A Model Response to an Engagement

Pliny, Letters 26

To Julius Servianus,

“I am happy and I congratulate because that your daughter is engaged to Fuscus Salinator. His house is patrician; his father most honorable and his mother his equal; the boy himself is educated, literate and even an orator—a boy in his directness, a youth for his charm, yet an older man when it comes to serious matters. I certainly am not deceived by my adoration—for I love as fully as he merits for his actions and his reverence for me—but I have my judgment still and it is as much sharper thanks to the depth of my affection.

I promise you as one who has known him that you will have a son-in-law who will be better than any prayer could anticipate. The only task left is that he will make a grandson like himself sooner rather than later. How happy a day it well be which delivers his children from your embrace—your grandchildren—as if they were my own children or grandchildren and my equal right to care for them. Farewell!

C. Plinius Serviano Suo S.
Gaudeo et gratulor, quod Fusco Salinatori filiam tuam destinasti. Domus patricia, pater honestissimus, mater pari laude; ipse studiosus litteratus etiam disertus, puer simplicitate comitate iuvenis senex gravitate. Neque enim amore decipior. Amo quidem effuse (ita officiis ita reverentia meruit), iudico tamen, et quidem tanto acrius quanto magis amo; tibique ut qui exploraverim spondeo, habiturum te generum quo melior fingi ne voto quidem potuit. Superest ut avum te quam maturissime similium sui faciat. Quam felix tempus illud, quo mihi liberos illius nepotes tuos, ut meos vel liberos vel nepotes, ex vestro sinu sumere et quasi pari cure tenere continget! Vale.

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