Pulchrum est bene facere rei publicae, etiam bene dicere haud absurdum est; vel pace vel bello clarum fieri licet; et qui fecere et qui facta aliorum scripsere, multi laudantur. Ac mihi quidem, tametsi haudquaquam par gloria sequitur scriptorem et auctorem rerum, tamen in primis arduom videtur res gestas scribere: primum, quod facta dictis exaequanda sunt; dehinc, quia plerique, quae delicta reprehenderis, malevolentia et invidia dicta putant, ubi de magna virtute atque gloria bonorum memores, quae sibi quisque facilia factu putat, aequo animo accipit, supra ea veluti ficta pro falsis ducit. Sed ego adulescentulus initio, sicuti plerique, studio ad rem publicam latus sum ibique mihi multa advorsa fuere. Nam pro pudore, pro abstinentia, pro virtute audacia, largitio, avaritia vigebant. Quae tametsi animus aspernabatur insolens malarum artium, tamen inter tanta vitia imbecilla aetas ambitione corrupta tenebatur; ac me, cum ab reliquorum malis moribus dissentirem, nihilo minus honoris cupido eadem, qua ceteros, fama atque invidia vexabat.
It is beautiful to perform well for the Republic, also to speak well is not at all absurd; it is allowable that fame is made either in peace or in war; both [those] who do and [those] who write about the deeds of others, are praised in great numbers. And in fact, it seems to me, although not at all equal glory follows the writing and the accomplishing of deeds, nevertheless it seems especially difficult to write the things done: first, because the deeds must be matched with words; then, because many, which faults you might blame, they think they are mentioned with ill will or jealousy; when when you recount great virtue and the glory of good men, which whoever thinks easy for themselves to do, accepts with equal mind, [and] reckons as false anything beyond these just as fiction. But initially I as a young man, just as many, I was carried by zeal for the republic, and in that place many things had become adverse to me. For instead of modesty, instead of self-restraint, audacity, spending, and avarice grew strong. Although my mind detested these things, unaccustomed to wicked arts, although in the midst of such vice, feeble age was held by corrupt ambition; and although I differed from the mad habits of the rest, no less did the desire for honor the same as the rest trouble me because of reputation and envy.I will put up the last part of the proem, chapter 4, next.