The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus


Ni te plus oculis meis amarem,

Iocundissime Calve, munere isto

Odissem te odio Vatiniano:

Nam quid feci ego quidve sum locutus,

Cur me tot male perderes poetis? 5

Isti di mala multa dent clienti,

Qui tantum tibi misit inpiorum.

Quod si, ut suspicor, hoc novum ac repertum

Munus dat tibi Sulla litterator,

Non est mi male, sed bene ac beate, 10

Quod non dispereunt tui labores.

Di magni, horribilem et sacrum libellum

Quem tu scilicet ad tuum Catullum

Misti, continuo ut die periret,

Saturnalibus, optimo dierum! 15

Non non hoc tibi, salse, sic abibit:

Nam, si luxerit, ad librariorum

Curram scrinia, Caesios, Aquinos,

Suffenum, omnia colligam venena,

Ac te his suppliciis remunerabor. 20

Vos hinc interea (valete) abite

Illuc, unde malum pedem attulistis,

Saecli incommoda, pessimi poetae.


Siqui forte mearum ineptiarum

Lectores eritis manusque vestras 25

Non horrebitis admovere nobis,


To Calvus, Acknowledging His Poems.

Did I not liefer love thee than my eyes

(Winsomest Calvus!), for that gift of thine

Certès I’d hate thee with Vatinian hate.

Say me, how came I, or by word or deed,

To cause thee plague me with so many a bard? 5

The Gods deal many an ill to such a client,

Who sent of impious wights to thee such crowd.

But if (as guess I) this choice boon new-found

To thee from “Commentator” Sulla come,

None ill I hold it — well and welcome ’tis, 10

For that thy labours ne’er to death be doom’d.

Great Gods! What horrid booklet damnable

Unto thine own Catullus thou (perdie!)

Did send, that ever day by day die he

In Saturnalia, first of festivals. 15

No! No! thus shall’t not pass wi’ thee, sweet wag,

For I at dawning day will scour the booths

Of bibliopoles, Aquinii, Cæsii and

Suffenus, gather all their poison-trash

And with such torments pay thee for thy pains. 20

Now for the present hence, adieu! begone

Thither, whence came ye, brought by luckless feet,

Pests of the Century, ye pernicious Poets.


An of my trifles peradventure chance

You to be readers, and the hands of you 25

Without a shudder unto us be offer’d

Did I not love thee more than mine eyes, O most jocund Calvus, for thy gift I should abhor thee with Vatinian abhorrence. For what have I done or what have I said that thou shouldst torment me so vilely with these poets? May the gods give that client of thine ills enow, who sent thee so much trash! Yet if, as I suspect, this new and care-picked gift, Sulla, the litterateur, gives thee, it is not ill to me, but well and beatific, that thy labours [in his cause] are not made light of. Great gods, what a horrible and accurst book which, forsooth, thou hast sent to thy Catullus that he might die of boredom the livelong day in the Saturnalia, choicest of days! No, no, my joker, this shall not leave thee so: for at daydawn I will haste to the booksellers’ cases; the Caesii, the Aquini, Suffenus, every poisonous rubbish will I collect that I may repay thee with these tortures. Meantime (farewell ye) hence depart ye from here, whither an ill foot brought ye, pests of the period, puniest of poetasters.

If by chance ye ever be readers of my triflings and ye will not quake to lay your hands upon us,

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52