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[132] 58. “I will assert, however, in conclusion, that I do not recognize fortune-tellers, or those who prophesy for money, or necromancers, or mediums, whom your friend Appius1 makes it a practice to consult.
In fine, I say, I do not care a fig
For Marsian augurs, village mountebanks,
Astrologers who haunt the circus grounds,
Or Isis-seers, or dream interpreters:
—for they are not diviners either by knowledge or skill,2
But superstitious bards, soothsaying quacks,
Averse to work, or mad, or ruled by want,
Directing others how to go, and yet
What road to take they do not know themselves;
From those to whom they promise wealth they beg
A coin. From what they promised let them take
Their coin as toll and pass the balance on.
Such are the words of Ennius who only a few lines further back3 expresses the view that there are gods and yet says that the gods do not care what human beings do. But for my part, believing as I do that the gods do care for man, and that they advise and often forewarn him, I approve of divination which is not trivial and is free from falsehood and trickery.”

When Quintus had finished I remarked, “My dear Quintus, you have come admirably well prepared.”

1 Appius Claudius, colleague of Cicero in the augural college; cf. i. 47. 105.

2 The words non habeo . . . arte divini are written in verse form in four lines by Giese, Davies, and Moser, and in prose form by Müller.

3 Cf. ii. 50. 104; Cic. N.D. iii. 32. 79.

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load focus Introduction (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
load focus Latin (C. F. W. Müller, 1915)
load focus Latin (William Armistead Falconer, 1923)
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