Martial [Marcus Valerius Martialis]

Gideon Nisbet (ed.), Oxford World's Classics: Martial: Epigrams

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  • Flete nefas uestrum, sed toto flete Lucrino,
  •    Naides, et luctus sentiat ipsa Thetis:
  • inter Baianas raptus puer occidit undas
  •    Eutychos ille, tuum, Castrice, dulce latus.
  • hic tibi curarum socius blandumque leuamen,
  • pg 116   hic amor, hic nostri uatis Alexis erat.
  • numquid te uitreis nudum lasciua sub undis
  •    uidit et Alcidae nympha remisit Hylan?
  • an dea femineum iam neglegit Hermaphroditum
  •    amplexu teneri sollicita uiri?
  • quidquid id est, subitae quaecumque est causa rapinae,
  •    sit, precor, et tellus mitis et unda tibi.



Weep, Naiads, at your crime; fill lake Lucrinus with your tears, and let Thetis herself hear your lamentation. A boy is dead, pulled into the undertow at Baiae—sweet Eutychos, who, Castricus, was your inseparable friend.* He was your companion through bad times, your welcome distraction; he was your love; he was the Alexis of our bard.*

pg 117Tell me, boy, did some lust-struck nymph see you unclothed beneath the glassy waters, and send Hercules back his Hylas?* Or does the goddess have no time for unmanly Hermaphroditus, now she melts in the embrace of a youth who's all man? Whatever the truth, whatever the reason you were taken so suddenly, I pray that the earth may rest gently on you, and the water too.

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Editor’s Note
6.68 Eutychos … Castricus … inseparable friend: the poet is otherwise unattested and perhaps only ever existed in this poem. The Greek name of his beloved marked the boy as a slave, and now carries bitter irony—it means 'Lucky'.
Editor’s Note
the Alexis of our bard: a name out of Virgil's Eclogues, which respond closely to Theocritean pastoral. Elsewhere (8.55 (56)), Martial affects to read the 'Corydon' of Eclogue 2 as Virgil himself in poetic disguise, and 'Alexis' as a pretty male slave of Maecenas with whom Virgil was infatuated.
Editor’s Note
send Hercules back his Hylas: Hercules' love for Hylas is a Hellenistic poetic theme; it features in Apollonius' Argonautica and is the subject of Theocritus' thirteenth Idyll, and Martial comes back to it at e.g. 7.50 and 11.43.
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