previous next


I remember the time when I thought you foolish for associating with your friends over there rather than with us: for a residence in this city-while it was still a city at all-was much better suited to your culture and refinement than all the Peloponnesus put together, to say nothing of Patrae. Now, however, on the contrary you seem to me to have been long-sighted for having settled in Greece when things here were in a desperate condition, and at the present crisis not only to be wise for being abroad, but happy as well. And yet what man of any discernment can be happy at present? But what you, who could do so, have secured by the use of your feet-removal to a place "Where of the Pelopidae" 1 (you know the rest)-I am getting by a different method. For, after giving myself up to the reception of my friends which is more crowded than it used to be, precisely because they imagine that in a citizen of honest sentiments they see a rare bird of good omen, I bury myself in my library. Accordingly, I am completing works of an importance which you will perhaps appreciate. For in a certain talk I had with you at your house, when you were finding fault with my gloom and despair, I understood you to say, that you could not recognize the old high spirit in my books. 2 But, by Hercules, at that time I was mourning for the Republic—which by its services to me, and no less by mine to it, was dearer to me than my life. And even now, though not only is reason (which ought to be more powerful than anything) consoling me, but also time which cures even fools, yet I am nevertheless grieving that the general interests are in such a state of collapse, that no hope even is left of any future improvement. Not that in the present instance the fault is his, in whose power everything is—unless by any chance that very fact is not as it should be—but some things by accident and others by my own fault also have so fallen out, that complaint on my part for the past is barred. Hope for the future I see none. Therefore I return to what I said at first: you have left all this wisely, if you did so by design; luckily, if by accident.

1 A quotation from the Pelops of Accius, which he applies more than once again to the Caesarians: “evolem, ubi nec Pelopidarum nomen nec facta aut famam audiam.” “Oh that I might fly away, where neither name nor deed nor fame of the sons of Pelops might reach my ear!”

2 I retain dicere in this sentence. Tyrrell and Purser read discere, and translate intellexi discere, "I remember learning," which I cannot follow. It would be better to omit dicere altogether.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (L. C. Purser)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: