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Having been informed by Pilia that letter-carriers were starting for you on the 15th, I scrawl these few lines. First then I want you to know that I am leaving this place for Arpinum on the 17th of May. So please direct there if there is anything to write after this: though I shall be with you almost immediately myself. For I am anxious that before I arrive at Rome very careful inquiry should be made as to what is going to happen. However, I fear that my presentiments are not wide of the mark. It is in truth quite plain what these fellows are at. For my pupil, 1 who dines with me today, is much devoted to the victim of our Brutus's dagger: and if you ask my opinion, I see very plainly their attitude—they dread peace. Moreover, their constant theme is that "a man of the most illustrious character has been killed: that by his death the constitution has been thoroughly shaken: that his acta will be rendered nugatory as soon as we cease to be frightened: that his clemency did him harm; and that if he had not shewn it, nothing of the sort would have befallen him." It strikes me therefore, that if Pompeius arrives with a strong army—as is reasonable to expect—there will certainly be war. This idea haunts my imagination and terrifies me. For we shall not now be able to do what you did on the former occasion. For I made no secret of my triumphant joy. In the next place, they talk of our ingratitude. It certainly will be impossible for me on any grounds to take up the position which was then possible for you and many others. 2 Must I then put a good face on it and go to the camp? A thousand times better die, especially at my time of life. Accordingly, the Ides of March do not console me so much as they did: for they involve a serious blunder, unless our young heroes “By other noble deeds wipe out this shame.” 3 But if you have any brighter hope as being more in the way of hearing news and being cognizant of their plans, pray write me word and at the same time turn over in your mind what I ought to do about taking a "votive legation." 4 The fact is that in these parts many warn me against appearing in the senate on the 1st of June. Troops 5 are said to be secretly collecting for that day, and that too against the men who seem to me likely to be safer anywhere than in the senate.

1 Hirtius. See vol. iii., p.93.

2 That is, remain neutral. Cicero has committed himself by approving assassination.

3 ἄλλοις ἐν ἐσθλοῖς τόνδ᾽ ἀπωθοῦνται ψόγον, a verse said to be from Sophocles, though from what play is unknown. The mistake at which Cicero hints is, as before (p.46), that Antony was not assassinated with Caesar.

4 See p.70, and vol. i., p.110.

5 For Antony's enrolment and gradual increase of 6,000 bodyguards, see p.90.

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