The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus

xi.

Furi et Aureli, comites Catulli,

Sive in extremos penetrabit Indos,

Litus ut longe resonante Eoa

Tunditur unda,

Sive in Hyrcanos Arabesve molles, 5

Seu Sacas sagittiferosve Parthos,

Sive qua septemgeminus colorat

Aequora Nilus,

Sive trans altas gradietur Alpes,

Caesaris visens monimenta magni, 10

Gallicum Rhenum, horribile aequor ulti-mosque Britannos,

Omnia haec, quaecumque feret voluntas

Caelitum, temptare simul parati,

Pauca nuntiate meae puellae 15

Non bona dicta.

Cum suis vivat valeatque moechis,

Quos simul conplexa tenet trecentos,

Nullum amans vere, sed identidem omnium

Ilia rumpens: 20

Nec meum respectet, ut ante, amorem,

Qui illius culpa cecidit velut prati

Vltimi flos, praeter eunte postquam

Tactus aratrost.

xi.

A Parting Insult to Lesbia.

Furius and Aurelius, Catullus’ friends,

Whether extremest Indian shore he brave,

Strands where far-resounding billow rends

The shattered wave,

Or ‘mid Hyrcanians dwell he, Arabs soft and wild, 5

Sacæ and Parthians of the arrow fain,

Or where the Seven-mouth’d Nilus mud-defiled

Tinges the Main,

Or climb he lofty Alpine Crest and note

Works monumental, Cæsar’s grandeur telling, 10

Rhine Gallic, horrid Ocean and remote

Britons low-dwelling;

All these (whatever shall the will design

Of Heaven-homed Gods) Oh ye prepared to tempt;

Announce your briefest to that damsel mine 15

In words unkempt:—

Live she and love she wenchers several,

Embrace three hundred wi’ the like requitals,

None truly loving and withal of all

Bursting the vitals: 20

My love regard she not, my love of yore,

Which fell through fault of her, as falls the fair

Last meadow-floret whenas passed it o’er

Touch of the share.

Furius and Aurelius, comrades of Catullus, whether he penetrate to furthest Ind where the strand is lashed by the far-echoing Eoan surge, or whether ‘midst the Hyrcans or soft Arabs, or whether the Sacians or quiver-bearing Parthians, or where the seven-mouthed Nile encolours the sea, or whether he traverse the lofty Alps, gazing at the monuments of mighty Caesar, the gallic Rhine, the dismal and remotest Britons, all these, whatever the Heavens’ Will may bear, prepared at once to attempt — bear ye to my girl this brief message of no fair speech. May she live and flourish with her swivers, of whom may she hold at once embraced the full three hundred, loving not one in real truth, but bursting again and again the flanks of all: nor may she look upon my love as before, she whose own guile slew it, e’en as a flower on the greensward’s verge, after the touch of the passing plough.

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Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:37