To you, my father, Fronto, and my mother Flaccilla,
I commend Erotion, my little darling girl,
so that she won't be frightened of the dark shadows
or of the jaws of the great hound of Hell.
It would have been six cold winters
if she had lived six more days.
Let her play happily among these old protectors,
prattling and lisping my name.
Let the turf not lie rough on her tender bones,
nor you, Earth, weigh her down;
she was not so to you.
—Martial (ca 38–ca 104), Roman poet. Erotion was a little slave girl, possibly his daughter by a slave.
Hanc tibi, Fronto pater, genetrix Flaccilla, puellam
oscula commendo deliciasque meas,
parvola ne nigras horrescat Erotion umbras
oraque Tartarei prodigiosa canis.
Inpletura fuit sextæ modo frigora brumæ,
vixisset totidem ni minus illa dies.
Inter tam veteres ludat lasciva patronos
et nomen blæso garriat ore meum.
Mollia non rigidus cæspes tegat ossa; nec illi,
Terra, gravis fueris:non fuit illa tibi.
Photo by Sheila Brown.