Quaeso igitur et te* iterum atque iterum deprecor, ut ignoscas disputatiunculae meae et, quod modum meum egressus sum, tibi imputes, qui coegisti, ut rescriberem, et mihi cum Stesichoro oculos abstulisti. nec me putes magistrum esse mendacii, qui sequor Christum dicentem ‘ego sum via et vita et veritas’ [John 14:6], nec potest fieri, ut veritatis cultor mendacio colla submittam, neque mihi imperitorum plebeculam concites, qui te venerantur ut episcopum et in ecclesia declamantem sacerdotii honore suscipiunt, me autem aetatis ultimae et paene decrepitum ac monasterii et ruris secreta sectantem parvi pendunt, et quaeras tibi, quos doceas sive reprehendas. ad nos enim tantis maris atque terrarum at te divisos spatiis vix vocis tuae sonus pervenit et, si forsitan litteras scripseris, ante eas Italia ac Roma suscipiet, quam ad me, cui mittendae sunt, deferantur.
* The addressee is Augustine.
(Jerome, Ep. 112.18)
I ask you, therefore, and with all urgency press the request, that you forgive me this humble attempt at a discussion of the matter; and wherein I have transgressed, lay the blame upon yourself who compelled me to write in reply, and who made me out to be as blind as Stesichorus. And do not bring the reproach of teaching the practice of lying upon me who am a follower of Christ, who said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It is impossible for me, who am a worshipper of the Truth, to bow under the yoke of falsehood. Moreover, refrain from stirring up against me the unlearned crowd who esteem you as their bishop, and regard with the respect due the priestly office the orations which you deliver in the church, but who esteem lightly an old decrepit man like me, courting the retirement of a monastery far from the busy haunts of men; and seek others who may be more fitly instructed or corrected by you. For the sound of your voice can scarcely reach me, who am so far separated from you by sea and land. And if you happen to write me a letter, Italy and Rome are sure to be acquainted with its contents long before it is brought to me, to whom alone it ought to be sent. (tr. John George Cunningham)