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M. CICERO, proconsul, greets M. Caelius, curule aedile elect. First of all, as in duty bound, I congratulate you and express my delight at the rank which you have already attained, and your hopes of advancement in the future. It is somewhat late in the day: that, however, does not arise from my negligence, but from my ignorance of everything that is going on. For I am in a district where, partly from its distance, and partly from brigandage, all news is as late as possible in arriving. Besides congratulating you, I can scarcely find words to thank you for having had an election calculated, as you said in your letter, to give us an endless fund of laughter. And so, as soon as I heard the news, I imagined myself in that man's skin—you know whom I mean—and personified to myself all that "rising generation" about which he is always talking so big. "'Tis hard to say "—looking at you in my mind's eye the while, though far away, and as though I were talking to you face to face— “ By heaven, how great,
How grand the feat!
” But since it had surpassed my expectation, I began the quotation: “ A glad surprise
Before my eyes.
1 In fact, I all on a sudden stepped out "gay as gay can be," and when I was rebuked for being all but silly from excess of joy, I quoted in my defence, "Beyond all measure to express delight," etc.' In short, while laughing at him, I almost became another like him. But I will write more about this, and much else besides about you and to you, as soon as I have got a minute to spare. Meanwhile however, my dear Rufus, I am deeply attached to you—you whom fortune gave me to be the promoter of my dignity, and such a scourge, not of my enemies only, but of my jealous rivals also, that they had reason to be sorry in some cases for their evil deeds, and in others even for their stupidities.

1Ego voluptatem animi nimiam summum esse errorem arbitror”—"I think the height of exultation the height of error" (Traben ap Tusc. 4.35). This is only a "defence" ironically.

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