Tuesday 31 October 2023

The Heathen to His Departing Soul

Alexander Pope
‘Adriani morientis ad animam, or, the Heathen to His Departing Soul’

Ah, fleeting Spirit! wand’ring fire,
   That long hast warm’d my tender breast,
Must thou no more this frame inspire,
   No more a pleasing cheerful guest?
Whither, ah whither, art thou flying,
   To what dark undiscover’d shore?
Thou seem’st all trembling, shiv’ring, dying,
   And Wit and Humour are no more!
A loose translation of the last words of Emperor Hadrian, from the Historia Augusta (Vita Hadriani, 25.9):
Animula, vagula, blandula
Hospes comesque corporis
Quae nunc abibis in loca
Pallidula, rigida, nudula,
Nec, ut soles, dabis iocos.