This is one of the best poems I know of (the original, I mean. The translation clunks and clanks and barely manages.) There is nothing more tender in the ancient world than Martial's grief and his concern that this child not be frightened in the underworld (she was, it seems, a real girl, not an imagined one). It occurs to me that this is also a gesture of love and piety toward Martial's parents, who must have died recently, if a five-year-old is going to recognize them. He sends her on ahead, trusting to his parents' kindness and letting them know that they are still in his mind.
On the Death of Erotion, a Slave Child
I commend this girl, this sweet one, my delight,
Fronto and Flaccilla, my parents, into your care,
so that with you little Erotion might not take fright
at Cerberus's triple roar or the phantoms there.
Had she lived six more days of winter cold,
she'd have prided herself on being six years old.
With such familiar protectors, let her trick and play
and still lisp my name, as she used to do.
May mellow sod veil her brittle bones --- and weigh
Lightly on her, kind earth; she was light on you.
Hanc tibi, Fronto pater, genetrix Flaccilla, puellam
oscula commendo deliciasque meas,
parvula ne nigras horrescat Erotion umbras
oraque Tartarei prodigiosa canis.
Impletura fuit sextae modo frigora brumae,
vixisset totidem ni minus illa dies.
Inter tam veteres ludat lasciva patronos
et nomen blaeso garriat ore meum.
Mollia non rigidus caespes tegat ossa nec illi,
terra, gravis fueris: non fuit illa tibi.