The Odes and Carmen Saeculare/Book 1/Part 24

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XXIV.

Quis desiderio.

WHY blush to let our tears unmeasured fall
For one so dear? Begin the mournful stave,
Melpomene, to whom the Sire of all
Sweet voice with music gave.
And sleeps he then the heavy sleep of death,
Quintilius? Piety, twin sister dear
Of Justice! naked Truth! unsullied Faith!
When will ye find his peer?
By many a good man wept, Quintilius dies;
By none than you, my Virgil, trulier wept:
Devout in vain, you chide the faithless skies.
Asking your loan ill-kept.
No, though more suasive than the bard of Thrace
You swept the lyre that trees were fain to hear,
Ne'er should the blood revisit his pale face
Whom once with wand severe
Mercury has folded with the sons of night,
Untaught to prayer Fate's prison to unseal.
Ah, heavy grief! but patience makes more light
What sorrow may not heal.