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26. The delights of vengeance were perhaps sweet, but they did not bring Catullus peace. The torment of his passion was still raging within him, and from that he longed to find freedom, not again in the arms of his mistress, but in victory over himself. For this he prayed most earnestly (c. 76), and this he finally attained, aided partly, no doubt, by absence from the country (cf. § 29), but more by the persistency with which he kept up the struggle within himself. It may well be, however, that in these months of mental anguish are to be found the beginnings of that disease that caused his untimely death. But the conviction evidently grew upon him that Lesbia had not been led astray by his false friends, but had always been deceitful above all things, and with the clearer insight came not only a gentler feeling toward the men he had judged traitors to friendship (cf. e.g. c. 58 to Caelius Rufus), but a horror and contempt, now unmixed with pity, for Lesbia herself. And when she tried once more, in the day of his reconciliation with Caesar, and the hope of budding fortune (cf. § 41), to win him back to her, his reply was one of bitter scorn for her, though joined with a touch of sorrowful reminiscence of departed joys.

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