The Death of a Friend

Horace Odes 1.24

What restraint or limit could there be to longing for so dear a head (i.e., a person)? Lead the mournful song, Melpomene, [you] to whom [your] father has given a clear voice [together] with the lyre. So, an eternal sleep weighs down on Quintilius. When will Modesty and untainted Faith, the sister of Justice, and naked Truth find any equal to him? His death was (lit., he died) worthy of tears for many good people, [but] for no one more worthy of tears than for you, Vergil. In your loyalty (lit., loyal [to your friend]), you in vain ask the gods for Quintilius, alas! not entrusted [by you to them] on such terms (lit., thus).

What [then] ? If you were to play the lyre heard by trees more persuasively than Thracian Orpheus, surely blood would not return to the empty likeness that Mercury, not lenient in opening [the gates of] death through prayers, has once driven to the black crowd with [his] terrible wand? [It is] hard. But whatever it is wrong to correct becomes lighter through endurance.

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