And you, ye Bards,
Whose martial lays send down to distant times
The fame of valorous deeds in battle done,
Pour forth in safety more abundant song.
While you, ye Druids, when the war was done,
To mysteries strange and hateful rites returned:
To you alone 'tis given the heavenly gods
To know or not to know; secluded groves
If what ye sing be true, the shades of men
Seek not the dismal homes of Erebus
Or death's pale kingdoms; but the breath of life
Still rules these bodies in another age-
Life on this hand and that, and death between.
Submitted by “Beith” September 2011
Lucan is speaking to the bards and druids. The part referring to the druids could be used in a funeral rite as it cites the druidic theory of transmigration of the soul, attributed to the continental druids by classical Roman commentators. I put the text in bold that seems the nicest and most appropriate for a funeral reading
The translation is from the Sir Edward Riley edition: M. Annaeus Lucanus, Pharsalia, found here: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... card%3D396
Some context here: http://www.ancient-
I recommend for anyone interested to read the full passage. It's a marvellous piece of poetic epic literature and in this section, Lucan dramatically describes the worshippers of Esus/ Teutates with their "savage rites" whilst acknowledgingg their beautiful philosophy that the soul lives on and death is merely a boundary between lives.