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CCLX (F III, 10)

WHEN information reached me of the rash measure of those who were causing you trouble, 1 although I was at first greatly disturbed at the news, since nothing could have happened more contrary to my expectation, yet when I had collected my thoughts, the sequel seemed to me to present no difficulty, because I felt great confidence in you and your friends, and many reasons occurred to me for thinking that this trouble would redound to your honour. One thing I was really sorry for, when I saw that a most certain and most thoroughly deserved triumph had been snatched from you by this step on the part of your jealous rivals. But if you rate it at the value which I have always thought should be put upon it, you will be acting wisely and will come off victorious, the chagrin of your enemies furnishing you with the most complete of triumphs. For I see clearly that the effect of your energy, power, and wisdom will be to make your enemies bitterly repent their ill-considered measure. As for myself, I solemnly promise and vow before heaven that in support of your dignity—I prefer that word to "safety "—I will in this province, which you once governed, undertake and carry through the duties and role of an intercessor by my entreaties, of a relation by my exertions, of a man beloved (I hope) among the states by the exertion of my influence, of an imperator by using the full weight of my office. I would have you both demand and expect everything of me: I shall surpass your expectations by my services. Q. Servilius delivered me a very short letter from you, which yet seemed to me unnecessarily long: for I think myself wronged in being asked. I could have wished that no such occasion had arisen for you to see how highly I, how highly Pompey (who, as is only right, is ever the first of men to me), how highly Brutus values you: though you might have perceived it in our daily intercourse, as you will now. But since the occasion has arisen, if I omit anything in my power, I shall confess to a crime and a disgrace. Pomptinus, who has been treated by you with eminent and exemplary good faith, and of whose obligations to you I am a witness, has shewn that he remembers you with all the affection which you can justly claim. He left me, much against my will, under the pressure of urgent private affairs, yet, when he saw that it was of importance to you, though on the point of embarking at Ephesus, he returned to Laodicea. When I see that you are likely to command innumerable instances of similar zeal in your service, I can have no manner of doubt that your present anxiety will eventually strengthen your position. If, indeed, you succeed in getting censors elected, and if you conduct your censorship as you both ought and can, I am convinced that you will be for all time a tower of strength not only to your-self, but to all your family. Pray fight and strive that there be no prolongation of my office, so that, when I have done all you want for you here, I may have the opportunity there also of giving practical expression to my goodwill to you. What you tell me of the support offered you by all men and all ranks does not at all surprise me, and is exceedingly grateful to my feelings: the same account has reached me from my various friends. Accordingly, it gives me great satisfaction, not only that a proper tribute is paid to you—whose friendship to me is a source of pleasure as well as honour—but also, in truth, that there is still left in our country an almost unanimous feeling of affection for gallant and energetic men: which in my eyes has ever been the one reward for my own days of labour and nights of toil. It has, I confess, caused me great surprise that this young man—whom I have twice defended to the utmost of my power on capital charges—should be so headstrong as, when entering on a course of hostility to you, to forget the patron of his fortunes and whole career; especially considering that you had enough and to spare of every kind, whether of honour or material support, while he himself, to put it at the lowest, has large deficiencies in these respects. Some silly and childish talk of his had been already reported to me by our friend M. Caelius; about which talk also I have had many communications from you. For myself, I should have been much more inclined to break off an old connexion with a man who had entered on a course of hostility to you, than to make a new one. For you ought not to doubt the warmth of my feelings towards you: it is notorious to everyone in the province, and was not less so in Rome. Nevertheless, a certain suspicion is hinted at in your letter, and a doubt on your part, in regard to which the present is not a suitable time to remonstrate with you, yet the occasion requires that I should clear myself. For when, pray, did I hinder any embassy being sent to Rome to convey an encomium upon you? Or, supposing me to be your declared enemy, how could I have done anything less likely to injure you, or how, if your secret enemy, have more openly betrayed my hostility? But if I had been as perfidious as those who attribute these motives to us, yet I at least should not have been such a fool as to betray either an enmity which I wished to conceal, or a burning desire to wound where it was impossible to damage you. I remember certain persons coming to me from Phrygia Epictetos, to inform me that some excessive sums were being voted for the expenses of some legates. To them I expressed an opinion, rather than gave an order, that votes for such expenses should conform as closely as possible to the lex Cornelia. And that I did not insist even on that is testified by the accounts of the boroughs, in which each entered as paid to your legates what they severally chose. But what a pack of lies has been foisted on you by a set of the most untrustworthy of men! Not only that the votes were cancelled, but that, when the legates had actually started, the money was demanded and forcibly recovered from their agents, and that many were thus prevented from going at all! I should have expressed some discontent and expostulated with you, had it not been, as I before observed, that I preferred at the present juncture to clear myself rather than accuse you, and thought this the more proper course. So not a word about you and your having believed it: but about myself I will say a few words as to why you ought not to have believed it. For if you hold me to be a good man, if you hold me to be worthy of the studies and philosophy to which I have devoted myself from boyhood, if you hold it proven in circumstances of the greatest gravity that my courage is fairly high and my wisdom none of the worst, you ought to know that there is nothing in my conduct as a friend—I don't say treacherous, designing, or deceitful—but even mean or cold. But if you choose to imagine me to be dark and mysterious, what could be less consonant with such a character than to disdain the friendship of a man in the highest possible position, or to attack his reputation in a province, after defending his credit at home? Or to display one's hostility where it was impossible to damage him, or to select for an occasion of treachery what would give the clearest indication of dislike, but would be the least effectual in inflicting a blow upon him? What reason, moreover, was there for my being so implacable to you, when my own brother had informed me that you had not been really hostile to me, even at a time when the assumption of such a part had almost been forced upon you? 2 When, however, we had by mutual desire renewed our friendship, can you mention any request which you made to me during your consulship 3 in vain, whether it was something you wished me to do, or a vote you wished me to support in the senate? What charge did you give me as I was seeing you off at Puteoli, in which I have not more than fulfilled your expectation by my energetic exertions? Again, if it is above everything the mark of selfish cunning to judge everything by the standard of one's own advantage, what could better suit my interests than the close alliance with a man of the highest rank and greatest official dignity, whose wealth, ability, sons, marriage connexions, blood-relations, could all greatly promote my honour, or, I may say, my security? All these advantages, after all, I did aim at in seeking your friendship—which I did not seek from any selfish cunning, but rather because I had some sound sense. Again, how powerful are those bonds in which I am the most willing of prisoners !—sympathy of tastes, charm of social intercourse, the refined pleasures of our life and its environment, our interchange of ideas in conversation, our deeper studies. And these all belong to private life. What about public ties between us? Our famous reconciliation, in which any inadvertence even is impossible without a suspicion of perfidy; our colleagueship in the most illustrious priesthood—in which, in the opinion of our ancestors, not only was no breach of friendship possible without impiety, but no election even into the college was permissible, if a man were on had terms with any of the existing members. But to pass over these ties, numerous and important as they are, was there ever anyone who valued another, or could or ought to value another, as highly as I do Cu. Pompeius, your daughter's father-in-law? For if services are to count—I consider that I owe him the restoration of country, children, life, rank, and, in a word, of myself. If the charm of social intercourse—what friendship between two consulars in our city was ever closer than ours? If those tokens of affection and kindness— what confidence has he ever withheld from me? What has he failed to discuss with me? What motion affecting himself in the senate has he wished should, in his absence, be moved by anyone else? What marks of honour has he not desired me to receive in the most complimentary form? Finally, with what courtesy, with what forbearance, did he endure my vehement pleading for Milo, though at times opposed to his own proposals! With what hearty zeal did he take measures to prevent my being reached by the hostile feelings aroused at that juncture, protecting me by his ad vice, his influence, and finally by his arms! 4 At that crisis, indeed, such was his steadfastness, such his magnanimity, that, to say nothing of crediting some Phrygian or Lycaonian, as you did in the case of the legates, he would not believe malevolent remarks about me even from men of the highest rank. Therefore, as his son is your son-in-law, and as I am well aware, besides this connexion by marriage, how dear you are to Cn. Pompeius, and how precious in his sight, what ought my feelings towards you to be? Especially as he has written me such a letter that, had I been your enemy, as I am your most affectionate friend, I should have been softened towards you, and have surrendered myself to the wishes and authority of a man to whom I owed so much.

But enough of this: it has been expressed already, perhaps, at greater length than was necessary. Let me now tell you what I have actually done and arranged. 5 . .. And these things I am doing, and shall continue to do, rather in support of your dignity, than as a means of averting danger from you. For I shall soon, I hope, hear of your being censor; 6 and the duties of that office, which require the greatest resolution and tact, I think you should meditate upon with greater earnestness and care than upon what I am doing here on your behalf.

1 His prosecution by Dolabella.

2 In taking part with his brother Clodius B.C. 58-56.

3 B.C. 54.

4 This is all very well: Cicero now speaks of the guard round the Court during Milo's trial as meant for his protection; but at the time he was so alarmed, that he broke down utterly in his speech.

5 The statement of the measures taken by Cicero is apparently omitted, perhaps by the original editor of the letters, though there does not seem any reasonable motive for doing so.

6 As censor he would be practically, though not legally, safe from prosecution.

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