The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus

l.

Hesterno, Licini, die otiosi

Multum lusimus in meis tabellis,

Vt convenerat esse delicatos.

Scribens versiculos uterque nostrum

Ludebat numero modo hoc modo illoc, 5

Reddens mutua per iocum atque vinum.

Atque illinc abii tuo lepore

Incensus, Licini, facetiisque,

Vt nec me miserum cibus iuvaret,

Nec somnus tegeret quiete ocellos, 10

Sed toto indomitus furore lecto

Versarer cupiens videre lucem,

Vt tecum loquerer, simulque ut essem.

At defessa labore membra postquam

Semimortua lectulo iacebant, 15

Hoc, iocunde, tibi poema feci,

Ex quo perspiceres meum dolorem.

Nunc audax cave sis, precesque nostras,

Oramus, cave despuas, ocelle,

Ne poenas Nemesis reposcat a te. 20

Est vemens dea: laedere hanc caveto.

l.

To His Friend Licinius.

Idly (Licinius!) we our yesterday,

Played with my tablets much as pleased us play,

In mode becoming souls of dainty strain.

Inditing verses either of us twain

Now in one measure then in other line 5

We rang the changes amid wit and wine.

Then fared I homewards by thy fun so fired

And by thy jests (Licinius!) so inspired,

Nor food my hapless appetite availed

Nor sleep in quiet rest my eyelids veiled, 10

But o’er the bedstead wild in furious plight

I tossed a-longing to behold the light,

So I might talk wi’ thee, and be wi’ thee.

But when these wearied limbs from labour free

Were on my couchlet strewn half-dead to lie, 15

For thee (sweet wag!) this poem for thee wrote I,

Whereby thou mete and weet my cark and care.

Now be not over-bold, nor this our prayer

Outspit thou (apple of mine eyes!): we pray

Lest doom thee Nemesis hard pain repay:— 20

She’s a dire Goddess, ‘ware thou cross her way.

Yestreen, Licinius, in restful day, much mirthful verse we flashed upon my tablets, as became us, men of fancy. Each jotting versicles in turn sported first in this metre then in that, exchanging mutual epigrams ‘midst jokes and wine. But I departed thence, afire, Licinius, with thy wit and drolleries, so that food was useless to my wretched self; nor could sleep close mine eyes in quiet, but all o’er the bed in restless fury did I toss, longing to behold daylight that with thee I might speak, and again we might be together. But afterwards, when my limbs, weakened by my restless labours, lay stretched in semi-death upon the bed, this poem, O jocund one, I made for thee, from which thou mayst perceive my dolour. Now ‘ware thee of presumptuousness, and our pleadings ‘ware thee of rejecting, we pray thee, eye-babe of ours, lest Nemesis exact her dues from thee. She is a forceful Goddess; ‘ware her wrath.

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