Untitled, to Ausonius
by Paulinus of Nola

You and I, throughout the share of days
    we are ordained, as long as I
am bound in this frail body, even if we live
    a world apart, no sea or shade
will hide you from my sight, for you will shine
    in my heart’s core. There
I shall cherish and embrace you and keep
    you with me always everywhere.
And when at last I’m free of body’s prison,
    and fly beyond earth, whatever place
our Lord decides to set me down, even there
    I’ll hold you in my heart.
Nor shall the blow that parts me from this frame,
    stop me from loving you.
The strong soul that survives the body’s ruin,
    is immortal, as it comes from heaven,
and must cling to its passions and perceptions
    as to its new life that will no more allow
oblivion than it will own death itself,
    living forever, with this memory.

—translated from the Latin by Daniel Mark Epstein

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 40 Number 1, on page 80
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