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[50] And what of those men occupied in studies which, though not so exacting, yet demand keenness of intellect? How Naevius used to revel in his Punic War! and Plautus in his Savage and Cheat! I myself saw Livius Andronicus when he was an old man, who, though he brought out a play in the consulship of Cento and Tuditanus, six years before I was born, yet continued to live until I was a young man.

Why need I speak of the zeal of Publius Licinius Crassus in pontifical and civil law, or of that of the present Publius Scipio, who was elected Chief Pontiff only a few days ago? And yet I have seen all these men whom I have mentioned, ardent in their several callings after they had grown old. Then too, there was Marcus Cethegus, whom Ennius justly styled “the marrow of eloquence.”1 What enthusiasm I saw him also display in his public speeches, although he Was an old man! Therefore, how can the pleasures of feasting, plays, and brothels be compared with the pleasures which these men enjoyed? But theirs was a zeal for learning, and this zeal, at least in the case of wise and well-trained men, advances in even pace with age; so that there is truth in what Solon says in a certain bit of verse, [p. 63] already mentioned, that, as he grew old, he learned many things every day; and surely there can be no greater pleasure than the pleasures of the mind.

1 Cf. Cic. Brutus 58.

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load focus Introduction (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
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