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WELL, settle about the tax-return if you can: though this particular money is not properly liable to such a return. However—no matter! Balbus writes to say that he has such a violent catarrh that he has lost his voice. As to Antonius and his law-it's all one. 1 Let them only leave me my country life. I have written to Bithynicus. 2 I must leave you to make your own reflexions on Servilius 3 —for you rather want to live to be an old man. As for me, our dear Atticus, having once noticed that I was in a panic, thinks that it is always so with me, and does not see with what a panoply of philosophy I am now armed. In fact he creates alarm by being frightened himself. After all I really do wish to keep up my friendship with Antony, 4 which has now lasted a long time without a quarrel, and I will write to him, but not till I have seen you. Yet I don't want to call you off from looking after your bond-every man for himself! 5 I am expecting Lepta 6 ...tomorrow. To qualify the bitter rue of his talk I shall want the sweet marjoram of yours. Good-bye.

1 Probably a law of L. Antonius as to the assignment of land. But we do not know.

2 Q. Pompeius Bithynicus had written to ask Cicero to look after his interests while he was in Sicily. See Letter DCXCVIII, p. 3.

3 P. Servilius Vatia Isauricus had just died at a very advanced age. "You must make up your own mind," says Cicero, "whether it is a blessing to have lived so long. I am not myself afraid of death, as Atticus thinks I am." Servilius was consul B.C. 79-when he conquered the Isaurae, and was over eighty when he died. For a curious anecdote illustrating the respect in which he was held, see Dio, 45, 16.

4 Tiro had apparently written urging Cicero to make some advances to Antony. In truth there had been very early bitterness between them. (see vol. i., p. 378), with intervals of friendship (Phil. 2.49).

5 γόνυ κνήμης, sc. ἔγγιον, "the knee is nearer than the shin," "charity begins at home" (Theocr. 15.18). The proverb appears in various forms in Latin as: “tunica proprior pallio(Plaut. Trin. v. 2, 30) ; proximus sum egomet mihi (Terence, Andr. 636); omnes sibi malle melius esse quam alteri (id. Andr. 427).

6 Some other name seems to have been lost from the text.

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