Q. CICERO TIRONI SVO S.P.D.
Mirificam mi verberationem cessationis epistula dedisti. nam quae parcius frater perscripserat verecundia videlicet et properatione, ea tu sine adsentatione ut erant ad me scripsisti, et maxime de cos. designatis; quos ego penitus novi, libidinum et languoris plenos, effeminatissimi animi. qui nisi a gubernaculis recesserint, maximum ab universo naufragio periculum est. incredibile est quae ego illos scio oppositis Gallorum castris in aestivis fecisse; quos ille latro, nisi aliquid firmius fuerit, societate vitiorum deleniet. res est aut tribuniciis aut privatis consiliis munienda; nam isti duo vix sunt digni quibus alteri Caesenam alteri Cossutianarum tabernarum fundamenta credas.
te, ut dixi, fero in oculis. ego vos a. d. III Kal. videbo tuosque oculos, etiam si te veniens in medio foro videro, dissaviabor.
me ama. vale.
(Quintus Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares 352 (= 16.27))
From Q. Cicero to his dear Tiro best greetings.
By your letter you have given me a fine drubbing for my idleness. My brother wrote more charily, no doubt because he did not like to say too much and was pressed for time. You handle the same material, but give the naked truth without varnish, especially about the Consuls-Elect. I know them through and through. They are riddled with lusts and languor, utter effeminates at heart. Unless they retire from the helm, there is every risk of universal shipwreck. It is incredible the things they did to my knowledge on active service, with the Gauls encamped right opposite. Unless a firm line is taken, that bandit* will woo them over by comradeship in vice. The position must be fortified by the Tribunes or by private initiative. As for that precious pair, you would hardly trust one with Caesena or the other with the cellars of Cossutius’ taverns**.
As I have said, you are the apple of my eye. I shall see you all on the 30th and smother your eyes in kisses, even though I first sight you in the middle of the forum.
Love me. Good-bye.
** Caesena was a small townin Cisalpine Gaul south of Ravenna. Cossutius’ taverns were probably in the same area, which produced a noted wine. Possibly Quintus was staying there. He seems to mean that Hirtius was feeble and incompetent, Pansa a drunkard; cf. Letters to Atticus 409 (XVI.1).4.
(tr. David Roy Shackleton Bailey, with his notes)