IV[4arg] Lines taken from the seventh book of the Annals of Ennius, in which the courteous bearing of an inferior towards a friend of higher rank is described and defined.
QUINTUS ENNIUS in the seventh book of his Annals describes and defines very vividly and skilfully in his sketch of Geminus Servilius, a man of rank, the tact, courtesy, modesty, fidelity, restraint and propriety in speech, knowledge of ancient history and of customs old and new, scrupulousness in keeping and guarding a secret; in short, the various remedies and methods of relief and solace for guarding against the [p. 371] annoyances of life, which the friend of a man who is his superior in rank and fortune ought to have. Those verses in my opinion are no less worthy of frequent, attentive perusal than the rules of the philosophers about duties. Besides this, there is such a venerable flavour of antiquity in these verses, such a sweetness, so unmixed and so removed from all affectation, that in my opinion they ought to be observed, remembered and cherished as old and sacred laws of friendship. Therefore I thought them worthy of quotation, in case there should be anyone who desired to see them at once; 1
So saying, on a friend he called, with whom[p. 373] They say that Lucius Aelius Stilo used to declare 2 that Quintus Ennius wrote these words about none other than himself, and that this was a description of Quintus Ennius' own character and disposition.
He oft times gladly shared both board and speech
And courteously informed of his affairs,
On coming wearied from the sacred House
Or Forum broad, where he all day had toiled,
Directing great affairs with wisdom; one with whom
He freely spoke of matters great and small,
Confiding to him thoughts approved or not,
If he so wished, and found him trustworthy;
With whom he took much pleasure openly
Or privily; a man to whom no thought
Suggested heedlessness or ill intent,
A cultured, loyal and a winsome man,
Contented, happy, learned, eloquent,
Speaking but little and that fittingly,
Obliging, knowing well all ancient lore,
All customs old and new, the laws of man
And of the gods, who with due prudence told
What he had heard, or kept it to himself:
Him 'mid the strife Servilius thus accosts.