enjoy once more the happiest days
of my life.  I sit among young people, as I used to do, and I can judge
what authority I have among them owing to my literary pursuits.  Just
recently in a full class-room, before a number of members of our order,
the boys were joking among themselves quite loudly; the moment I entered
they were quiet as mice.  I should not mention the incident except that
it redounded more to their credit than to mine, and that I wish you to
feel sure that your brother's sons can attend the lectures to their
advantage.  Moreover, when I have heard all the lectures, I will write
and tell you what I think about each one of them, and so--as far as I
can by a letter--I will make you think that you have heard them all
yourself.  I owe this to you, and I owe it to the memory of your brother
to deal loyally by him and take this interest, especially on such an
important subject.  For what can touch you more closely than that these
children--I should say your children, but that you love them more than
if they were your own--should be found worthy of such a father and such
an uncle as yourself.  Even if you had not asked me to look after them,
I should have done so on my own account.  I do not forget that in
choosing a public teacher one is apt to give offence, but on behalf of
your brother's sons I must risk giving offence and even incurring
animosity with as little compunction as a parent would in looking after
his own children.  Farewell.


You urge me to recite my speech before a company of my friends.  I will
do so, because you ask me to, but I am exceedingly doubtful of the
wisdom of the step.  For I cannot help remembering that speeches which
are recited lose all their spirit and passion and almost the right to
the name of speeches--which are properly enhanced and fired by the bench
of judges, the crowds of supporters, the waiting for the verdict, the
reputation of the various counsel, and the divided partisanship of the
audience.  Besides all this, there are the gestures of the pleader, his
moving to and fro, even his hurried strides, and every movement of his
body which corresponds to some thought passing through his mind.  Hence
it is that those who plead sitting down, although they have practically
the same environment as those who plead standing, are not so impressive
and telling just because they happen to be seated.  But when a man
recites a speech, his eyes and hands--which are the most important aids
to expression--are otherwise occupied, and so it is no wonder that the
attention of the audience becomes languid, when there are no external
graces to charm them and no thrills to stimulate them.  Moreover, the
address I am talking about is a fighting speech and full of contentious
matter, and Nature has so ordained it that we think, if a subject has
given us trouble to write, it will give an audience trouble to listen to
it.  How few conscientious listeners there are who prefer a stiff,
closely-reasoned argument to honeyed and sonorous eloquence!  It is
wrong, I know, that there should be a difference of taste between judge
and listener, but there is such a difference and it constantly crops up.
The audience want one thing and the judges another, whereas, on the
contrary, a listener ought to be impressed just by those points which
would make most impression on him if he were judge.  However, it is
possible that in spite of these difficulties the speech may be
recommended by a certain novelty--a novelty that is quite Roman,--for
though the Greeks have a custom which does bear a remote resemblance to
it, it is really quite different.  For just as it was their practice, in
showing that a law was opposed to earlier laws, to prove that it was so
by comparing it with the others, so I had to show that my accusation was
covered by the law against extortion by comparing it with other laws as
well as by proving it from the law itself.  Such a subject, though far
from having any charm for the ears of the man in the street, ought to be
as interesting to the learned as it is uninteresting to the unlearned.
But if I make up my mind to recite the speech, I shall invite all the
learned people to hear it.  However, please think it over by all means
and tell me whether you still consider that I ought to recite it; place
on either side all the considerations I have raised, and choose the
conclusion which has the weight of argument in its favour.  It is from
you, not from me, that a reason will be required; my apology will be
that I did as I was told.  Farewell.


Get ready your penny and I will tell you a golden story, nay, more than
one, for the new one has reminded me of some old tales, and it does not
matter with which I begin.  Verania, the wife of Piso, was lying very
ill--I mean the Piso who was adopted by Galba.  Regulus paid her a
visit.  First mark the impudence of the man in coming to see the
invalid, for he had been her husband's bitter enemy and she loathed and
detested him.  However, that might pass if he had only called, but he
actually sat down beside her on the couch and asked her on what day and
at what hour she had been born.  On being told he puts on a grave look,
fixes his eyes hard, moves his lips, works his fingers and makes his
reckoning, but says nothing.  Then after keeping the poor lady on the
tenter-hooks, wondering what he would say, he exclaims:  "You are
passing through a critical time, but you will pull through.  Still, just
to reassure you, I will go and consult a soothsayer with whom I have
often had dealings."  He goes off at once; offers the sacrifice and
swears that the appearance of the entrails corresponds with the warning
of the stars.  She, with all the credulity of an invalid, calls for her
tablets and writes down a legacy for Regulus; subsequently she grows
worse and exclaims as she dies, "What a rascal, what a lying and worse
than perjured wretch, thus to have sworn falsely on the head of his

That is Regulus's trick, and he has recourse to the scandalous device
constantly, for he calls down the anger of the gods, whom he daily
outrages, upon the head of his luckless son.  Velleius Blaesus, the rich
Consular, was stricken with the illness which carried him off, and was
desirous of changing his will.  Regulus, who was capable of hoping for
anything from an alteration of the will because he had lately begun to
haunt him on the chance of a legacy, begged and prayed of the doctors to
prolong Blaesus's life by hook or by crook.  But when the will was
signed he took quite a different line.  He changed his tone and said to
the same doctors:  "How long do you intend to torture the poor man?  Why
do you grudge him an easy death when you cannot give him life?"  Blaesus
dies, and, as though he had heard every word, he leaves Regulus not a
brass farthing.  Two stories are quite enough.  Or do you ask for a
third, on the rhetoricians' principle?  Well, I have one for you.  When
Aurelia, a lady of great means, was about to make her will, she put on
for the occasion her most handsome tunics.  When Regulus came to witness
the signing he said, "I beg you to leave me these."  Aurelia thought the
man was joking, but he was serious and pressed the matter.  Well, to cut
the story short, he compelled the poor woman to open the tablets and
leave to him the tunics she was wearing at the time.  He watched her as
she wrote, and looked to see whether she had written it rightly.
Aurelia still lives, but he forced her to make that legacy as if she had
been on the point of death.  Yet this is the fellow who receives
inheritances and legacies as though he deserved them.

But why do I worry myself when I live in a country where villainy and
rascality have long been getting not less but far more handsome rewards
than modesty and virtue?  Look at Regulus, for example, who, from being
a pauper and without a shilling, has now become such a rich man by sheer
villainy that he once told me that, when he was consulting the omens as
to how soon he would be worth sixty millions of sesterces, he found
double sets of entrails, which were a token that he would be worth 120
millions.  So he will too, if only he goes on, as he has begun,
dictating wills which are not their own to the very people who are
making their wills, which is about the most disgraceful kind of forgery
imaginable.  Farewell.



I don't think I ever spent a more delightful time than during my recent
visit at Spurinna's house; indeed, I enjoyed myself so much that, if it
is my fortune to grow old, there is no one whom I should prefer to take
as my model in old age, as there is nothing more methodical than that
time of life.  Personally, I like to see men map out their lives with
the regularity of the fixed courses of the stars, and especially old
men.  For while one is young a little disorder and rush, so to speak, is
not unbecoming; but for old folks, whose days of exertion are past and
in whom personal ambition is disgraceful, a placid and well-ordered life
is highly suitable.  That is the principle upon which Spurinna acts most
religiously; even trifles, or what would be trifles were they not of
daily occurrence, he goes through in fixed order and, as it were, orbit.

In the morning he keeps his couch; at the second hour he calls for his
shoes and walks three miles, exercising mind as well as body.  If he has
friends with him the time is passed in conversation on the noblest of
themes, otherwise a book is read aloud, and sometimes this is done even
when his friends are present, but never in such a way as to bore them.
Then he sits down, and there is more reading aloud or more talk for
preference; afterwards he enters his carriage, taking with him either
his wife, who is a pattern lady, or one of his friends, a distinction I
recently enjoyed.  How delightful, how charming that privacy is!  What
glimpses of old times one gets!  What noble deeds and noble men he tells
you of!  What lessons you drink in!  Yet at the same time it is his
custom so to blend his learning with modesty that he never seems to be
playing the schoolmaster.  After riding seven miles he walks another
mile, then he again resumes his seat or betakes himself to his room and
his pen.  For he composes, both in Latin and Greek, the most scholarly
lyrics.  They have a wonderful grace, wonderful sweetness, and wonderful
humour, and the chastity of the writer enhances its charm.  When he is
told that the bathing hour has come--which is the ninth hour in winter
and the eighth in summer--he takes a walk naked in the sun, if there is
no wind.  Then he plays at ball for a long spell, throwing himself
heartily into the game, for it is by means of this kind of active
exercise that he battles with old age.  After his bath he lies down and
waits a little while before taking food, listening in the meantime to
the reading of some light and pleasant book.  All this time his friends
are at perfect liberty to imitate his example or do anything else they
prefer.  Then dinner is served, the table being as bright as it is
modest, and the silver plain and old-fashioned; he also has some
Corinthian vases in use, for which he has a taste though not a mania.
The dinner is often relieved by actors of comedy, so that the pleasures
of the table may have a seasoning of letters.  Even in the summer the
meal lasts well into the night, but no one finds it long, for it is kept
up with such good humour and charm.  The consequence is that, though he
has passed his seventy-seventh year, his hearing and eyesight are as
good as ever, his body is still active and alert, and the only symptom
of his age is his wisdom.

This is the sort of life that I have vowed and determined to forestall,
and I shall enter upon it with zest as soon as my age justifies me in
beating a retreat.  Meanwhile, I am distracted with a thousand things to
attend to, and my only solace therein is the example of Spurinna again,
for he undertook official duties, held magistracies, and governed
provinces as long as it became him to do so, and earned his present
leisure by abundant toil.  That is why I set myself the same race to run
and the same goal to attain, and I now register the vow and place it in
your hands, so that, if ever you see me being carried beyond the mark,
you may bring me to book, quote this letter of mine against me and order
me to take my ease, so soon as I shall have made it impossible for
people to charge me with laziness.  Farewell.


I think I am justified in asking you to grant to one of my friends a
favour which I should certainly have offered to friends of yours, had I
the same opportunity for conferring them as you have.  Arrianus Maturus
is the leading man in Altinum; and when I say that, I mean not that he
is the richest man there--though he possesses considerable property--but
I refer to his character, to his chastity, justice, weight, and wisdom.
I turn to him in business for advice, and for criticism in literary
matters, for he is wonderfully loyal, straightforward, and shrewd.  He
has the same regard for me as you have, and I cannot conceive a more
ardent affection than that.  He is by no means an ambitious man, and for
that reason, though he might easily have attained the highest rank in
the state, he has been content to remain in the equestrian order.  Yet I
feel that I must do something to add to his honours and give him some
token of my regard.  And so I am very anxious to heap some dignity upon
him, though he does not expect it, knows nothing about it, and perhaps
even would rather I did not--but it must be a real distinction and one
that involves no troublesome responsibilities.  So I ask you to confer
upon him such a favour at your earliest opportunity, and I shall be
profoundly obliged to you.  And he will be also, for though he does not
run after honours, he welcomes them as thankfully as if his heart were
set upon them.  Farewell.


I know not whether I regarded your father, who was a man of consummate
judgment and rectitude of life, with greater love or reverence, and as I
have a very special regard for you for his sake and also for your own, I
feel bound to desire and even to do all that lies in my power to help
your son to turn out like his grandfather.  For choice, I should prefer
him to be like his grandfather on his mother's side, though his paternal
grandfather was also a man of distinction and eminence, and his father
and his uncle won conspicuous laurels.  I feel sure that the only way to
secure his growing up to be like them in all their good qualities is for
him to drink deeply of the honourable arts, and the choice of a teacher
from whom he may learn them is a matter of the highest importance.  So
far, his tender years have naturally kept him close by your side; he has
had tutors at home, where there is little or no chance of his going
wrong.  But now his studies must take him out of doors, and we must look
out for a Latin rhetorician with a good reputation for school
discipline, for modesty, and above all, for good morals.  For our young
friend has been endowed, in addition to his other gifts of nature and
fortune, with striking physical beauty, and at his slippery age we must
find him not only a teacher but a guardian who will keep him straight.

Well, I fancy I can recommend to you Julius Genitor.  I have a regard
for him, and my affection, which was based on judgment, does not blind
my judgment of him.  He is without faults, a man of real character,
perhaps a little over-rugged and austere for this libertine age.  You
can learn from others what an accomplished speaker he is, for ability to
speak is an open gift and is recognised at once when the power is
displayed, but a man's private life is full of deep recesses and obscure
mazes.  For the latter in Genitor's case you may hold me as guarantor.
From a man like him your son will hear nothing but what will be to his
profit; he will learn nothing of which he had better have remained in
ignorance, and Genitor will remind him, as often as you or I would, of
the special obligations in his case of "noblesse oblige" and the dignity
of the names he has to worthily uphold.  So bid him God-speed and
entrust him to a tutor who will teach him morals first and eloquence
afterwards, for it is but a poor thing to learn the latter without the
former.  Farewell.


Although my course of action was approved in general estimation and by
the friends who were with me at the time, I am anxious to know what you
think of it.  I should have liked to have had your opinion before
finally deciding, so now that the matter is over I am exceedingly keen
to hear your judgment.  I had run down to my Tuscan estate to lay the
foundations of a public building at my own expense, after obtaining
leave of absence as Praefect of the Treasury, when a deputation from the
province of Baetica, who were about to lodge complaints against the
governorship of Caecilius Classicus, petitioned the Senate to appoint me
to conduct their case for them.  My colleagues, who are the best of
fellows and devoted to my interests, pleaded the engagements and duties
of the office we hold, and tried to get me off and make excuses for me.
The Senate passed a handsome resolution, saying that I should be allowed
to champion the cause of the provincials if they succeeded in persuading
me to take up the brief.  Then the deputation was again introduced, when
I was in my place in the Senate, and asked my assistance, appealing to
my loyalty, of which they had previous experience in the action against
Massa Baebius, and adducing their legal right to a patronus.  The Senate
responded to the appeal with the loud applause which usually precedes a
decree of that body.

Then I rose and said:  "Conscript Fathers, I beg to withdraw my plea to
be excused as inadequate," and the House approved the modesty of the
remark and the reason.  However, I was drawn to act as I did not only by
the applause of the Senate, though that had great weight with me, but by
a variety of other reasons, less in themselves, but all telling in the
account.  I remembered that our forefathers used to voluntarily
undertake the championship of individual private friends who had been
wronged, and so I thought that it would be shameful for me to neglect
the claims of an entire people who were my friends.  Moreover, when I
recollected what hazards I had run for the same people of Baetica in my
earlier championship of them, I thought I had better preserve their
gratitude for the old favour by granting them a new one.  For it is a
law of nature that people soon forget an old benefit, unless you keep on
renewing it by later ones, for however often you oblige them, if you
refuse them one request, they only remember the refusal.  Another motive
was that Classicus was dead, and so there was no fear of the odium of
endangering a senator, which in these cases is usually the most serious
objection.  I saw, therefore, that if I undertook the case I should
obtain just as much kudos as if he were alive, and yet escape all odium.
In short, I reckoned that if I consented to appear a third time in a
brief of this kind, I should have an easier task to excuse myself if a
case turned up in which I felt I ought not to play the part of accuser.
For as there is a limit to the granting of all favours, the best method
of paving the way to obtain a right of refusal is by consenting to
previous requests.  I have now told you my reasons for acting as I did,
and it is open to you to agree or dissent, but let me assure you that
frank dissent will be no less agreeable to me than the sanction of your
approval.  Farewell.


I was delighted to find that you are so zealous a student of my uncle's
books that you would like to possess copies of them all, and that you
ask me to give you a complete list of them.  I will play the part of an
index for you, and tell you, moreover, the order in which they were
written, for this is a point that students are interested to know.
"Throwing the Javelin from Horseback," one volume; this was composed,
with considerable ingenuity and research, when he was on active service
as a cavalry lieutenant.  "The Life of Pomponius Secundus," two
volumes;--Pomponius was remarkably attached to my uncle, who, so to
speak, composed this book to his friend's memory in payment of his debt
of gratitude.  "The German Wars," twenty volumes;--this comprises an
account of all the wars we have waged with the German races.  He
commenced it, while on service in Germany, in obedience to the warning
of a dream, for, while he was asleep, the shade of Drusus Nero, who had
won sweeping victories in that country and died there, appeared to him
and kept on entrusting his fame to my uncle, beseeching him to rescue
his name from ill-deserved oblivion.  "The Student," three volumes,
afterwards split up into six on account of their length;--in this he
showed the proper training and equipment of an orator from his cradle
up.  "Ambiguity in Language," in eight volumes, was written in the last
years of Nero's reign when tyranny had made it dangerous to write any
book, no matter the subject, in anything like a free and candid style.
"A Continuation of the History of Aufidius Bassus," in thirty-one books,
and a "Natural History," in thirty-seven books;--the latter is a
comprehensive and learned work, covering as wide a field as Nature

Does it surprise you that a busy man found time to finish so many
volumes, many of which deal with such minute details?  You will wonder
the more when I tell you that he for many years pleaded in the law
courts, that he died in his fifty-seventh year, and that in the interval
his time was taken up and his studies were hindered by the important
offices he held and the duties arising out of his friendship with the
Emperors.  But he possessed a keen intellect; he had a marvellous
capacity for work, and his powers of application were enormous.  He used
to begin to study at night on the Festival of Vulcan, not for luck but
from his love of study, long before dawn; in winter he would commence at
the seventh hour or at the eighth at the very latest, and often at the
sixth.  He could sleep at call, and it would come upon him and leave him
in the middle of his work.  Before daybreak he would go to Vespasian--
for he too was a night-worker--and then set about his official duties.
On his return home he would again give to study any time that he had
free.  Often in summer after taking a meal, which with him, as in the
old days, was always a simple and light one, he would lie in the sun if
he had any time to spare, and a book would be read aloud, from which he
would take notes and extracts.  For he never read without taking
extracts, and used to say that there never was a book so bad that it was
not good in some passage or another.  After his sun bath he usually
bathed in cold water, then he took a snack and a brief nap, and
subsequently, as though another day had begun, he would study till
dinner-time.  After dinner a book would be read aloud, and he would take
notes in a cursory way.  I remember that one of his friends, when the
reader pronounced a word wrongly, checked him and made him read it
again, and my uncle said to him, "Did you not catch the meaning?"  When
his friend said "yes," he remarked, "Why then did you make him turn
back?  We have lost more than ten lines through your interruption."  So
jealous was he of every moment lost.

In summer he used to rise from the dinner-table while it was still
light; in winter always before the first hour had passed, as though
there was a law obliging him to do so.  Such was his method of living
when up to the eyes in work and amid the bustle of Rome.  When he was in
the country the only time snatched from his work was when he took his
bath, and when I say bath I refer to the actual bathing, for while he
was being scraped with the strigil or rubbed down, he used to listen to
a reader or dictate.  When he was travelling he cut himself aloof from
every other thought and gave himself up to study alone.  At his side he
kept a shorthand writer with a book and tablets, who wore mittens on his
hands in winter, so that not even the sharpness of the weather should
rob him of a moment, and for the same reason, when in Rome, he used to
be carried in a litter.  I remember that once he rebuked me for walking,
saying, "If you were a student, you could not waste your hours like
that," for he considered that all time was wasted which was not devoted
to study.

Such was the application which enabled him to compile all those volumes
I have enumerated, and he left me one hundred and sixty commonplace
books, written on both sides of the scrolls, and in a very small
handwriting, which really makes the number of the volumes considerably
more.  He used to say that when he was procurator in Spain he could have
sold these commonplace books to Largius Licinus for four hundred
thousand sestertia, and at that time they were much fewer in number.  Do
you not feel when you think of his voluminous writing and reading that
he cannot have had any public duties to attend to, and that he cannot
have been an intimate friend of the Emperors?  Again, when you hear what
an amount of work he put into his studies, does it not seem that he
neither wrote nor read as much as he might?  For his other duties might
surely have prevented him from studying altogether, and a man with his
application might have accomplished even more than he did.  So I often
smile when some of my friends call me a book-worm, for if I compare
myself with him I am but a shocking idler.  Yet am I quite as bad as
that, considering the way I am distracted by my public and private
duties?  Who is there of all those who devote their whole life to
literature, who, if compared with him, would not blush for himself as a
sleepy-head and a lazy fellow?  I have let my pen run on, though I had
intended simply to answer your question and give you a list of my
uncle's works; but I trust that even my letter may give you as much
pleasure as his books, and that it will spur you on not only to read
them, but also to compose something worthy to be compared with them.


Out of a legacy which I have come in for I have just bought a Corinthian
bronze, small it is true, but a charming and sharply-cut piece of work,
so far as I have any knowledge of art, and that, as in everything else
perhaps, is very slight.  But as for the statue in question even I can
appreciate its merits.  For it is a nude, and neither conceals its
faults, if there are any, nor hides at all its strong points.  It
represents an old man in a standing posture; the bones, muscles, nerves,
veins, and even the wrinkles appear quite life-like; the hair is thin
and scanty on the forehead; the brow is broad; the face wizened; the
neck thin; the shoulders are bowed; the breast is flat, and the belly
hollow.  The back too gives the same impression of age, as far as a back
view can.  The bronze itself, judging by the genuine colour, is old and
of great antiquity.  In fact, in every respect it is a work calculated
to catch the eye of a connoisseur and to delight the eye of an amateur,
and this is what tempted me to purchase it, although I am the merest
novice.  But I bought it not to keep it at home--for as yet I have no
Corinthian art work in my house--but that I might put it up in my native
country in some frequented place, and I specially had in mind the Temple
of Jupiter.  For the statue seems to me to be worthy of the temple, and
the gift to be worthy of the god.  So I hope that you will show me your
usual kindness when I give you a commission, and that you will undertake
the following for me.  Will you order a pedestal to be made, of any
marble you like, to be inscribed with my name and titles, if you think
the latter ought to be mentioned?  I will send you the statue as soon as
I can find any one who is not overburdened with luggage, or I will bring
myself along with it, as I dare say you would prefer me to do.  For, if
only my duties allow me, I am intending to run down thither.  You are
glad that I promise to come, but you will frown when I add that I can
only stay a few days.  For the business which hitherto has kept me from
getting away will not allow of my being absent any longer.  Farewell.


News has just come that Silius Italicus has starved himself to death at
his villa near Naples.  Ill-health was the cause assigned.  He had an
incurable corn, which made him weary of life and resolved him to face
death with a determination that nothing could shake, yet to his last day
he was prosperous and happy, save that he lost the younger of his two
children.  The elder and the better of the two still survives him in
prosperous circumstances and of consular rank.  During Nero's reign
Silius had injured his reputation, for it was thought that he
voluntarily informed against people, but he had conducted himself with
prudence and courtesy as one of the friends of Vitellius; he had
returned from his governorship of Asia covered with glory, and he had
succeeded in obliterating the stains on his character, caused by his
activity in his young days, by the admirable use he made of his
retirement.  He ranked among the leading men of the State, though he
held no official position and excited no man's envy.  People paid their
respects to him and courted his society, and, though he spent much of
his time on his couch, his room was always full of company who were no
mere chance callers, and he passed his days in learned and scholarly
conversation, when he was not busy composing.  He wrote verses which
show abundant pains rather than genius, and sometimes he submitted them
to general criticism by having them read in public.

At last he retired from the city, prompted thereto by his great age, and
settled in Campania, nor did he stir from the spot, even at the
accession of the new Emperor.  A Caesar deserves great credit for
allowing a subject such liberty, and Italicus deserves the same for
venturing to avail himself of it.  He was such a keen virtuoso that he
got the reputation of always itching to buy new things.  He owned a
number of villas in the same neighbourhood, and used to neglect his old
ones through his passion for his recent purchases.  In each he had any
quantity of books, statues and busts, which he not only kept by him but
even treated with a sort of veneration, especially the busts of Virgil,
whose birthday he kept up far more scrupulously than he did his own,
principally at Naples, where he used to approach the poet's monument as
though it were a temple.  In these peaceful surroundings he completed
his seventy-fifth year, his health being delicate rather than weak, and
just as he was the last consul appointed by Nero, so too in him died the
sole survivor of all the consuls appointed by that Emperor.  It is also
a curious fact that, besides his being the last of Nero's consuls, it
was in his term of office that Nero perished.  When I think of this, I
feel a sort of compassion for the frailty of humanity.  For what is so
circumscribed and so short as even the longest human life?  Does it not
seem to you as if Nero were alive only the other day?  Yet of all those
who held the consulship during his reign not one survives at the present

But, after all, what is there remarkable in that?  Not so long ago
Lucius Piso, the father of the Piso who was must shamefully put to death
in Africa by Valerius Festus, used to say that he did not see a single
soul in the Senate of all those whom he had called upon to speak during
his consulship.  Within such narrow limits are the powers of living of
even the mightiest throng confined that it seems to me the royal tears
are not only excusable but even praiseworthy.  For the story goes that
when Xerxes cast his eyes over his enormous host, he wept to think of
the fate that in such brief space would lay so many thousands low.  But
that is all the more reason why we should apply all the fleeting,
rushing moments at our disposal, if not to great achievements--for these
may be destined for other hands than ours--at least to study, and why,
as long life is denied us, we should leave behind us some memorial that
we have lived.  I know that you need no spurring on, yet the affection I
have for you prompts me even to spur a willing horse, just as you do
with me.  Well, it is a noble contention when friends exhort one another
to work and sharpen one another's desires to win an immortal name.


It is just like your usual respectful regard for me that you beg me so
earnestly to transfer the tribuneship, which I obtained for you from
that noble man Neratius Marcellus, to your relative Caesennius Silvanus.
I should have been delighted to see you as tribune, but I shall be
equally pleased to see another take the post through your generosity,
for I do not think it would be becoming in me to grudge a man whom you
desire to advance in dignity the fame of family affection, which is a
greater distinction than any honorific titles.  Besides, as it is a
splendid thing both to deserve benefits and to confer them, I see that
you will at one and the same time receive credit for both, now that you
bestow on another what your own merits have won.  Moreover, I quite
understand that I too shall come in for some glory when it is known
through your generous deed that friends of mine can not only fill the
office of tribune, but can bestow it on others.  For these reasons I bow
to the wishes which do you the greatest credit.  No name has yet been
placed on the lists, and so we can quite well substitute that of
Silvanus for yours.  I hope that he will show himself as grateful to you
as you have to me.  Farewell.


I can now give you a full account of the enormous trouble entailed upon
me in the public trial brought by the Province of Baetica.  It was a
complicated suit, and new issues kept constantly cropping up.  Why this
variety, and why these different pleadings? you well ask.  Well,
Caecilius Classicus--a low rascal who carries his villainy in his face--
had during his proconsulship in Baetica, in the same year that Marius
Priscus was Governor of Africa, behaved both with violence and rapacity.
Now, Priscus came from Baetica and Classicus from Africa, and so there
was a rather good saying among the people of Baetica, for even
resentment often inspires wit:  "It is give and take between us."  But
in the case of Marius only one city publicly impeached him besides
several private individuals, while the whole Province pressed the
charges home against Classicus.  He forestalled their accusation by a
sudden death which may or may not have been self-inflicted, for there
was some doubt about his dishonourable end.  Men thought that though it
was quite intelligible that he should have been willing to die as he had
no defence to offer, yet they could hardly understand why he had died
rather than undergo the shame of being condemned when he was not ashamed
to commit the crime which merited the condemnation.  None the less, the
Province determined to go on with the accusation of the dead man.
Provision had been made for such cases by the laws, but the custom had
fallen into disuse and it was revived then for the first time after many
years.  Another argument urged by the Baetici for continuing the suit
was that they had impeached not only Classicus, but his intimates and
tools, and had demanded leave to prosecute them by name.

I was acting for the Province, assisted by Lucceius Albinus, an eloquent
and ornate speaker, and though we have long been on terms of the closest
regard for one another, our association in this suit has made me feel
vastly more attached to him.  As a rule, and especially in oratorical
efforts, people do not run well in double harness in their striving for
glory, but he and I were not in any sense rivals and there was no
jealousy between us, as we both did our level best, not for our own
hand, but for the common cause, which was of such a serious character
and of such public importance that it seemed to demand from us that we
should not over-elaborate each single pleading.  We were afraid that
time would fail us, and that our voices and lungs would break down if we
tied up together so many charges and so many defendants into one bundle.
Again, we feared that the attention of the judges would not only be
wearied by the introduction of so many names and charges, but that they
would be confused thereby, that the sum-total of the influence of each
one of the accused might procure for each the strength of all, and
finally we were afraid lest the most influential of the accused should
make a scapegoat of the meanest among them, and so slip out of the hands
of justice at the expense of some one else--for favour and personal
interest are strongest when they can skulk behind some pretence of
severity.  Moreover, we were advised by the well-known story of
Sertorius, who set two soldiers--one young and powerful, and the other
old and weak--to pull off the tail of a horse.  You know how it
finishes.  And so we too thought that we could get the better of even
such a long array of defendants, provided we took them one by one.

Our plan was first to prove the guilt of Classicus himself; then it was
a natural transition to his intimates and tools, because the latter
could never be condemned unless Classicus were guilty.  Consequently, we
took two of them and closely connected them with Classicus, Baebius
Probus and Fabius Hispanus, both men of some influence, while Hispanus
possesses a strong gift of eloquence.  To prove the guilt of Classicus
was an easy and simple task that did not take us long.  He had left in
his own handwriting a document showing what profits he had made out of
each transaction and case, and he had even despatched a letter couched
in a boasting and impudent strain to one of his mistresses containing
the words, "Hurrah! hurrah!  I am coming back to you with my hands free;
for I have already sold the interests of the Baetici to the tune of four
million sesterces."  But we had to sweat to get a conviction against
Hispanus and Probus.  Before I dealt with the charges against them, I
thought it necessary to establish the legal point that the execution of
an unjust sentence is an indictable offence, for if I had not done this
it would have been useless for me to prove that they had been the
henchmen of Classicus.  Moreover, their line of defence was not a
denial.  They pleaded that they could not help themselves and therefore
were to be pardoned, arguing that they were mere provincials and were
frightened into doing anything that a proconsul bade them do.  Claudius
Restitutus, who replied to me, a practised and watchful speaker who is
equal to any emergency however suddenly sprung up upon him, is now going
about saying that he never was so dumbfounded and thrown off his balance
as when he discovered that the ground on which he placed full reliance
for his defence had been cut from under him and stolen away from him.

Well, the outcome of our line of attack was as follows:  the Senate
decreed that the property owned by Classicus before he went to the
Province should be set apart from that which he subsequently acquired,
and that his daughter should receive the former and the rest be handed
over to the victims of his extortion.  It was also decreed that the sums
which he had paid over to his creditors should be refunded.  Hispanus
and Probus were banished for five years.  Such was the serious view
taken of their conduct, about which at the outset there were doubts
whether it was legally criminal at all.  A few days afterwards we
accused Claudius Fuscus, a son-in-law of Classicus, and Stilonius
Priscus, who had acted under him as tribune of a cohort.  Here the
verdicts differed, for while Priscus was banished from Italy for two
years, Fuscus was acquitted.

In the third action, we thought our best course was to lump the
defendants together, fearing lest, if the trial were to be spun out to
undue length, those who were hearing the case would grow sick and tired
of it, and their zeal for strict justice and severity would abate.
Besides, the accused persons, who had been designedly kept over till
then, were all of comparatively little importance, except the wife of
Classicus, and, although suspicion against her was strong, the proofs
seemed rather weak.  As for the daughter of Classicus, who was also
among the defendants, she had cleared herself even of suspicion.
Consequently, when I reached her name in the last trial--for there was
no fear then as there had been at the beginning that such an admission
would weaken the force of the prosecution--I thought the most honourable
course was to refrain from pressing the charge against an innocent
person, and I frankly said so, repeating the idea in various forms.  For
example, I asked the deputation of the Baetici whether they had given me
definite instructions on any point which they felt confident they could
prove against her; I turned to the senators and inquired whether they
thought I ought to employ what eloquence I might possess against an
innocent person, and hold, as it were, the knife to her throat; and,
finally, I concluded the subject with these words:  "Some one may say,
'You are presuming to act as judge.'  No, I reply, I am not presuming to
be a judge, but I cannot forget that the judges appointed me to act as

Well, the conclusion of this trial, with its crowd of defendants, was
that a certain few were acquitted, but the majority were condemned and
banished, some for a fixed term of years, and others for life.  In the
same decree the Senate expressed in most handsome terms its appreciation
of our industry, loyalty, and perseverance, and this was the only
possible worthy and adequate reward for the trouble we had taken.  You
can imagine how worn out we were, when you think how often we had to
plead, and answer the pleadings of our opponents, and how many witnesses
we had to cross-question, encourage, and refute.  Besides, you know how
trying and vexatious it is to say "no" to the friends of the accused
when they come pleading with you in private, and to stoutly oppose them
when they confront you in open court.  I will tell you one of the things
I said.  When one of those who were acting as judges interrupted me on
behalf of one of the accused in whom he took a special interest, I
replied:  "He will be none the less innocent, if he be innocent, when I
have had my full say."  You can guess from this sample what opposition
we had to face, and how we could not avoid giving offence,--but that
only lasted a short time, for though at the moment a loyal conduct of a
case may offend those whom one is opposing, in the end it wins even
their admiration and respect.

I have brought you up to date as well as I could.  You will say, "It was
not worth while, for what have I to do with such a long letter?"  If you
do, don't ask again what is going on at Rome, and bear in mind that you
cannot call a letter long which covers so many days, so many trials, and
so many defendants and pleadings.  I think I have dealt with all these
subjects as briefly as I am sure they are exactly dealt with.  But no, I
was rash to say "exactly"; I remember a point which I had omitted, and I
will tell you about it even now, though it is out of its proper place.
Homer does this, and many other authors have followed his example--with
very good effect too--though that is not my reason for so doing.  One of
the witnesses, annoyed at being summoned to appear, or bribed by some
one of the defendants in order to weaken the prosecution, laid an
accusation against Norbanus Licinianus, a member of the deputation, who
had been instructed to get up the case, and charged him with having
acted in collusion with the other side in relation to Casta, the wife of
Classicus.  It is a legal rule in such instances that the trial of the
accused must be finished before inquiry is made into a charge of
collusion, on the ground that one can best form an opinion on the bona
fides of the prosecution by noticing how the case has been carried
through.  However, Norbanus reaped no advantage from this point of law,
nor did his position as member of the deputation, nor his duties as one
of those getting up the action stand him in good stead.  A storm of
prejudice broke out against him, and there is no denying that his hands
were crime-stained, that he, like many others, had taken advantage of
the evil times of Domitian, and that he had been selected by the
provincials to get up the case, not as a man of probity and honour, but
because he had been a personal enemy of Classicus, by whom, indeed, he
had been banished.

He demanded that a day should be fixed for his trial, and that the
charge against him should be published; both were refused, and he was
obliged to answer on the spot.  He did so, and though the thorough
badness and depravity of the fellow make me hesitate to say whether he
showed more impudence or resolution, he certainly replied with great
readiness.  There were sundry things brought against him which did him
much greater damage than the charge of collusion, and two men of
consular rank, Pomponius Rufus and Libo Frugi, severely damaged him by
giving evidence to the effect that during the reign of Domitian he had
assisted the prosecution of Salvius Liberalis before the judge.  He was
convicted and banished to an island.  Consequently, when I was accusing
Casta, I specially pressed the point that her accuser had been found
guilty of collusion.  But I did so in vain, and we had the novel and
inconsistent result that the accused was acquitted though her accuser
was found guilty of collusion with her.  You may ask what we were about
while this was going on.  We told the Senate that we had received all
our instructions for this public trial from Norbanus, and that the case
ought to be tried afresh if he were proved guilty of collusion, and so,
while his trial was proceeding, we sat still.  Subsequently Norbanus was
present every day the trial lasted, and showed right up to the end the
same resolute or impudent front.

I wonder if I have forgotten anything else.  Well, I almost did.  On the
last day Salvius Liberalis bitterly assailed the rest of the deputation
on the ground that they had not brought accusations against all whom
they were commissioned to accuse by the province.  He is a powerful and
able speaker, and he put them in some danger.  However, I went to the
protection of those excellent and most grateful men, and they declare
that they owe it entirely to me that they safely weathered that storm.
This is the end, positively the end of my letter:  I will not add
another syllable, even if I discover that I have still omitted to tell
you something.  Farewell.


When I was last at your house I did not tell you that I had composed
some verses about your son.  I refrained from so doing, first, because I
had not written them simply for the sake of reciting them, but in order
to relieve my feelings of love and sorrow; and, in the second place,
Spurinna, I thought that when you were told that I had given a
recitation--as you mentioned to me--you had also heard its subject.
Moreover, I was afraid of troubling you in your happiness by recalling
to your remembrance your bitter sorrow.  Even now I have been hesitating
somewhat as to whether I should send you at your request only the verses
that I actually read, or whether I should also send those which I am
thinking of reserving for another volume.  For my love for him was such
that I find it impossible to do justice to the memory of one who was so
dear and precious to me in a single volume, and his fame will be best
consulted if it is husbanded and carefully expressed.  But though, as I
say, I am doubtful whether to show you all that I have composed on the
subject, or whether I should still keep back a part, it has seemed to me
that frankness and our friendship demand that I should let you have the
whole, especially as you promise that you will keep them strictly entre
nous until I decide to publish them.  The only other request I make is
that you will be equally candid with me and tell me if you think any
additions, alterations, or omissions should be made.  It is difficult to
focus the mind on such subjects when one is in trouble, but in spite of
that I want you to deal with me as you would with a sculptor or a
painter who was making a model or portrait of your son.  In such a case,
you would advise him as to the points he should bring out and alter, and
similarly I hope you will guide and direct me, for I am essaying a
likeness, neither frail nor perishable, but one, as you think, which
will last for ever.  It will be the more durable, according to its
trueness to life and correctness of detail.  Farewell.


Our friend Artemidorus has so much goodness of heart that he always
exaggerates the services his friends render him, and hence, in my case,
though it is true that I have done him a good turn, he speaks of it in
far too glowing language.  When the philosophers were banished from the
city I was staying with him in his suburban residence, and the visit was
the more talked about and the more dangerous to me, because I was
praetor at the time.  Moreover, as he stood in need of a considerable
sum of money to discharge some debts which he had incurred for the most
honourable of reasons, I borrowed the sum and gave it to him as a free
gift, when certain of his powerful and rich friends held aloof.  I did
so in spite of the fact that seven of my friends had been put to death
or banished; Senecio, Rusticus, and Helvidius having suffered the
former, and Mauricus, Gratilla, Arria, and Fannia the latter punishment.
With all these thunderbolts falling round me, I felt scorched, and there
were certain clear indications that a like fate was hanging over my
head, but I do not on that account think I deserve the splendid credit
which Artemidorus assigns me--I only claim to have avoided the disgrace
of deserting my friends.  For I loved and admired his father-in-law,
Caius Musonius, as far as the difference in our ages would permit, while
as for Artemidorus himself, even when I was on active service as tribune
in Syria, I was on terms of close intimacy with him, and the first sign
I gave of possessing any brains at all was that I appeared to appreciate
a man who was either the absolute sage, or the nearest possible
approximation to such a character.  For, of all those who nowadays call
themselves philosophers, you will hardly find another to match him in
the qualities of sincerity and truth.  I say nothing of the physical
fortitude with which he bears the extremes both of summer and winter, or
of the way in which he never shrinks from work, never indulges himself
in the pleasures of eating and drinking, and keeps constant restraint
over his appetites and desires.  In another man these would appear great
virtues, but in Artemidorus they appear mere trifles compared with his
other noble qualities, which obtained for him the distinction of being
chosen by Caius Musonius as his son-in-law amid a crowd of disciples
belonging to all ranks of society.  As I think of all these things it is
pleasant to know that he sings my praises so loudly, not only to others
but also to you, but I am afraid he overdoes them, for--to go back again
to the point whence I started--he is so good-hearted that he is given to
exaggeration.  It is one of his faults--an honourable one, no doubt, but
still a fault--that, though he is otherwise most level-headed, he
entertains a higher opinion of his friends than they deserve.  Farewell.


Yes, I will come to dinner, but even now I must stipulate that the meal
be short and frugal, and brimming over only with Socratic talk.  Nay,
even in this respect there must be a limit fixed, for there will be
crowds of people going to make calls before day breaks, and even Cato
did not escape when he fell in with them, though Caius Caesar, in
telling the story, blames him in such a way that it redounds to his
praise.  For he says that when those who met him drunk uncovered his
head and saw who it was, they blushed at the sight, and he adds:  "You
would think it was not they who had caught Cato, but Cato who had caught
them."  What greater testimony could there be to Cato's character than
that men respected him even when he was in liquor?  But for our dinner
let us agree not only to have a modest and inexpensive feast but to
break up in good time, for we are not Catos that our enemies cannot
censure us without praising us in the same breath.  Farewell.


I am sending you, at your request, the speech in which I lately thanked
our best of emperors for my nomination as Consul, and I should have sent
it to you even though you had not asked for it.  I hope you will take
into consideration both the beauty and the difficulty of the theme.  For
in other speeches the attention of the reader is kept fixed by the
novelty of the subject, but in this case every detail is familiar, a
matter of common knowledge, and has been said before.  Consequently the
reader will be lazy and careless and will only pay attention to the
diction, and when merely the diction is attended to, it is not easy to
give satisfaction.  I wish that people would pay equal regard to the
arrangement of the speech, to its transitions, and the figures of speech
employed.  For even the unlearned sometimes manage to get a noble
inspiration and express it in powerful language, but skilful arrangement
and variety of metaphor are only attained by the scholarly.  Besides,
one must not for ever keep at the same high and lofty level.  For, just
as in painting there is nothing like shadow to bring out the effect of
light, so in a speech it is as important on occasions to reduce the
treatment to an ordinary level as to raise it to a high one.  But why do
I talk of first principles to a man of your accomplishments?  What I do
wish to insist upon is to ask you to mark the passages which you think
should be corrected.  For I shall think that you are all the better
pleased with the remainder if I find that there are certain portions
that you do not like.  Farewell.


A shocking affair, worthy of more publicity than a letter can bestow,
has befallen Largius Macedo, a man of praetorian rank, at the hands of
his own slaves.  He was known to be an overbearing and cruel master, and
one who forgot--or rather remembered to keenly--that his own father had
been a slave.  He was bathing at his villa near Formiae, when he was
suddenly surrounded by his slaves.  One seized him by the throat,
another struck him on the forehead, and others smote him in the chest,
belly, and even--I am shocked to say--in the private parts.  When they
thought the breath had left his body they flung him on to the hot tiled
floor to see if he was still alive.  Whether he was insensible, or
merely pretended to be so, he certainly did not move, and lying there at
full length, he made them think that he was actually dead.  At length
they carried him out as though he had been overcome by the heat and
handed him over to his more trusty servants, while his mistresses ran
shrieking and wailing to his side.  Aroused by their cries and restored
by the coolness of the room where he lay, he opened his eyes and moved
his limbs, betraying thereby that he was still alive, as it was then
safe to do so.  His slaves took to flight; most of them have been
captured, but some are still being hunted for.  Thanks to the attentions
he received, Macedo was kept alive for a few days and had the
satisfaction of full vengeance before he died, for he exacted the same
punishment while he still lived as is usually taken when the victim of a
murder dies.  You see the dangers, the affronts and insults we are
exposed to, and no one can feel at all secure because he is an easy and
mild-tempered master, for villainy not deliberation murders masters.

But enough of that subject!  Have I any other news to tell you?  Let me
see!  No, there is nothing.  If there were, I would tell you, for I have
room enough on this sheet, and, as to-day is a holiday, I should have
plenty of time to write more.  But I will just add an incident which I
chance to recall that happened to the same Macedo.  When he was in one
of the public baths in Rome, a curious and--the event has shown--an
ominous accident happened to him.  Macedo's servant lightly tapped a
Roman knight with his hand to induce him to make room for them to pass,
and the knight turned round and struck, not the slave who had touched
him but Macedo himself, such a heavy blow with his fist that he almost
felled him.  So one may say that the bath has been by certain stages the
scene first of humiliation to him and then of death.  Farewell.


You ask me to read your poems while I am in the country, and see whether
I think they are worth publishing; you even add entreaties, and quote an
authority for the request; for you beg me to take a few holiday hours
from my own studies and spend them on your efforts, and you say that
Marcus Tullius showed wonderful good nature in encouraging the talent of
poets.  Well, there was no need to beg and pray of me to do such a
thing, for I have the most profound regard for the poetic art and I have
a very strong affection for you, so I will comply with your request and
give them a careful and willing reading.  But even now I think I am
justified in writing and telling you that your work is charming and
should on no account be kept from publication, as far as I could judge
from the pieces that you read aloud in my hearing--unless, indeed, your
delivery took me in, for you read with great charm and skill.  But I
feel pretty sure that I am not so completely led away by the mere
pleasures of the ear that my critical powers are wholly disarmed by the
pleasure of listening--they might be blunted possibly and have their
edge turned somewhat, but they certainly could not be subverted or
destroyed.  Consequently, I am not rash in pronouncing a general verdict
on the whole even now, but in order to judge of them in detail, I must
read them through.  Farewell.


I have often observed that the greatest words and deeds, both of men and
women, are not always the most famous, and my opinion has been confirmed
by a talk I had with Fannia yesterday.  She is a granddaughter of the
Arria who comforted her husband in his dying moments and showed him how
to die.  She told me many stories of her grandmother, just as heroic but
not so well known as the manner of her death, and I think they will seem
to you as you read them quite as remarkable as they did to me as I
listened to them.

Her husband, Caecina Paetus, was lying ill, and so too was their son,
both, it was thought, without chance of recovery.  The son died.  He was
a strikingly handsome lad, modest as he was handsome, and endeared to
his parents for his other virtues quite as much as because he was their
son.  Arria made all the arrangements for the funeral and attended it in
person, without her husband knowing anything of it.  When she entered
his room she pretended that the boy was still alive and even much
better, and when her husband constantly asked how the lad was getting
on, she replied:  "He has had a good sleep, and has taken food with a
good appetite."  Then when the tears, which she had long forced back,
overcame her and burst their way out, she would leave the room, and not
till then give grief its course, returning when the flood of tears was
over, with dry eyes and composed look, as though she had left her
bereavement at the door of the chamber.  It was indeed a splendid deed
of hers to unsheath the sword, to plunge it into her breast, then to
draw it out and offer it to her husband, with the words which will live
for ever and seem to have been more than mortal, "Paetus, it does not
hurt."  But at that moment, while speaking and acting thus, there was
fame and immortality before her eyes, and I think it an even nobler deed
for her without looking for any reward of glory or immortality to force
back her tears, to hide her grief, and, even when her son was lost to
her, to continue to act a mother's part.

When Scribonianus had started a rebellion in Illyricum against Claudius,
Paetus joined his party, and, on the death of Scribonianus, he was
brought prisoner to Rome.  As he was about to embark, Arria implored the
soldiers to take her on board with him.  "For," she pleaded, "as he is
of consular rank, you will assign him some servants to serve his meals,
to valet him and put on his shoes.  I will perform all these offices for
him."  When they refused her, she hired a fishing-boat and in that tiny
vessel followed the big ship.  Again, in the presence of Claudius she
said to the wife of Scribonianus, when that woman was voluntarily giving
evidence of the rebellion, "What, shall I listen to you in whose bosom
Scribonianus was killed and yet you still live?"  Those words showed
that her resolve to die gloriously was due to no sudden impulse.
Moreover, when her son-in-law Thrasea sought to dissuade her from
carrying out her purpose, and urged among his other entreaties the
following argument:  "If I had to die, would you wish your daughter to
die with me?" she replied, "If she had lived as long and as happily with
you as I have lived with Paetus, yes."  This answer increased the
anxiety of her friends, and she was watched with greater care.  Noticing
this, she said, "Your endeavours are vain.  You can make me die hard,
but you cannot prevent me from dying."  As she spoke she jumped from her
chair and dashed her head with great force against the wall of the
chamber, and fell to the ground.  When she came to herself again, she
said, "I told you that I should find a difficult way of dying if you
denied me an easy one."

Do not sentences like these seem to you more noble than the "Paetus, it
does not hurt," to which they gradually led up?  Yet, while that saying
is famous all over the world, the others are unknown.  But they confirm
what I said at the outset, that the noblest words and deeds are not
always the most famous.  Farewell.


Is everything quite well with you, that I have not had a letter from you
for so long?  Or if all is well, are you busy?  Or if you are not busy,
is it that you rarely get a chance of writing, or never a chance at all?
Relieve my anxiety, which is altogether too much for me, and do so even
if you have to send a special messenger.  I will pay the travelling
expenses and give him a present for himself, provided only he brings me
the news I wish to hear.  I am in good health if being in good health is
to live in a state of constant anxiety, expecting and fearing every hour
to hear that my dearest friend has met with any one of the dreadful
accidents to which men are liable.  Farewell.


As Consul, it naturally devolved upon me to thank the Emperor in the
name of the State.  After doing so in the Senate in the usual way and in
a speech befitting the place and the occasion, I thought that it would
highly become me, as a good citizen, to cover the same ground in greater
detail and much more fully in a book.  In the first place, I desired
that the Emperor might be encouraged by well-deserved praise of his
virtues; and, secondly, that future Emperors might be shown how best to
attain similar glory by having such an example before them, rather than
by any precepts of a teacher.  For though it is a very proper thing to
point out to an Emperor the virtues he ought to display, it involves a
heavy responsibility to do so and it has rather a presumptuous look,
whereas to eulogise an excellent ruler and so hold up a beacon to his
successors by which they may steer their path, is not only an act of
public service but involves no assumption of superiority.

But I have been more than a little pleased to find that when I proposed
to give a public reading of this speech, my friends, whom I invited not
by letters and personal notes, but in general terms, such as "if you
find it convenient," or "if you have plenty of time"--for no one has
ever plenty of time at Rome, nor is it ever convenient to listen to a
recital--attended two days running, in spite of shockingly bad weather,
and when my modesty would have brought the recital to an end, they
forced me to continue it for another day.  Am I to take this as a
compliment to myself or to learning?  I should prefer to think to the
latter, for learning, after having almost drooped to death, is now
reviving a little.  Yet consider the subject which occasioned all this
enthusiasm!  Why, in the Senate, when we had to listen to these
panegyrics we used to be bored to death after the first moment; yet now
there are people to be found who are willing to read and listen to the
readings for three days, not because the subject is dealt with more
eloquently than before, but because it is treated with greater freedom,
and therefore the work is more willingly undertaken.  This will be
another feather in the cap of our Emperor, that those speeches which
used to be as odious as they were unreal are now as popular as they are
true to facts.

But I especially noticed with pleasure both the attention and the
critical faculties of the audience, for I remarked that they seemed most
pleased with the passages which were least adorned.  I do not forget
that I have read only to a few what I have written for all the reading
public, yet none the less I take for granted that the multitude will
pass a similar judgment, and I am delighted with their taste for simple
passages.  Just as the audience in the theatres made the musicians
cultivate a false taste in playing, so now I am encouraged to hope that
they will encourage the players to cultivate a good taste.  For all who
write to please will write in the style which they see is popular.  As
for myself, I hope that with such a subject a luxuriant style may pass
muster, inasmuch as the passages which are closely reasoned and stripped
of all ornament are more likely to seem forced and far-fetched than
those treated in a more buoyant and, as it were, more exultant strain.
Nevertheless, I am just as anxious for the day to come (I hope it has
come already!) when mere charming and honeyed words, however justly
applied, shall give way to a chaste simplicity.  Well, I have told you
all about my three days' work; when you read it I hope that, though you
were absent at the time, you may be as pleased at the compliment paid to
learning and to me as you would have been if you had been there.


I want to ask your advice, as I have often done, on a matter of private
business.  Some land adjoining my own, and even running into mine, is
for sale, and while there are many considerations tempting me to buy it,
there are equally weighty reasons to dissuade me. I feel tempted to
purchase, first, because the estate will look well if rounded off, and,
secondly, because the conveniences resulting therefrom would be as great
as the pleasures it would give me.  The same work could be carried on at
both places, they could be visited at the same cost of travelling, they
could be put under one steward and practically one set of managers, and,
while one villa was kept up in style, the other house might be just kept
in repair.  Moreover, one must take into account the cost of furniture
and head-servants, besides gardeners, smiths, and even the gamekeepers,
and it makes a great difference whether you have all these in one place
or have them distributed in several.  Yet, on the other hand, I am
afraid it may be rash to risk so much of one's property to the same
storms and the same accidents, and it seems safer to meet the caprices
of Fortune by not putting all one's eggs into the same basket.  Again,
there is something exceedingly pleasant in changing one's air and place,
and in the travelling from one estate to another.

However, the chief reason why I hesitate is as follows:--The land in
question is fertile, rich and well-watered; it consists of meadows,
vineyards and woods, which are productive and guarantee an income, not
large, it is true, but yet sure.  But the fertility of the land is
overtaxed by the lack of capital of the tenants.  For the last
proprietor constantly sold the whole stock, and, though he reduced the
arrears of the tenants for the time, he weakened their efficiency for
the future, and as their capital failed them their arrears once more
began to mount up.  I must therefore set them up again, and it will cost
me the more because I must provide them with honest slaves, for I have
no slaves working in chains in my possession, nor has any landowner in
that part of the country.  Now, let me tell you the price at which I
think I can purchase the property.  It is three million sesterces,
though at one time the price was five, but owing to the lack of capital
of the tenants and the general badness of the times the rents have
fallen off and the price has therefore dropped also.  Perhaps you will
ask whether I can raise these three millions without difficulty.  Well,
nearly all my capital is invested in land, but I have some money out at
interest and I can borrow without any trouble.  I can get money from my
mother-in-law, whose purse I use as freely as if it were my own.  So
don't let this consideration trouble you, if the other objections can be
got over, and I hope you will give these your most careful attention.
For, as in everything else, so too in the matter of investments, your
experience and shrewdness are unexceptionable.  Farewell.


Do you remember that you often read of the fierce controversies excited
by the Ballot Act, and the praises and denunciations that it brought
upon the head of the man who introduced it?  Yet, nowadays in the Senate
its merits are universally acknowledged, and on the last election day
all the candidates demanded the ballot.  For when the voting was open
and members publicly recorded their votes, the confusion was worse than
that which prevails at public meetings.  No one paid any heed to the
time allotted to speeches; there was no respectful silence, and members
did not even remember their dignity and keep their seats.  On all sides
there was tumult and uproar; all were running to and fro with their
candidates; they clustered in knots and rings on the floor of the house,
and there was the most unseemly disorder.  To such an extent had we
degenerated from the customs of our forefathers, who observed in all
things order, moderation, and quiet, and never forgot the dignity of the
place and the attitude proper to it.

There are still old men living who tell me that elections in their time
were conducted as follows:--When a candidate's name was read out the
deepest silence was observed.  Then he addressed the House in his own
interest, gave an account of his life, and produced witnesses to speak
in his favour.  He would call upon the general under whom he had served,
or the governor to whom he had been quaestor, or both if possible, and
then he mentioned certain of his supporters, who would speak for him in
a few weighty sentences.  These had far more effect than entreaties.
Sometimes a candidate would lay objections to the pedigree, age, or
character of a rival, and the Senate would listen with gravity befitting
a censor.  Consequently, merit told as a rule more than influence.  But
when this laudable practice was spoilt by excessive partisanship the
House had recourse to the silence of the ballot-box in order to cure the
evil, and for a time it did act as a remedy, owing to the novelty of the
sudden change.  But I am afraid that as time goes on abuses will arise
even out of this remedy, for there is a danger that the ballot may be
invaded by shameless partiality.  How few there are who are as careful
of acting honourably in secret as in public!  While many people are
afraid of what others will say, few are afraid of their own conscience.
But it is too early yet to speak of the future, and in the meantime,
thanks to the ballot, we shall have as magistrates men who pre-eminently
deserve the honour.  For in this election we have proved honest judges,
like those who are hastily empanelled to serve in the Court of the
Recuperators--where the decision is so speedy that those who try the
case have no time to be bribed.

I have written this letter, firstly to tell you the news, and secondly
to say a word on the general political outlook, and, as opportunities
for discussing the latter are much less frequent than they were in the
old days, we should seize those which present themselves all the more
eagerly.  Besides, how long shall we go on using the hackneyed phrases,
"How do you spend your time?" and "Are you quite well?"  Let us in our
correspondence rise above the ordinary poor level and petty details
confined to our private affairs.  It is true that all political power
lies in the hands of one person, who for the common good has taken upon
himself the cares and labours of the whole State, yet, thanks to his
beneficent moderation, some rills from that bounteous source flow down
even to us, and these we may draw for ourselves and serve up, as it
were, to our absent friends in letters.  Farewell.


I hear that Valerius Martial is dead, and I am much troubled at the
news.  He was a man of genius, witty and caustic, yet one who in his
writings showed as much candour as he did biting wit and ability to
sting.  When he left Rome I made him a present to help to defray his
travelling expenses, as a tribute to the friendship I bore him and to
the verses he had composed about me.  It was the custom in the old days
to reward with offices of distinction or money grants those who had
composed eulogies of private individuals or cities, but in our day this
custom, like many other honourable and excellent practices, was one of
the first to fall into disuse.  For when we cease to do deeds worthy of
praise, we think it is folly to be praised.  Do you ask what the verses
are which excited my gratitude?  I would refer you to the volume itself,
but that I have some by heart, and if you like these, you may look out
the others for yourself in the book.  He addresses the Muse and bids her
seek my house on the Esquiline and approach it with great respect:--"But
take care that you do not knock at his learned door at a time when you
should not.  He devotes whole days together to crabbed Minerva, while he
prepares for the ears of the Court of the Hundred speeches which
posterity and the ages to come may compare even with the pages of
Arpinum's Cicero.  "Twill be better if you go late in the day, when the
evening lamps are lit; that is YOUR hour, when the Wine God is at his
revels, when the rose is Queen of the feast, when men's locks drip
perfume.  At such an hour even unbending Catos may read my poems."  Was
I not right to take a most friendly farewell of a man who wrote a poem
like that about me, and do I do wrong if I now bewail his death as that
of a bosom-friend?  For he gave me the best he could, and would have
given me more if he had had it in his power.  And yet what more can be
given to a man than glory and praise and immortality?  But you may say
that Martial's poems will not live for ever.  Well, perhaps not, yet at
least he wrote them in the hope that they would.  Farewell.



You say you wish to see your granddaughter again, and me with her, after
not having seen us for so long.  Both of us are charmed to hear you say
so, and, believe me, we are equally anxious to see you.  For I cannot
tell you how we long to see you, and we shall no longer delay our visit.
To that end we are even now getting our luggage together, and we shall
push on as fast as the state of the roads will permit.  There will be
one delay, but it will not detain us long.  We shall branch off to see
my Tuscan estate--not to inspect the farms and go into accounts, as that
can be postponed--but merely to perform a necessary duty.  There is a
village near my property called Tifernum Tiberinum, which selected me as
its patron when I was still almost a boy, and showed, by so doing, more
affection than judgment.  The people there flock to meet me when I
approach, are distressed when I leave them, and rejoice at my
preferment.  In this village, as a return for their kindness--for it
would never do to be outdone in affection--I have, at my own expense,
built a temple, and now that it is completed it would be hardly
respectful to the gods to put off its dedication any longer.  So we
shall be present on the dedication day, which I have arranged to
celebrate with a banquet.  We may possibly stay there for the following
day as well, but, if we do, we shall get over the ground with increased
speed to make up for lost time.  I only hope that we shall find you and
your daughter in good health, for I know we shall find you in good
spirits if we arrive in safety.  Farewell.


Regulus has lost his son--the only misfortune he did not deserve,
because I doubt whether he considers it as such.  He was a sharp-witted
youth, whatever use he might have made of his talents, though he might
have followed honourable courses if he did not take after his father.
Regulus freed him from his parental control in order that he might
succeed to his mother's property, but after freeing him--and those who
knew the character of the man spoke of it as a release from slavery--he
endeavoured to win his affections by treating him with a pretended
indulgence which was as disgraceful as it was unusual in a father.  It
seems incredible, but remember that it was Regulus.  Yet now that his
son is dead, he is mad with grief at his loss.  The boy had a number of
ponies, some in harness and others not broken in, dogs both great and
small, nightingales, parrots and blackbirds--all these Regulus
slaughtered at his pyre.  Yet an act like that was no token of grief; it
was but a mere parade of it.  It is strange how people are flocking to
call upon him.  Every one detests and hates him, yet they run to visit
him in shoals as though they both admired and loved him.  To put in a
nutshell what I mean, people in paying court to Regulus are copying the
example he set.  He does not move from his gardens across the Tiber,
where he has covered an immense quantity of ground with colossal
porticos and littered the river bank with his statues, for, though he is
the meanest of misers, he flings his money broadcast, and though his
name is a byword, he is for ever vaunting his glories.  Consequently, in
this the most sickly season of the year, he is upsetting every one's
arrangements, and thinks it soothes his grief to inconvenience
everybody.  He says he is desirous of taking a wife, and here again, as
in other matters, he shows the perversity of his nature.  You will hear
soon that the mourner is married, that the old man has taken a wife,
displaying unseemly haste as the former and undue delay as the latter.
If you ask what makes me think he will take this step, I reply that it
is not because he says he will--for there is no greater liar than he--
but because it is quite certain that Regulus will do what he ought not
to do.  Farewell.


That you, like your ancestors of old, have been twice consul, that you
have been proconsul of Asia with a record such as not more than one or
two of your predecessors and successors have enjoyed--for your modesty
is such that I do not like to say that no one has equalled you--that in
purity of life, influence and age, you are the principal man of the
State,--all these things inspire respect and give distinction, and yet I
admire you even more in your retirement.  For to season, as you do, all
your strict uprightness with charm of manner equally striking, and to be
such an agreeable companion as well as such a man of weight, that is no
less difficult than it is desirable.  Yet you succeed in so doing with
wonderful sweetness both in your conversation and above all, when you
set pen to paper.  For when you talk, all the honey of Homer's old man
eloquent seems to flow from your tongue, and when you write, the bees
seem to be busy pouring into every line their choicest essences and
charging them with sweetness.  That certainly was my impression when I
recently read your Greek epigrams and iambics.  What breadth of feeling
they contain, what choice expressions, how graceful they are, how
musical, how exact!  I thought I was holding in my hands Callimachus or
Herodes, or even a greater poet than these, if greater there be, yet
neither of these two poets attempted or excelled in both these forms of
verse.  Is it possible for a Roman to write such Greek?  I do not
believe that even Athens has so pure an Attic touch.  But why go on?  I
am jealous of the Greeks that you should have elected to write in their
language, for it is easy to guess what choice work you could turn out in
your mother-tongue, when you have produced such splendid results with an
exotic language which has been transplanted into our midst.  Farewell.


I have the greatest regard for Varisidius Nepos; he is hardworking,
upright, and a scholar--a point which with me outweighs almost any
other.  He is a near relative and, in fact, a son of the sister of Caius
Calvisius, my old companion and a friend too of yours.  I beg that you
will give him a tribuneship for six months and so advance him in
dignity, both for his own and for his uncle's sake.  By so doing you
will confer a favour on me, on our friend Calvisius, and on Varisidius
himself, who is quite as worthy to be under an obligation to you as we
are.  You have showered kindnesses on numbers of people, and I will
venture to say that you have never bestowed one that was better
deserved, and have but rarely granted one that was deserved so well.


There is a story that Aeschines was once asked by the Rhodians to read
them one of his speeches, that he afterwards read them one of
Demosthenes' as well, and that both were received with great applause.
I cannot wonder that the orations of such distinguished men were
applauded, when I think that just recently the most learned men in Rome
listened for two days together to a speech of mine, with such
earnestness, applause, and concentration of attention, though there was
nothing to stir their blood, no other speech with which to compare mine,
and not a trace of the acharnement of debate.  While the Rhodians had
not only the beauties of the two speeches to kindle them but also the
charm of comparison, my speech was approved though it lacked the
advantages of being controversial.  Whether it deserved its reception
you will be able to judge when you have read it, and its bulk does not
allow of my making a longer preface.  For I ought certainly to be brief
here where brevity is possible, so that I may be the more readily
excused for the length of the speech itself, though it is not longer
than the subject required.  Farewell.


My Tuscan farms have been lashed by hail; from my property in the
Transpadane region I get news that the crops are very heavy but the
prices rule equally low, and it is only my Laurentian estate that makes
me any return.  It is true that all my belongings there consist of but a
house and a garden, yet it is the only property which brings me in any
revenue.  For while I am there I write hard and I till--not fields, for
I have none--but my own wits, and so I can show you there a full granary
of MSS., as elsewhere I can show you full barns of wheat.  Hence if you
are anxious for sure and fruitful farms, you too should sow your grain
on the same kind of shore.  Farewell.


I am constantly writing to tell you what energy Regulus possesses.  It
is wonderful the way he carries through anything which he has set his
mind upon.  It pleased him to mourn for his son--and never man mourned
like him; it pleased him to erect a number of statues and busts to his
memory, and the result is that he is keeping all the workshops busy; he
is having his boy represented in colours, in wax, in bronze, in silver,
in gold, ivory, and marble--always his boy.  He himself just lately got
together a large audience and read a memoir of his life--of the boy's
life; he read it aloud, and yet had a thousand copies written out which
he has scattered broadcast over Italy and the provinces.  He wrote at
large to the decurions and asked them to choose one of their number with
the best voice to read the memoir to the people, and it was done.  What
good he might have effected with this energy of his--or whatever name we
should give to such dauntless determination on his part to get his own
way--if he had only turned it into a better channel!  But then, as you
know, good men rarely have this faculty so well developed as bad men;
the Greeks say, "Ignorance makes a man bold; calculation gives him
pause," and just in the same way modesty cripples the force of an
upright mind, while unblushing confidence is a source of strength to a
man without conscience.  Regulus is a case in point.  He has weak lungs,
he never looks you straight in the face, he stammers, he has no
imaginative power, absolutely no memory, no quality at all, in short,
except a wild, frantic genius, and yet, thanks to his effrontery, and
even just to this frenzy of his, he has got people to regard him as an
orator.  Herennius Senecio very neatly turned against him Cato's well-
known definition of an orator by saying, "An orator is a bad man who
knows nothing of the art of speaking," and I really think that he
thereby gave a better definition of Regulus than Cato did of the really
true orator.

Have you any equivalent to send me for a letter like this?  Yes, indeed,
you have, if you will write and say whether any one of my friends in
your township, or whether you yourself have read this pitiful production
of Regulus in the Forum, like a Cheap Jack, pitching your voice high, as
Demosthenes says, shouting with delight, and straining every muscle in
your throat.  For it is so absurd that it will make you laugh rather
than sigh, and you would think it was written not about a boy but by a
boy.  Farewell.


You congratulate me on accepting the office of augur.  You are right in
so doing, first, because it is a proper thing to obey the wishes of an
emperor with a character like ours, and, secondly, because the priestly
office is in itself an ancient and sacred one, and inspires respect and
dignity from the very fact that it is held for life.  For other offices,
though almost equal in point of dignity to this, may be bestowed one day
and taken away the next, while with the augurship the element of chance
only enters into the bestowal of it.  I think too that I have special
reasons for congratulating myself in that I have succeeded Julius
Frontinus, one of the leading men of his day, who for many years running
used to bring forward my name, whenever the nomination day for the
priesthoods came round, as though he wished to coopt me to fill his
place.  Now events have turned out in such a way that my election does
not seem to have been the work of chance.  I can only hope that as I
have attained to the priesthood and the consulship at a much earlier age
than he did, I may, when I am old, at least in some degree acquire his
serenity of mind.  But all that man can give has fallen to my lot and to
many another; the other thing, which can only be bestowed by the gods,
is as difficult to attain to as it is presumptuous to hope for it.


For some days past Julius Bassus has been on his defence.  He is a much
harassed man whose misfortunes have made him famous.  An accusation was
lodged against him in Vespasian's reign by two private individuals; the
case was referred to the Senate, and for a long time he has been on the
tenter-hooks, but at last he has been acquitted and his character
cleared.  He was afraid of Titus because he had been a friend of
Domitian, yet he had been banished by the latter, was recalled by Nerva,
and, after being appointed by lot to the governorship of Bithynia,
returned from the province to stand his trial.  The case against him was
keenly pressed, but he was no less loyally defended.

Pomponius Rufus, a ready and impetuous speaker, opened against him and
was followed by Theophanes, one of the deputation from the province, who
was the very life and soul of the prosecution, and indeed the originator
of it.  I replied on Bassus' behalf, for he had instructed me to lay the
foundations of his whole defence, to give an account of his
distinctions, which were very considerable--as he was a man of good
family, and had been in many tight places--to dilate upon the conspiracy
of the informers and the gains they counted upon, and to explain how it
was that Bassus had roused the resentment of all the restless spirits of
the province, and notably of Theophanes himself.  He had expressed a
wish that I too should controvert the charge which was damaging him
most.  For as to the others, though they sounded to be even more
serious, he deserved not only acquittal but approbation, and the only
thing that troubled him was that, in an unguarded moment and in perfect
innocence, he had received certain presents from the provincials as a
token of friendship, for he had served in the same province previously
as quaestor.  His accusers stigmatised these gifts as thefts and
plunder:  he called them presents, but the law forbids even presents to
be accepted by a governor.

In such a case what was I to do, what line of defence was I to take up?
If I denied them in toto, I was afraid that people would immediately
regard as a theft the presents which I was afraid to confess had been
received.  Moreover, to deny the obvious truth would have been to
aggravate and not lessen the gravity of the charge, especially as the
accused himself had cut the ground away from under the feet of his
counsel.  For he had told many people, and even the Emperor, that he had
accepted, but only on his birthday or at the feast of the Saturnalia,
some few trifling presents, and had also sent similar gifts to some of
his friends.  Was I then to acknowledge this and plead for clemency?
Had I done so, I should have put a knife to my client's throat by
confessing that he had committed offences and could only be acquitted by
an act of clemency.  Was I to defend his conduct and justify it?  That
would have done him no good, and would have stamped me as an unblushing

In this difficult position I resolved to take a middle course, and I
think I succeeded in so doing.  Night interrupted my pleading, as it so
often interrupts battles.  I had been speaking for three hours and a
half, and I had another hour and a half still left me.  The law allowed
the accuser six hours and the defendant nine, and Bassus had arranged
the time at his disposal by giving me five hours, and the remainder to
the advocate who was to speak after me.  The success of my pleading
persuaded me to say no more and make an end, for it is rash not to rest
content when things are going well.  Besides, I was afraid I might break
down physically if I went over the ground again, as it is more difficult
to pick up the threads of a speech than to go straight on.  There was
also the risk of the remainer of my speech meeting with a chilly
reception, owing to the threads being dropped, or of it boring the
judges if I gathered them up anew.  For, just as the flame of a torch is
kept alight if you wave it continually up and down, but is difficult to
resuscitate when it has been allowed to go out, so the warmth of a
speaker and the attention of his audience are kept alive if he goes on
speaking, but cool off at any interruption which causes interest to
flag.  But Bassus begged and prayed of me, almost with tears in his
eyes, to take my full time.  I gave way, and preferred his interests to
my own.  It turned out well, for I found that the senators were so
attentive and so fresh that, instead of having had quite enough of my
speech of the day before, it seemed to have only whetted their appetites
for more.

Lucceius Albinus followed me and spoke so much to the point that our
speeches were considered to have all the diversity of two addresses but
the cohesion of one.  Herennius Pollio replied with force and dignity,
and then Theophanes again rose.  He showed his usual effrontery in
demanding a more liberal allowance of time than is usually granted--even
after two advocates of ability and consular rank had concluded--and he
went on speaking until nightfall, an actually continued after that, when
lights had been brought into court.

On the following day Titius Homullus and Fronto made a splendid effort
on behalf of Bassus, and the hearing of the evidence took up the fourth
day.  Baebius Macer, the consul-designate, proposed that Bassus should
be dealt with under the law relating to extortion, while Caepio Hispo
was in favour of appointing judges to hear the case, but urged that
Bassus should retain his place in the Senate.  Both were in the right.
How can that be? you may ask.  For this reason, because Macer, looking
at the letter of the law, was justified in condemning a man who had
broken the law by receiving presents; while Caepio, acting on the
assumption that the Senate has the right--which it certainly has--both
to mitigate the severity of the laws and to rigorously put them in
force, was not unreasonably desirous of excusing an offence which,
though illegal, is very often committed.  Caepio's proposal carried the
day; indeed, when he rose to speak he was greeted with the applause
which is usually reserved for speakers upon resuming their seats.  This
will enable you to judge how unanimously the motion was received while
he was speaking, when it met with such a reception on his rising to put

However, just as there was difference of opinion in the Senate, so there
is the same with the general public.  Those who approved the proposal of
Caepio find fault with that of Macer as being vindictive and severe;
those who agree with Macer condemn Caepio's motion as lax and even
inconsistent, for they say it is incongruous to allow a man to keep his
place in the Senate when judges have been allotted to try him.  There
was also a third proposal.  Valerius Paulinus, who agreed in the main
with Caepio, proposed that an inquiry should be instituted into the case
of Theophanes, as soon as he had concluded his work on the deputation.
It was urged that during his conduct of the prosecution he had committed
a number of offences which came within the scope of the law under which
he had accused Bassus.  However, the consuls did not approve this
proposal, though it found great favour with a large proportion of the
Senate.  None the less, Paulinus gained a reputation thereby for justice
and consistency.  When the Senate rose, Bassus came in for an ovation;
crowds gathered round him and greeted him with a remarkable
demonstration of their joy.  Public sympathy had been aroused in his
favour by the old story of the hazards he had gone through being told
over again, by the association of his name with grave perils, by his
tall physique and the sadness and poverty of his old age.  You must
consider this letter as the forerunner of another:  you will be looking
out for my speech in full and with every detail, and you will have to
look out for it for some time to come, because, owing to the importance
of the subject, it will require more than a mere brief and cursory
revision.  Farewell.


You tell me that Sabina, who left us her heirs, never gave any
instructions that her slave Modestus was to be granted his freedom,
though she left him a legacy in these words:  "I give...to Modestus,
whom I have ordered to receive his liberty."  You ask me what I think of
the matter.  I have consulted some eminent lawyers and they all agree
that Modestus need not be given his freedom, because it was not
expressly granted by Sabina, nor his legacy, because she left it to him
as a slave.  But the mistake is obvious to me, and so I think that we
ought to act as though Sabina had ordered him to be freed in express
terms, since she certainly was under the impression that she had ordered
it.  I am sure that you will be of my way of thinking, for you are most
punctilious in carrying out the intentions of a dead person, which are,
with honourable heirs, tantamount to legal obligations.  For with us
honour has as much weight as necessity has with others.  So I propose
that we should allow Modestus to have his liberty and enjoy his legacy,
as if Sabina had taken all proper precautions to ensure that he should.
For a lady who has made a good choice of her heirs has surely taken all
the precautions necessary.  Farewell.


Have you heard that Valerius Licinianus is teaching rhetoric in Sicily?
I do not think you can have done, for the news is quite fresh.  He is of
praetorian rank, and he used at one time to be considered one of our
most eloquent pleaders at the bar, but now he has fallen so low that he
is an exile instead of being a senator, and a mere teacher of rhetoric
instead of being a prominent advocate.  Consequently in his opening
remarks he exclaimed, sorrowfully and solemnly:  "O Fortune, what sport
you make to amuse yourself!  For you turn senators into professors, and
professors into senators."  There is so much gall and bitterness in that
expression that it seems to me that he became a professor merely to have
the opportunity of uttering it.  Again, when he entered the hall wearing
a Greek pallium--for those who have been banished with the fire-and-
water formula are not allowed to wear the toga--he first pulled himself
together and then, glancing at his dress, he said, "I shall speak my
declamations in Latin."

You will say that this is all very sad and pitiful, but that a man who
defiled his profession of letters by the guilt of incest deserves to
suffer.  It is true that he confessed his guilt, but it is an open
question whether he did so because he was guilty or because he feared an
even heavier punishment if he denied it.  For Domitian was in a great
rage and was boiling over with fury because his witnesses had left him
in the lurch.  His mind was set upon burying alive Cornelia, the chief
of the Vestal Virgins, as he thought to make his age memorable by such
an example of severity, and, using his authority as Chief Pontiff, or
rather exercising the cruelty of a tyrant and the wanton caprice of a
ruler, he summoned the rest of the pontiffs not to the Palace but to his
Villa at Alba.  There, with a wickedness just as monstrous as the crime
which he pretended to be punishing, he declared her guilty of incest,
without summoning her before him and giving her a hearing, though he
himself had not only committed incest with his brother's daughter but
had even caused her death, for she died of abortion during her
widowhood.  He immediately despatched some of the pontiffs to see that
his victim was buried alive and put to death.  Cornelia invoked in turns
the aid of Vesta and of the rest of the deities, and amid her many cries
this was repeated most frequently:  "How can Caesar think me guilty of
incest, when he has conquered and triumphed after my hands have
performed the sacred rites?"  It is not known whether her purpose was to
soften Caesar's heart or to deride him, whether she spoke the words to
show her confidence in herself or her contempt of the Emperor.  Yet she
continued to utter them until she was led to the place of execution, and
whether she was innocent or not, she certainly appeared to be so.  Nay,
even when she was being let down into the dreadful pit and her dress
caught as she was being lowered, she turned and readjusted it, and when
the executioner offered her his hand she declined it and drew back, as
though she put away from her with horror the idea of having her chaste
and pure body defiled by his loathsome touch.  Thus she preserved her
sanctity to the last and displayed all the tokens of a chaste woman,
like Hecuba, "taking care that she might fall in seemly wise."

Moreover, when Celer, the Roman knight who was accused of having
intrigued with Cornelia, was being scourged with rods in the Forum, he
did nothing but cry out, "What have I done?  I have done nothing."
Consequently Domitian's evil reputation for cruelty and injustice blazed
up on all hands.  He fastened upon Licinianus for hiding a freedwoman of
Cornelia on one of his farms.  Licinianus was advised by his friends who
interested themselves on his behalf to take refuge in making a
confession and beg for pardon, if he wished to escape being flogged in
the Forum, and he did so.  Herennius Senecio spoke for him in his
absence very much in the words of Homer, "Patroclus is fallen," for he
said, "Instead of being an advocate, I am the bearer of news:
Licinianus has removed himself."  This so pleased Domitian that he
allowed his gratification to betray him into exclaiming, "Licinianus has
cleared us."  He even went on to say that it would not do to press a man
who admitted his fault too hard, and gave him permission to get together
what he could of his belongings before his goods were confiscated, and
granted him a pleasant place of exile as a reward for his consideration.
Subsequently, by the clemency of the Emperor Nerva, he was removed to
Sicily, where he now is a Professor of Rhetoric and takes his revenge
upon Fortune in his prefatory remarks.

You see how careful I am to obey your wishes, as I not only give you the
news of the town, but news from abroad, and minutely trace a story from
its very beginning.  I took for granted that, as you were away from Rome
at the time, all you heard of Licinianus was that he had been banished
for incest.  For rumour only gives one the gist of the matter, not the
various stages through which it passes.  Surely I deserve that you
should return the compliment and write and tell me what is going on in
your town and neighbourhood, for something worthy of note is always
happening.  But say what you will, provided you give me the news in as
long a letter as I have written to you.  I shall count up not only the
pages, but the lines and the syllables.  Farewell.


You have a regard for Egnatius Marcellinus and you often commend him to
my notice; you will love him and commend him the more when you hear what
he has recently done.  After setting out as quaestor for his province,
he lost by death a secretary, who was allotted to him, before the day
when the man's salary fell due, and he made up his mind and resolved
that he ought not to keep the money which had been paid over to him to
give to the secretary.  So when he returned he consulted first Caesar
and then the Senate, on Caesar's recommendation, as to what was to be
done with the money.  It was a trifling question, but, after all, it was
a question.  The secretary's heirs claimed it should pass to them; the
prefects of the treasury claimed it for the people.  The case was heard,
and counsel for the heirs and for the people pleaded in turn, and both
spoke well to the point.  Caecilius Strabo proposed that it should be
paid over to the treasury; Baebius Macer that it should be given to the
man's heirs; Strabo carried the day.  I hope you will praise Marcellinus
for his conduct, as I did on the spot, for, although he thinks it more
than enough to have been congratulated by the Emperor and the Senate, he
will be glad to have your commendation as well.  All who are anxious for
glory and reputation are wonderfully pleased with the approbation and
praise even of men of no particular account, while Marcellinus has such
regard for you that he attaches the greatest importance to your opinion.
Besides, if he knows that the fame of his action has penetrated so far,
he cannot but be pleased at the ground his praises have covered and the
rapidity and distance they have travelled.  For it somehow happens that
men prefer a wide even to a well-grounded reputation.  Farewell.


I am delighted that you have returned to Rome, for though your arrival
is always welcome, it is especially so to me at the present moment.  I
shall be spending a few more days at my Tusculan villa in order to
finish a small work which I have in hand, for I am afraid that if I do
not carry it right through now that it is nearly completed I shall find
it irksome to start on it again.  In the meanwhile, that I may lose no
time, I am sending this letter as a sort of forerunner to make a request
which, when I am in town, I shall ask you to grant.

But first of all, let me tell you my reasons for asking it.  When I was
last in my native district a son of a fellow townsman of mine, a youth
under age, came to pay his respects to me.  I said to him, "Do you keep
up your studies?"  "Yes," said he.  "Where?" I asked.  "At Mediolanum,"
he replied.  "But why not here?" I queried.  Then the lad's father, who
was with him, and indeed had brought him, replied, "Because we have no
teachers here."  "How is that?" I asked.  "It is a matter of urgent
importance to you who are fathers"--and it so happened, luckily, that a
number of fathers were listening to me--"that your children should get
their schooling here on the spot.  For where can they pass the time so
pleasantly as in their native place; where can they be brought up so
virtuously as under their parents' eyes; where so inexpensively as at
home?  If you put your money together you could hire teachers at a
trifling cost, and you could add to their stipends the sums you now
spend upon your sons' lodgings and travelling money, which are no light
amounts.  I have no children of my own, but still, in the interest of
the State, which I may consider as my child or my parent, I am prepared
to contribute a third part of the amount which you may decide to club
together.  I would even promise the whole sum, if I were not afraid that
if I did so my generosity would be corrupted to serve private interests,
as I see is the case in many places where teachers are employed at the
public charge.  There is but one way of preventing this evil, and that
is by leaving the right of employing the teachers to the parents alone,
who will be careful to make a right choice if they are required to find
the money.  For those who perhaps would be careless in dealing with
other people's money will assuredly be careful in spending their own,
and they will take care that the teacher who gets my money will be worth
his salt when he will also get money from them as well.  So put your
heads together, make up your minds, and let my example inspire you, for
I can assure you that the greater the contribution you lay upon me the
better I shall be pleased.  You cannot make your children a more
handsome present than this, nor can you do your native place a better
turn.  Let those who are born here be brought up here, and from their
earliest days accustom them to love and know every foot of their native
soil.  I hope you may be able to attract such distinguished teachers
that boys will be sent here to study from the towns round about, and
that, as now your children flock to other places, so in the future other
people's children may flock hither."

I thought it best to repeat this conversation in detail and from the
very beginning, to convince you how glad I shall be if you will
undertake my commission.  As the subject is one of such importance, I
beg and implore you to look out for some teachers from among the throng
of learned people who gather round you in admiration of your genius,
whom we can sound on the matter, but in such a way that we do not pledge
ourselves to employ any one of them.  For I wish to give the parents a
perfectly free hand.  They must judge and choose for themselves; my
responsibilities go no further than a sympathetic interest and the
payment of my share of the cost.  So if you find any one who is
confident in his own abilities, let him go to Comum, but on the express
understanding that he builds upon no certainty beyond his own confidence
in himself.  Farewell.


Perhaps you are asking and looking out for a speech of mine, as you
usually do, but I am sending you some wares of another sort, exotic
trifles, the fruit of my playtime.  You will receive with this letter
some hendecasyllabics of mine with which I pass my leisure hours
pleasantly when driving, or in the bath, or at dinner.  They contain my
jests, my sportive fancies, my loves, sorrows, displeasures and wrath,
described sometimes in a humble, sometimes in a lofty strain.  My object
has been to please different tastes by this variety of treatment, and I
hope that certain pieces will be liked by every one.  Some of them will
possibly strike you as being rather wanton, but a man of your
scholarship will bear in mind that the very greatest and gravest authors
who have handled such subjects have not only dealt with lascivious
themes, but have treated them in the plainest language.  I have not done
that, not because I have greater austerity than they--by no means, but
because I am not quite so daring.  Otherwise, I am aware that Catullus
has laid down the best and truest regulations governing this style of
poetry in his lines:  "For it becomes a pious bard to be chaste himself,
though there is no need for his verses to be so.  Nay, if they are to
have wit and charm, they must be voluptuous and not too modest."

You may guess from this what store I set on your critical judgment when
I say that I prefer you should weigh the whole in the balance rather
than pick out a few for your special praise.  Yet pieces, perfect in
themselves, cease to appear so the moment they are all on a dead level
of perfection.  Besides, a reader of judgment and acumen ought not to
compare different pieces with one another, but to weigh each on its own
merits and not to think one inferior to another, if it is perfect of its
kind.  But why say more?  What more foolish than to excuse or commend
mere trifles with a long preface?  Still there is one thing of which I
think I should advise you, and it is that I am thinking of calling these
trifles "Hendecasyllables," a title which simply refers to the single
metre employed.  So, whether you prefer to call them epigrams, or
idylls, or eclogues, or little poems, as many do, or any other name,
remember that I only offer you "Hendecasyllables."  I appeal to your
candour to speak to me frankly about my tiny volume as you would to a
third person, and this is no hard request.  For if this trifling work of
mind were my chef d'oeuvre, or my one solitary composition, it might
perhaps seem harsh to say, "Seek out some other employment for your
talent," but it is perfectly gentle and kindly criticism to say, "You
have another sphere in which you show to greater advantage."  Farewell.


If I have ever been guided by judgment, it has been in the strength of
regard I have for Asinius Rufus.  He is one of a thousand, and a devoted
admirer of all good men among whom why may I not include myself?  He is
on the very closest of terms of friendship with Cornelius Tacitus, and
you know what an honourable man Tacitus is.  So if you have any high
opinion of both Tacitus and myself, you must also think as highly of
Rufus as you do of us, since similarity of character is perhaps the
strongest bond for cementing friendships.  Rufus has a number of
children.  Even in this respect he has acted the part of a good citizen,
in that he was willing to freely undertake the responsibilities entailed
upon him by the fruitfulness of his wife, in an age when the advantages
of being childless are such that many people consider even one son to be
a burden.  He has scorned all those advantages, and has also become a
grandfather.  For a grandfather he is, thanks to Saturius Firmus, whom
you will love as I do when you know him as intimately.

I mention these particulars to show you what a large and numerous
household you can oblige by a single favour, and I am induced to ask it
from you, in the first place, because I wish to do so, and in the
second, owing to a good omen.  For we hope and prophesy that next year
you will be consul, and we are led to make that forecast by your own
good qualities, and by the opinion that the Emperor has of you.  But it
also happens that Asinius Bassus, the eldest son of Rufus, will be
quaestor in the same year, and he is a young man even more worthy than
his father, though I don't know whether I ought to mention such a fact,
which the modesty of the young fellow would deny, but which his father
desires me to think and openly declare.  Though you always repose
confidence in what I say, it is difficult, I know, for you to credit my
account of an absent man when I say that he possesses splendid industry,
probity, learning, wit, application, and powers of memory, as you will
discover for yourself when you have tried him.  I only wish that our age
was so productive of men of high character that there were others to
whom you ought to give preference over Bassus; if it did, I should be
the first to advise and exhort you to take a good look round, and
consider long and carefully on whom your choice should fall.  But as it
is--yet no, I do not wish to boast about my friend, I will merely say
that he is a young man well deserving of adoption by you as a son in the
old-fashioned way.  For prudent men, like yourself, ought to receive as
children from the State children such as we are accustomed to hope that
Nature will bestow upon us.  When you are consul it will become you to
have as quaestor a man whose father was praetor, and whose relatives are
of consular rank, especially as he, although still young, is in his turn
already in their judgment an honour to them and their family.  So I hope
you will grant my request and take my advice.

Above all, pardon me if you think I am acting prematurely, first,
because in a State where to get a thing done depends on the earliness of
the application, those who wait for the proper time find the fruit not
only ripe but plucked, and, secondly, when one is anxious to get a
favour it is very pleasant to enjoy in advance the certainty of
obtaining it.  Give Bassus the opportunity of respecting you even now as
consul, and do you entertain a friendly regard for him as your quaestor,
and let us who are devoted to both of you have the enjoyment of this
double satisfaction.  For while our regard for you and Bassus is such
that we shall use all our resources, energy, and influence to obtain the
advancement of Bassus, no matter to what consul he is assigned as
quaestor--as well as the advancement of any quaestor that may be
allotted to you--it would be immensely gratifying to us if we could at
one and the same time prove our friendship and advance your interests as
consul by helping the cause of our young friend, and if you of all
people, whose wishes the Senate is so ready to gratify, and in whose
recommendations they place such implicit trust, were to stand forth as
the seconder of my desires.  Farewell.


Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, on my account, on your own, and on that of
the public.  The student still has his meed of recompense.  Just
recently, when I had to speak in the Court of the Hundred, I could find
no way in except by crossing the tribunal and passing through the
judges, all the other places were so crowded and thronged.  Moreover, a
certain young man of fashion who had his tunic torn to pieces--as often
happens in a crowd--kept his ground for seven long hours with only his
toga thrown round him.  For my speech lasted all that time; and though
it cost me a great effort, the results were more than worth it.  Let us
therefore prosecute our studies, and not allow the idleness of other
people to be an excuse for laziness on our part.  We can still find an
audience and readers, provided only that our compositions are worth
hearing, and worth the paper they are written on.  Farewell.


You recommend and press me to take up the case of Corellia, in her
absence, against Caius Caecilius, the consul-designate.  I thank you for
the recommendation, but I am a little hurt at your pressing me; it was
right of you to recommend me to do so, and so inform me of the case, but
I needed no pressing to do what it would have been scandalous for me to
leave undone.  Am I the man to hesitate a second about protecting the
rights of a daughter of Corellius?  It is true that I am not only an
acquaintance, but also a close friend of him whom you ask me to oppose.
Moreover, he is a man of position and the office for which he has been
chosen is a great one, one indeed for which I cannot but feel all the
greater respect, inasmuch as I recently held it myself.  It is natural
that a man should desire the dignities to which he has himself attained
to be held in the very highest esteem.

However, all those considerations seem unimportant and trifling when I
consider that I am about to champion the daughter of Corellius.  I
picture to myself that worthy gentleman, a man second to none in our age
for gravity, uprightness of life, and quickness of judgment.  I began to
love him because I admired him so much, and the better I learned to know
him the more my admiration grew--a result that rarely happens.  Yes, and
I knew his character thoroughly; he had no secrets from me, I knew him
in his sportive and serious moods, in his moments both of sorrow and
joy.  I was but a young man, yet, young as I was, he held me in honour,
and I will make bold to say that he paid me the respect he would have
paid to one of his own years.  When I sought advancement, it was he who
canvassed and spoke for me; when I entered upon an office he introduced
me and stood by my side; in all administrative work he gave me counsel
and kept me straight; in short, in all my public duties, despite his
weakness and his years, he showed himself to have the energy and fire of
youth.  How he helped to build up my reputation at home and in public,
and even with the Emperor himself!  For when it so happened that the
conversation in the presence of the Emperor Nerva turned upon the
subject of the promising young men of the day, and several speakers sang
my praises, Corellius kept silence for a little while--a fact which
added material weight to his remarks--and then he said in that grave
manner you knew so well, "I must be careful how I praise Secundus, for
he never does anything without taking my advice."  The words were a
tribute such as it would have been unreasonable for me to ask for or
expect, for they amounted to this, that I never acted except in the most
prudent manner, since I invariably acted on the advice of a man of his
consummate prudence.

Nay, even on his deathbed he said to his daughter, as she is never tired
of repeating, "I have procured for you a multitude of friends, and, even
had I lived longer, I could hardly have got you more, but best of all I
have won you the friendship of Secundus and Cornutus."  When I think of
those words, I feel that it is my duty to work hard, that I may not seem
to have fallen short in any particular of the confidence reposed in me
by such an excellent judge of men.  So I will take up Corellia's case
without loss of time, nor will I mind giving offence to others by the
course I adopt.  Yet I think that I shall not only be excused, but
receive the praises even of him who, as you say, is bringing this new
action against Corellia, possibly because she is a woman, if during the
hearing I explain my motives, more fully and amply than I can in the
narrow limits of a letter, either in order to justify or even to win
approval of my conduct.  Farewell.


How can I better prove to you how greatly I admire your Greek epigrams
than by the fact that I have tried to imitate some of them and turn them
into Latin?  I grant they have lost in the translation, and this is due
in the first place to the poorness of my wits, and in the second place--
and even more--to what Lucretius calls the poverty of our native tongue.
But if these verses, writ in Latin and by me, seem to you to possess any
grace, you may guess how charming the originals are which were written
in Greek and by you.  Farewell.


As you yourself are a model of the family virtues, as you returned the
affection of your brother, who was the best of men and devoted to you,
and as you love his daughter as though she were your own child, and show
her not only the affection of an aunt but even that of the father she
has lost, I feel sure you will be delighted to know that she is proving
herself worthy of her father, worthy of you, and worthy of her
grandfather.  She has a sharp wit, she is wonderfully economical, and
she loves me--which is a guarantee of her purity.  Moreover, owing to
her fondness for me she has developed a taste for study.  She collects
all my speeches, she reads them, and learns them by heart.  When I am
about to plead, what anxiety she shows; when the pleading is over, how
pleased she is!  She has relays of people to bring her news as to the
reception I get, the applause I excite, and the verdicts I win from the
judges.  Whenever I recite, she sits near me screened from the audience
by a curtain, and her ears greedily drink in what people say to my
credit.  She even sings my verses and sets them to music, though she has
no master to teach her but love, which is the best instructor of all.
Hence I feel perfectly assured that our mutual happiness will be
lasting, and will continue to grow day by day.  For she loves in me not
my youth nor my person--both of which are subject to gradual decay and
age--but my reputation.  Nor would other feelings become one who had
been brought up at your knee, who had been trained by your precepts, who
had seen in your house nothing that was not pure and honourable, and, in
short, had been taught to love me at your recommendation.  For as you
loved and venerated my mother as a daughter, so even when I was a boy
you used to shape my character, and encourage me, and prophesy that I
should develop into the man that my wife now believes me to be.
Consequently my wife and I try to see who can thank you best, I because
you have given her to me, and she because you gave me to her, as though
you chose us the one for the other.  Farewell.


You know my opinion of your volumes singly, for I have written to tell
you as I finished each one; now let me give my broad view of the whole
work.  It is beautifully written, with power, incisiveness, loftiness,
and variety of treatment, in elegant, pure language, with plenty of
metaphor, while it is comprehensive and covers an amount of ground that
does you great credit.  You have been carried far by the sweeping sails
of your genius and your resentment, both of which have been a great help
to you; for your genius has lent a lofty magnificence to your
resentment, which in turn has added power and sharpness to your genius.


What a terribly sad fate has overtaken those two sisters, the Helvidiae!
Both to have given birth to daughters, and both to have died in
childbirth!  I am very, very sorry, yet I keep my grief within bounds.
What seems to me so lamentable is that two honourable ladies should in
the very spring-time of life have been carried off at the moment of
becoming mothers.  I am grieved for the infants who are left motherless
at their birth; I am grieved for their excellent husbands, and grieved
also on my own account.  For even now I retain the warmest affection for
their dead father, as I have shown in my pleading and my books.  Now but
one of his three children is alive, and only one remains to support a
house which a little time ago had so many props to sustain it.  But my
grief will be greatly relieved should Fortune preserve him at least to
robust and vigorous health, and make him as good a man as his father and
grandfather were before him.  I am the more anxious for his health and
character now that he is the only one left.  You know the tenderness of
my mind where my affections are engaged and how nervous I am, so you
must not be surprised if I show most anxiety on behalf of those of whom
I have formed the greatest hopes.  Farewell.


I have been called in by our excellent Emperor to take part and advise
upon the following case.  Under the will of a certain person, it has
been the custom at Vienne to hold a gymnastic contest.  Trebonius Rufus,
a man of high principle and a personal friend of mine, in his capacity
of duumvir, discontinued and abolished the custom, and it was objected
that he had no legal authority to do so.  He pleaded his case not only
with eloquence but to good effect, and what lent force to his pleading
was that he spoke with discretion and dignity, as a Roman and a good
citizen should, in a matter that concerned himself.  When the opinion of
the Council was taken, Junius Mauricus, who stands second to none for
strength of will and devotion to truth, was against restoring the
contest to the people of Vienne, and he added, "I wish the games could
be abolished at Rome as well."  That is a bold consistent line, you will
say.  So it is, but that is no new thing with Mauricus.  He spoke just
as frankly before the Emperor Nerva.  Nerva was dining with a few
friends; Veiento was sitting next to him and was leaning on his
shoulder--I need say no more after mentioning the man's name.  The
conversation turned upon Catullus Messalinus, who was blind, and had
that curse to bear in addition to his savage disposition.  He was void
of fear, shame, and pity, and on that account Domitian often used him as
a tool for the destruction of the best men in the State, just as though
he were a dart urging on its blind and sightless course.  All at table
were speaking of this man's villainy and bloody counsels, when the
Emperor himself said:  "I wonder what his fate would be if he were alive
to-day," to which Mauricus replied, "He would be dining with us."  I
have made a long digression, but willingly.  The Council resolved that
the contest should be abolished, because it had corrupted the morals of
Vienne, just as our contests have corrupted the whole world.  For the
vices of Vienne go no further than their own walls, but ours spread far
and wide.  As in the body corporal, so in the body of the State, the
most dangerous diseases are those that spread from the head.  Farewell.


I have been delighted to hear from our mutual friends that you map out
and bear your retirement in a way that is worthy of your ripe wisdom,
that you live in a charming spot, that you take exercise on both sea and
land, that you have plenty of good conversation, that you read a great
deal and listen to others reading, and that, though your stock of
knowledge is vast, you yet add thereto every day.  That is just the way
a man should spend his later years after filling the highest
magistracies, after commanding armies, and devoting himself wholly to
the service of the State for as long as it became him to do so.  For we
owe our early and middle manhood to our country, our last years are due
to ourselves--as indeed the laws direct which enforce retirement when we
reach a certain age.  When will that appointed time come to me?  When
shall I attain the age at which I may honourably retire and imitate the
example of beautiful and perfect peace that you set me?  When shall I be
able to enjoy calm retreat without people calling it not peaceful
tranquillity but laziness and sloth?  Farewell.


Just recently, after pleading before the Centumviri in the fourfold
Court, I happened to remember that in my younger days I had also pleaded
in the same court.  My thoughts, as usual, began to take a wider range,
and I commenced to recall to my memory those whom I had worked with in
this court and in that.  I found I was the only one left who had
practised in both, so sweeping were the changes effected by the
slenderness of human life and the fickleness of fortune.  Some of those
who used to plead in my young days are dead, others are in exile; age
and ill health have convinced others that their speaking days are over;
some are enjoying of their own free will the pleasures of retirement, or
are in command of armies, or have been withdrawn from civil employments
by becoming the personal friends of the Emperor.  Even in my own case
how many changes I have gone through!  I first owed my promotion to my
literary studies; then they brought me into danger, and then again won
me still further advancement.  My friendships with worthy citizens
likewise first helped me, then stood in my way, and now again they
assist me.  If you count the years, the time seems but short; but count
the changes and the ups and downs, and it seems an age.  This may be
taken by us as a lesson never to despair of anything, and never to
impose a blind trust in anything, when we see so many vicissitudes
brought about by this inconstant world of ours.  I deem it a mark of
friendship on my part to make you the confidant of my thoughts, and to
admonish you by the precepts and examples with which I admonish myself.
That is the raison d'etre of this letter.  Farewell.


I wrote and told you that there was a danger of the ballot leading to
abuses.  Events have confirmed my view.  At the last election a number
of flippant jests were written on some of the voting cards and even
obscenities, while on one of them were found, not the names of the
candidates, but those of the voters.  The Senate was furious, and loudly
called upon the offended Emperor to punish the writer.  But the guilty
person was not discovered and lay close, and he possibly was one of
those who professed the greatest indignation.  Yet what conduct may we
not consider him capable of at home when he plays such disgraceful jokes
in a matter of such importance and at such a serious moment, and yet in
the Senate is an incisive, courteous, and pretty speaker?  However,
people of no principle are encouraged to act in this shameful way when
they feel they can safely say, "Who will find me out?"  Such a man asks
for a voting card, takes a pen in his hand, bends his head, has no fear
of any one, and holds himself cheap.  That is the origin of scurrilities
only worthy of the stage and the platform.  But where can one turn, and
where is one to look for a cure?  On every hand the evils are more
powerful than the remedies.  Yet "all these things will be seen to by
one above us," whose daily working hours are lengthened and whose
labours are considerably increased by this lumpish, yet unbridled,


You ask me to be sure to look over and correct my speeches, which you
have taken the greatest pains to get together.  I will with pleasure,
for what duty is there that I ought to be better pleased to undertake,
especially as it is you who ask me?  When a man of your weight,
scholarship, and learning, and, above all, one who is never idle for a
moment, and is about to be governor of an important province, sets such
store on having my writings to take with him on his travels, surely I
ought to do my best to prevent this part of his luggage from appearing
useless in his eyes.  So I will do what I can, first, to make those
companions of your voyage as agreeable as possible, and, secondly, to
enable you to find on your return others that you may like to add to
their number.  Believe me, the fact that you read what I write is no
small incentive to me to produce new works.  Farewell.


This is the third day that I have been attending the recitals of Sentius
Augurinus, which I have not only enjoyed immensely, but admired as well.
He calls his work "Poetical Pieces."  Many are airy trifles; many deal
with noble themes, and they abound in wit, tenderness, sweetness, and
sting.  Unless it is that my affection for him, or the fact that he has
lavished praises upon me, warps my judgment, I must say that for some
years past there have been no such finished poems of their class
produced.  Augurinus took as his theme the fact that I occasionally
amuse myself with writing verses. I will enable you to act the critic of
my criticism if I can recall the second line of the piece.  I remember
the others, and now I think I have them all.

"I sing songs in trifling measures, which Catullus, Calvus, and the
poets of old have employed before me.  But what matters that to me?
Pliny alone I count my senior.  When he quits the Forum, his taste is
for light verses; he seeks an object for his love, and thinks that he is
loved in return.  What a man is Pliny, worth how many Catos!  Go now,
you who love, and love no more."

You see how smart, how apposite, how clear-cut the verses are, and I can
promise you that the whole book is equally good.  I will send you a copy
as soon as it is published.  Meanwhile, give the young man your regard
and congratulate the age on producing such genius, which he enhances by
the beauty of his morals.  He passes his time with Spurinna and
Antoninus; he is related to the one, and shares the same house with the
other.  You may guess from this that he is a youth of finished parts,
when he is thus loved by men of their years and worth.  For the old
adage is wonderfully true, "You may tell a man by the company he keeps."


Herennius Severus, a man of great learning, is anxious to place in his
library portraits of your fellow-townsmen, Cornelius Nepos and Titus
Catius, and he asks me to get them copied and painted if there are any
such portraits in their native place, as there probably are.  I am
laying this commission upon you rather than on any one else, first,
because you are always kind enough to grant any favour I ask; secondly,
because I know your reverence for literary studies and your love of
literary men; and, lastly, because you love and reverence your native
place, and entertain the same feelings for those who have helped to make
its name famous.  So I beg you to find as careful a painter as you can,
for while it is hard to paint a portrait from an original, it is far
more difficult to make a good imitation of an imitation.  Moreover,
please do not let the painter you choose make any variations from his
copy, even though they are for the better.  Farewell.


Do be careful, my dear friend, and the next time there is business
afoot, see to it that you come into court, whatever happens.  It is no
good your putting your confidence in me and so continuing your slumber;
if you stay away, you will have to smart for it.  For look you, Licinius
Nepos, who is making a sharp and resolute praetor, has levied a fine
even on a senator.  The latter pleaded his cause in the Senate, but he
did so in the form of suing for forgiveness.  The fine was remitted, yet
he had an uneasy time; he had to ask for pardon, and he was obliged to
sue for forgiveness.  You will say, "Oh, but all praetors are not so
strict."  Don't make any mistake!  For though it is only a strict
praetor who would make or revive such a precedent, when once it has been
made or revived even the most lenient officials can put it into
execution.  Farewell.


I have brought you as a present from my native district a problem which
is fully worthy even of your profound learning.  A spring rises in the
mountain-side; it flows down a rocky course, and is caught in a little
artificial banqueting house.  After the water has been retained there
for a time it falls into the Larian lake.  There is a wonderful
phenomenon connected with it, for thrice every day it rises and falls
with fixed regularity of volume.  Close by it you may recline and take a
meal, and drink from the spring itself, for the water is very cool, and
meanwhile it ebbs and flows at regular and stated intervals.  If you
place a ring or anything else on a dry spot by the edge, the water
gradually rises to it and at last covers it, and then just as gradually
recedes and leaves it bare; while if you watch it for any length of
time, you may see both processes twice or thrice repeated.  Is there any
unseen air which first distends and then tightens the orifice and mouth
of the spring, resisting its onset and yielding at its withdrawal?  We
observe something of this sort in jars and other similar vessels which
have not a direct and free opening, for these, when held either
perpendicularly or aslant, pour out their contents with a sort of gulp,
as though there were some obstruction to a free passage.  Or is this
spring like the ocean, and is its volume enlarged and lessened
alternately by the same laws that govern the ebb and flow of the tide?
Or again, just as rivers on their way to the sea are driven back on
themselves by contrary winds and the opposing tide, is there anything
that can drive back the outflow of this spring?  Or is there some latent
reservoir which diminishes and retards the flow while it is gradually
collecting the water that has been drained off, and increases and
quickens the flow when the process of collection is complete?  Or is
there some curiously hidden and unseen balance which, when emptied,
raises and thrusts forth the spring, and, when filled, checks and
stifles its flow?  Please investigate the causes which bring about this
wonderful result, for you have the ability to do so; it is more than
enough for me if I have described the phenomenon with accuracy.



I have come in for a legacy, inconsiderable in amount, yet more
gratifying than even the handsomest one could be.  Why so?  I will tell
you.  Pomponia Galla, who had disinherited her son Asudius Curianus, had
left me her heir and had given me as co-heirs Sertorius Severus, a man
of praetorian rank, and other Roman knights of distinction.  Curianus
begged me to make my portion over to him, and so strengthen his position
with the court by declaring in his favour beforehand, promising at the
same time to make the amount good to me by a secret compact.  My answer
was that my character did not allow me to act in one way before the
world and in another in private, and I further urged that it would not
be a proper thing to make over sums of money to a wealthy and childless
man.  In short, my argument was that I should not benefit him by making
over the amount, but that I should benefit him if I renounced my legacy,
and that this I was perfectly willing to do, if he could satisfy me that
he had been unjustly disinherited.  His reply to this was to ask me to
investigate the case judicially.  After some hesitation I said, "I will,
for I do not see why I should appear less honourable in my own eyes than
I do in yours.  But remember even now that I shall not hesitate to
pronounce in favour of your mother if I feel honourably bound to do so."
"Do as you will," he replied, "for what you will is sure to be just and

I called in to assist me two of the most thoroughly honourable men that
the State could boast of possessing, Corellius and Frontinus.  With
these by my side I sat in my private room.  Curianus then laid his case
before us; I replied briefly, for there was no one else present to
defend the motives of the deceased.  Then I withdrew, and, in accordance
with the views of Corellius and Frontinus, I said, "Curianus, we think
that your mother had just grounds for resentment against you."
Subsequently, he lodged an appeal before the centumvirs against the
other heirs but not against me.  The day for the hearing approached, and
my co-heirs were disposed to agree to a compromise and come to terms,
not because they doubted their legal position, but owing to the troubled
state of the times.  They were afraid that what had happened to many
others might happen to them, and that they might leave the Centumvirs'
Court with some capital charge against them.  Moreover, there were some
among their number who were open to the charge of having been friends of
Gratilla and Rusticus, so they begged me to speak with Curianus.  We met
in the Temple of Concord, and I addressed him there in the following
terms:  "If your mother had left you heir to a fourth of her estate,
could you complain?  But what if she had left you heir to the whole, and
yet had so encumbered it with legacies that not more than a fourth of
the whole remained?  I think you ought to be satisfied if, after being
disinherited by your mother, you receive a fourth from her heirs, and
this sum I will myself increase.  You know that you did not lodge any
appeal against me, that two years have passed, and that I have
established my title to my share.  But in order that my co-heirs may
find you more tractable, and that you may lose nothing by the
consideration you have shown me, I offer you of my own free will the
amount that I have received."

I have reaped the reward not only of my scrupulously fair dealing, but
also of my reputation.  Curianus left me a legacy, and, unless I flatter
myself unduly, he has given signal distinction to the honest course of
action I pursued.  I have written to tell you this because it is my
custom to discuss with you any matters which give me pain or pleasure,
as freely as though I were talking to myself.  Besides, I thought it
would be unkind to defraud you, who have such a great regard for me, of
the pleasure which I have received therefrom.  For I am not such a
perfect philosopher as to think it makes no difference whether I receive
or not the approbation of others--which is itself a kind of reward--when
I think that I have acted in an honourable manner.  Farewell.


I received the very fine sea-carp which you sent me.  The weather is so
stormy that I cannot return you like for like, either from the market
here at Laurentinum or from the sea.  So all you will get is a barren
letter, which frankly makes no return and does not even imitate
Diomede's clever device in exchanging gifts.  But your kindness is such
that you will excuse me all the more readily because I confess in my
letter that I do not deserve it.  Farewell.


While I gratefully acknowledge your many acts of kindness to me, I must
especially thank you for not concealing from me the fact that my verses
have formed the subject of many long discussions at your house, that
such discussions have been lengthened owing to the different views
expressed, and that some people, while finding no fault with the
writings themselves, blamed me in a perfectly friendly and candid way
for having written on such themes and for having read them in public.
Well, in order to aggravate my misdeeds, here is my reply to them:
"Yes, I do occasionally compose verses which are far from being couched
in a serious vein.  I don't deny it.  I also listen to comedies, and
attend the performances of mimes.  I read lyrics, and I understand the
poems of Sotades.  Moreover, I now and then laugh, jest, and amuse
myself; in short, to sum up in a word every kind of harmless recreation,
I may say 'I am a man.'"

Nor does it annoy me that people should form such opinions about my
character, when it is plain that those who are surprised that I should
compose such poems are unaware that the most learned of men and the
gravest and purest livers have regularly done the same thing.  But I
feel sure that I shall easily obtain permission from those who know the
character and calibre of the authors in whose footsteps I am treading,
to stray in company with men whom it is an honour to follow, not only in
their serious but in their lightest moods.  I will not mention the names
of those still living for fear of seeming to flatter, but is a person
like myself to be afraid that it will be unbecoming for him to do what
well became Marcus Tullius, Caius Calvus, Asinius Pollio, Marcus
Messalla, Quintus Hortensius, M. Brutus, Lucius Sulla, Quintus Catulus,
Quintus Scaevola, Servius Sulpicius, Varro, Torquatus--or rather the
Torquati,--Caius Memmius, Lentulus, Gaetulicus, Annaeus Seneca, Lucan,
and, last of all, Verginius Rufus?  If the names of these private
individuals are not enough, I may add those of the divine Julius,
Augustus and Nerva, and that of Tiberius Caesar.  I pass by the name of
Nero, though I am aware that a practice does not become any the worse
because it is sometimes followed by men of bad character, while a
practice usually followed by men of good character retains its honesty.
Among the latter class of men one must give a pre-eminent place to
Publius Vergilius, Cornelius Nepos, and to Attius and Ennius, who should
perhaps come first.  These men were not senators, but purity of
character is the same in all ranks.

But, you say, I recite my compositions and I cannot be sure that they
did.  Granted, but they may have been content with their own judgment,
whereas I am too modest to think that any composition of mine is
sufficiently perfect when it has no other approbation but my own.

Consequently, these are the reasons why I recite in public, first,
because a man who recites becomes a keener critic of his own writings
out of deference to his audience, and, secondly, because, where he is in
doubt, he can decide by referring the point to his auditors.  Moreover,
he constantly meets with criticism from many quarters, and even if it is
not openly expressed, he can tell what each person thinks by watching
the expression and eyes of his hearers, or by a nod, a motion of the
hand, a murmur, or dead silence.  All these things are tolerably clear
indications which enable one to distinguish judgment from complaisance.
And so, if any one who was present at my reading takes the trouble to
look through the same compositions, he will find that I have either
altered or omitted certain passages, in compliance perhaps with his
judgment, though he never uttered a word to me.  But I am arguing on
this point as though I invited the whole populace to my reading room and
not merely a few friends to my private chamber, while the possession of
a large circle of friends has been a source of pride to many men and a
reproach to none.  Farewell.


The incident is trifling in itself, but it is leading up to important
consequences.  Sollers, a man of praetorian rank, asked permission of
the Senate to establish a market on his property.  The delegates of the
people of Vicetia opposed it:  Tuscilius Nominatus appeared as their
counsel, and the hearing was postponed.  At a later meeting of the
Senate, the Vicetini entered without their counsel and said that they
had been tricked,--I cannot say whether it was merely a hasty
expression, or whether they really thought they had been.  When they
were asked by the praetor Nepos whom they had instructed to appear for
them, they said, "We have the same counsel as before."  To the question
whether on the previous occasion he had appeared for them gratuitously,
they said they had given him 6000 sesterces, and on being asked whether
they paid him a further fee, they replied, "Yes, a thousand denarii."
Nepos demanded that Nominatus should be called, and matters went no
further on that day.  But, I fancy, the case has gone to much greater
lengths than that, for it often happens that a mere touch is sufficient
to set things in commotion, and then they spread far and wide.  I have
made you prick up your ears, so now you will have to ask in your very
nicest manner for me to tell you the rest of the story, unless you
decide to come to Rome for the sequel, and prefer to see it for yourself
rather than read about it.  Farewell.


I have been told that Caius Fannius is dead, and the news has greatly
upset me, in the first place, because I loved him for his taste and
learning, and, secondly, because I used to avail myself of his judgment.
He was naturally keen-witted; experience had sharpened his acumen, and
he could detect the truth without hesitation.  I am troubled, too, owing
to the circumstances in which he died, for he has died without revoking
an old will which contains no mention of those for whom he had the
greatest affection, and is in favour of those with whom he has been on
bad terms.  However, this might have been got over--what is most serious
is that he has left unfinished his finest work.  Although his time was
taken up with his profession as a pleader, he was engaged in writing the
lives of those who were put to death or banished by Nero.  He had
already finished three books, in an unadorned, accurate style and in the
Latin language.  They are something between narrative and history, and
the eagerness which people displayed to read them made him all the more
desirous to finish the remaining volumes.

It always seems to me hard and untimely when people die who are engaged
upon some immortal work.  For those who are devoted to their pleasures
and live a sort of day-to-day existence exhaust every day the reasons
why they should go on living, whereas when people think of posterity and
keep alive their memory by their works, their death, come as it may, is
always sudden, inasmuch as it cuts short something that is still
unfinished.  However, Caius Fannius had had for a long time a
presentiment of what was to befall him.  He dreamt in the quiet of the
night that he was lying on his bed dressed for study and that he had a
writing desk before him, as was his wont.  Then he thought that Nero
came to him, sat down on the couch, and after producing the first volume
which Fannius had written about his crimes, turned over the pages to the
end.  He did the same with the second and third volumes, and then
departed.  Fannius was much alarmed, and interpreted the dream to mean
that he would leave off writing just where Nero had left off reading,
and so the event proved.

When I think of it I feel grieved to think how many wakeful hours and
how much labour Fannius toiled through in vain.  I see before me my own
mortality and my own writings.  Nor do I doubt that you have the same
thought and anxiety for the work which is still on your hands.  Let us
do our best, therefore, while life lasts, that death may find as few
works of ours as possible for him to destroy.  Farewell.


I was charmed with the kind consideration which led you, when you heard
that I was about to visit my Tuscan villa in the summer, to advise me
not to do so during the season that you consider the district unhealthy.
Undoubtedly, the region along the coast of Tuscany is trying and
dangerous to the health, but my property lies well back from the sea;
indeed, it is just under the Apennines, which are the healthiest of our
mountain ranges.  However, that you may not have the slightest anxiety
on my account, let me tell you all about the climatic conditions, the
lie of the land, and the charms of my villa.  It will be as pleasant
reading for you as it is pleasant writing for me.

In winter the air is cold and frosty:  myrtles, olives and all other
trees which require constant warmth for them to do well, the climate
rejects and spurns, though it allows laurel to grow, and even brings it
to a luxuriant leaf.  Occasionally, however, it kills it, but that does
not happen more frequently than in the neighbourhood of Rome.  In
summer, the heat is marvellously tempered:  there is always a breath of
air stirring, and breezes are more common than winds.  Hence the number
of old people to be found there:  you find the grandfathers and great-
grandfathers of the young people still living; you are constantly
hearing old stories and tales of the past, so that, when you set foot
there, you may fancy that you have been born in another century.

The contour of the district is most beautiful.  Picture to yourself an
immense amphitheatre, such as only Nature can create, with a wide-
spreading plain ringed with hills, and the summits of the hills
themselves covered with tall and ancient forests.  There is plentiful
and varied hunting to be had.  Down the mountain slopes there are
stretches of underwoods, and among these are rich, deep-soiled hillocks-
-where if you look for a stone you will have hard work to find one--
which are just as fertile as the most level plains, and ripen just as
rich harvests, though later in the season.  Below these, along the whole
hillsides, stretch the vineyards which present an unbroken line far and
wide, on the borders and lowest level of which comes a fringe of trees.
Then you reach the meadows and the fields--fields which only the most
powerful oxen and the stoutest ploughs can turn.  The soil is so tough
and composed of such thick clods that when it is first broken up it has
to be furrowed nine times before it is subdued.  The meadows are
jewelled with flowers, and produce trefoil and other herbs, always
tender and soft, and looking as though they were always fresh.  For all
parts are well nourished by never-failing streams, and even where there
is most water there are no swamps, for the declivity of the land drains
off into the Tiber all the moisture that it receives and cannot itself

The Tiber runs through the middle of the plain; it is navigable for
ships, and all the grain is carried down stream to the city, at least in
winter and spring.  In summer the volume of water dwindles away, leaving
but the name of a great river to the dried-up bed, but in the autumn it
recovers its flood.  You would be delighted if you could obtain a view
of the district from the mountain height, for you would think you were
looking not so much at earth and fields as at a beautiful landscape
picture of wonderful loveliness.  Such is the variety, such the
arrangement of the scene, that wherever the eyes fall they are sure to
be refreshed.

My villa, though it lies at the foot of the hill, enjoys as fine a
prospect as though it stood on the summit; the ascent is so gentle and
easy, and the gradient so unnoticeable, that you find yourself at the
top without feeling that you are ascending.  The Apennines lie behind
it, but at a considerable distance, and even on a cloudless and still
day it gets a breeze from this range, never boisterous and rough, for
its strength is broken and lost in the distance it has to travel.  Most
of the house faces south; in summer it gets the sun from the sixth hour,
and in winter considerably earlier, inviting it as it were into the
portico, which is broad and long to correspond, and contains a number of
apartments and an old-fashioned hall.  In front, there is a terrace laid
out in different patterns and bounded with an edging of box; then comes
a sloping ridge with figures of animals on both sides cut out of the
box-trees, while on the level ground stands an acanthus-tree, with
leaves so soft that I might almost call them liquid.  Round this is a
walk bordered by evergreens pressed and trimmed into various shapes;
then comes an exercise ground, round like a circus, which surrounds the
box-trees that are cut into different forms, and the dwarf shrubs that
are kept clipped.  Everything is protected by an enclosure, which is
hidden and withdrawn from sight by the tiers of box-trees.  Beyond is a
meadow, as well worth seeing for its natural charm as the features just
described are for their artificial beauty, and beyond that there
stretches an expanse of fields and a number of other meadows and

At the head of the portico there runs out the dining-room, from the
doors of which can be seen the end of the terrace with the meadow and a
good expanse of country beyond it, while from the windows the view on
the one hand commands one side of the terrace and the part of the villa
which juts out, and on the other the grove and foliage of the adjoining
riding-school.  Almost opposite to the middle of the portico is a
summer-house standing back a little, with a small open space in the
middle shaded by four plane-trees.  Among them is a marble fountain,
from which the water plays upon and lightly sprinkles the roots of the
plane-trees and the grass plot beneath them.  In this summer-house there
is a bed-chamber which excludes all light, noise, and sound, and
adjoining it is a dining-room for my friends, which faces upon the small
court and the other portico, and commands the view enjoyed by the
latter.  There is another bed-chamber, which is leafy and shaded by the
nearest plane-tree and built of marble up to the balcony; above is a
picture of a tree with birds perched in the branches equally beautiful
with the marble.  Here there is a small fountain with a basin around the
latter, and the water runs into it from a number of small pipes, which
produce a most agreeable sound.  In the corner of the portico is a
spacious bed-chamber leading out of the dining-room, some of its windows
looking out upon the terrace, others upon the meadow, while the windows
in front face the fish-pond which lies just beneath them, and is
pleasant both to eye and ear, as the water falls from a considerable
elevation and glistens white as it is caught in the marble basin.  This
bed-chamber is beautifully warm even in winter, for it is flooded with
an abundance of sunshine.

The heating chamber for the bath adjoins it, and on a cloudy day we turn
in steam to take the place of the sun's warmth.  Next comes a roomy and
cheerful undressing room for the bath, from which you pass into a cool
chamber containing a large and shady swimming bath.  If you prefer more
room or warmer water to swim in, there is a pond in the court with a
well adjoining it, from which you can make the water colder when you are
tired of the warm.  Adjoining the cold bath is one of medium warmth, for
the sun shines lavishly upon it, but not so much as upon the hot bath
which is built farther out.  There are three sets of steps leading to
it, two exposed to the sun, and the third out of the sun though quite as
light.  Above the dressing-room is a ball court where various kinds of
exercise can be taken, and a number of games can be played at once.  Not
far from the bath-room is a staircase leading to a covered passage, at
the head of which are three rooms, one looking out upon the courtyard
with the four plane-trees, the second upon the meadow, and the third
upon the vineyards, so each therefore enjoys a different view.  At the
end of the passage is a bed-chamber constructed out of the passage
itself, which looks out upon the riding-course, the vineyards, and the
mountains.  Connected with it is another bed-chamber open to the sun,
and especially so in winter time.  Leading out of this is an apartment
which adjoins the riding-course of the villa.

Such is the appearance and the use to which the front of my house is
put.  At the side is a raised covered gallery, which seems not so much
to look out upon the vineyards as to touch them; in the middle is a
dining-room which gets the invigorating breezes from the valleys of the
Apennines, while at the other side, through the spacious windows and the
folding doors, you seem to be close upon the vineyards again with the
gallery between.  On the side of the room where there are no windows is
a private winding staircase by which the servants bring up the
requisites for a meal.  At the end of the gallery is a bed-chamber, and
the gallery itself affords as pleasant a prospect therefrom as the
vineyards.  Underneath runs a sort of subterranean gallery, which in
summer time remains perfectly cool, and as it has sufficient air within
it, it neither admits any from without nor needs any.  Next to both
these galleries the portico commences where the dining-room ends, and
this is cold before mid-day, and summery when the sun has reached his
zenith.  This gives the approach to two apartments, one of which
contains four beds and the other three, and they are bathed in sunshine
or steeped in shadow, according to the position of the sun.

But though the arrangements of the house itself are charming, they are
far and away surpassed by the riding-course.  It is quite open in the
centre, and the moment you enter your eye ranges over the whole of it.
Around its borders are plane-trees clothed with ivy, and so while the
foliage at the top belongs to the trees themselves, that on the lower
parts belongs to the ivy, which creeps along the trunk and branches, and
spreading across to the neighbouring trees, joins them together.
Between the plane-trees are box shrubs, and on the farther side of the
shrubs is a ring of laurels which mingle their shade with that of the
plane-trees.  At the far end, the straight boundary of the riding-course
is curved into semicircular form, which quite changes its appearance.
It is enclosed and covered with cypress-trees, the deeper shade of which
makes it darker and gloomier than at the sides, but the inner circles--
for there are more than one--are quite open to the sunshine.  Even roses
grow there, and the warmth of the sun is delightful as a change from the
cool of the shade.  When you come to the end of these various winding
alleys, the boundary again runs straight, or should I say boundaries,
for there are a number of paths with box shrubs between them.  In places
there are grass plots intervening, in others box shrubs, which are
trimmed to a great variety of patterns, some of them being cut into
letters forming my name as owner and that of the gardener.  Here and
there are small pyramids and apple-trees, and now and then in the midst
of all this graceful artificial work you suddenly come upon what looks
like a real bit of the country planted there.  The intervening space is
beautified on both sides with dwarf plane-trees; beyond these is the
acanthus-tree that is supple and flexible to the hand, and there are
more boxwood figures and names.

At the upper end is a couch of white marble covered with a vine, the
latter being supported by four small pillars of Carystian marble.  Jets
of water flow from the couch through small pipes and look as if they
were forced out by the weight of persons reclining thereon, and the
water is caught in a stone cistern and then retained in a graceful
marble basin, regulated by pipes out of sight, so that the basin, while
always full, never overflows.  The heavier dishes and plates are placed
at the side of the basin when I dine there, but the lighter ones, formed
into the shapes of little boats and birds, float on the surface and
travel round and round.  Facing this is a fountain which receives back
the water it expels, for the water is thrown up to a considerable height
and then falls down again, and the pipes that perform the two processes
are connected.  Directly opposite the couch is a bed-chamber, and each
lends a grace to the other.  It is formed of glistening marble, and
through the projecting folding doors you pass at once among the foliage,
while both from the upper and lower windows you look out upon the same
green picture.  Within is a little cabinet which seems to belong at once
to the same and yet another bed-chamber.  This contains a bed and it has
windows on every side, yet the shade is so thick without that but little
light enters, for a wonderfully luxuriant vine has climbed up to the
roof and covers the whole building.  You can fancy you are in a grove as
you lie there, only that you do not feel the rain as you do among trees.
Here too a fountain rises and immediately loses itself underground.
There are a number of marble chairs placed up and down, which are as
restful for persons tired with walking as the bed-chamber itself.  Near
these chairs are little fountains, and throughout the whole riding-
course you hear the murmur of tiny streams carried through pipes, which
run wherever you please to direct them.  These are used to water the
shrubs, sometimes in one part, sometimes in another, and at other times
all are watered together.

I should long since have been afraid of boring you, had I not set out in
this letter to take you with me round every corner of my estate.  For I
am not at all apprehensive that you will find it tedious to read about a
place which certainly would not tire you to look at, especially as you
can get a little rest whenever you desire, and can sit down, so to
speak, by laying down the letter.  Moreover, I have been indulging my
affection for the place, for I am greatly attached to anything that is
mainly the work of my own hands or that some one else has begun and I
have taken up.  In short--for there is no reason is there? why I should
not be frank with you, whether my judgments are sound or unsound--I
consider that it is the first duty of a writer to select the title of
his work and constantly ask himself what he has begun to write about.
He may be sure that so long as he keeps to his subject-matter he will
not be tedious, but that he will bore his readers to distraction if he
starts dragging in extraneous matter to make weight.  Observe the length
with which Homer describes the arms of Achilles, and Virgil the arms of
Aeneas--yet in both cases the description seems short, because the
author only carries out what he intended to.  Observe how Aratus hunts
up and brings together even the tiniest stars--yet he does not exceed
due limits.  For his description is not an excursus, but the end and aim
of the whole work.  It is the same with myself, if I may compare my
lowly efforts with their great ones.  I have been trying to give you a
bird's eye view of the whole of my villa, and if I have introduced no
extraneous matter and have never wandered off my subject, it is not the
letter containing the description which is to be considered of excessive
size, but rather the villa which has been described.

However, let me get back to the point I started from, lest I give you an
opportunity of justly condemning me by my own law, by not pursuing this
digression any farther.  I have explained to you why I prefer my Tuscan
house to my other places at Tusculum, Tibur and Praeneste.  For in
addition to all the beauties I have described above, my repose here is
more profound and more comfortable, and therefore all the freer from
anxiety.  There is no necessity to don the toga, no neighbour ever calls
to drag me out; everything is placid and quiet; and this peace adds to
the healthiness of the place, by giving it, so to speak, a purer sky and
a more liquid air.  I enjoy better health both in mind and body here
than anywhere else, for I exercise the former by study and the latter by
hunting.  Besides, there is no place where my household keep in better
trim, and up to the present I have not lost a single one of all whom I
brought with me.  I hope Heaven will forgive the boast, and that the
gods will continue my happiness to me and preserve this place in all its
beauty.  Farewell.


It is beyond question that a community cannot be appointed heir and
cannot take a share of an inheritance before the general distribution of
the estate.  None the less, Saturninus, who left us his heirs,
bequeathed a fourth share to our community of Comum, and then, in lieu
of that fourth share, assigned them permission to take 400,000 sesterces
before the division of the estate.  As a matter of strict law, this is
null and void, but if you only look at the intentions of the deceased,
it is quite sound and valid.  I don't know what the lawyers will think
of what I am going to say, but to me the wishes of the deceased seem
worthy of more consideration than the letter of the law, especially as
regards the sum which he wished to go to our common birthplace.
Moreover, I, who gave 1,600,000 sesterces our of my own money to my
native place, am not the man to refuse it a little more than a third
part of 400,000 sesterces which have come to me by a lucky windfall.  I
know that you too will not refuse to fall in with my views, as your
affection for the same community is that of a thoroughly loyal citizen.
I shall be glad, therefore, if at the next meeting of the decurions, you
will lay before them the state of the law, and I hope you will do so
briefly and modestly.  Then add that we make them an offer of the
400,000 sesterces, in accordance with the wishes of Saturninus.  But be
sure to point out that the munificence and generosity are his, and that
all we are doing is to obey his wishes.  I have refrained from writing
in a public manner on this business, firstly, because I knew very well
that our friendship was such, and that your judgment was so ripe, that
you could and ought to act for me as well as for yourself, and then
again I was afraid that I might not preserve in a letter that exact mean
which you will have no difficulty in preserving in a speech.  For a
man's expression, his gestures, and even the tones of his voice help to
indicate the precise meaning of his words, while a letter, which is
deprived of all these advantages, is exposed to the malignity of those
who put upon it what interpretation they choose.  Farewell.


You urge me to write history, nor are you the first to do so.  Many
others have often given me the same advice, and I am quite willing to
follow it, not because I feel confident that I should succeed in so
doing--for it would be presumption to think so until one had tried--but
because it seems to me a very proper thing not to let people be
forgotten whose fame ought never to die, and to perpetuate the glories
of others together with one's own.  Personally, I confess that there is
nothing on which I have set my heart so much as to win a lasting
reputation, and the ambition is a worthy one for any man, especially for
one who is not conscious of having committed any wrong and has no cause
to fear being remembered by posterity.  Hence it is that both day and
night I scheme to find a way "to raise myself above the ordinary dull
level":  my ambition goes no farther than that, for it is quite beyond
my dreams "that my victorious name should pass from mouth to mouth."
"And yet--!"--but I am quite satisfied with the fame which history alone
seems to promise me.  For one reaps but a small reward from oratory and
poetry, unless our eloquence is really first-class, while history seems
to charm people in whatever style it is written.  For men are naturally
curious; they are delighted even by the baldest relation of facts, and
so we see them carried away even by little stories and anecdotes.

Again, there is a precedent in my own family which impels me towards
writing history.  My uncle, who was also my father by adoption, was a
historian of the most scrupulous type, and I find all wise men agree
that one can do nothing better than follow in the footsteps of one's
ancestors, provided that they have gone in the right path themselves.
Why, then, do I hesitate?  For this reason, that I have delivered a
number of pleadings of serious importance, and it is my intention to
revise them carefully--though my hopes of fame from them are only
slight--lest, in spite of all the trouble they have given me, they
should perish with me, just for want of receiving the last polishing and
additional touches.  For if you have a view to what posterity will say,
all that is not absolutely finished must be classed as incomplete
matter.  You will say:  "Yes, but you can touch up your pleadings and
compose history at the same time."  I wish I could, but each is so great
a task that I should think I had done very well to have finished either.

I began to plead in the Forum in my nineteenth year, and it is only just
now that I begin to see darkly what an orator ought to be.  What would
happen if I were to take on a new task in addition to this one?  Oratory
and history have many things in common, but they also differ greatly in
the points that seem common to both.  There is narrative in both, but of
a different type; the humblest, meanest and most common-place subjects
suit the one; the other requires research, splendour, and dignity.  In
the one you may describe the bones, muscles, and nerves of the body, in
the other brawny parts and flowing manes.  In oratory one wants force,
invective, sustained attack; in history the charm is obtained by
copiousness and agreeableness, even by sweetness of style.  Lastly, the
words used, the forms of speech, and the construction of the sentences
are different.  For, as Thucydides remarks, it makes all the difference
whether the composition is to be a possession for all time or a
declamation for the moment; oratory has to do with the latter, history
with the former.

Hence it is that I do not feel tempted to hopelessly jumble together two
dissimilar styles which differ from one another just because of their
great importance, and I am afraid I should become bewildered by such a
terrible medley and write in the one style just where I ought to be
employing the other.  For the meantime, therefore, to use the language
of the courts, I ask your gracious permission to go on with my pleading.
However, do you be good enough even now to consider the period which it
would be best for me to tackle.  Shall it be a period of ancient history
which others have dealt with before me?  If so, the materials are all
ready to hand, but the putting them together would be a heavy task.  On
the other hand, if I choose a modern period which has not been dealt
with, I shall get but small thanks and am bound to give serious offence.
For, besides the fact that the general standard of morality is so lax
that there is much more to censure than to praise, you are sure to be
called niggardly if you praise and too censorious if you censure, though
you may have been lavish of appreciation and scrupulously guarded in
reproach.  However, these considerations do not stay me, for I have the
courage of my convictions.  I only beg of you to prepare the way for me
in the direction you urge me to take, and choose a subject for me, so
that, when I am at length ready to take pen in hand, no other
overpowering reason may crop up to make me hesitate and delay my
purpose.  Farewell.


I had gone down to the basilica of Julius to listen to the speeches of
the counsel to whom I had to reply from the last postponement.  The
judges were in their places; the decemvirs had arrived; the advocates
were moving to and fro, and then came a long silence, broken at last by
a message from the praetor.  The centumvirs were dismissed and the
hearing was put off, at which I was glad, for I am never so well
prepared that I am not pleased at having extra time given me.  The
postponement was due to Nepos, the praetor-designate, who hears cases
with the most scrupulous attention to legal forms.  He had issued a
short edict warning both plaintiffs and defendants that he would
strictly carry out the decree of the Senate.  Attached to the edict was
a copy of the decree, which provided "that all persons engaged in any
lawsuit are hereby ordered to take an oath before their cases are heard,
that they have neither given nor promised any sum to their advocates,
nor have entered into any contract to pay them for their advocacy."  In
these words and other long sentences as well, advocates were forbidden
to sell their services and litigants to buy them, although, when a suit
is over, the latter are allowed to offer their counsel a sum not
exceeding ten thousand sesterces.  The praetor, who was presiding over
the Court of the Centumviri, was embarrassed by this decree of Nepos and
gave us an unexpected holiday, while he made up his mind whether or not
he should follow the example set him.  Meanwhile, the whole town is
discussing the edict of Nepos, some favourably, others adversely.  Many
people are saying:  "Well, we have found a man to set the crooked
straight.  But have there been no praetors before Nepos, and who is
Nepos that he should mend our public morals?"  On the other hand, a
number of people argue:  "He has acted quite rightly.  He has mastered
the laws before entering office, he has read the decrees of the Senate,
he is putting a stop to a disgraceful system of bargaining, and he will
not allow a most honourable profession to be bought and sold in a
scandalous way."  That is how people are talking everywhere, and there
will be no majority for one side or the other till it is known how the
matter will end.  It is very deplorable, but it is the accepted rule
that good or bad counsels are approved or condemned according to whether
they turn out well or badly.  The result is that we find the self-same
deed ascribed sometimes to zeal, sometimes to vanity, and even to love
of liberty and downright madness.  Farewell.


Do, I beg of you, fulfil the promise I made in my verses when I pledged
my word that our common friends should see your compositions.  People
are asking for them every day, clamouring for them even, and, if you are
not careful, you may find yourself served with a writ to publish them.
I myself am very slow to make up my mind to publish, but you are far
more of a slow-coach than even I am.  So either decide at once, or take
care that I do not drag those books of yours from you by the lash of my
satire, as I have failed to coax them out by my hendecasyllabics.  The
work is absolutely finished, and if you polish it any more you will only
impair it without making it shine the more brightly.  Do let me see your
name on the title page; do let me hear that the volumes of my friend
Tranquillus are being copied, read, and sold.  It is only fair,
considering the strength of our attachment, that you should afford me
the same gratification that I have afforded you.  Farewell.


I have received your letter, from which I gather that you have dedicated
a most beautiful portico in the joint names of yourself and your son,
and that on the following day you promised a sum of money for the
decoration of the gates, so as to signalise the completion of your
earlier act of generosity by immediately beginning a new one.  I am
delighted to hear it, in the first place, on account of the reputation
you will secure, of which some part will extend to me, owing to the
closeness of our friendship; secondly, because I see that the name of my
father-in-law will be perpetuated by these choice works; and, lastly,
because our country is in such a flourishing state.  Pleasant as it is
to see her honoured by any one, it is trebly gratifying when the honour
is paid by yourself.  It only remains for me to pray Heaven to confirm
you in this habit of mind, and bestow upon you long length of years.
For I venture to prophesy that, when your latest promise is complete,
you will set about something else.  When once a man's generosity has
been aroused it knows not where to stop, for the more it is practised
the more beautiful it becomes in the eyes of the generous.  Farewell.


Before giving a recital of a little speech which I had some thoughts of
publishing, I called a few friends to hear it, so as to put me on my
mettle, but not many, so that I might get candid criticism.  For there
are two reasons why I give these recitals, one that I may screw myself
up to the proper pitch by their anxiety that I should do myself justice,
and the other that they may correct me if I happen to make a mistake and
do not notice it because the blunder is my own.  I got what I wanted and
I found some friends who gave me their advice freely; while I myself
noticed certain passages which required correction.  I have revised the
speech which I am sending you.  You will see what the subject is from
the title, and the speech itself will explain all other points.  It
ought now to become so familiar to people as to be understood without
any preface.  But I trust that you will write and tell me what you think
of it as a whole as well as in parts, for I shall be the more careful to
suppress it, or the more determined to publish it, according as your
critical judgment inclines one way or the other.  Farewell.


In compliance with your request--and the promise I made to comply in
case you asked me--I will write and tell you the upshot of the demand of
Nepos in the matter of Tuscilius Nominatus.  Nominatus was brought into
the Senate, and he pleaded his own case.  There was no one to accuse
him, for the legates of the Vicetini, so far from making matters
difficult for him, smoothed his path.  The substance of his defence was
that in his conduct of the case he had failed not in loyalty but in
resolution, that he had come down with the intention of pleading and had
been seen in the Senate-house, but had been discouraged by what his
friends told him in conversation, and so had left the chamber.  He had
been advised, he said, not to oppose, especially in the Senate, a member
of that body who was now fighting hard not so much to get leave to
establish a market on his estate, as to maintain his influence,
reputation, and position, and he was warned that if he did not give way
he would come in for greater ill-will than had been recently shown him.
It was true that he had been hissed as he left the chamber on the
previous hearing, but only by a few people.  He spoke in a very
appealing way and shed a number of tears, and, throughout his pleading,
he used his undoubted abilities as a speaker to make it seem that he was
not so much defending his conduct as asking pardon for it, which was
certainly the safest and best course for him to adopt.

He was acquitted on the motion of the consul-designate, Afranius Dexter,
whose speech may be summarised as follows.  He argued that Nominatus
would have done much better if he had gone through with the cause of the
Vicetini with the same resolution with which he had undertaken it, but
that since his conduct, though blameworthy, was not fraudulent, and he
had not been convicted of having committed any crime, he had better be
acquitted on the understanding that he should return to the Vicetini the
fees he had received from them.  All present agreed, with the exception
of Fabius Aper, who proposed that Nominatus should be disbarred for the
term of five years, and he continued firmly in that opinion though he
drew no one over to side with him.  He even produced the law under which
the meeting of the Senate had been convened, and forced Dexter, who had
been the first to propose the resolution opposed to his, to swear that
his proposal was for the good of the State.  Though this demand was
perfectly legal, certain members loudly protested against it, on the
ground that Aper seemed to be accusing Dexter of showing undue favour to
Nominatus.  But before any further speeches were made to the motion,
Nigrinus, a tribune of the plebs, read out a learned and weighty
remonstrance in which he complained that counsel were bought and sold,
that they would sell their clients' cases, that they conspired together
to make litigation, and that, instead of being satisfied with fame, they
drew large and fixed amounts at the expense of citizens.  He recited the
heads of various laws, he recalled to their memories certain decrees of
the Senate, and at last proposed that, as the laws and the decrees of
the Senate were treated as a dead letter, they should petition their
excellent Emperor to find a remedy for such a scandal.

A few days elapsed, and then the Emperor issued an edict which was at
once moderate and severe.  You will be able to read the text of it, for
it appears in the official register.  Imagine how delighted I am that I
have always made a point of refusing for my services as counsel not only
to enter into any understanding to receive presents and gifts in any
shape, but even friendly acknowledgments!  We ought indeed to refrain
from doing anything that is not quite honourable, not because it is
forbidden, but because we should be ashamed to do it; still it is
gratifying to see a custom which you have never allowed yourself to
follow publicly forbidden.  Very likely--and in fact there is no doubt
on the point--I shall reap fewer praises and my reputation will not
shine as brightly when all the members of my profession find themselves
compelled to behave as I did quite of my own free will.  In the meantime
I enjoy the pleasure of hearing some of my friends say that I must have
foreseen what was coming, while others banter me by declaring that the
new edict has been designed to put a stop to my plunder and greed.


I had already retired to my township when the news was brought to me
that Cornutus Tertullus had accepted the curatorship of the Aemilian
Way.  I cannot tell you how delighted I am, both for his own sake and
for mine.  I am pleased for his sake, because, though he is
unquestionably entirely void of all ambitious aspirations, he cannot but
be gratified at being offered a post without seeking it; and I am
pleased on my own account, because I am all the more satisfied with my
own employment now that Cornutus has had a position of equal eminence
given to him.  For it is just as gratifying to be placed on an equality
with worthy citizens as to receive a step up in one's official position.
And where is there a better man than Cornutus, or a man of more noble
life?  Where will you find one who follows more closely the ancient
pattern in all that is praiseworthy?  I know his virtues not by hearsay
alone, though he enjoys a richly deserved reputation everywhere, but
from a personal experience extending over many years.

We both of us entertain an affectionate regard, and have done for years,
for all the worthy persons of both sexes whom our age has produced, and
this community of friendships has thrown us together into the most
intimate relations.  Another link in the chain has been the closeness of
our public connection.  As you know, he was my colleague as prefect of
the Treasury--thus realising, so to speak, my dearest wish--and again he
was associated with me in the consulship.  It was there that I obtained
my clearest insight into the character and real greatness of the man,
when I followed his judgment as a magistrate and reverenced him as a
parent, while my veneration was inspired not so much by the ripeness of
his years as by the ripeness of his general character.  Hence it is that
I congratulate both him and myself, for public reasons quite as much as
for personal ones, in that now at last a virtuous life leads a man not
to peril, as it used to do, but to public honours.

I should let my pen run on for ever if I were to give my joy a free
course, so I will turn back to tell you how I was engaged when the
messenger came and found me.  I was with my wife's grandfather and her
aunt, and in the company of friends I had long wished to see.  I was
going the round of the estate, hearing no end of complaints from my
tenants, reading over with an unwilling eye and in a cursory fashion the
accounts--for I have been consecrating my energies to papers and books
of quite a different style--and I had even begun to make preparations
for my journey.  For I am rather pressed owing to the shortness of my
leave, and I am reminded of my own public duties by hearing of those
which have been entrusted to Cornutus.  I hope that your Campanian villa
may spare you about the same time, lest, when I return to town, I should
lose a single day of your company.  Farewell.


It is when I try to equal your verses that I most fully appreciate how
excellent they are.  For just as painters rarely succeed in putting a
perfectly beautiful face on their canvas without doing injustice to the
original, so, though I slave hard with your verses as my model, I always
fall short.  Let me urge you then to publish as many as possible, so
good that every one will burn to imitate them, and yet no one, or but
very few, will succeed in the attempt.  Farewell.


I am writing to you in great distress.  The younger daughter of your
friend Fundanus is dead, and I never saw a girl of a brighter and more
lovable disposition, nor one who better deserved length of days or even
to live for ever.  She had hardly completed her fourteenth year, yet she
possessed the prudence of old age and the sedateness of a matron, with
the sweetness of a child and the modesty of a maiden.  How she used to
cling round her father's neck!  How tenderly and modestly she embraced
us who were her father's friends!  Her nurses, her teachers and tutors,
how well she loved them, each according to his station!  With what
application and quickness she used to read, while her amusements were
never carried to excess and never overstepped the mark.  What
resignation, patience and fortitude she showed during her last illness!
She obeyed her doctor's orders, she cheered her sister and father, and
when her body had lost all its strength, she kept herself alive by the
vigour of her mind.  This never failed her right up to the end, nor was
it broken down by her long illness or by the fear of death, and this has
made us miss her all the more severely and made our sorrow all the
heavier to bear.  What a sad, heart-rending funeral it was!  The moment
of her death seemed even more cruel than death itself, for she had just
been betrothed to a youth of splendid character; the day of the wedding
had been decided upon, and we had already been summoned to attend it.
Think into what terrible grief our joy was changed!  I really cannot
tell you in words how acutely I felt it when I heard Fundanus himself,
for one sorrow always leads on to other bitter sorrows--giving the order
that the money he had intended to lay out upon wedding raiment, pearls
and gems, should be spent upon incense, unguents and scents.

He is, it is true, a man of learning and wisdom, who from early years
has devoted himself to the deeper studies and the nobler arts, but, at a
moment like this, all the philosophy he has ever heard from others or
uttered himself is put on one side.  All virtues but one are disregarded
for the time being--he can only think of parental love.  You will
forgive and even praise him for this, if you consider the loss he has
suffered.  For he has lost a daughter who reflected in herself, not only
his face and feature, but his character, and one who was the living
image of her father in every particular.  If you send him a letter in
the midst of this rightful grief of his, be careful to use words of
solace which will not flay the heart or deal roughly with his sorrow,
but which will soothe and ease his pain.  The time which has elapsed
will make him the more likely to admit your words of consolation, for,
just as a raw wound first shrinks from the touch of the doctor's hand,
then bears it without flinching and actually welcomes it, so with mental
anguish we reject and fly from consolation when the pain is fresh, then
after a time we look for it and find relief in its soothing application.


I know what an interest you take in the liberal arts, and how delighted
you are when young men of rank do anything worthy of their ancestry.
That is why I am losing no time to tell you that to-day I made one of
the audience of Calpurnius Piso.  He was reading his poem on the Legends
of the Stars, and it was a learned and very excellent composition.  It
was written in fluent, graceful, and smooth elegiacs, and rose even to
lofty heights as occasion demanded.  The style was cleverly varied, in
some places it soared, in others it was subdued; passing from the grand
to the commonplace, from thinness to richness, and from lively to
severe, and in each case with consummate skill.  The sweetness of his
voice lent it an additional charm, and his modesty made even his voice
the sweeter, while his blushes and his nervousness, which were very
plain to see, still further set off the reading.  I don't know why, but
diffidence becomes a man of letters much more than over-confidence.
However, to cut the story short,--though I would gladly say more,
because such performances are all the more charming when given by a
young man, and all the rarer when he is of noble birth,--as soon as the
reading was concluded, I embraced the youth with great cordiality, and
by showering praises upon him--which are always the best incentive when
giving advice--I urged him to go on as he had begun, and hold out to his
descendants the light which his own ancestors had held out to him.  I
congratulated his excellent mother and also his brother, who made one of
the audience, and indeed achieved as much reputation for brotherly
feeling as his brother Calpurnius did for his eloquence, for while the
latter was reading everybody noticed first the nervous look on the
brother's face, and then the expression of joy.  I pray Heaven that I
may often have such news for you, for I am very partial to the age I
live in, and I hope that it may not prove barren and worthless.  I am
really most anxious that our young men of rank should have some other
beautiful objects in their houses besides the busts of their ancestors,
and it seems to me that the latter tacitly approve and encourage these
two young men, and even recognise them as their true descendants, which
is in itself a sufficiently high compliment to both.  Farewell.


As all is well with you, all is well with me.  You have your wife with
you, and your son; you enjoy your sea-view, your fountains, greenery,
estate, and your charming villa.  I cannot doubt that the latter is most
charming, inasmuch as it was the home of the man who was even happier
there than when he became the happiest man on earth.  I am staying at my
Tuscan house; I hunt and I study, sometimes in turns, sometimes both
together, and I cannot as yet tell you whether I find it more difficult
to catch anything or to compose anything.  Farewell.


I notice how kindly you treat your servants, so I will be quite frank
with you, and tell you with what indulgence I treat mine.  I always bear
in mind that phrase in Homer, "like a father mild," and our own Latin
phrase, "father of his family."  Even if I had naturally been of a
harsher and less genial disposition, the weakness of my freedman Zosimus
would melt my harshness, for one has to show him greater kindness just
in proportion as he needs it more at his time of life.  He is an honest
fellow, devoted to his duties and well-educated, but his chief
accomplishment and, so to speak, his particular recommendation is his
skill in playing comedy, in which he is really admirable.  For his
delivery is sharp, intelligent, to the point, and even graceful, and he
plays the harp much better than is usually expected from a comedian.  He
is also so clever in reading speeches, history and poetry, that you
would fancy he had never studied anything else.  I have gone into all
this detail to show you how many services this one man can render me,
and how pleasant they are.  Moreover, I have long entertained a great
regard for him, which has been increased by his serious ill-health, for
Nature has so arranged it that nothing fires and stimulates our
affection so much as the fear of losing the object of it, and I have on
more than one occasion been afraid of losing Zosimus.

Some years since, while he was reciting with great earnestness and fire,
he spat blood, and I sent him on that account to Egypt, from which
country he recently returned with his health restored.  Then, after
severely taxing his voice for days together, he was warned of his old
malady by a slight cough, and once more brought up some blood.  So I
have decided to send him to the farm which you own at Forum Julii, for I
have often heard you say that the air there is healthy, and the milk
peculiarly beneficial to complaints of this kind.  I should be glad,
therefore, if you will write to your people to take him in at the house
and give him lodging, and accommodate him with anything he may require
at his expense.  His needs will be very small, for he is so sparing and
abstemious that his frugality leads him to deny himself, not only
dainties, but even that which is necessary for his weak health.  When he
sets out, I will give him sufficient travelling money for one who is
going to your part of the country.  Farewell.


Within a short time of their impeaching Julius Bassus the Bithynians
brought a second action, this time against Rufus Varenus, their
proconsul, the very man whom, in their action against Bassus, they had
received permission, at their own request, to retain as their advocate.
On being brought into the Senate they applied for a commission to be
appointed to investigate their charges, and Varenus sought leave to be
allowed to bring witnesses from the province in his defence.  To this
the Bithynians objected, and the matter came to a debate.  I acted on
behalf of Varenus, and my pleading was not without good results.  I am
justified in saying this, as my written speech will show whether I spoke
well or badly.  For in delivering a speech chance has a controlling
influence on success or failure.  A speech either gains or loses a good
deal according to the memory, voice, and gesture of the speaker, and
even the time taken in delivery, to say nothing of the popularity or
unpopularity of the accused; whereas a written speech profits nothing
from these advantages, loses nothing by these disadvantages, and is
subject neither to lucky nor unlucky accidents.

Fonteius Magnus, one of the Bithynians, replied to me at great length,
but he made very few points.  Like most of the Greeks, he mistakes
volubility for fulness of treatment, and they pour forth in a single
breath a perfect torrent of long-winded and frigid periods.  Julius
Candidus rather wittily says apropos of this that eloquence is one thing
and loquacity another.  For there have been only one or two people who
can be described as eloquent--not one indeed if Marcus Antonius is to be
believed,--but scores of persons possess what Candidus calls loquacity,
and loquacity and impudence usually go together.  On the following day,
Homullus spoke on behalf of Varenus, and delivered a skilful, powerful,
and polished speech, while Nigrinus replied with terseness, dignity, and
elegance.  Acilius Rufus, the consul-designate, proposed that the
Commission of Enquiry asked for by the Bithynians should be allowed, and
said not a word about the request of Varenus, which was tantamount to
proposing that it should be negatived.  Cornelius Priscus, the consular,
moved that the requests of both the accusers and the accused should be
granted, and he carried a majority with him.  The point we asked for was
not within the four corners of the law and was not quite covered by
precedent, but none the less it was entirely reasonable, though why it
was reasonable I shall not tell you in this letter, in order to make you
ask for a copy of my pleading.  For if it be true, as Homer says, that
"men always prize the song the most which rings newest in their ears," I
must beware lest by allowing myself to go chattering on in this letter I
destroy all the charm of novelty in that little speech of mine, which is
the main thing it has to commend itself to you.  Farewell.


Your letter has aroused in me conflicting emotions, for part of the news
it contained made me glad, and part made me sorrowful.  I was glad to
hear that you were detained in town, for though you say it was much
against your will, it was not against mine, especially as you promise
that you will give a reading as soon as I arrive.  So I thank you for
waiting my coming.  The bad news was that Julius Valens is lying
seriously ill, although even this should not sadden us, if we only think
of what is best for him, for it will be much better for him to obtain as
speedy a release as possible from a disease which is past all cure.  No,
the real sad news, or rather heartrending news is that Julius Avitus
died on ship-board while returning from his quaestorship, miles away
from the brother who was devoted to him, and from his mother and
sisters.  Those are circumstances which do not affect him now that he is
dead, but they did affect him on his death-bed, and they are a great
trouble to his surviving relatives, especially as he was a young man of
such promise and would have reached the highest offices in the State if
only his qualities had had time to ripen.  And now he has been cut down
in the very flower of manhood!  What a keen and enthusiastic student he
was, how well read, and what a number of essays he had made in writing!
Yet all have perished with him and left no fruit for posterity to reap.
But it is useless for me to indulge my sorrow, for if once one gives it
free play, even the slightest occasions for grief are magnified into
crushing blows.  I will write no more, and so check the tears which this
letter has made to flow.  Farewell.


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