The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus

lxxxviii.

Quid facit is, Gelli, qui cum matre atque sorore

Prurit et abiectis pervigilat tunicis?

Quid facit is, patruom qui non sinit esse maritum?

Ecqui scis quantum suscipiat sceleris?

Suscipit, o Gelli, quantum non ultima Tethys 5

Nec genitor lympharum abluit Oceanus:

Nam nihil est quicquam sceleris, quo prodeat ultra,

Non si demisso se ipse voret capite.

lxxxviii.

To Gellius.

What may he (Gellius!) do that ever for mother and sister

Itches and wakes thro’ the nights, working wi’ tunic bedoffed?

What may he do who nills his uncle ever be husband?

Wottest thou how much he ventures of sacrilege-sin?

Ventures he (O Gellius!) what ne’er can ultimate Tethys 5

Wash from his soul, nor yet Ocean, watery sire.

For that of sin there’s naught wherewith this sin can exceed he

—— his head on himself.

What does he, Gellius, who with mother and sister itches and keeps vigils with tunics cast aside? What does he, who suffers not his uncle to be a husband? Dost thou know the weight of crime he takes upon himself? He takes, O Gellius, such store as not furthest Tethys nor Oceanus, progenitor of waters, can cleanse: for there is nothing of any crime which can go further, not though with lowered head he swallow himself.

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