The Republic and The Laws

By Cicero; Niall Rudd | Go to book overview
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BOOK 2

1-7. The scene is set

ATTICUS: Well, we've walked far enough now; and you have to start another section of your talk. So shall we have a change of scene and find somewhere to sit down on that island in the Fibrenus (I believe that's what the other river is called)? Then we can turn our attention to the rest of the discussion.

1

MARCUS: By all means. That place is a favourite haunt of mine, whether I'm reading, writing, or just thinking.

ATTICUS: As far as I'm concerned, I can't get too much of it, especially now that it's summer. I think nothing of splendid villas with their marble floors and coffered ceilings. As for the artificial channels which our friends call 'Niles' or 'Euripuses',* you can't help laughing at them when faced with scenery like this. A little while ago, when you were talking about law and justice, you saw nature as the key to everything. Similarly, nature is queen of all those places where we go in search of mental relaxation and delight. I used to wonder (for I thought there was nothing here except rocks* and mountains, and indeed your speeches and poems gave me that impression)--I used, as I say, to wonder why you were so fond of this place; now, however, I wonder why, when you're out of town, you go anywhere else.

2

MARCUS: Yes, when it's possible to get away for more than a day or two, especially at this time of year, I head for this beautiful and healthy spot. Unfortunately, it rarely is possible. But I suppose I love it for another reason too--one which will not weigh with you, Titus.

3

ATTICUS: Really? What's that?

MARCUS: Well, to tell you the truth, this is the actual country where I, and my brother here, were born. Yes, we come from a very old local family; we are associated with the place by religious and ancestral ties; and there are many traces of our forebears in the district. Why, I need go no further than that villa. You see how it is now. It was rebuilt, thanks to my father's enthusiasm, on a more lavish scale. As he was in poor health, he spent most of his

-121-

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