DCCLXXXIV (F X, I)
TO L. MUNATIUS PLANCUS (IN GALLIA COMATA)In the first place1 I have been out of town2 intending to embark for Greece: and in the next place, having been recalled by the voice of the Republic from the very midst Of my journey, I have never been let alone by Marcus Antonius, whose—I won't call it insolence, for that is a mere everyday fault—but whose brutal tyranny is such that he cannot endure not only any man's voice, but even any man's look to be free. Therefore I am exceedingly anxious-not about my life indeed, for I have nothing left to do for that, whether you regard my age or my achievements or (if that, too, is to the purpose) my glory—but it is for my country that I am uneasy, and first and foremost about the time that we have to wait for your consulship, my dear Plancus, 3 which is so long that one scarcely ventures to hope to be able to keep undergraduate life at Athens. It, however, labours under the disadvantage of being a report sent home by the young man himself rather than by his tutors—an arrangement that would suit many students in all universities. The account of his reformation is therefore perhaps a little too rosy. alive up to that point in the history of the Republic. For what hope can there be in a state in which everything is held down by the arms of the most violent and headstrong of men: in which neither senate nor people has any power of control: in which there are neither laws nor law courts 4 —in fact, no shadow or trace even of a constitution. But as I suppose a complete gazette of public affairs is transmitted to you, 5 there is no reason why I should enter into details. However, the affection which I conceived for you when you were a boy, and have not only maintained but have even increased, seemed to demand that I should admonish and exhort you to devote yourself heart and soul to the service of the Republic. If it survives till your term of office, all will be plain sailing. But that it should so survive demands not only great assiduity and care on your part, but also great good fortune. But to begin with we shall have you with us, I hope, a considerable time before that day: and in the next place-over and above the consideration which I am bound to have for the interests of the Republic—I also so completely give myself up to supporting your dignity, that I direct all the skill, zeal, devotion, exertion, labour, and attention of which I am capable to the promotion of your high position. It is thus, I am convinced, that I shall most readily do my duty both to the Republic, which I love above everything, and to our friendship, which I think it my most sacred duty to foster. I am not surprised that our friend Furnius 6 is valued by you as highly as his own kindness and worth deserve. I rejoice that it is so, and I would have you believe that whatever mark of confidence and favour you bestow on him, I regard as having been bestowed by you upon myself.