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In tumulum Aemylii Ferretti.[1]

On the tomb of Emilio Ferretti.

Qui dignos tumuli persolvere quaerit honores
Extinctis docti manibus Aemilii:
Bis senas sculpto describat in aere tabellas,[2]
Et ponat Latiae civica iura togae
Addat pontificum pòsitos ex ordine fastos,[3]
Chaldaeis olim prodita scripta notis.
Adiungat pictae caelata emblemata linguae,
Verbaque quae rapidi fluminis instar eunt.
Addat & Aonias placata fronte sorrores,
Et quae larga suis munera dant Charites.
Iungat gramineae certamina cruda palaestrae,
Et statuat verso spicula torta iugo.
Haec igitur (miserùm) tristi clauduntur in urna,[4]
Ius, & ferrea vox, αἰμύλιός τε λόγος.[5]

If anyone seeks to pay the worthy honours due the dead [lit. the tomb] to the departed shades of the learned Emilio: Let him compose twelve tablets and carve them in bronze, and put on them the civic laws of the Roman people [lit. the Latin toga]: Let him add to that the annals of the popes, written in order, writings once produced by famous Chaldean seers. Let him add also engraved emblems in the language of pictures, and words that are like a rapid-running river. And let him add the Aonian sisters [Muses], with smiling countenance, and the generous gifts that the Graces give to their [protegés]. Let him add the rough contests of the grassy exercise-ground and let him set up [a picture of] javelins hurled from a wheeling chariot. All these things, therefore, are enclosed (alas) in a mournful urn: The law, and a voice of iron, and the words [or name] of Emilio.


1.  Emilio Ferretti (1489-1552): Renaissance scholar, jurist, and author of a commentary on Tacitus.

2.  tabella can mean a literary composition, but the analogy here is probably with the votive tablets hung in temples recording favours from the gods, etc.

3.   The Fasti were the lists of days of the Roman year, with their religious, historical and legal significances; later, by extension, the word was used to describe the lists of senior magistrates by their years of service. Here pontificum seems to refer to popes, though in classical Latin, of course, it referred to senior pagan priests. It is possible that some of the original religious Fasti were made by Chaldean seers - astrologers from the East (Babylon). The connection between Ferretti and the Fasti is not, however, clear.

4.  i.e. the urn wherein Emilio’s ashes are resting.

5.  Almost certainly a pun, on Aemilius’ name, and the Greek αἱμύλιος λόγος, meaning ‘winning (or wily) words’.

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