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XIII. To Cyrus.

I had heard of the island of Lesbos, and its cities Mitylene, Methymna, and the rest; but I was ignorant of the fruit of the vine cultivated in it.16281628    On the wine of Lesbos cf. Hor. Car. i. 17, “innocentis pocula Lesbii;” Aulus Gellius tells the story how Aristotle, when asked to nominate his successor, and wishing to point out the superiority of Theophrastus to Menedemus, called first for a cup of Rhodian, and then of Lesbian, and after sipping both, exclaimed ἡδίων ὁ Λέσβιος. Nact. Att. xiii. 5. Now, thanks to your diligence, I have become acquainted with it, and I admire both its whiteness and the delicacy of its flavour. Perhaps time may even improve it, unless it turns it sour; for wine, like the body, and plants, and buildings, and other things made by hand, is damaged by time. If, as you say, it makes the drinker longlived, I am afraid it will be of little use to me, for I have no desire to live a long life, when life’s storms are so many and so hard.

I was however much pleased to hear of the health of the monk. Really my anxiety about him was quite distressing, and I wrongly blamed the doctors, for his complaint required the treatment they gave. I have sent you a little pot of honey which the Cilician bees make from storax flowers.

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