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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a pair of the
Carmina Minora


published in the Loeb Classical Library,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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From the Shorter Poems

 p267  [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XL (XLI)
Letter to Olybrius.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] What am I to think, that you send me no greeting, that no "Good wishes" traced by your fingers come back to me in turn? Is writing so difficult? Nay, who so eloquent as thou whether thou dost compose verses or, a second Cicero, thunder forth thy speeches? Greater even than thy riches is thy genius, greater thine eloquence even than thy wealth. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Are the posts infrequent? Nay, couriers' feet never allow the dust to lie on the Flaminian Way. If, then, thou hast the power to write and messengers in plenty to carry thy letters what reason hast thou for thy silence unless indeed thou wish to slight me? I take it thou hast abandoned thy poet and wilt have none of him (though I can scarce believe it); or distance has made thy heart less fond. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Dost thou forget me? Now shall Hydaspes lay the day to rest, and thou, O sun, rise from out the seas of Spain; now shall Egypt change her nature and glisten with Getic frost and the Bear bathe him in forbidden waters. No, if Olybrius now disdains my love then 'tis sure Orestes' loyalty availed nought. [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Nay come, banish  p269 delay and to console thy friend speak to him from far away with richer eloquence; hither let many a letter hasten with winged speech, to find its way to my shelves and to my heart. Augustus disdained not to write to poor Vergil and my muse shall never bring thee shame. Farewell.

[Legamen ad paginam Latinam] XLI (XXLX)
Letter to Probinus.1

How long, pray, shall there be silence between us? When shall a welcome letter win a dear return? Is it right to call me timid or rather thee proud? Surely each shares the other's fault. The days slip away and while each is ashamed to be the first to write our hesitation leads to an unbroken silence. Yet what am I to do? Respect forbids me to write first; love encourages me to do so. Let love have his way. Fortune favours the brave, as the old poet sang. Under her guidance I could not hesitate to speak, though thou still keep silence. If I shall seem overbold or guilty of some grave fault, thou mayst blame but I shall not bear the burden of ingratitude. 'Twas when thou wert consul that I first drank of the stream of Latin song and that my Muse, deserting Hellas, assumed the Roman toga.2 From thy consulship my youth drew its omens and to thee I shall owe my future destiny. Be moved by my importunity and after so long a delay answer my letter. Farewell, Probinus; be thy father's fortune thine.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 See note on I.8 and Introduction, p. xiii.

2 See Introduction, p. xiii.

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Page updated: 9 Aug 07