annum novum faustum tibi et ad omnia, quae recte cupis, prosperum cum tibi tum domino nostro patri tuo et matri et uxori et filiae ceterisque omnibus quos merito diligis, precor. metui ego invalido adhuc corpore turbae et impressioni me committere. si dei iuvabunt, perendie vos vota nuncupantis videbo.
vale, mi domine dulcissime. dominam saluta.
(Fronto, Ep. ad M. Caesarem 5.45)
A happy New Year and a prosperous in all things that you rightly desire to you and our Lord your Father and your mother and your wife and daughter, and to all others who deservedly share your affection—that is my prayer! In my still feeble state of health I was afraid to trust myself to the crowd and crush. I shall see you, please God, the day after to-morrow offering up your vows. Farewell, my most sweet Lord. Greet my Lady. (tr. Charles Reginald Haines)
Multis huiusmodi maeroribus fortuna me per omnem vitam meam exercuit. nam ut alia mea acerba omittam, quinque amisi liberos miserrima quidem condicione temporum meorum, nam quinque omnes unumquemque semper unicum amisi, has orbitatis vices perpessus, ut numquam mihi nisi orbato filius nasceretur. ita semper sine ullo solacio residuo liberos amisi, cum recenti luctu procreavi. verum illos ego luctus toleravi fortius, quibus egomet ipse solus cruciabar. namque meus animus meomet dolori obnixus, oppositus quasi solitario certamine, unus uni par pari resistebat. at non iam ego uni vel soli obsto, dolor enim e dolore acri multiplicatur et cumulum luctuum meorum diutius ferre nequeo; Victorini mei lacrimis tabesco, conliquesco. saepe etiam expostulo cum deis immortalibus et fata iurgio compello.
(Fronto, De Nepote Amisso 2.1-2)
With many sorrows of this kind has Fortune afflicted me all my life long. For, not to mention my other calamities, I have lost five children under the most distressing circumstances possible to myself. For I lost all five separately, in every case an only child, suffering this series of bereavements in such a way that I never had a child born to me except while bereaved of another. So I always lost children without any left to console me and with my grief fresh upon me I begat others.But I bore with more fortitude those woes by which I myself alone was racked. For my mind, struggling with my own grief, matched as in a single combat man to man, equal with equal, made a stout resistance. But no longer do I withstand a single or solitary opponent, for grief upon bitter grief is multiplied and I can no longer bear the consummation of my woes, but as my Victorinus weeps, I waste away, I melt away along with him. Often I even find fault with the immortal Gods and upbraid the Fates with reproaches. (tr. Charles Reginald Haines)
Hat tip to Jeroen Wijnendaele.