vita rustica "Life in the Country"
Gaius Helvidius Lupus gives greetings to his friend
When I was reading your letter, my Glabrio, I felt joy and sadness at the same time. For I was affected
with joy, because for so long I was waiting for a letter from you; however, I was sad, because you were overwhelmed by so
In your letter you say you are very busy. Whe I was in Rome, I also was often annoyed by business; now,
however, I enjoy life in the country. Sometimes I ride my horse; sometimes I inspect the estate. Tomorrow I will hunt in
the woods nearby; for neighbors believe there are wolves there. Nevertheless, I am not completely at leisure; for as you
are greeted and bothered by your clients, so I am continually bothered by my tenant-farmers.
As soon as I arrived
at this country-house, I summoned a certain doctor who lives nearby; for I was greatly afflicted by a disease. The doctor
ordered me to obstain from wine and gave me medicine. For seven days straight I was visited by the doctor. Meanwhile the
disease got worse. On the eighth day I dismissed the doctor. I began drinking and I poured the medicine down the drain.
I immediately got better.
You correctly say Scots completely took over Britain. My friend Silanus, who recently was
doing military service in Britain with Agricola, says the Scots live in the farthest part of Britain, across mountains. Although
the Scots customarily fight very ferociously, Silanus is confident our army can conquer them. For he believes the Romans
not only are as brave as Scots, but also have led them.
I agree with you about the poet Martial; he has much talent,
much skill. At one time indeed I was especially pleased with the verses of the poet Ovid; now, however, Martial's epigrams
please me more.
In your letter you mention Helvidius, my son. However, I very rarely see him! For, after staying
with me three days in this house, he returned to the city; I suspect he went to see girls in the city. He is now 15 years
old. He cares about nothing except girls and chariots. But it is hard for me to scold him for, when I was a young man, I
also-but enough about htis nonsense.
Now I must warn you, my Glabrio. In your letter you write unfavorably again
and again about a certain powerful man, whom I do not want to name. It is foolish for you, my friend! It is dangerous to
write unfavorably about the powerful. Powerful men quickly become angry, they are slowly soothed. I tell you this, because
my father who, when offending the Emperor Vespasian, was first exiled, then killed. Worried, I write these things; your
safety is a great matter of concern to me. Good-bye.