And even when life is over, all the evil
Ingrained so long, the adulterated mixture,
The plagues and pestilences of the body
Remain, persist. So there must be a cleansing,
By penalty, by punishment, by fire,
By sweep of wind, by water’s absolution,
Before the guilt is gone. Each of us suffers
His own peculiar ghost.
[Quin et supremo cum lumine vita reliquit,
non tamen omne malum miseris nec funditus omnes
corporeae excedunt pestes, penitusque necesse est
multa diu concreta modis inolescere miris.
Ergo exercentur poenis, veterumque malorum
supplicia expendunt: aliae panduntur inanes
suspensae ad ventos; aliis sub gurgite vasto
infectum eluitur scelus, aut exuritur igni;
quisque suos patimur Manes.]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 6, l. 735ff (6.735-743) [Anchises] (29-19 BC) [tr. Humphries (1951)]
Souls in the underworld purging their spirits so that they can enter Elysium. The Manes were minor underworld deities and/or the spirits of deceased ancestors.
The last line (l. 743) is popularly paraphrased: "Each of us bears his own Hell."
(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:
But when their latest light and life is set,
Not all woes leave them, nor all tortures quite
Forsake the wretches there; and 'tis but right;
Things strangely grown by custome into crimes,
They must be punish'd for their mispent times,
And tortures feele; some in the winds are hung,
Others to clense their spotted sins are flung
In a vast gulph, or purg'd in fire they are:
We all have our own tortures.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]
Nor can the groveling mind,
In the dark dungeon of the limbs confin'd,
Assert the native skies, or own its heav'nly kind:
Nor death itself can wholly wash their stains;
But long-contracted filth ev'n in the soul remains.
The relics of inveterate vice they wear,
And spots of sin obscene in ev'ry face appear.
For this are various penances enjoin'd;
And some are hung to bleach upon the wind,
Some plung'd in waters, others purg'd in fires,
Till all the dregs are drain'd, and all the rust expires
All have their manes, and those manes bear.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]
Even when with the last beams of light their life is gone, yet not every ill, nor all corporeal stains, are quite removed from the unhappy beings; and it is absolutely necessary that many imperfections which have long been joined to the soul should be in marvelous ways increased and riveted therin. Therefore are they afflicted with punishments, and pay the penalties of their former ills. Some, hung on high, are spread out to the empty winds; in others the guilt not done away is washed out ina vast watery abyss, or burned away in fire. We each endure his own manes.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]
Nay, when at last the life has fled,
And left the body cold and dead,
E'en then there passes not away
The painful heritage of clay;
Full many a long contracted stain
Perforce must linger deep in grain.
So penal sufferings they endure
For ancient crime, to make them pure:
Some hang aloft in open view
For winds to pierce them through and through,
While others purge their guilt deep-dyed
In burning fire or whelming tide.
Each for himself, we all sustain
The durance of our ghostly pain.
[tr. Conington (1866)]
Nor e'en when life's last ray
Has fled, does every ill depart, nor all
Corporeal taints quite leave their unhappy frames,
And needs must be that many a hardened fault
Inheres in wondrous ways. Therefore the pains
Of punishment they undergo, for sins
Of former times. Some in the winds are hung
Suspended and exposed. Others beneath
A waste of waters from their guilt are cleansed,
Or purified by fire. We all endure
Our ghostly retribution.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 918ff]
Nay, and when the last ray of life is gone, not yet, alas! does all their woe, nor do all the plagues of the body wholly leave them free; and needs must be that many a long ingrained evil should take root marvellously deep. Therefore they are schooled in punishment, and pay all the forfeit of a lifelong ill; some are hung stretched to the viewless winds; some have the taint of guilt washed out beneath the dreary deep, or burned away in fire. We suffer, each a several ghost.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]
Yea, e'en when out of upper day their life at last is borne,
Not all the ill of wretched men is utterly outworn,
Not all the bane their bodies bred; and sure in wondrous wise
The plenteous ill they bore so long engrained in them it lies:
So therefore are they worn by woes and pay for ancient wrong:
And some of them are hung aloft the empty winds among;
And some, their stain of wickedness amidst the water's heart
Is washed away; amidst the fire some leave their worser part;
And each his proper death must bear.
[tr. Morris (1900), l. 734ff]
Nor can the soul, in darkness and in chains,
Assert the skies, and claim celestial birth.
Nay, after death, the traces it retains
Of fleshly grossness, and corporeal stains,
Since much must needs by long concretion grow
Inherent. Therefore are they racked with pains,
And schooled in all the discipline of woe;
Each pays for ancient sin with punishment below.
Some hang before the viewless winds to bleach;
Some purge in fire or flood the deep decay
And taint of wickedness. We suffer each
Our ghostly penance.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 97-98, l. 866ff]
Nor when to life's last beam they bid farewell
May sufferers cease from pain, nor quite be freed
From all their fleshly plagues; but by fixed law,
The strange, inveterate taint works deeply in.
For this, the chastisement of evils past
Is suffered here, and full requital paid.
Some hang on high, outstretched to viewless winds;
For some their sin's contagion must be purged
In vast ablution of deep-rolling seas,
Or burned away in fire. Each man receives
His ghostly portion in the world of dark.
[tr. Williams (1910)]
Nay, when at their last day life is fled, still not all the evil, alas! not all the plagues of the body quit them utterly; and it must needs be that many a taint, long linked in growth, should in wondrous wise become deeply ingrained. Therefore are they schooled with penalties, and for olden sins pay punishment: some are hung stretched out to the empty winds; from some the stain of guilt is washed away under swirling floods or burned out in fire. Each of us suffers his own spirit.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]
Yes, not even when the last flicker of life has left us,
Does evil, or the ills that flesh is heir to, quite
Relinquish our souls; it must be that many a taint grows deeply,
Mysteriously grained in their being from long contact with the body.
Therefore the dead are disciplined in purgatory, and pay
The penalty of old evil: some hang, stretched ot the blast of
Vacuum winds; for others, the stain of sin is washed
Away in a vast whirlpool or cauterized with fire.
Each of us finds in the next world his own level.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1952)]
And when the final day of life deserts them,
then, even then, not every ill, not all
the plagues of body quit them utterly;
and this must be, for taints so long congealed
cling fast and deep in extraordinary
ways. Therefore they are schooled by punishment
and pay with torments for their own misdeeds:
some there are purified by air, suspended
and stretched before the empty winds; for some
the stain of guilt is washed away beneath
a mighty whirlpool or consumed by fire.
First each of us must suffer his own Shade.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 970ff]
Even when life departs on the last day
Not all the scourges of the body pass
From the poor souls, not all distress of life.
Inevitably, many malformations,
Growing together in mysterious ways,
Become inveterate. Therefore they undergo
The discipline of punishments and pay
In penance for old sins: some hang full length
To the empty winds, for some the stain of wrong
Is washed by floods or burned away by fire.
We suffer each his own shade.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 988ff]
Even when life leaves them on their last day of light, they are not wholly freed from all the many ills and miseries of the body which must harden in them over the long years and become ingrained in ways we cannot understand. And so they are put to punishment, to pay the penalty for all their ancient sins. Some are stretched and hung out empty to dry in the winds. Some have the stain of evil washed out of them under a vast tide of water or scorched out by fire. Each of us suffers his own fate in the after-life.
[tr. West (1990)]
Why, when life leaves them at the final hour,
still all of the evil, all the plagues of the flesh, alas,
have not completely vanished, and many things, long hardened
deep within, must of necessity be ingrained, in strange ways.
So they are scourged by torments, and pay the price
for former sins: some are hung, stretched out,
to the hollow winds, the taint of wickedness is cleansed
for others in vast gulfs, or burned away with fire:
each spirit suffers its own.
[tr. Kline (2002)]
Nor, when the last gleam
Of life flickers out, are all the ills
That flesh is heir to completely uprooted.
But many corporal taints remain,
Ingrained in the soul in myriad ways.
And so we are disciplined and expiate
Our bygone sins. Some souls are hung
Spread to the winds; others are cleansed
Under swirling waters or purged by fire.
We each suffer our own ghosts.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]
but even on that last day, when the light of life departs,
the wretches are not completely purged of all the taints,
nor are they wholly freed of all the body’s plagues.
Down deep they harden fast -- they must, so long engrained
in the flesh -- in strange, uncanny ways. And so the souls
are drilled in punishments, they must pay for their old offenses.
Some are hung splayed out, exposed to the empty winds,
some are plunged in the rushing floods -- their stains,
their crimes scoured off or scorched away by fire.
Each of us must suffer his own demanding ghost.
[tr. Fagles (2006), l. 849ff]
Poor things, even when life leaves them on the day of death, not every sin or canker of the flesh fully recedes. Many habits harden over time, and in this way become ingrained. So they pay for former crimes by torment: exposed to hollow winds by crucifixion, washed clean of infection in a whirling flood, or cauterized by fire -- we all suffer our soul's cure.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]
Added on 21-Dec-22 | Last updated 21-Jun-23
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