How often have I seen him go back, and describe the same thing over again with an entire change of language and ideas! And what he wrote with care and with much thought that I have seen admired to such a degree, as to equal the credit of even the writings of the ancients. Should not I, then, love this man? should I not admire him? should not I think it my duty to defend him in every possible way? And, indeed, we have constantly heard from men of the greatest eminence and learning, that the study of other sciences was made up of learning, and rules, and regular method; but that a poet was such by the unassisted work of nature, and was moved by the vigour of his own mind, and was inspired, as it were, by some divine wrath. Wherefore rightly does our own great Ennius call poets holy; because they seem to be recommended to us by some especial gift, as it were, and liberality of the gods.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO FOR AULUS LICINIUS ARCHIAS, THE POET
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