Fabius buries all his wives:
Chrestilla ends her husbands’ lives.
The torch which from the marriage-bed
They brandish soon attends the dead.
O Venus, link this conquering pair!
Their match will meet with issue fair,
Whereby for such a dangerous two
A single funeral will do!
[Effert uxores Fabius, Chrestilla maritos,
funereamque toris quassat uterque facem.
Victores committe, Venus: quos iste manebit
exitus, una duos ut Libitina ferat.]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 8, epigram 43 (8.43) (AD 94) [tr. Duff (1929)]
Original Latin. Alternate translations:
Five wives hath he dispatch'd, she husbands five:
By both alike the undertakers thrive.
Venus assist! let them join hands in troth!
One common funeral, then, would serve them both.
[tr. Hay (1755)]
While Tom and Dolly many mates
Do carry off ('tis said)
Each shakes by turns (so will the Fates)
The Fun'ral torch in bed.
Oh fie, ma'am, Venus, end this rout,
Commit them to the Fleet,
And grant they may be carried out,
Both buried in one sheet.
[tr. Scott (1773)]
Both Fabby and Chrestil know well how to bury
A consort, and with sable torch to make merry.
Yoke, Venus, the victors; and, mutually loath,
Let one Libitana lay hold of them both.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 6, Part 2, ep. 47]
Fabius buries his wives, Chrestilla her husbands; each shakes a funeral torch over the nuptial couch. Unite these conquerers, Venus, and the result will then be that Libitina will carry them both off together.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1860)]
Fabius has buried all his wives;
Short are Chrestilla's husbands' lives.
And 'tis a funeral torch this pair
Do, at their nuptials, wave in air.
These conquerors, Venus, sure 'twere fit
Against each other now to pit:
So shall such end await the two,
That for them both one bier may do.
[tr. Webb (1879)]
Chrestilla has buried her husbands,
While Fabius has buried his wives;
Since they're both sure to make
Every marriage a wake,
Pray, Venus, unite their two lives.
[tr. Nixon (1911)]
Fabius buried his wives, Chrestilla her husbands, and each of them waves the funeral torch over a marriage-bed. Match the victors, Venus; this is the end that will await them -- one funeral to convey the pair.
[tr. Ker (1920)]
He poisons wives, she husbands by the dozen,
With Pluto's torch the marriage-bed they cozen.
Unite them, Venus, in the marriage tether,
So death shall carry off the two together.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
Chrestilla lays her lords to rest, his ladies
Fabius, and ushers them with pomp to Hades.
Kind Venus, match the winners. Then, I trust,
One funeral pyre will turn the pair to dust.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924) #420]
Chrestilla digs her husbands' graves,
Fabius buries his wives. Each waves,
As bride or groom, the torch of doom
Over the marriage bed. Now pair
These finalists, Venus: let them share
Victory in a single tomb.
[tr. Michie (1972)]
Fabius buries his wives, Chrestilla her husbands; each of them brandishes a funeral torch over the marriage bed. Venus, match the winners; the end awaiting them will be one bier to carry the pair.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]
They each took separate spouses to their bed,
Then swiftly to the graveyard each they led.
Conjoining both their marriage feats,
They'll serve each other funeral meats.
[tr. Wills (2007)]
Fabius buries his wives; Christella, her husbands.
Each waves the funeral torch over the marriage bed.
Dear Venus, arrange that this pair be engaged.
One coffin will be enough to contain the dead.
[tr. Kennelly (2008), "Partners"]
Chrestilla buries husbands; Fabius wives.
Each waves the funeral torch at the marriage bed.
Pair up the winners, Venus. The result
will be that both will share a bier instead.
[tr. McLean (2014)]
Added on 9-Jul-21 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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