Cicero, De Officiis

LCL 30: 270-271

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Cicero de Officiis

Liber Tertius

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I. P. Scipionem, M.1 fili, eum, qui primus Africanus appellatus est, dicere solitum scripsit Cato, qui fuit eius fere aequalis, numquam se minus otiosum esse, quam cum otiosus, nec minus solum, quam cum solus esset. Magnifica vero vox et magno viro ac sapiente digna; quae declarat illum et in otio de negotiis cogitare et in solitudine secum loqui solitum, ut neque cessaret umquam et interdum colloquio alterius non egeret. Ita duae res, quae languorem afferunt ceteris, illum acuebant, otium et solitudo. Vellem nobis hoc idem vere dicere liceret; sed si minus imitatione tantam ingenii praestantiam consequi possumus, voluntate certe proxime accedimus; nam et a re publica forensibusque negotiis armis impiis vique prohibiti otium persequimur et ob eam causam urbe relicta rura peragrantes saepe soli sumus.

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Sed nec hoc otium cum Africani otio nec haec solitudo cum illa comparanda est. Ille enim requiescens a rei publicae pulcherrimis muneribus otium sibi sumebat aliquando et e2 coetu hominum frequentiaque interdum tamquam in portum se in solitudinem

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Book III

BOOK III

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I. Cato, who was of about the same years, Marcus,Preface: Scipio and Cicero. my son, as that Publius Scipio who first bore the and surname of Africanus, has given us the statement that Scipio used to say that he was never less idle than when he had nothing to do and never less lonely than when he was alone. An admirable sentiment, in truth, and becoming to a great and wise man. It shows that even in his leisure hours his thoughts were occupied with public business and that he used to commune with himself when alone; and so not only was he never unoccupied, but he sometimes had no need for company. The two conditions, then, that prompt others to idleness—leisure and solitude—only spurred him on. I wish I could say the same of myself and say it truly. But if by imitation I cannot attain to such excellence of character, in aspiration, at all events, I approach it as nearly as I can; for as I am kept by force of armed treason away from practical politics and from my practice at the bar, I am now leading a life of leisure. For that reason I have left the city and, wandering in the country from place to place, I am often alone.

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But I should not compare this leisure of mine with that of Africanus, nor this solitude with his. For he, to find leisure from his splendid services to his country, used to take a vacation now and then and to retreat from the assemblies and the throngs of men into solitude, as into a haven of rest. But

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.marcus_tullius_cicero-de_officiis.1913