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XVII (F V, 5)

TO C. ANTONIUS (IN MACEDONIA)
ROME, JANUARY
M. Cicero wishes health to Gaius Antonius, son of Marcus, Imperator. Though I had resolved to write you nothing but formal letters of introduction (not because I felt that they had much weight with you, but to avoid giving those who asked me for them an idea that there had been any diminution in our friendship), yet since Titus Pomponius is starting for your province, who knows better than anyone else all that I feel and have done for you, who desires your friendship and is most devotedly attached to me, I thought I must write something, especially as I had no other way of satisfying Pomponius himself. Were I to ask from you services of the greatest moment, it ought not to seem surprising to anyone: for you have not wanted from me any that concerned your interests, honour, or position. That no return has been made by you for these you are the best witness : that something even of a contrary nature has proceeded from you I have been told by many. I say "told," for I do not venture to say "discovered," 1 lest I should chance to use the word which people tell me is often falsely attributed to me by you. But the story which has reached my ears I would prefer your learning from Pomponius (who was equally hurt by it) rather than from my letter. How singularly loyal my feelings have been to you the senate and Roman people are both witnesses. How far you have been grateful to me you may yourself estimate: how much you owe me the rest of the world estimates. I was induced to do what I did for you at first by affection, and afterwards by consistency. Your future, believe me, stands in need of much greater zeal on my part, greater firmness and greater labour. 2 These labours, unless it shall appear that I am throwing away and wasting my pains, I shall support with all the strength I have; but if I see that they are not appreciated, I shall not allow you—the very person benefited 3 —to think me a fool for my pains. What the meaning of all this is you will be able to learn from Pomponius. In commending Pomponius to you, although I am sure you will do anything in your power for his own sake, yet I do beg that if you have any affection for me left, you will display it all in Pomponius's business. You can do me no greater favour than that.


1 The word (comperisse) used by Cicero in regard to the Catilinarian conspiracy; it had apparently become a subject of rather malignant chaff.

2 Cicero is hinting at the danger of prosecution hanging over the head of Antonius.

3 Reading tibi ipsi (not ipse), with Tyrrell.

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