The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus

xx.

Ego haec ego arte fabricata rustica,

Ego arida, o viator, ecce populus

Agellulum hunc, sinistra, tute quem vides,

Herique villulam, hortulumque pauperis

Tuor, malasque furis arceo manus. 5

Mihi corolla picta vero ponitur:

Mihi rubens arista sole fervido:

Mihi virente dulcis uva pampino:

Mihique glauca duro oliva frigore.

Meis capella delicata pascuis 10

In urbem adulta lacte portat ubera:

Meisque pinguis agnus ex ovilibus

Gravem domum remittit aere dexteram:

Tenerque, matre mugiente, vaccula

Deum profundit ante templa sanguinem. 15

Proin’, viator, hunc Deum vereberis,

Manumque sorsum habebis hoc tibi expedit.

Parata namque crux, sine arte mentula.

Velim pol, inquis: at pol ecce, villicus

Venit: valente cui revulsa brachio 20

Fit ista mentula apta clava dexterae.

xx.

To Priapus.

I thuswise fashionèd by rustic art

And from dried poplar-trunk (O traveller!) hewn,

This fieldlet, leftwards as thy glances fall,

And my lord’s cottage with his pauper garth

Protect, repelling thieves’ rapacious hands. 5

In spring with vari-coloured wreaths I’m crown’d,

In fervid summer with the glowing grain,

Then with green vine-shoot and the luscious bunch,

And glaucous olive-tree in bitter cold.

The dainty she-goat from my pasture bears 10

Her milk-distended udders to the town:

Out of my sheep-cotes ta’en the fatted lamb

Sends home with silver right-hand heavily charged;

And, while its mother lows, the tender calf

Before the temples of the Gods must bleed. 15

Hence of such Godhead, (traveller!) stand in awe,

Best it befits thee off to keep thy hands.

Thy cross is ready, shaped as artless yard;

“I’m willing, ‘faith” (thou say’st) but ‘faith here comes

The boor, and plucking forth with bended arm 20

Makes of this tool a club for doughty hand.

I, O traveller, shaped with rustic art from a dry poplar, guard this little field which thou seest on the left, and the cottage and small garden of its indigent owner, and keep off the greedy hands of the robber. In spring a many-tinted wreath is placed upon me; in summer’s heat ruddy grain; [in autumn] a luscious grape cluster with vine-shoots, and in the bitter cold the pale-green olive. The tender she-goat bears from my pasture to the town milk-distended udders; the well-fattened lamb from my sheepfolds sends back [its owner] with a heavy handful of money; and the tender calf, ‘midst its mother’s lowings, sheds its blood before the temple of the Gods. Hence, wayfarer, thou shalt be in awe of this God, and it will be profitable to thee to keep thy hands off. For a punishment is prepared — a roughly-shaped mentule. “Truly, I am willing,” thou sayest; then, truly, behold the farmer comes, and that same mentule plucked from my groin will become an apt cudgel in his strong right hand.

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