1. II. -- To Arrianus.
As I see that your arrival is likely to be later than I expected, I forward you the speech which I promised in an earlier letter. I beg that you will read and revise it as you have done with other compositions of mine, because I think none of my previous works is written in quite the same style. I have tried to imitate, at least in manner and turns of phrase, your old favourite, Demosthenes, and Calvus, to whom I have recently taken a great fancy; for to catch the fire and power of such acknowledged stylists is only given to the heaven-inspired few. I hope you will not think me conceited if I say that the subject-matter was not unworthy of such imitation, for throughout the whole argument I found something that kept rousing me from my sleepy and confirmed indolence, that is to say, as far as a person of my temperament can be roused. Not that I abjured altogether the pigments of our master Cicero; when an opportunity arose for a pleasant little excursion from the main path of my argument I availed myself of it, as my object was to be terse without being unnecessarily dry. Nor must you think that I am apologising for these few passages. For just to make your eye for faults the keener, I will confess that both my friends here and myself have no fear of publishing the speech, if you will but set your mark of approval against the passages that possibly show my folly. I must publish something, and I only hope that the best thing for the purpose may be this volume which is ready finished. That is the prayer of a lazy man, is it not? but there are several reasons why I must publish, and the strongest is that the various copies I have lent out are said to still find readers, though by this time they have lost the charm of novelty. Of course, it may be that the booksellers say this to flatter me. Well, let them flatter, so long as fibs of this kind encourage me to study the harder. Farewell.Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5 | Correspondence With Trajan | Introduction |