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DCCXXXI (A XV, 4, §§ 1-4)

ON the 24th of May about four o'clock in the afternoon a letter-carrier arrived from Q. Fufius. 1 He brought me some sort of a note from him expressing a wish that I would restore my favour to him. It was very awkwardly expressed, as is his way: unless perchance the truth is that everything one doesn't like has the appearance of being awkwardly done. My answer was one which I think you will approve.

I will reply to your later and fuller letter first. Good! Why, if even Carfulenus does so—le déluge! 2 Antony's policy—as you describe it—is revolutionary, and I hope he will carry it out by popular vote rather than by decree of the senate! I think he will do so. But to my mind his whole policy seems to point to war, since the province 3 is being wrested from Decimus Brutus. Whatever my estimate of the latter's resources, I do not think that this can be done without war. But I don't desire it, for the Buthrotians are being sufficiently secured as it is! 4 Do you laugh? In good truth I am vexed that they do not rather owe it to my persistence, activity, and influence.

You say you don't know what our men are to do. Well, that difficulty has been troubling me all along. Accordingly, I was a fool, I now see, to be consoled by the Ides of March. The fact is, we shewed the courage of men, the prudence of children. The tree was felled, but not cut up by the roots. Accordingly, you see how it is sprouting up. Let us go back, then, to the Tusculan Arguments 5 —since you often quote them. Let us keep Saufeius in the dark about you. I will never blab. 6 You send me a message from Brutus asking on what day I am to arrive at Tusculum. On the 27th of May, as I wrote you word before. And then, in fact, I should like very much to see you as soon as possible. For I think I shall have to go to Lanuvium, 7 and shan't get off without a great deal of talk. But I will see to it.

I now come back to your earlier letter. I will pass over the first clause about the Buthrotians, for “That in my heart of hearts is fixed.” I only hope, as you say, we may have some opportunity of acting in the matter. You must be very keen about Brutus's speech, considering the length at which you discuss it again. Would you have me treat the subject after he has actually produced a written oration on it? Am I to write without being asked by him? That would be putting one's oar in with a vengeance I Nothing could be ruder. But some thing, say you, in the style of Heracleides. 8 Well, I don't decline that much: but it is necessary first to settle on a line of argument, and secondly to wait for a more suitable time for writing. For think what you will of me (though of course I should like you to think as well as possible), if things go on as they seem to be doing-you will not be vexed at my saying it—I feel no pleasure in the Ides of March. For Caesar would never have come back : 9 fear would not have forced us to confirm his acts. Or supposing me to join Saufeius's school and abandon the doctrines of the Tusculans, I was so high in his favour (whom may the gods confound though dead!) that to a man of my age he was not a master to be shunned, since the slaying of the master has not made us free men. I blush-believe me. But I have written the words, and will not erase them. I only wish it had been true about Menedemus. 10 About the Queen I hope it may turn out to be true. 11 The rest when we meet, and especially as to what our heroes are to do, and even what I am to do myself if Antony means to blockade the senate with soldiers. If I had given this letter to his letter-carrier I feared he would open it. So I send it with special care: for I was obliged to answer yours.

1 Q. Fufius Calenus, an old opponent (vol. i., p.35).

2 ἄνω ποταμῶν. Cicero, as usual, only gives a word or two of a well-known passage to indicate it to Atticus. It is from the famous choric song in the Medea of Euripides (409-410) representing the reversal of all moral laws and notions: “ ἄνω ποταμῶν ἱερῶν χωροῦsi παγαί
καὶ di´κα καὶ πάντα πάλιν stre´φεται.
” “ Back to their founts the rivers roll
Their sacred streams: and in the soul
Confusions worse confounded reign,
Nor justice can her laws maintain.
” Carfulenus, an officer in the Martia, had with it deserted from Antony.

3 That is, Gallia Cisalpina—which Antony was trying to get the senate to transfer to him. He eventually got it by a lex.

4 He suggests ironically that his only motive for wishing active measures to be taken against Antony was to secure the Buthrotians from the threatened colony.

5 The Tusculan Disputations (1st Book) on death, and the reasons for not fearing it.

6 That is, I won't tell Saufeius the Epicurean of your lapse from Epicureanism involved in adopting the doctrines of the Tusculan Disputations.

7 Where Brutus was. See p.45.

8 Heracleides of Pontus, a pupil of Plato, who wrote on constitutions. See vol. i., p.328.

9 Boot thinks that this means, "Caesar would not have come to life again in the person of Antony." But I agree with Tyrrell and Purser in understanding it to mean, "would never have come back from the Parthian war." Caesar's health and spirits were perhaps failing. See pro Marc. §§ 25, 32.

10 See p.51.

11 Some rumour to the disadvantage of Cleopatra. See p.43.

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