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DCCXXVII (A XV, I a)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
PUTEOLI, 17 MAY
How sad about Alexio ! 1 you would scarcely believe the extent to which it has afflicted me; and, by heaven! not from the point of view suggested by most people to me—"Where will you go for a physician now?" For what need have I of a physician? Or if I do need one, is there such a dearth of them? It is his affection for me, his culture, his gracious manners that I miss. Then there is this consideration—what is there that we may not fear when a man of such temperate habits, of such eminence as a physician, is carried off by such a sudden illness? But to all such thoughts the only consolation is that the conditions of our birth forbid us to shrink from anything to which flesh is heir.

As to Antony, I have already told you that I did not meet him. For he came to Misenum while I was at my Pompeian house, and left it before I knew of his arrival. But, as it happened, Hirtius was with me at Puteoli when I was reading your letter. I read it out to him and stated the case. 2 As at first advised he would make no concession. At last, however, he said that I should be judge, not only in this matter but of the whole of his administration as consul. With Antony again I will put the case in such a way as to make him perceive that, if he does what we want in that business, I shall be wholly his in the future. I hope Dolabella is in town. Let us return to our heroes, of whom you shew that you have good hopes owing to the moderate tone of their edicts. Now, when Hirtius left my house at Puteoli on the 16th of May for Naples, to visit Pansa, I had a clear view of his whole mind. For I took him aside and exhorted him earnestly to preserve the peace. He could not of course say that he did not wish for peace: but he indicated that he was no less afraid of our side appealing to arms than of Antony doing so: and that after all both sides had reason to be on their guard, but that he feared the arms of both. I needn't go on: there is nothing sound about him. As to the younger Quintus, I agree with you: at any rate your charming letter to him gave the greatest pleasure to his father. Caerellia, indeed, I had no difficulty in convincing. She did not seem to me to be very anxious for it, and if she had been, I certainly should not have done so. 3 As to the lady whom you say has been troublesome to you, I am quite surprised that you listened to her at all. For because I spoke in complimentary terms of her in the presence of friends and in the hearing of her three sons, and your daughter, does the rest follow? 4 What is the point of— “Why should I pace the streets with features masked ?” Isn't the mask of old age itself ugly enough?

You say that Brutus asks me to come to Rome before the 1st. He has written to me to the same effect, and perhaps I will do so. But I don't at all know why he wishes it. For what advice can I offer him, when I am at a loss what plan to adopt myself, and when he has done more for his own undying fame than for our peace? About the Queen the gossip will die out. 5 As to Flamma, 6 pray do what you can.


1 A physician. See p.53.

2 As to the confiscation of lands at Buthrotum. Hirtius was consul- designate for B.C. 43.

3 See p. 40. It seems to refer to some attempt at effecting a reconciliation between Cicero and Publilia.

4 That is "does it follow that I wish to marry her?" Or if it refers to Publilia's mother, "does it follow that I wish to take her daughter back?"

5 See p. 43.

6 See p. 32.

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