Have mi magister gravissime.
nos valemus. ego hodie ab hora nona noctis in secundam diei bene disposito cibo studivi; a secunda in tertiam soleatus libentissime inambulavi ante cubiculum meum. deinde calceatus sagulo sumpto (nam ita adesse nobis indictum erat), abii salutatum dominum meum. ad venationem profecti sumus, fortia facinora fecimus, apros captos esse fando audiimus, nam videndi quidem nulla facultas fuit. clivum tamen satis arduum successimus; inde post meridiem domum recepimus. ego me ad libellos. igitur calceis detractis, vestimentis positis, in lectulo ad duas horas commoratus sum. legi Catonis orationem ‘De Bonis Pulchrae’ et aliam, qua tribuno diem dixit. io, inquis puero tuo, vade quantum potes, de Apollinis bibliotheca has mihi orationes apporta. frustra mittis, nam et
isti libri me secuti sunt. igitur Tiberianus bibliothecarius tibi subigitandus est; aliquid in eam rem insumendum, quod mihi ille, ut ad urbem venero, aequa divisione impertiat. sed ego orationibus his perlectis paululum misere scripsi, quod aut Lymphis aut Vulcano dicarem: ἀληθῶς ἀτυχῶς σήμερον γέγραπταί μοι, venatoris plane aut vindemiatoris studiolum, qui iubilis suis cubiculum meum perstrepunt, causidicali prosum odio
et taedio. quid hoc dixi? immo recte dixi, nam meus quidem magister orator est. ego videor mihi perfrixisse: quod mane soleatus ambulavi an quod male scripsi, non scio. certe homo alioqui pituitosus, hodie tamen multo mucculentior mihi esse videor. itaque oleum in caput infundam et incipiam dormire, nam in lucernam hodie nullam stillam inicere cogito, ita me equitatio et sternutatio defatigavit. valebis mihi, magister carissime et dulcissime, quem ego—ausim dicere—magis quam ipsam Romam desidero.
(Fronto, Ep. ad M. Caesarem et invicem 4.5)
Hail, most reverend master.
We are well. By a satisfactory arrangement of meals I worked from three o’clock a.m. till eight. For the next hour I paced about in slippers most contentedly before my bedroom. Then putting on my boots and donning my cloak—for we had been told to come in that dress—I went off to pay my respects to my Lord. We set out for the chase and did doughty deeds. We did hear say that boars had been bagged, for we were not lucky enough to see any. However, we climbed quite a steep hill; then in the afternoon we came home. I to my books: so taking off my boots and doffing my dress I passed nearly two hours on my couch, reading Cato’s speech On the property of Pulchra, and another in which he impeached a tribune. Ho, you cry to your boy, go as fast as you can and fetch me those speeches from the libraries of Apollo! It is no use your sending, for those volumes, among others, have followed me here. So you must get round the librarian of Tiberius’s library: a little douceur will be necessary, in which he and I can go shares when I come back to town. Well, these speeches read, I wrote a little wretched stuff, fit to be dedicated to the deities of water and fire: truly to-day I have been unlucky in my writing, the lucubration of a sportsman or a vintager, such as those whose catches ring through my bedroom, a noise every whit as hateful and wearisome as that of the law-courts. What is this I have said? Nay, ’tis true, for my master is an orator. I think I must have taken a chill, whether from walking about in slippers in the early morning, or from writing badly, I know not. I only know that, rheumy enough at all times, I seem to be more drivelling than ever to-day. So I will pour the oil on my head and go off to sleep, for not a drop of it do I intend to pour into my lamp to-day, so tired am I with riding and sneezing. Farewell for my sake, dearest and sweetest of masters, whom I would make bold to say I long to see more than Rome itself. (tr. Charles Reginald Haines)