ↀ XV

1So I must direct all my effort at consolation upon the second point - the true source of the power of a mother's grief. "I am deprived," you say, "of the embraces of my dearest son; I may no longer enjoy the pleasure of seeing him, the pleasure of his conversation! Where is he the very sight of whom would smooth my troubled brow, upon whom I unloaded all my anxieties? Where are the talks, of which I could never have enough? Where are the studies, which I shared with more than a woman's pleasure, with more than a mother's intimacy? Where the fond meeting? Where the boyish glee that was always stirred by the sight of his mother?" 2You add to all this the actual scenes of our rejoicings and intercourse and the reminders of our recent association, which are, necessarily, the most potent causes of mental distress. For Fortune cruelly contrived to deal you even this blow - she willed that you should part from me only two days before I was struck down, and you had no reason for concern nor any fear of such a disaster. 3It is well that we had been separated before by a great distance, it is well that an absence of several years had prepared you for this misfortune. By returning to Rome, you failed to gain the pleasure of seeing your son, and lost the habit of doing without him. Had you been absent long before, you could have borne my misfortune more bravely, since separation itself lessens our longing; had you not gone away, you would have at least gained the final pleasure of seeing your son two days longer. As it was, cruel Fate contrived that you should neither be with me in the midst of disaster, nor have grown accustomed to my absence. 4But the harder these circumstances are, the more courage must you summon, and you must engage with Fortune the more fiercely, as with an enemy well known and often conquered before. It is not from an unscathed body that your blood has now flowed; you have been struck in the very scars of old wounds.

<ↀXIV - ↀXVI>