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CLXXIV (F II, 4)

TO C. SCRIBONIUS CURIO (IN ASIA)
ROME (?MAY)
You are aware that letters are of many kinds; but there is one kind which is undeniable, for the sake of which, indeed, the thing was invented, namely, to inform the absent of anything that is to the interest of the writer or recipient that they should know. You, however, certainly don't expect a letter of that kind from me. For of your domestic concerns you have members of your family both to write and to act as messengers. Besides, in my personal affairs there is really nothing new. There are two other kinds of letters which give me great pleasure: the familiar and sportive, and the grave and serious. Which of these two I ought least to employ I do not understand. Am I to jest with you by letter? Upon my word, I don't think the man a good citizen who could laugh in times like these. Shall I write in a more serious style? What could be written of seriously by Cicero to Curio except public affairs? And yet, under this head, my position is such that I neither dare write what I think, nor choose to write what I don't think. Wherefore, since I have no subject left to write about, I will employ my customary phrase, and exhort you to the pursuit of the noblest glory. For you have a dangerous rival already in the field, and fully prepared, in the extraordinary expectation formed of you and this rival you will vanquish with the greatest ease, only on one condition—that you make up your mind to put out your full strength in the cultivation of those qualities, by which the noble actions are accomplished, upon the glory of which you have set your heart. In support of this sentiment I would have written at greater length had not I felt certain that you were sufficiently alive to it of your own accord; and I have touched upon it even thus far, not in order to fire your ambition, but to testify my affection.


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