Docuit quoque non prius ullum
caelestia cernere regna
quam nocte et vulnere tristi
toleraverit aspera mundi.
mors ipsa beatior inde est,
quod per cruciamina leti
via panditur ardua iustis
et ad astra doloribus itur.
sic corpora mortificata
redeunt melioribus annis,
nec post obitum recalescens
compago fatiscere novit.
haec quae modo pallida tabo
color albidus inficit ora
tunc flore venustior omni
sanguis cute tinguet amoena.
iam nulla deinde senectus
frontis decus invida carpet,
macies neque sicca lacertos
suco tenuabit adeso.
morbus quoque pestifer artus
qui nunc populatur anhelos
sua tunc tormenta resudans
luet inter vincula mille.
hunc eminus aëre ab alto
victrix caro iamque perennis
cernet sine fine gementem
quos moverat ipse dolores.
quid turba superstes inepta
clangens ululamina miscet?
cur tam bene condita iura
luctu dolor arguit amens?
iam maesta quiesce querella,
lacrimas suspendite, matres!
nullus sua pignera plangat,
mors haec reparatio vitae est.
(Prudentius, Cathemerinon 10.85-120)

He taught too that no man sees the heavenly kingdom ere in darkness and sore hurt he has borne the adversities of the world. Therefore is death itself more blessed, in that through the pains of death a way on high is opened for the righteous and by their sufferings they pass to the skies. Thus bodies that have perished return in better days, and the frame growing warm again after its decease cannot any more decline. These cheeks which now are wan and white with wasting shall then have beauteous skin tinged with the bloom of blood more charming than any flower. No longer then shall jealous age steal away the grace of the brow, nor withered leanness consume the sap of the arms and leave them shrunken. Baleful Disease too, which now wastes our panting frames, will then in sweat suffer the penalty of his own torments in a thousand bonds. From high heaven, far off, the flesh, victorious and now immortal, shall see him bemoaning without end the very pains himself had caused before. Why does the band of survivors join in a loud noise of foolish lamentation, and senseless grief in its mourning blame laws so surely established? Be silent now, sad plaint; stay your tears, ye mothers. Let none lament for his dear ones, for this death is the renewal of life. (tr. Henry John Thomson)

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