Pope Leo XIII – On His Sickness

A youth of twenty years — how sickly and how spare!
  Ah, to what natural shocks my flesh is heir!
Haply to utter here my memorable grief,
  May bring, if not surcease, some sad relief.
Through sleepless nights in vain I fretfully compose
  My weak and weary limbs to seek repose.
My food no strength affords; my drooping lids complain
  Of light; and oft my head is racked with pain.
Anon my parched limbs a wasting ague chills,
  Anon with torrid heats of fever fills.
Haggard and wan my face, and laboring is my breath:
  Languid I walk the way to dusty death.
Why shall I cheat my heart, and years a-plenty crave
  When Atropos compels the dreaded grave?
Rather my soul will speak: “O Death, where is thy sting?
  With gladness I await thy triumphing!
“The passing shows of life shall not disturb my peace,
  Who long to taste the joy that cannot cease.
“Happy the exile’s feet to press the Fatherland;
  Happy the storm-tossed bark to gain the strand!”