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DLXXXIV (F V, 14)

L. LUCCEIUS TO CICERO (AT ASTURA)
ROME (9 MAY)
If you are well, I am glad: I am as usual, or even a little worse than usual. I have often wished to see you. I was surprised to find that you have not been at Rome since your departure: 1 and I am still surprised at it. I don't feel certain as to the exact motive which withdraws you from Rome. If it is solitude that charms you, provided that you write or carry on some of your accustomed pursuits, I rejoice, and have no fault to find with your resolution. For nothing can be pleasanter than that, I don't mean merely in such unhappy and grievous times as these, but even when everything is peaceful and answerable to our wishes. Especially if your mind is either so far wearied as to need repose after heavy engagements, or so richly endowed as ever to be producing something capable of charming others and adding brilliancy to your own reputation. If, however, as you indicate, you have surrendered yourself to tears and melancholy thoughts, I grieve that you are grieving and suffering: I cannot—if you permit me to say what I really think-altogether acquit you of blame. For reflect: will you be the only man not to see what is as clear as day, you whose acuteness detects the most profound secrets? Will you fail to understand that you do no good by daily lamentations? Will you fail to understand that the sorrow is doubled, which your wisdom expects you to remove? Well, if I cannot prevail upon you by persuasion, I put it to you as a personal favour and as a special request, that, if you care to do anything for my sake, you would free yourself from the bonds of that sorrow and return to our society and to your ordinary way of life, whether that which we share in common with you, or that which is characteristic of and peculiar to yourself. My desire is not to worry you, if I cannot give you pleasure, by a display of earnestness on my part: what I desire is to prevent you from abiding by your present purpose. At present these two opposite desires do somewhat puzzle me—I should wish you either in regard to the latter of them to yield to my advice, or in regard to the former not to feel any annoyance with me. Good-bye.


1 Reading (with Mueller) discesseras. The phrase is rather elaborate and fanciful, but so is the whole style of Lucceius throughout the letter.

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