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CDLIV (F IX, I)

TO M. TERENTIUS VARRO
ROME (?)
From a letter of yours,1 which Atticus read to me, I learnt what you were doing and where you were; but when we were likely to see you, I could gain no idea at all from the letter. However, I am beginning to hope that your arrival is not far off. I wish it could be any consolation to me! But the fact is, I am overwhelmed by so many and such grave anxieties, that no one but the most utter fool ought to expect any alleviation: yet, after all, perhaps you can give me some kind of help, or I you. For allow me to tell you that, since my arrival in the city, I have effected a reconciliation with my old friends, I mean my books: though the truth is that I had not abandoned their society because I had fallen out with them, but because I was half ashamed to look them in the face. For I thought, when I plunged into the maelstrom of civil strife, with allies whom I had the worst possible reason for trusting, that I had not shewn proper respect for their precepts. They pardon me: they recall me to our old intimacy, and you, they say, have been wiser than I for never having left it. Wherefore, since I find them reconciled, I seem bound to hope, if I once see you, that I shall pass through with ease both what is weighing me down now, and what is threatening. Therefore in your company, whether you choose it to be in your Tusculan or Cuman villa, or, which I should like least, at Rome, so long only as we are together, I will certainly contrive that both of us shall think it the most agreeable place possible.


1 Varro, the "most learned of the Romans," and author, it is said, of 490 books (two only of which remain even partially), had been one of Pompey's legates in Spain in B.C. 49, where he had to surrender his legions to Caesar. He, however, joined Pompey in Epirus. Whilst Caesar was at Alexandria, Antony seized Varro's villa at Casinum (Phil. 2.103), but on his return Caesar restored him to his property and civil position, and indeed employed his services in the collection of the public library. He was the oldest of the leading men of this period, yet survived them all. He was born B.C. 116, and died B.C. 28.

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