Martial 5.34: Hanc tibi, Fronto pater

by Tom Gardner

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,
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.

Father Fronto and mother Flacilla,
I commend unto you my sweetheart and darling.
Little Erotion must not be frightened by the black shades
nor by the monstrous mouths of Tartarus’s dog.
She was to complete the cold of a sixth midwinter,
if she had not lived that many days less.
May she now play, frolicsome among her old patrons,
and chatter my name with a lisping tongue.
Not hard be the turf that covers her soft bones,
and be not heavy upon her, earth: she was not heavy upon you.