CLXXVI (F II, 6)
TO C. SCRIBONIUS CURIO (ARRIVED IN ITALY)News had not yet reached me of your arrival in Italy when I sent Sext. Villius, an intimate of my friend Milo, with this letter to you. But nevertheless, since your arrival was thought to be approaching, and it was ascertained that you had already started from Asia Rome-wards, the importance of my subject made me dismiss any fear of being premature in sending you this letter, for I was exceedingly anxious that it should reach you as soon as possible. If the obligations, Curio, had only been on your side, and as great as they are usually proclaimed by you rather than as valued by me, I should have been more shy of coming to you for any request of importance which I might have to make. For it is very disagreeable to a modest man to ask a great favour from one whom he thinks under an obligation to himself, lest he should seem rather to demand than to ask what he is seeking, and to regard it more in the light of a debt than of a favour. But since your kindnesses to me were known to the whole world, or rather I should say were made especially prominent and valuable by the very novelty of my circumstances; and since it is the mark of a generous heart to be willing, when much is owed, to reckon the debt at its highest; I did not hesitate to prefer to you by letter a petition for what was of the highest importance and most vital consequence to me of anything in the world. For I was not afraid of being unable to support your kindnesses to me, even though they were beyond calculation: especially as I felt confident that there was no amount of favour for which my heart was incapable of finding room when receiving it, or for which in repayment it could not make a full and brilliant return. I have concentrated and embarked all my zeal, all my efforts, all the care and industry of which I am capable, my every thought, in fact, my whole heart and soul, on securing Milo's consulship; and I have made up my mind that in this matter I ought to look not merely for the profit arising from an act of kindness, but also for the credit of disinterested affection. Nor do I think that anyone was ever so anxious about his own personal safety and his own fortunes as I am for his election, on which I have made up my mind that all my interests depend. To him I see clearly that, if you choose, you can render such substantial help that we need ask for nothing else. We have on our side all these advantages: the favour of the loyalists won since his tribunate on account of his supporting me (as I hope you understand); that of the common multitude on account of the splendour of his gladiatorial exhibitions and the liberality of his disposition; the favour of the young men and of those influential in securing votes, won by his own eminent powers of captivation, shall I call it? or his diligence in that department; lastly, my own electoral support, which, if it is not very powerful, is at any rate regarded as only right, due and proper, and on that account is perhaps influential also. What we want is a leader, and what I may call a controller, or, so to speak, a pilot of those winds which I have described: and if we had to select one such out of the whole world, we should have no one to compare with you. Wherefore, if (as I am sure you can) you can regard me as a grateful, as an honest man, from the mere fact that I am thus eagerly exerting myself for Milo, if, in fine, you think me worthy of your kindness, I do ask you this favour—that you come to the rescue of this anxiety of mine and this crisis in my reputation, or, to put it with greater truth, that you will devote your zeal to what is all but a question of life and death to me. As to Titus Annius 1 himself, I promise you this much—that if you resolve to embrace his cause, you will never have anyone of greater spirit, solidity, firmness, or affection to yourself. While to me you will have given so much additional honour and prestige, that I shall have no difficulty in acknowledging you to have been as effective in supporting my reputation as you were in securing my safety. Did I not know that you must be fully aware, while writing this letter to you, under what a weight of obligation I am labouring, how strongly I am bound to work in this election for Milo, not only with every kind of exertion, but even with downright fighting, I should have written at greater length. As it is, I hand over and commit the business, the cause, and myself wholly and entirely into your hands. Of one thing be sure: if I obtain this help from you, I shall owe you almost more than I owe Milo himself; for my personal safety, in which I have been conspicuously aided by him, has not been as dear to me as the sacred duty of returning the favour will be delightful. That object I feel confident that your aid, and yours alone, will enable me to secure.