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In the number of those ladies was Sempronia,1 a woman who had committed many crimes with the spirit of a man. In birth and beauty, in her husband and her children, she was extremely fortunate; she was skilled in Greek and Roman literature; she could sing, play, and dance,2 with greater elegance than became a woman of virtue, and possessed many other accomplishments that tend to excite the passions. But nothing was ever less valued by her than honor or chastity. Whether she was more prodigal of her money or her reputation, it would have been difficult to decide. Her desires were so ardent that she oftener made advances to the other sex than waited for solicitation. She had frequently, before this period, forfeited her word, forsworn debts, been privy to murder, and hurried into the utmost excesses by her extravagance and poverty. But her abilities were by no means despicable;3 she could compose verses, jest, and join in conversation either modest, tender, or licentious. In a word, she was distinguished4 by much refinement of wit, and much grace of expression.

1 XXV. Sempronia] Of the same gens as the two Gracchi. She was the wife of Decimus Brutus.

2 Sing, play, and dance] “Psallere, saltare.” As psallo signifies both to play on a musical instrument, and to sing to it while playing, I have thought it necessary to give both senses in the translation.

3 By no means despicable] “Haud absurdum.” Compare, Bene dicere haud absurdum est, c. 3.

4 She was distinguished, etc.] “Multæ facetiæ, multusque lepos inerat.” Both facetiæ and lepos mean "agreeableness, humor, pleasantry;" but lepos here seems to refer to diction, as in Cic. Orat. i. 7: Magnus in jocando lepos.

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