Letters to friends/7.16

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Letters to friends by Marcus Tullius Cicero
7.16 (CLVI)
Translated by Evelyn Shuckburgh

To C. Trebatius Testa in Gaul, from Rome, November 54 BC

In the "Trojan Horse," just at the end, you remember the words,

Too late they learn wisdom.[1]

You, however, old man, were wise in time. Those first snappy letters of yours were foolish enough, and then----! I don't at all blame you for not being over-curious in regard to Britain. For the present, however, you seem to be in winter quarters somewhat short of warm clothing, and therefore not caring to stir out :

Not here and there, but everywhere,
Be wise and ware:
No sharper steel can warrior bear.

If I had been by way of dining out, I would not have failed your friend Cn. Octavius; to whom, however, I did remark upon his repeated invitations, "Pray, who are you?" But, by Hercules, joking apart, he is a pretty fellow: I could have wished you had taken him with you! Let me know for certain what you are doing and whether you intend coming to Italy at all this winter. Balbus has assured me that you will be rich. Whether he speaks after the simple Roman fashion, meaning that you will be well supplied with money, or according to the Stoic dictum, that "all are rich who can enjoy the sky and the earth," I shall know hereafter. Those who come from your part accuse you of pride, because they say you won't answer men who put questions to you. However, there is one thing that will please you: they all agree in saying that there is no better lawyer than you at Samarobriva![2]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. By Livius Andronicus or Naevius. Tyrrell would write the proverb in extremo sero sapiunt, "'tis too late to be wise at the last." There was a proverb, sero parsimonia in fundo, something like this, Sen. Ep. i. 5, from the Greek (Hes. WD 369), deilê d' en puthmeni pheidô.
  2. In Gallia Belgica, mod. Amiens.