Esse Aliquis Manes

Esse Aliquis Manes
by Juvenal

Derived from Satire II. 149 f. Published in "Parerga: Poems by Edward S. Creasy" 1843. (archive)

That something in us must outlive the tomb;
The ghostly realms of subterranean gloom,
Old Charon's punt-pole, and th'amphibious race
That in the Styx their croaking concert place;
And that so many thousand spirits can
Be rowed across by that grim Ferrman;
All this old-fashion'd creed our age of wit
Derides-the veriest striping scoffs at it.

Do thou the faith that Heroes held, recall;
Be wisely credulous-believe it all.

How must those mighty Warrior-spirits gaze,
Manius, Fabricius-what be your amaze,
Shades of the SCipios, what, Camillus, thine,
How must they feel, boast of the Fabian line,
The holy band of Cremera; and they
Who fell at Canae in their proud array,
The Hero-souls so many wars purveyed,
How gaze abhorrent, when a modern shade
Of our degenerate times is wafted o'er,
Definiling with its touch the Stygian shore.