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vent myself hurrying to Rome. But, hush! I am waiting anxiously for a letter from you. Yes, Balbus was at Arpinum on the day you were told, and the next day came Hirtius. Both I think were bound for the waters. But it is all one to me! Take care that Dolabella's agents are reminded. Dun Papia also.
Dun Papia also. Good-bye.
DCCCIV (A XVI, 15)
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME) ARPINUM (BETWEEN 11 NOVEMBER AND 9 DECEMBER)
Don't put it down to idleness that I do not write with my own hand—and yet, by heaven, do put it down to idleness; for I have no other excuse to give: and, after all, I think I recognize the hand of Alexis in your letters. But to come to business. If Dolabella had not treated me in the most dishonourable manner, I should perhaps have considered whether to be somewhat easy with him or to press for my strict rights.
strict rights. As it is, however, I even rejoice that an opportunity has been presented me of making both him and everybody else perceive that I have become alienated from him. I will avow it openly, and shew indeed that it is not only for my own sake, but for that of the Republic also, that I detest him: because, after having undertaken under my advice to support it, he has not only deserted it for a money bribe, but has also, as far as in him lay, contributed to its ruin. Well, you ask what proceedings I wish to be taken. As soon as the day comes, I should like them to be of such a nature as to make it natural for me to be at Rome. But in regard to that, as in regard to everything else, I will yield to your opinion. On the main question, however, I wish the matter pressed with all vigour and severity. Though it does not look well to call upon sureties for payment, yet I would have you consider how far such a step is justifiable. For it is open to me, with a view to his sureties being eventually called upon, to bring his agents into the case. I am sure the latter will
not defend the suit. Though, if they do, I am aware that the sureties are thereby relieved from obligation. But I think that it would be a stigma on him not to free his agents from a debt for which he gave security; and that my character requires me to enforce my right without inflicting signal disgrace upon him. Pray write and tell me what you think of this. I have no doubt that you will conduct the whole case with all proper mildness.
I return to public affairs. I have received-heaven knows -many a prudent word from you under the head of politics, but never anything wiser than your last letter : Though that youth is powerful and has given Antony a fine check: yet, after all, we must wait to see the end.” Why, what a speech! It has been sent to me. He qualifies his oath by the words : So
may I attain to the honours of my father !” and at the same time he held out his right hand in the direction of his statue. Nec servatoribus istis! But, as you say in your letter, the most certain source of danger I see to be the tribuneship of this Cæsar of ours. This is what I spoke about to Oppius. When he urged me to open my arms to the young man, the whole cause, and the levy of veterans, I replied that I could by no means do so unless I was completely satisfied that he would be not only not hostile to the tyrannicides, but actually their friend. When he remarked that it would be so, I said, “What is our hurry then? For Octavian does not require my services till the ist of January : whereas we meanwhile shall learn his disposition before the 13th of December in the case of Casca. He cordially assented. Wherefore, so far so good. For the rest you shall have a letter-carrier every day, and, as I think, you will have something to write to me every day. I inclose a copy of Lepta's letter, from which I gather that that braggart captain has lost his footing. But you will judge when you read it.
P.S.—When I had already sealed this letter I got one from you and Sextus. Nothing could be more delightful and
1 The contio delivered by Octavian on his first visit to Rome.
2 One of the assassins. He was tribune-elect, and would come into office roth December.
Antony, some of whose men had been deserting to Octavian. 4 Sextus Peducæus.
loving than Sextus's letter. For yours was only a short note. Your previous one was fuller of matter. Your advice is as prudent as it is friendly—that I should remain in this neighbourhood by preference, until I hear how the present movements end. But for myself, my dear Atticus, it isn't the Republic that at this moment gives me great anxiety-not because there is anything dearer than it in my eyes or ought to be so, but Hippocrates himself forbids medical treatment in desperate cases. So good-bye to all that! X It is my personal property that affects me. Property, do I say Nay, rather my personal reputation. For great as my balances are, I have not yet realized enough even to pay Terentia. Terentia, do I say? You know that we some time ago settled to pay twenty-five sestertia for the debt to Montanus. My son, from a very keen sense of honour, asked us to pay this out of his allowance: and very liberal too it was of him, as you also thought. I promised him, and told Eros to earmark it. Not only did he not do so; but Aurelius' was forced to raise a fresh loan at a most oppressive rate of interest. For as to the debt to Terentia, Tiro wrote me word that you said that there would be cash from Dolabella. I believe that he misunderstood you—if ever a man did misunderstand-or rather that he did not understand anything about it. For you wrote and told me the answer made by Cocceius, and so did Eros in nearly the same words.
We must come therefore to Rome-however hot the conflagration. For personal insolvency is more discreditable than public disaster. Accordingly, on the other subjects, on which you wrote to me in a most charming style, I was too completely upset to be able to reply in my usual way. Give your mind to enabling me to extricate myself from the anxiety in which I now am. By what measures I am to do so, some ideas do occur to my mind, but I can settle nothing for certain until I have seen you. Why should I be less safe at Rome than Marcellus ? But that is not now the question; nor is that the thing about which I am chiefly anxious. You see what is occupying my thoughts. I am with you directly therefore.”
? The agent of Montanus.
2 Cicero reached Rome on the 9th of December (p. 162). Therefore the correspondence with Atticus was interrupted, as he was with him in
DCCCV (F X, 4)
L. MUNATIUS PLANCUS TO CICERO (AT
GALLIA COMATA? (NOVEMBER)
I was very much pleased with your letters, which I note as having been written in consequence of what Furnius said
The excuse for not having written before which I have to offer is that I was told that you had left the country ; nor did I learn of your return much before your own letter told me of it. I say this, because I do not think that I can omit any attention to you, however insignificant, without the very gravest breach of duty. For being careful to pay such attentions I have innumerable reasons, whether I look to the close ties between our fathers, or my reverence for you which began with my childhood, or your mutual affection for me. Wherefore, my dear Cicero, as far as our respective ages permit, convince yourself that you are the one man whose society has enabled me to maintain the purity of life of which my father gave me an example. Therefore all the counsels you give are, in my eyes, inspired not more by wisdom—though in that they are supreme-than by loyal friendship, which I gauge by
person. It was either never renewed, or subsequent letters have been all lost. These are the last words that have come to us of a correspondence between two men among the most remarkable existing for its continuity, as well as for its candour and complete unreserve.
The remainder of the correspondence, though it carries us through almost the most momentous and exciting months ever experienced in Rome, has indeed all the agitation and stir of life, but lacks the note of complete confidence and self-revelation of the letters to Atticus.
? Plancus was governor of all Transalpine Gaul, except Narbonensis, which Lepidus held with Hither Spain. This was sometimes called Gallia Comata.
? See Letters DCCLXXXIV, DCCLXXXV.
3 From the journey to Greece, begun at Leucopetra and abandoned (see pp. 119, 131). For Furnius, see p. 134.
my own heart.
Supposing me then to be otherwise minded, your reprimand at any rate would have been sufficient to stop me: or supposing me to be hesitating, your exhortation would have sufficed to force me to follow the course which you thought to be the most honourable. As it is, however, what is there to draw me in a different direction? Whatever advantages I possess, whether bestowed upon me by the kindness of fortune or acquired by my own labour, though your affection induces you to value them with partial kindness, are yet so great in the judgment even of my bitterest opponent, that they lack nothing but the good opinion of the world. Wherefore, if you were ever sure of anything, be sure of this—whatever effort my bodily strength, whatever provision my mental powers, whatever impression my personal influence, are capable of makingall these shall ever be at the service of the Republic. Your sentiments are not unknown to me: and if I had the opportunity—as I wish with all my heart I had—of seeing you face to face, I should never have dissented from your policy; nor even as it is will I allow any act of mine to deserve your just rebuke. I am anxiously awaiting news from every quarter, to learn what goes on in Cisalpine Gaul, or in the city, when January comes. Meanwhile my greatest anxiety and concern here are lest, instigated by the malpractices of others, these tribes should regard our difficulty as their opportunity. But if my success equals my deserts, I shall at any rate satisfy the expectations both of yourself, which is my chief ambition, and of all loyalists."
· This letter well illustrates the vanity and shiftiness of the " stitutional traitor” Plancus, who was already making his plans to watch events and join the stronger party. He therefore contrives in most elaborate language to say just nothing. The two objects which he had in view were to keep his province, of which Antony's triumph would probably deprive him, but also to have the consulship of B.c. 42, to which Cæsar had nominated him. For this latter purpose it might suit him better to join Antony. This double ambition kept him for many months hovering between the two sides.