Sunday, October 16, 2011

To the Emperor Julian

I can scarce believe that, than which nothing can be more certain. Departing from you, in obedience to your order, and on an urgent occasion, I am both willingly and unwillingly absent from you. For I think that I could be sooner negligent of my life than of your commands. Any labours, however great, seem trifles; however small, when desired to undertake them for you, I have been accustomed to think them sweeter than ambrosia. To this it is owing that, were you to command me, I would depart not only from you but from myself. But as I consider you as my deity, without you nothing seems pleasing.

You constantly occur to my mind: whatever I hear repeats the voice of Julian; whatever I see reflects the image of my venerable deity. And when a sweet slumber refreshes my languid limbs, you seem so present to me that by the kindness of the immortal gods, separated and loosed from my body, my mind seems to fly to you, to embrace, address, in short to worship you; so that if I were to be deprived of life I would wish that to be my last day.

Farther, that I may no longer be thus tormented, I entreat you to give me your permission to return to you, and in your presence to adore your deity, which absent I at once admire and venerate. If not, as by your indulgence it may be effected, I could easily be content to be banished not only from the city I so much love but also from the world.

        libanius   362 ad

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