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DCCXIV (A XIV, 13 b)

TO M. ANTONIUS (AT ROME)
PUTEOLI, 26 APRIL
THE request you make to me by letter I have only one reason for wishing that you had made personally. For in that case you would have been able to perceive my affection for you not merely by my language, but from my "expression, eyes, and brow"—as the phrase goes. For while I have always loved you—incited thereto at first by your zeal in my service and then by your actual favours—so in these times the interests of the state have so recommended me to you, that there is no one whom I regard with warmer affection. Moreover, the very affectionate and complimentary tone of your letter had such an effect upon me that I felt as though I were not doing you a favour, but receiving one from you, when you qualified your request by an assurance that you would not restore a personal enemy of mine, who was a friend of your own, if I did not wish it, though you could have done so without any trouble. Of course, my dear Antony, I give you my free consent, besides acknowledging that by expressing yourself as you have done you have treated me with the utmost liberality and courtesy. And while I should have thought it my duty to have granted what you ask without reserve, whatever the circumstances, I now grant it as a concession to my own feelings and inclination. For I never had a spark, I won't' say of bitterness, in me, but even of sternness or severity beyond what the service of the state required. I may add that even against Clodius himself my exasperation has never been extravagant, and I have always held that the friends of my enemies were not proper objects for attack, especially those in a lower position of life. Nor ought we ourselves to be deprived of such supporters.

As for the boy Clodius, I think it is your duty to imbue what you call "his young and impressionable" mind with the conviction that no vindictive feelings remain between our families. I fought P. Clodius, since I was supporting the interests of the state, he his own. Upon the merits of our controversies the state has decided. If he were now alive, I should have had no cause of contention with him remaining. Wherefore, since you put this request to me with the reservation that you will not avail yourself of what is undoubtedly within your power against my wishes, please grant this to the boy also as a present from me, if you think it right. Not because a man of my age need suspect any danger from a boy of his, nor because a man in my position has reason to shrink from any controversy, 1 but that we may be still more closely united than we have as yet been: for owing to the intervention of these feuds your heart has been more open to me than your house. But enough of this. I will only add, that I shall always zealously do without hesitation whatever I think to be your wish and to your advantage. 2


1 An answer to Antony's veiled threat at the end of his letter as to "a quiet old age" (p.23).

2 Antony quoted this letter in his speech in the Senate in answer to the first Philippic (September 19th). See 2 Phil. §§ 7-10.

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