Messalina: Section 6


Latin

missus quoque unus e libertis: is raptim in hortos praegressus repperit Messalinam, humi fusam; adsidebat mater Lepida, quae florenti filiae haud concors fuerat; sed supremis eius necessitatibus ad misericordiam versa suadebat ne percussorem opperiretur: transiisse vitam neque aliud quam mortem decoram quaerendum. sed nihil honestum inerat Messalinae animo, per libidines corrupto; lacrimae et questus inriti effundebantur, cum impetu venientium pulsae sunt fores adstititque tribunus. tunc primum Messalina fortunam suam intellexit ferrumque accepit; quod frustra iugulo aut pectori per trepidationem admovens, ictu tribuni transigitur. corpus matri concessum.

English

One of the freedmen was also sent. He, having gone on ahead hurriedly into the gardens, found Messalina, sprawled on the ground. Sitting beside her was her mother Lepida, who had not been on friendly terms with her daughter while she prospered, but having turned to pity at her final hour of need, was persuading her not to await the executioner: her life had finished and nothing other than a decent death should be sought. But nothing honourable was in Messalina’s mind, corrupted by lust. Tears and useless complaints were pouring out, when the doors were broken down by the force of those coming and the tribune stood there. Then for the first time Messalina realised her misfortune and accepted the sword. While applying it ineffectively, on account of her trembling, to her throat and chest, she is stabbed by a blow from the tribune. Her body was handed over to her mother.

Commentary