to these tablets.” Should one say, “I will endeavor at it:” “If you will, you can,” adds he; and is more earnest. The seventh year approaching to the eighth is now elapsed, from the time that Mæcenas began to reckon me in the number of his friends; only thus far, as one he would like to take along with him in his chariot, when he went a journey, and to whom he would trust such kind of trifles as these: “What is the hour?” “Is Gallina, the Thracian, a match for [the gladiator] Syrus?” “The cold morning air begins to pinch those that are ill provided against it;”—and such things as are well enough intrusted to a leaky ear. For all this time, every day and hour, I have been more subjected to envy. “Our son of fortune here, says every body, witnessed the shows in company with [Mæcenas], and played with him in the Campus Martius.” Does any disheartening report spread from the rostrum through the streets, whoever comes in my way consults me [concerning it]: “Good sir, have you (for you must know, since you approach nearer the gods) heard any thing relating to the Dacians?” “Nothing at all for my part,” [I reply]. “How you ever are a sneerer!” “But may all the gods torture me, if I know any thing of the matter.” “What? will Cæsar give the lands he promised the soldiers, in Sicily, or in Italy?” As I am swearing I know nothing about it, they wonder at me, [thinking] me, to be sure, a creature of profound and extraordinary secrecy.
Among things of this nature the day is wasted by me, mortified as I am, not without such wishes as these: O rural retirement, when shall I behold thee? and when shall it be