DXXXVIII (F VI, 3)
TO AULUS MANLIUS TORQUATUS (AT ATHENS)IN my former letter I was somewhat lengthy, more from warmth of affection than because the occasion demanded it. For neither did your virtue require fortifying by me, nor were my own case and position of such a nature as to allow of my encouraging another when in want of every source of encouragement myself. On the present occasion I ought to he briefer. For if there was no need of so many words then, there is no more need of them now, or if there was need of them then, what I said is enough, especially as there has been nothing new to add. For though I am every day told some items of news, which I think are conveyed to you, yet the upshot is the same, as is also the result: a result which I see as clearly in my mind as what I actually see with my eyes; and yet in truth I see nothing that I am not well assured that you see also. For though no one can prophesy the result of a battle, yet the result of a war I can see: and if not that, yet at least this—since one or the other side must win—how victory on the one side or the other will be used. And having a clear grasp of this, what I see convinces me that no evil will occur, if that shall have happened to me, even before, which is held out as the most formidable of all terrors. For to live on the terms on which one would then have to live, is a most miserable thing, while no philosopher has asserted death to be a miserable thing even for a prosperous man. But you are in a city in which the very walls of the houses seem capable of telling you these things, even at greater length and in nobler style. I assure you of this—though the miseries of others supply but a poor consolation—that you are now in no greater danger than anyone else, either of those who went away, 1 or of those who remained. The one party are now in arms, the other in terror of the conqueror. But this, I repeat, is a poor consolation. There is another, which I hope you use, as I certainly do: I will never, while hive, let any-thing give me pain, so long as I have done nothing wrong: and if I cease to live, I shall cease to have any sensation. But to write this to you is again a case of "an owl to Athens." 2 To me both you and your family and all your interests are, and while I live will be, the subject of the greatest concern. Good-bye.