Let Necessity but drive
Her wedge of adamant into that proud head.
I have translated this difficult passage nearly as it stands, not professing to decide whether tops of buildings or human heads are meant. Either is strange till explained; neither seems at present to be supported by any exact parallel in ancient literature or ancient art. Necessity with her nails has met us before in Ode 35 of Book I, and Orelli describes an Etruscan work of art where she is represented with that cognizance; but though the nail is an appropriate emblem of fixity, we are apparently not told where it is to be driven. The difficulty here is further complicated by the following metaphor of the noose, which seems to be a new and inconsistent image.
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