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You1 don't lose much by not being present at my oratorical lectures. You say you would have been envious of Hirtius, if you had not loved him: you had no reason for being envious; unless it was of his own eloquence by any chance that you were envious rather than of his being my pupil. The fact is, my dearest Volumnius, I am either a complete failure, or feel myself to be so, now that those members of my set, by whose support (joined with your applause) I once flourished, are lost: so that if I ever did produce anything worthy of my reputation, let us sigh that, as Philoctetes says in Accius, "These arrows now are fleshed On winged not armèd forms—all glory lost." But, after all, things will be more cheerful with me all round if you come: though you will come, as you understand without my telling you, to what I may call an immense bombardment of business. If I can once deal with this as I wish, I will really say a long good-bye to both forum and senate-house, and devote a great deal of time to you and our common friends, I mean your Cassius and our Dolabella—or rather I should call them both ours—who are fascinated with the same studies and find me a very indulgent listener. To carry this on we need your refined and polished judgment, and that deeper tinge of literature by which 2 you often make me feel somewhat diffident of myself while speaking. For I have quite made up my mind, if only Caesar will either allow or order it, to lay aside that rôle in which I have often won even his approval, and to throw myself entirely into the obscurity of literature, and in company of other devotees of it to enjoy the most honourable kind of leisure. For you, I could have wished that you had not felt afraid of my being much bored 3 with reading your letter, if' as you say, you chance to send me a somewhat long one; and I should like you henceforth to make up your mind that the longer a letter from you is, the better I shall like it.

1 VoL ii., p.90.

2 Omitting eis or meis, with Schütz. Mueller brackets meis.

3 Reading perinvitus, the reading of one MS. The rest have pluribus. Tyrrell and Purser adopt Orelli's per librarios, "by my secretaries," "by deputy." But why should Volumnius mind Cicero employing his secretaries to read to him?

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