24. Though he was condemned still to love Lesbia, the former connection with her was now broken off, never to be renewed. Yet he has for her words of sorrow rather than of scorn. Even now, as formerly (c. 104), he cannot malign her, although she has sunk so deep in degradation. In a simple, manly way he declares the fidelity of his love for her (c. 87), and the condition to which he has now been brought by her fault and not his own (c. 75). However difficult it be to associate the idea of pure affection with a passion like his, there is, nevertheless, an appeal of truth in his solemn asseveration at this moment of bitterest grief that his love for Lesbia was not merely the passion of any common man for his paid mistress, but was as the love of a father for his son (c. 72). Not wholly evil, a heart that could feel such an impulse, even toward a mistaken object.
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Friends and foes.
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