Martial and Erotion: "the slavelet is mourned in vain"
|MARTIAL EPIGRAMMATON LIBRI||MARTIAL BOOKS OF EPIGRAMS|
|LIBER V: XXXIV||BOOK V: XXXIV|
AN EPITAPH ON EROTION, WHO DIED AT NEARLY SIX YEARS OLD, AFTER HER PARENTS.
Hanc tibi, Fronto pater, genetrix Flaccilla, puellam
oscula commendo deliciasque meas,
paruola ne nigras horrescat Erotion umbras
oraque Tartarei prodigiosa canis.
Impletura fuit sextae modo frigora brumae, 5
uixisset totidem ni minus illa dies.
Inter tam ueteres ludat lasciua patronos
et nomen blaeso garriat ore meum.
Mollia non rigidus caespes tegat ossa nec illi,
terra, grauis fueris: non fuit illa tibi. 10
To you, O Fronto my father, and to you, O Flaccilla my mother, I commend this child, the little Erotion, my joy and my delight, that she may not be terrified at the dark shades and at the monstrous mouth of the dog of Tartarus. She would just have passed the cold of a sixth winter, had she lived but six days longer. Between protectors so venerable may she sport and play, and with lisping speech babble my name. Let no rude turf cover her tender bones, and press not heavy on her, O earth; she pressed but lightly on you.
|LIBER V: XXXVII||BOOK V: XXXVII|
|ON THE YOUNG EROTION|
Puella senibus dulcior mihi cycnis,
agno Galaesi mollior Phalantini,
concha Lucrini delicatior stagni,
cui nec lapillos praeferas Erythraeos
nec modo politum pecudis Indicae dentem 5
niuesque primas liliumque non tactum;
quae crine uicit Baetici gregis uellus
Rhenique nodos aureamque nitelam;
fragrauit ore quod rosarium Paesti,
quod Atticarum prima mella cerarum, 10
quod sucinorum rapta de manu gleba;
cui conparatus indecens erat pauo,
inamabilis sciurus et frequens phoenix,
adhuc recenti tepet Erotion busto,
quam pessimorum lex amara fatorum 15
sexta peregit hieme, nec tamen tota,
nostros amores gaudiumque lususque.
Et esse tristem me meus uetat Paetus,
pectusque pulsans pariter et comam uellens:
"Deflere non te uernulae pudet mortem? 20
Ego coniugem" inquit "extuli et tamen uiuo,
notam, superbam, nobilem, lucupletem."
Quid esse nostro fortius potest Paeto?
Ducentiens accepit, et tamen uiuit!
Child, more sweet to me than the song of aged swans, more tender than a lamb of Phalantine Galaesus,1 more delicate than a shell of the Lucrine lake; you to whom no one could prefer the pearls of the Indian Ocean, or the newly polished tooth of the Indian elephant, or the newly fallen snow, or tho untouched lily; whose hair surpassed the fleece of the Spanish flock, the knotted tresses of the dwellers on the Rhine, and the golden-coloured field-mouse;2 whose breath was redolent with odours which rivalled the rose-beds of Paestum, or the new honey of Attic combs, or amber just rubbed in the hand; compared to whom the peacock was ugly, the squirrel unattractive, the phoenix a common object; O Erotion, your funeral pyre is yet warm. The cruel law of the inexorable Fates has carried you off, my love, my delight, my plaything, in your sixth winter yet incomplete. Yet my friend Paetus forbids me to be sad, although he smites his own breast and tears his hair equally with myself. "Are you not ashamed (says he) to bewail the death of a little slave? I have buried a wife,----a wife distinguished, haughty, noble, rich, and yet am alive." What fortitude can be greater than that of my friend Paetus?----He inherits (by the death of his wife) twenty millions of sesterces, and yet can live.
1 A river near Tarentum, which was founded by Phalantus.
2 Her hair was auburn.
|LIBER X: LXI||BOOK X: LXI|
|EPITAPH ON EROTION|
Hic festinata requiescit Erotion umbra,
Crimine quam fati sexta peremit hiems.
Quisquis eris nostri post me regnator agelli,
Manibus exiguis annus iusta dato:
Sic lare perpetuo, sic turba sospite solus 5
Flebilis in terra sit lapis iste tua.
Here reposes Erotion in the shade of the tomb that too early dosed around her, snatched away by relentless Fate in her sixth winter. Whoever you are that, after me, shall rule over these lands, render annual presents to her gentle shade. So, with undisturbed possession, so, with your family ever in health, may this stone be the only one of a mournful description on your domain.
Martial. Epigrammaton. 14 vols. The Latin Library.com
Martial. Epigrams. Book V: 34, 37. (Anon. translation, Bohn's Classical Library 1897, modernized text) Tertullian.org.
Martial Epigrams. Book X: 61. (Anon. translation, Bohn's Classical Library 1897, modernized text) Tertullian.org.