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DCCCLXXX (F x, 20)

ALL the news from your part of the world is so uncertain that nothing occurs to me to say to you. For at one time reports of Lepidus are satisfactory, at another the reverse. However, of you the report is unvarying—that you can be neither hoodwinked nor beaten. The credit for the latter is to a certain extent fortune's, for the former it wholly belongs to your own good sense. But I have received a letter from your colleague 1 dated the 15th of May, in which he said that you had written to tell him that Antony was not being received by Lepidus. I shall feel more certain of this if you give me the same information in a letter, but perhaps you do not venture to do so owing to the ill-grounded cheerfulness of your former letter. But as it was possible for you, my dear Plancus, to make a mistake—for who escapes doing so ?-so no one can fail to see that it was impossible that you should be taken in. Now, however, even the plea of being mistaken has been taken away—"Twice on the same stone," 2 you know, is a fault reproved by a common proverb. But if the truth is as you have written to your colleague, we are freed from all anxiety; yet we shall not be so until you inform us that it is the Case. My opinion indeed, as I have often told you in my letters, is that the man who extinguishes the last embers of this part of the war will be the real victor in the whole war, and I both hope and believe that you will be the man. I am not at all surprised and am deeply gratified that my zeal on your behalf, which certainly Could not have been surpassed, has been as pleasant to your feelings as I thought it would be. You will find it indeed to be greater and more effective still, if things go well with you there.

29 May.

1 Decimus Brutus, who with Plancus was Consul-designate for B.C. 42.

2 To strike the foot twice on the same stone, δὶς πρὸς τὸν αὐτὸν αἰσχρὸν εἰσκρούειν λίθον, bis ad eundem offendere lapidem turpe est. Something like our "A burnt child fears the fire." or "Once bit twice shy."

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