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This severity of yours, replied Maternus, would be quite a blow to us, had not our controversy from its frequency and familiarity become by this time almost a regular practice. You, in fact, never cease from abusing and inveighing against poets, and I, whom you reproach with neglect of my professional duties, every day undertake to plead against you in defence of poetry. So I am all the more delighted at the presence of a judge who will either forbid me for the future to write verses, or who will compel me by his additional authority to do what I have long desired, to give up the petty subleties of legal causes, at which I have toiled enough, and more than enough, and to cultivate a more sacred and more stately eloquence.

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