CDLXXXIII (F IV, 8)
TO M. CLAUDIUS MARCELLUS (AT MITYLENE)I do not venture to advise a man of your1 consummate wisdom, nor to offer encouragement to a man of the highest spirit and the most conspicuous gallantry-certainly not to console him in any way whatever. For if you bear what has happened as lam told you do, I ought rather to congratulate you on your manliness than console your sorrow. But if these great disasters to the state are breaking your heart, I have no ingenuity to spare for finding consolations for you, when I cannot console myself. All that remains, therefore, for me to do is at every point so to display and guarantee my services, and to be in such a way ready to undertake whatever your friends may wish, as to shew that I hold myself your debtor not only for everything that is within my power to do, but also for what is beyond it. Nevertheless, please to consider that in what follows I have given you a warning, or (if you like) expressed an opinion, or from affection for you have been unable to refrain from saying—that you, as I do myself, should make up your mind, if there is to be a republic at all, that the first place in it is your due in everybody's judgment as well as in actual fact, though you are necessarily yielding to the circumstances of the hour: but if there is none, that after all this is the place best fitted for living even in exile. For if we are seeking freedom, what place is free from the master's hand? But if all we want is Some place, no matter of what sort, what residence is pleasanter than one's own home? But believe me, even the man who now dominates everything favours men of talent: moreover, he opens his arms to high birth and lofty position, as far as circumstances and his own party needs allow. But I have said more than I intended. I return, therefore, to that one fact—that I am yours, and will be by the side of your friends, always provided that they are yours: if not, I will in any case satisfy the claims of our attachment and affection in all particulars. Good-bye.