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It's wearisome at times; good counsel is like physic,
Work the wrong way with me; but come, the letter! Florus.
Well, you shall have it, since it inust be so. (Reads.)
Florus, the Muse desires to know,
I stay in Rome for friendship's sake,
May look long ere he meet with truth.
I would I were on such familiar terms
As men oft do for love?
He shall speak for himself; it's in prose, though. I suspect the
poor fellow was too sad to care to hear it jingle. (Reads.)
My Munatius, I wish thee heaith, and a contented mind, and the speedy fulfilment of every honest wish. I am in little humour for writing, having been crossed in love at an age when most folk leave such matters to their grandchildren. So late a flowering must needs meet with frost. If it be true that a man does not attain his full sense until he is married and has children of his own, he should not be too long about it, lest in making too much haste to put on the top-stone to the structure of his wit, before age prevent him, he may bring down the edifice in ruin. Had I been but as young as thou, my friend, my fortune would have told another tale. But wisdom has always lagged behind me, with age and after-wit, and now she's so sour a companion I've small comfort in her. For the rest, the sunlight is fair and sweet, and wine is mellow, and friends are sound as of old, and I shall yet make a shift to find out where the green places are, on the shady side of life. To thy co-mate, Florus, I give my love, and in the company of the best of poets and of friends, I send this, greeting thee in the name of all the gods.
ARISTIUS FUSCUS. (Enter musicians at the back of the stage.) l'iberius.
By Jove, but they are merry fellows both; 'twould be a pity to spoil them with marriage. Let them lead an Attic life of it; why should they hanker after the dull virtues of old Rome! Play up, musicians ! Were they here to-night, they should see what a dance we'll lead Care ; he shall not have a leg left to stand upon.
(Music begins, and scene closes.)
SCENE I.—The lawn in front of Marcella's house. Enter a marriage procession of matrons, youths and virgins
with torches and music. Youths.
Now the comely bride is dressed,