Pliny the Younger (A.D. 62?–c.A.D. 113). Letters.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.
II. To Arrianus
I FORESEE your journey in my direction is likely to be delayed, and therefore send you the speech which I promised in my former; requesting you, as usual, to revise and correct it. I desire this the more earnestly as I never, I think, wrote with the same empressement in any of my former speeches; for I have endeavoured to imitate your old favourite Demosthenes and Calvus, who is lately become mine, at least in the rhetorical forms of the speech; for to catch their sublime spirit, is given, alone, to the “inspired few.” My subject, indeed, seemed naturally to lend itself to this (may I venture to call it?) emulation; consisting, as it did, almost entirely in a vehement style of address, even to a degree sufficient to have awakened me (if only I am capable of being awakened) out of that indolence in which I have long reposed. I have not, however, altogether neglected the flowers of rhetoric of my favourite Marc-Tully, wherever I could with propriety step out of my direct road, to enjoy a more flowery path: for it was energy, not austerity, at which I aimed. I would not have you imagine by this that I am bespeaking your indulgence: on the contrary, to make your correcting pen more vigorous, I will confess that neither my friends nor myself are reverse from the publication of this piece, if only you should join in the approval of what is perhaps my folly. The truth is, as I must publish something, I wish it might be this performance rather than any other, because it is already finished: (you hear the wish of laziness). At all events, however, something I must publish, and for many reasons; chiefly because the tracts which I have already sent into the world, though they have long since lost all recommendation from novelty, are still, I am told, in request; if, after all, the booksellers are not tickling my ears. And let them; since, by that innocent deceit, I am encouraged to pursue my studies. Farewell.