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to himself. While I was going1 into the country, I began on the road, as it mostly happens when there is any anxiety on the mind, to reflect with myself upon one thing after another, and upon every thing in the worst light. What need of words? While I was musing thus, inadvertently I passed my country-house. I had already got some distance from it, when I perceived this; I returned again, really feeling quite uneasy; when I came to the very turning that leads to the house, I came to a stop, and began to reason with myself; "What! must I stay here alone for two days without her? Well, and what then? It's nothing at all. What? Nothing at all? Well now, if I haven;t the privilege of touching her, am I not even to have that of seeing her? If I may not do the one, at least I may the other. Surely to love at a distance2 even, is better than nothing at all." I purposely passed the house. But how's this, that Pythias is suddenly hurrying out in such a fright? Stands apart.
1 While I was going: Donatus remarks that here the Poet artfully finds a reason to bring Phaedria back again; as he at first with equal art sent him out of the way, to give probability to those incidents necessary to happen in his absence.
2 At a distance: "Extremâ lineâ." There have been many suggestions offered for the origin of this figurative expression. Some suggest that it alludes to the last or lowest stage of the supposed ladder of love; others that it refers to the first or elementary line traced by the student, when beginning to learn the art of painting. It is however more generally thought to be a metaphor taken from the chariotraces in the Circus, where, in going round the turning-place, he who was nearest was said "currere in primâ lineâ;" the next, "in secundâ;" and so on to the last, who took the widest range, and was said to run "in extremâ lineâ."
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