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CCXXVI (F II, 7)

TO C. SCRIBONIUS CURIO (IN ROME)
CILICIA, 10 DECEMBER
It is not usual to find fault with a tardy congratulation, especially if it has been omitted by no negligence: for I am far off, and news reaches me slowly. However, I both congratulate you and heartily wish that your tribunate may redound to your lasting reputation; and I exhort you to direct and control everything by your own good sense, and not allow yourself to be carried away by suggestions of others. There is no one who can give you wiser advice than you can give yourself: you will never make a slip, if you listen to your own heart. I don't write this inconsiderately: I am fully conscious to whom I am writing: I know your courage, I know your good sense. I am not afraid of your acting timidly or foolishly, if you maintain what you feel in your own heart to be right. To what a political situation you have, I don't say fallen, but come—for it is by your own deliberate choice and not by chance that you have brought your tribuneship into the very midst of a crisis—you, of course, perceive. I do not doubt that you are considering how decisive in politics is the choice of seasons, how rapidly events shift, how uncertain are results, how pliable are men's wills, what treachery, what falseness, there is in life. But I beseech you, Curio, give your whole heart and mind, not to any new principle, but to that which I mentioned at the beginning of my letter: commune with your own thoughts, take your own self into council, listen to yourself, obey your-self. It is not easy to find anyone capable of giving better advice to another than you are: to yourself, at any rate, no one will give better. Good heavens! why am I not there to be, if you will, the spectator of your glory, or the sharer, or partner, or assistant in your counsels? Although of this you do not in the least stand in need, yet, after all, the greatness and intensity of my affection would have secured my being of some use to you by my advice. I will write at greater length to you at another time: for within the next few days I intend to send some letter-carriers from my own establishment, that, since I have performed a public service with good results and to my own satisfaction, I may in one despatch give an account to the senate of the events of the whole summer. As to your election to the priesthood, you will learn from the letter which I delivered to your freedman Thraso how much trouble I have taken, and how difficult a matter it has been to deal with and maintain. For yourself, Curio, in the name of your uncommon affection for me, and my own unparalleled one for you, I beg you not to allow any extension of time to be made in my case to this burden of a province. I urged this on you when I was with you, and when I had no idea that you were going to be tribune this year, and I have often made the same request by letter; but then it was made to you as a member of the senate, 1 who was yet a young man of the highest rank and the greatest popularity, now it is to I tribune, and that tribune a Curio: not to get any novel decree—which is usually somewhat more difficult—but to prevent any novelty: to support both a decree of the senate and laws, and to allow the terms under which I left Rome to remain as they are. This I earnestly beg of you again and again.


1 Reading senatore with the MSS. It seems to me evidently right. Cicero says that when he first appealed to Curio, he was only a private member of the senate, with only such influence as his rank and popularity gave him—now he is a tribune who could veto any such measure, and therefore had as great power in the matter as any man could have. I doo not think that Cicero would have called Curio his sectator, especially When wishing to secure his services.

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