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[153] Illi blanditias, illi tibi debita verba. One may observe of this epistle, what has been so

often observed of Homer's poems; that the poet, far from shewing his whole strength at the entrance of his work, still grows upon his reader, and increases his admiration the farther he proceeds. After the endearing expressions of love and tenderness which we meet with in the foregoing parts of this epistle, and the natural and strong images by which Laodamia paints so powerfully her affectionate feelings, one would think it impossible to carry this passion to a greater height. And yet, behold a new seene presented to us; a seene, that nothing less than the happy imagination of an Ovid could have devised. Her only compensation for the absence of Protesilaus, is an image of him which she often took a pleasure in viewing. To this she contracts a fondness, and gives it the same caresses which she was wont to give her Protesilaus. To such a height is her love carried at last, that she is apt to imagine it more than barely an image. She fancies, it wants only a voice to be Protesilaus himself, and vainly complains to it, as if she expected an answer.

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