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[56] When the Samnites had brought him a great mass of gold as he sat before the fire, he declined their gift with scorn; “for,” said he, “it seems to me that the glory is not in having the gold, but in ruling those who have it.” Think you that such a mighty soul could not make old age happy?

But, lest I wander from my subject, I return to the farmers. In those days senators (that is, senes or “elders”) lived on farms—if the story is true that Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was at the plough when he was notified of his election to that dictatorship [p. 69] in which, by his order, his master of the horse Gaius Servilius Ahala, seized Spurius Maelius and put him to death for attempting to secure regal power. It was from the farmhouse that Curius and other old men were summoned to the senate, and for that reason those who notified them were called viatores, or travellers. Well, then, was there cause to pity the old age of these men who delighted in the cultivation of the soil? For my part, at least, I am inclined to think that no life can be happier than that of the farmer, not merely from the standpoint of the duty performed, which benefits the entire human race, but also because of its charm already mentioned, and the plenty and abundance it gives of everything that tends to the nurture of man and even to the worship of the gods; and since certain people delight in these material joys, I have said this that I may now make my peace with pleasure. For the provident and industrious proprietor always has his store-room and cellars well filled with oil and wine and provisions; his entire farmhouse has an air of plenty and abounds with pork, goat's meat, lamb, poultry, milk, cheese, and honey. And there is his garden, which the farmers themselves term “the second flitch.” Hawking and hunting, too, in leisure times, furnish the sauce for these dainties.

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load focus Introduction (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
load focus Latin (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
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