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Immortal Gods! this man has preserved me by his coming. By his supply for my journey he has brought me from my wanderings quite into the right way. For the Goddess Opportunity herself could not come to me more opportunely, than has this letter in this opportune manner been brought to me. For this has been brought as a horn of plenty1, in which there is whatever I wish for: here are my wiles, here all my tricks, here my stratagems, here my money, here his mistress for my master's son so much in love. And now how vaunting shall I show myself; how, with a breast so fertile in expedients, I was to do each thing, how, to steal away the damsel from the procurer, I had all my plans arranged in order in my mind as I desired, fixed, planned out. But, no doubt, thus will it come to pass: this Goddess Fortune, unaided, prevails over the designs of a hundred armed men. And this is the fact, just as each person uses his fortune, so does he surpass others, and forthwith we all pronounce him wise. When we learn that the counsels of any person have turned out well, we declare that he is a prudent man; but that he is a fool who is unsuccessful. In our folly we know not how much we are mistaken, when we eagerly wish anything to be given to us; as though we ourselves could possibly know what is for our advantage. We lose what is certain, while we are seeking what is uncertain. And this comes to pass, amid labours and amid sorrow, that death meanwhile comes creeping on. But there's enough now of philosophizing; I have been talking too long, and at too great length. Immortal Gods! my lie was not dear at its weight in double-distilled gold, which I just now trumped up here on the spur of the moment, when I said that I belonged to the procurer. Now, through this letter shall I deceive three persons--my master, and the procurer, and him who gave me this letter. Excellent! another thing as well has happened, that I wished for: see, Calidorus is coming; he is bringing some one with him, I know not whom. Stands apart.
1 A horn of plenty: He alludes to the "Cornucopia," or "horn of plenty," of the heathen Mythology, respecting which we find varying accounts in the ancient writers. Some say that by it was meant the horn of the goat Amalthen, which suckled Jupiter, and that the Nymphs gave it to Acheloüs, who afterwards exchanged it for the horn of which Hercules afterwards deprived him in the contest for the hand of Deianira. Ovid, in the Ninth Book of the Metamorphoses, represents it as being the same horn which was broken off by Hercules. "And that was not enough: while his relentless right hand was holding my stubborn born, he broke it, and tore it away from my mutilated forehead. This heaped with fruit and odoriferous flowers, the Nymphs have consecrated, and the bounteous Goddess Plenty is enriched by my horn."
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