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DCCCXCVII (BRUT. I, 9)

TO M. IUNIUS BRUTUS (IN MACEDONIA)
ROME (8 JUNE)
I would have performed the function, which you performed in my own time of mourning, and have written you a letter of consolation, had I not known that you did not stand in need of those remedies in your sorrow with which you relieved mine. And I should hope that you will now more easily heal your own wound than you then could mine. 1 It is, moreover, quite unlike a man as great as you are not to be able to do himself what be has enjoined on another. For myself, the arguments which you had collected, as well as your personal influence, deterred me from excessive indulgence in grief: for when I seemed to you to be bearing my sorrow with less firmness than was becoming to a man, and especially one accustomed to console others, you wrote upbraiding me in sharper terms than were usual with you. Accordingly, putting a high value on your opinion, and having a wholesome awe of it, I pulled myself together and regarded what I had learnt, read, and been taught as being the weightier by the addition of your authority. And at that time, Brutus, I owed nothing except to duty and nature: you now have to regard the people and the stage—to use a common expression. For since the eyes not only of your army, but of all the citizens, and I ought almost to say of all the world, are fixed on you, it is not at all seemly that the man who makes us all braver should himself seem weakened in mind. To sum up: you have met with a sorrow—for you have lost a thing unparalleled in the world—and you must needs suffer from so severe a wound, lest the fact of having no sense of sorrow should be a greater misfortune than sorrow itself: but that you should do so in moderation is advantageous to others, necessary for yourself. I would have written at greater length, had not even this been already too much. We are expecting you and your army, without which-even if everything else succeeds to our wishes—we seem likely to be scarcely as free as we could desire. On the whole political situation I will write at greater length, and perhaps with more certainty, in the letter which I think of handing to our friend Vetus. 2


1 See vol. iii., pp.197, 201. Cicero there says that Brutus's letter gave him no consolation. This letter is to condole with Brutus on the death of his wife Porcia. The ordinary story—told by Plutarch and others—is that she committed suicide by swallowing burning charcoal after the death of Brutus. But there was another account that she died a natural death. Her illness is alluded to p. 252. If this letter is genuine the latter account must be the true one.

2 See pp.205, 313.

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