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Epistle XXII.

To Rusticiana, Patrician Lady.

Gregory to Rusticiana, &c.

As often as any one comes to us from the royal city, we take care to enquire of your bodily health; but, my sins being the cause, I always hear what I am sorry to hear, since, frail and weak as you already are, it is reported that the pains of gout still grow upon you.  But I pray the Almighty Lord that whatever befalls your body may be ordered to the health of your soul, and that temporal scourges may prepare for you eternal rest, and that through the pains which have an end He may grant you joys without end.  As for me, I live in such a state of groaning and in the midst of such occupations that it irks me to have arrived at these days which now I spend, and my only consolation is the expectation of death.  Wherefore I beg you to pray for me, to the end that I may be soon released from this prison of the flesh, so as 98to be no longer tormented by such great pains.

Furthermore, I have to inform you that a certain person has come here, Beator by name, who gives himself out as comes privatarum212212    This designation may mean a kind of private secretary to the Emperor, or one to whom the secret service of the government was committed., and is doing many things against all, but principally against your Excellency’s people, or those of your most noble granddaughters, as though he were making enquiry into matters of public import.  And we indeed will not permit him to act wrongfully, but neither can we stand in the way of public interests.  Do you therefore treat as you can with the most pious princes, that they may countermand any wrongful proceeding on his part.  For neither is the public interest served by any kind of turmoil, nor does he appear to reclaim anything of great amount.  I beg that my most sweet son the lord Strategius213213    See II. 27, note 2. be greeted in my behalf, whom may Almighty God nourish for Himself and for you, and ever comfort you by His own grace and by the young lord’s life.  Further, what should I write to you concerning your return hither, knowing as you do how much I desire it?  But, when I look to the obligations of the business that detains you, I am in despair; and so I implore the Creator of all that, wherever you are, and wherever you may be, He would protect you by the extension of His right hand, and preserve you from all evil.

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