Papal Prison

This is a picture of the grim fortress and prison of the Popes, Castel San Angelo, in Rome. Originally built as the huge tomb for the emperor Hadrian, the papacy converted it into a castle and home for their many prisoners. Also pictured is one of their less hospitable dungeons, in which prisoners were left to starve. It was originally the vault in which the imperial family's cremated ashes were stored. As a sliver of comfort, or perhaps dark humour, a marble plaque inscribed with the following Latin verse was erected:

Little soul, gentle and drifting,
Guest and companion of my body,
Now you will dwell below in pallid places,
Stark and bare,
There you will abandon your play of yore.
Contrast this with Charles Wesley's rousing verse:
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
Christ can deliver any soul from any prison- even Papal ones.