Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series— Volume 1

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Author: Pliny the Younger

3.XII.
TO VOCONIUS ROMANUS.

I am sending you, at your request, the speech in which I lately thanked our best of emperors for my nomination as Consul, and I should have sent it to you even though you had not asked for it. I hope you will take into consideration both the beauty and the difficulty of the theme. For in other speeches the attention of the reader is kept fixed by the novelty of the subject, but in this case every detail is familiar, a matter of common knowledge, and has been said before. Consequently the reader will be lazy and careless and will only pay attention to the diction, and when merely the diction is attended to, it is not easy to give satisfaction. I wish that people would pay equal regard to the arrangement of the speech, to its transitions, and the figures of speech employed. For even the unlearned sometimes manage to get a noble inspiration and express it in powerful language, but skilful arrangement and variety of metaphor are only attained by the scholarly. Besides, one must not for ever keep at the same high and lofty level. For, just as in painting there is nothing like shadow to bring out the effect of light, so in a speech it is as important on occasions to reduce the treatment to an ordinary level as to raise it to a high one. But why do I talk of first principles to a man of your accomplishments? What I do wish to insist upon is to ask you to mark the passages which you think should be corrected. For I shall think that you are all the better pleased with the remainder if I find that there are certain portions that you do not like. Farewell.

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Chicago: Pliny the Younger, "3.XII. To Voconius Romanus.," Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series— Volume 1, ed. Firth, John B. and trans. Mackail, J. W. (John William), 1859-1945 in Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series—Volume 1 (New York: George E. Wood, ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892), Original Sources, accessed April 25, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DB4HMT2DEIRDCWC.

MLA: Pliny the Younger. "3.XII. To Voconius Romanus." Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series— Volume 1, edited by Firth, John B., and translated by Mackail, J. W. (John William), 1859-1945, in Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series—Volume 1, New York, George E. Wood, ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892, Original Sources. 25 Apr. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DB4HMT2DEIRDCWC.

Harvard: Pliny the Younger, '3.XII. To Voconius Romanus.' in Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series— Volume 1, ed. and trans. . cited in ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892, Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series—Volume 1, George E. Wood, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 25 April 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DB4HMT2DEIRDCWC.