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[4] No! let there be something in all our writing which, if it does not actually please us, at least passes muster, so that the file may only polish our work, not wear it away. There must [p. 113] also be a limit to the time which we spend on its revision. For the fact that Cinna1 took nine years to write his Smyrna, and that Isocrates required ten years, at the lowest estimate, to complete his Panegyric does not concern the orator, whose assistance will be of no use, if it is so long delayed.

1 C. Helvius Cinna, the friend of Catullus. The Smyrna was a short but exceptionally obscure and learned epic.

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