Discouraged, therefore, by such a mortification, and thinking it folly to promote another man's success at his own hazard, he sent deputies to Bocchus, entreating him " not to become an enemy to the Romans without cause ;" and observing " that he had a fine opportunity of entering into friendship and alliance with them, which were far preferable to war; that though he might have confidence in his resources, he ought not to change certainties for uncertainties; that a war was easily begun, but discontinued with difficulty; that its commencement and conclusion were not dependent on the same party; that any one, even a coward, might commence hostilities, but that they could be broken off only when the conqueror thought proper; and that he should therefore consult for his interest and that of his kingdom, and not connect his own prosperous circumstances with the ruined fortunes of Jugurtha." To these representations the king mildly answered, "that he desired peace, but felt compassion for the condition of Jugurtha, to whom if similar proposals were made, all would easily be arranged." Metellus, in reply to this request of
Bocchus, sent deputies with overtures, of which the king approved some, and rejected others. Thus, in sending messengers to and fro, the time passed away, and the war, according to the consul's desire, was protracted without being advanced.