Cicero, Ad Quintum fratrem 1.3 (13 June, 58 BC)

 

MARCUS QUINTO FRATRI SALUTEM.

1. mi frater, mi frater, mi frater, tune id veritus es, ne ego iracundia aliqua adductus pueros ad te sine litteris miserim? aut etiam ne te videre noluerim? Ego tibi irascerer? tibi ego possem irasci? Scilicet, tu enim me afflixisti; tui me inimici, tua me invidia, ac non ego te misere perdidi. Meus ille laudatus consulatus mihi te, liberos, patriam, fortunas, tibi velim ne quid eripuerit praeter unum me. Sed certe a te mihi omnia semper honesta et iucunda ceciderunt, a me tibi luctus meae calamitatis, metus tuae, desiderium, maeror, solitudo. "Ego te videre noluerim?" Immo vero me a te videri nolui; non enim vidisses fratrem tuum, non eum, quem reliqueras, non eum, quem noras, non eum, quem flens flentem, prosequentem proficiscens dimiseras, ne vestigium quidem eius nec simulacrum, sed quandam effigiem spirantis mortui. Atque utinam me mortuum prius vidisses aut audisses! utinam te non solum vitae, sed etiam dignitatis meae superstitem reliquissem!

2. Sed testor omnes deos me hac una voce a morte esse revocatum, quod omnes in mea vita partem aliquam tuae vitae repositam esse dicebant: qua in re peccavi scelerateque feci; nam, si occidissem, mors ipsa meam pietatem amoremque in te facile defenderet: nunc commisi, ut me vivo careres, vivo me aliis indigeres, mea vox in domesticis periculis potissimum occideret, quae saepe alienissimis praesidio fuisset. Nam, quod ad te pueri sine litteris venerunt, quoniam vides non fuisse iracundiam causam, certe pigritia fuit et quaedam infinita vis lacrimarum et dolorum.

3. Haec ipsa me quo fletu putas scripsisse? eodem, quo te legere certe scio. An ego possum aut non cogitare aliquando de te aut umquam sine lacrimis cogitare? cum enim te desidero, fratrem solum desidero? ego vero suavitate prope aequalem, obsequio filium, consilio parentem; quid mihi sine te umquam aut tibi sine me iucundum fuit? Quid, quod eodem tempore desidero filiam? qua pietate, qua modestia, quo ingenio! effigiem oris, sermonis, animi mei. Quid filium venustissimum mihique dulcissimum? quem ego ferus ac ferreus e complexu dimisi meo, sapientiorem puerum quam vellem, sentiebat enim miser iam, quid ageretur. Quid vero tuum filium, imaginem tuam, quem meus Cicero et amabat ut fratrem et iam ut maiorem fratrem verebatur? Quid, quod mulierem miserrimam, fidelissimam coniugem, me prosequi non sum passus, ut esset, quae reliquias communis calamitatis, communes liberos tueretur?

Marcus Greetings to his Brother Quintus

1. My brother, my brother, my brother, Did you really fear that I had been induced by some angry feeling to send slaves to you without a letter? Or even that I did not wish to see you? Should I be angry with you? Can I be angry with you? Of course, for you have harmed me; your enemies, your jealousy have ruined me and it is not I that have miserably ruined you. I wish that my worshipped consulate had deprived me of you, my children, my country, my fortune, and had not deprived you of anything except me. But certainly from you all honourable and pleasant affairs have fallen to me, from meyou have grief at my calamity, fear of yours, loss, mourning, desertion. "I should not wish to see you?" Rather I did not want to be seen by you. For you would not have seen your brother, not the one whom you had left, not the one whom you knew, not the one, whom with mutual weeping and following you, you had dismissed as you left, there is not even a trace of him nor a statue, but some image of a breathing corpse. And would that you had seen me or heard me before I died! Would that I had left you not only the remnants of my life but even the remnants of my dignity!

2. But I call all the gods to witness that I was recalled from death was by this one death, which all said that some part of your life was dependent on my life. In this matter I have sinned and acted criminally. For, if I had died, death itself would easily defend my piety and love for you. Now I have allowed you to be deprived of me though alive, you keep me living through others. My voice in particular, which had so often helped complete strangers, died amid my domestic dangers.For, as to the fact that the slaves came to you without a letter, since you see that anger was not the reason, it was certainly a lack of energy, and some infinite force of tears and sorrows.

3. Do you think that I had written these very words with some tears? I know certainly, the same as yours when you read them. Would I be able to think somewhat about you or ever to think about you without tears? For when I miss you, do I miss a brother alone? I miss one almost an equal in charm, a son in duty, a father for his advice. What was ever pleasant for me without you or for you without me? Why, when I miss a daughter at the same time? What piety, what modesty, what character! The image of my face, speech, my very soul. Why when I miss my most charming son and sweetest thing to me? I an iron-hearted monster have dismissed from my embrace, a boy wiser than I would wish, for the wretch already understood, what was happening. Indeed what of your son, your image whom my Cicero loved as a brother  and respected as an older brother? Why when I did not allow my most wretched wife, my most  faithful companion to follow me, so that she should be there to protect the shared remnants of our calamity, our shared children?

 

 

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