Pliny the Younger (A.D. 62?–c.A.D. 113). Letters.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.
LXIII. To Maximus
O WHAT a happy day I lately spent! I was called by the prefect of Rome, to assist him in a certain case, and had the pleasure of hearing two excellent young men, Fuscus Salinator and Numidius Quadratus, plead on the opposite sides: their worth is equal, and each of them will one day, I am persuaded, prove an ornament not only to the present age, but to literature itself. They evinced upon this occasion an admirable probity, supported by inflexible courage: their dress was decent, their elocution distinct, their tones were manly, their memory retentive, their genius elevated, and guided by an equal solidity of judgment. I took infinite pleasure in observing them display these noble qualities; particularly as I had the satisfaction to see that, while they looked upon me as their guide and model, they appeared to the audience as my imitators and rivals. It was a day (I cannot but repeat it again) which afforded me the most exquisite happiness, and which I shall ever distinguish with the fairest mark. For what indeed could be either more pleasing to me on the public account than to observe two such noble youths building their fame and glory upon the polite arts; or more desirable upon my own than to be marked out as a worthy example to them in their pursuits of virtue? May the gods still grant me the continuance of that pleasure! And I implore the same gods, you are my witness, to make all these who think me deserving of imitation far better than I am. Farewell.