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as to your Buthrotum. When I was at my Pompeian villa, Antony came to Misenum: but left it for Samnium before I heard of his arrival. You must not build too much hope on him. Accordingly, I shall have to see to Buthrotum at Rome. L. Antonius's' speech-shocking! Dolabella'sfamous ! By all means let him keep his money, so long as he pays on the Ides. I am sorry for dear Tertia's ? miscarriage: we want as many Cassii produced as Bruti. I wish it may be true about the Queen and that Cæsar of hers. 3
I have answered your first letter: I now come to your second. I will see to the Quinti and Buthrotum when I come, as you say. Thank you for supplying my son. You think me mistaken in my idea that the constitution depends on Brutus The truth is that it will all go or will be saved by him and his friends. You urge me to send you a written copy of a speech to the people. Well, here, my dear Atticus, you may take it from me as a general maxim applicable to the affairs in which we have had a fairly wide experience—no one, whether poet or orator, ever yet thought anyone else better than himself. This is the case even with bad ones.
What can you expect of the brilliant and accomplished Brutus. I had actual experience of him recently in the matter of the edict.4 I drafted one on your request. I liked mine, he his. Nay, more, when in answer to what I may almost call his entreaties I had dedicated my book “On the best Style of Oratory” to him, he wrote not only to me, but to you also, to say that he did not agree with my choice of style. Wherefore, pray, let each man write for himself:
1 Brother of Marcus Antonius. He was tribune this year, and had been speaking about a distribution of land.
2 Tertia, half-sister of Brutus, and wife of Cassius. She was daughter of Servilia by D. Iunius Silanus. Another sister was married to Lepidus.
3 Some report of harm having happened to Cleopatra. The son called . Cæsarion (Suet. Aug. 17) was believed to be Cæsar's, though Cæsar himself is said to have denied it, and his friend C. Oppius published a pamphlet to disprove it. Suetonius (Iul. 52) says that Cæsar granted Cleopatra permission to call the boy after him as a favour. And Plutarch (Cæs. 49) attributes the assertion to the common talk of Alexandria. Antony always maintained it however, even in his will (Dio 49, 4; 50, 3).
4 Atticus had suggested Cicero sending a draft of a contio for Brutus to deliver. Cicero replies that Brutus would prefer to compose his own, as he did in the case of an edict, of which Cicero had supplied a sketch. See Letter DCCXXXVII, p. 64.
“Each man has the best of wives :
So have I.
It is not well put, for it is by Atilius,' the most wooden of poets. And I only hope he may be allowed to deliver a speech at all! If he can but shew himself in the city with safety, it will be a triumph for us. For if he sets up as a leader in a new civil war, no one will follow him, or only such as can be easily beaten.
Now for your third letter. I am glad that Brutus and Cassius liked my letter. Accordingly, I have written back to them. They want Hirtius made a better citizen by my influence. Well, I am doing my best, and his language is very satisfactory, but he passes his time and almost share houses with Balbus, who also uses loyalist language. What to believe of that I must leave you to determine. I see that you are much pleased with Dolabella ; I am eminently so. I saw a good deal of Pansa at Pompeii. He quite convinced me of the soundness of his views and his desire for peace. I can see plainly that a pretext for war is being sought. I quite approve of the edict of Brutus and Cassius. You wish me to turn over in my mind what course I think they ought to take. We must adapt our plans to circumstances, which you see change every hour. Dolabella seems to me to have done a great deal of good both by that first move of his and by this speech against Antonius. Certainly there is progress. Now, too, we seem likely to have a leader; which is the one thing the country towns and loyal citizens want. allude to Epicurus and venture to quote : “Engage not in politics”? Does not the frown of our Brutus warn you off from such talk? The younger Quintus, as you say, is Antony's right hand. By his means, therefore, we shall get what we want. I am anxious to in case Lucius An
| A translator of tragedies and comedies. See de Fin. i. $ 2, where Cicero, speaking of his translation of the Electra of Sophocles, calls him a ferreus poeta, « stiff.”
tonius has introduced Octavius to a public meeting, as you think he will, what kind of speech he has made. I can add no more, for Cassius's letter-carrier is just about to start. I am going directly to call on Pilia ; thence to dinner with Vestorius' by boat. Best love to Attica.
PUTEOLI (AT THE TABLE OF VESTORIUS), 11 MAY
ONLY a little while ago I had sent you a letter by Cassius's letter-carrier, when my own letter-carrier arrived on the 11th, and, marvellous to say, without a letter from you. But I soon concluded that you had been at Lanuvium. Eros, however, made great haste to have Dolabella's letter delivered to me. It was not about my money-for he had not received my letter : but he wrote in answer to the letter of which I sent you a copy. It was very well expressed. Balbus, however, came to see me immediately after I had despatched Cassius's letter-carrier. Good heavens! how plainly he shewed his dread of peace! You know, too, what a reserved fellow he is, yet he told me Antony's plans. That he was making the round of the veterans, to induce them to confirm Cæsar's acta, and to take an oath that they would do so; to secure that they all had arms; and that two commissioners should inspect them every month.” He also grumbled about the prejudice existing against himself, and his whole conversation indicated an affection for Antony. In a word, there is nothing sound about him. For my part, I feel certain that things have a warlike look. For that deed was done with the courage of men, but the imprudence of a child. For who can fail to see that an heir to the tyranny has been left ?? Now what can be more irrational than
1 The banker at Puteoli.
2 The text of this clause is doubtful, arma being a conjecture for utram of the MSS. Mueller reads castra. The duumviri also may mean the two chief magistrates of the colonia. For Antony's tour through the colonies of the veterans, see 2 Phil. $ 100
“To fear the one, nor dread at all the other”? Nay, at this very moment there are many circumstances of a paradoxical character. What about the mother of the tyrannicide retaining the Neapolitan villa of Pontius ? 2 I must read over again and again my Cato Maior, which is dedicated to you. For old age is spoiling my temper. Everything puts me in a rage. But for me life is over. The rising generation must look to it. Take care of my affairs, as you always do.
I write, or rather dictate this, after the dessert has been put on the table at the house of Vestorius. To-morrow I am thinking of dining with Hirtius--the sole survivor indeed of our set of five.3 That is my way of bringing him over to the Optimates. It is all nonsense : for there is not one of that party who does not dread a period of peace. Wherefore let us look out our winged-sandals! For I prefer anything to a camp. Pray give my best love to Attica. I am anxious to hear of Octavius's speech and anything else, but specially whether Dolabella has the true money chink, or has gone in for “repudiation" in regard to my debt also.
? Cicero often says that Antony ought to have been killed at the same time as Cæsar (2 Phil. & 34). See pp. 48, 69, etc.
· Servilia, the mother of Brutus, had an estate at Naples given her by Cæsar.
3 πεντέλοιπον. The reading, however, is not certain. Tyrrell and Purser reckon the set or coterie at Puteoli as including Hirtius, Pansa, Octavius, Lentulus Spinther, and Philippus. But the political views referred to in the next sentence do not apply to Philippus. See p. 20.
As he did in his tribuneship of B.C. 47 (see vol. iii., pp. 27, 33). Tinniat has a double meaning: (1) ringing true, like a vessel when tapped, and so being “honest” (cp. Persius, iii. 20); (2) “to chink like money when handled, and so to be ready to pay.
DCCXXVI (A XIV, 22)
TO ATTICUS (AT ROME)
PUTEOLI, 14 MAY
HAVING been informed by Pilia that letter-carriers were starting for you on the 15th, I scrawl these few lines. First then I want you to know that I am leaving this place for Arpinum on the 17th of May. So please direct there if there is anything to write after this : though I shall be with you almost immediately myself. For I am anxious that before I arrive at Rome very careful inquiry should be made as to what is going to happen. However, I fear that my presentiments are not wide of the mark. It is in truth quite plain what these fellows are at. For my pupil,' who dines with me to-day, is much devoted to the victim of our Brutus's dagger : and if you ask my opinion, I see very plainly their attitude—they dread peace. Moreover, their constant theme is that a man of the most illustrious char. acter has been killed : that by his death the constitution has been thoroughly shaken: that his acta will be rendered nugatory as soon as we cease to be frightened: that his clemency did him harm; and that if he had not shewn it, nothing of the sort would have befallen him.” It strikes me, therefore, that if Pompeius artives with a strong armyas is reasonable to expect—there will certainly be war. This idea haunts my imagination and terrifies me. For we shall not now be able to do what you did on the former occasion. For I made no secret of my triumphant joy. In the next place, they talk of our ingratitude. It certainly will be impossible for me on any grounds to take up the position which was then possible for you and many others. Must I then put a good face on it and go to the camp? A thousand times better die, especially at my time of life. Accordingly,
1 Hirtius. See vol. iii., p. 93.
? That is, remain neutral. Cicero has committed himself by approving the assassination.