CDXLVIII (F XV, 21)
TO GAIUS TREBONIUS (IN SPAIN)I found pleasure in reading your letter, and a very great one in reading your book: yet in the midst of that pleasure I experienced this sorrow, that, after having inflamed my desire of increasing the closeness of our intercourse—for as far as affection goes no addition was possible-you at once quit us, and inspire me with such deep regret, as to leave me but one consolation, namely, that our mutual regret for each other's absence may be softened by long and frequent letters. 1 This I can guarantee not only from myself to you, but also from you to me. For you left no doubt in my mind as to how much you were attached to me. I will pass over what you did in the sight of the whole state, when you took upon you a share of my quarrels, when you defended me in your public speeches, when as quaestor you stood by the consuls in what was at once my cause and that of the constitution, when as quaestor again you refused to submit to the tribune, 2 and that though your colleague was for obeying him. Yet, to forget your recent services (which I shall always remember), what anxiety for me did you shew during the war, what joy at my return, what anxiety, what pain, when my anxieties and sorrows were reported to you! Lastly, the fact that you had meant to come to Brundisium to see me had you not been suddenly sent to Spain—to omit, I say, all this, which in my eyes must be as precious as my own life and safety, what a strong profession of affection does the book which you have sent me convey I First, because you think any utterance of mine to be witty, though others perhaps do not: and, secondly, because those mots, whether witty or the reverse, become extraordinarily attractive as you tell them. In fact, even before they come to me, your readers have all but exhausted their power of laughter. But if in making this compilation there was no more compliment than the inevitable fact of your having thought for so long a time exclusively about me, I should be hard-hearted indeed if I did not love you. Seeing, however, that what you have taken the trouble to write you could never have planned without a very strong affection, I cannot deem that anyone is dearer to himself than I am to you: to which affection would that I could respond in other ways! I will at least do so in affection on my part: with which, after all, I feel certain you will be fully satisfied. Now I come to your letter, which, though written in full and gratifying terms, there is no reason why I should answer at great length. For, in the first place, I did not send that letter to Calvus, 3 any more than the one you are now reading, with an idea of its getting abroad. For I write in one style what I expect that the persons addressed only, in another what I expect that many, will read. In the next place, I praised his genius in higher terms than you think could have been done with sincerity. To begin with, it was because that was my real opinion. He had a subtle and active mind: he adhered to a certain definite style, in which, though his judgment was at fault-generally his strong point—he yet attained his aim. He had great and uncommon learning: force he had not. It was in that direction, therefore, that I tried to rouse his energies. Now, in stimulating and whetting a man's intellect nothing is more efficacious than to mingle praise with exhortation. That is my judgment on Calvus, and the motive of my letter: motive, in that I praised in order to stimulate him; judgment, in that I thought very highly of his ability. It only remains to follow your journey with affectionate interest, to look forward to your return with hope, to cherish you while absent in memory, and to alleviate our regret by an interchange of letters. I should wish you often to recall your kindnesses and good services to me; for while you may, and I may not, forget them without positive crime, you will have reason, not only to think me an honest man, but also to believe that you are deeply loved by me.