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CCCLXXV (A IX, 18)

TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
ARPINUMum 29 MARCH
I FOLLOWED your advice in both particulars: for I spoke in such a manner as rather to gain his respect than his thanks, and I stuck to the resolution of not going to Rome. I found myself mistaken in one respect—in thinking that he would be easily satisfied. I never saw anything less so. He kept remarking that he was condemned by my decision, that the rest would be the slower to come, if I did not do so. I remarked that their case was unlike mine. After much discussion he said, "Come, then, and discuss the question of peace." . " At my own discretion?" said I. "Am I to prescribe to you?" said he. "My motion will be this," said I, "that the senate disapproves of any going to Spain or taking armies across to Greece, and," I added, "I shall make many regretful marks as to Gnaeus." Thereupon he said, "Of course, I don't wish such things said." "So I supposed," said I, "but I must decline being present there, because I must either speak in this sense, and say many things which I could not possibly pass over, if present, or I must not come at all." The upshot was that, by way of ending the discussion, he requested that I would think it over. I couldn't say no to that. So we parted. I feel certain, therefore, that he has no love for me. But I felt warm satisfaction with myself, which hasn't been the case for some time past. For the rest, good heavens! What a crew! What an inferno! to use your word. . 1 What a gang of bankrupts and desperadoes! What is one to say of a son of Servius, a son of Tullus having been in the camp by which Pompey was besieged? Six legions! He is extra-ordinarily vigilant, extraordinarily bold: I see no limit to the mischief. Now, at any rate, it is time for you to bring out your counsels. This is where you drew the line. Yet his closing remark in our interview, which I had almost forgotten to mention, was very offensive, that "if he was not allowed to avail himself of my counsels, he would avail himself of such as he could, and would scruple at nothing." "So you have seen with your own eyes," say you, "that the man is such as you described him to be. Did it cost you a sigh ?" Yes, indeed. "Tell me the rest." Well, he went straight off to his villa at Pedum, I to Arpinum. Next I await the "twittering swallow"—to which you refer. 2 "Come," you will say, "don't cry over spilt milk: 3 even the leader himself, whom we are following, has made many mistakes."

But I wait for a letter from you. For you can't say, as in former ones, "Let us see how this turns out." The final test was to be our meeting, and in that I feel certain I have offended him. All the more prompt must be my next step. Pray send me a packet, and full of politics! I am very anxious for a letter from you.


1 Some other words (in qua erat erosceleri) occur here, manifestly corrupt, of which nothing can be made.

2 Λαλαγεῦσαν illam, which seems a certain restoration of the Greek letters of the MSS., as is explained by Letter CCCLXI, p. 326, where he quotes another part of the Greek epigram (Anth. 10.1), on the season for sailing announced by the swallow, harbinger of spring: “ See the meads bloom! the time has come for sailing:
The twittering swallow hails spring here at last. Hushed is the sea,
the soft west wind prevailing,
Late swollen with waves and lashed with bitter blast.
” Of course, Cicero means that he will sail, as soon as weather permits, to join Pompey.

3 Actum ne agas (see p. 322). It should be noticed that in this account of the interview with Caesar the name of Caesar does not occur, perhaps from caution.

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