2. CLE 1559 (Epitaph for Bassa)


(Text & Transl.: Courtney 1995)

Bassa, uatis quae Laberi coniuga, hoc alto sinu
frugeae matris quiescit, moribus priscis nurus.
animus sanctus cum maritost, anima caelo reddita est.
Parato hospitium; cara iungant corpora
haec rursum nostrae, sed perpetuae, nuptiae.                                5
In spica et casia es, benedora stacta et amomo.
inde oro gramenue nouum uel flos oriatur,
unde coronem amens aram carmenque meum et me.
purpureo uarum uitis depicta racemo
quattuor amplesast ulmos de palmite dulci.                                   10
scaenales frondes detexant hinc geminam umbram
arboream procaeram et mollis uincla maritae.
Hic corpus uatis Laberi, nam spiritus iuit
illuc unde ortus. quaerite fontem animae.
Quod fueram non sum, sed rursum ero quod modo non sum.    15
ortus et occasus uitaque morsque itidest

Bassa, wife of the poet Laberius, rests in the deep bosom of the fruitful (earth-)mother, a married woman of old-fashioned morality. Her chaste thoughts are with her husband, her soul has been restored to heaven.

Prepare a lodging; let this marriage of ours once again, but this time for ever, unite our loving bodies.

You are in spikenard and cinnamon, fragrant myrrh and balsam; I pray that from these may rise a new herb or flower with which, out of my mind, I can garland the altar and my dirge and myself. The vine painted with the purple bunches of grapes has embraced four elm-trees with its darling shoots. Let the foliage which forms a back-drop weave twofold shadow out of this, the tall shadow of the trees and the bonds of their pliant spouse.

Here is the body of the poet Laberius, for his spirit has departed to the place from which it arose. Look for the fountain-head of the soul.

I am not what I was, but I shall be again what I am not now. Rising and setting, birth and death are the same.