The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus


Lugete, o Veneres Cupidinesque,

Et quantumst hominum venustiorum.

Passer mortuus est meae puellae,

Passer, deliciae meae puellae,

Quem plus illa oculis suis amabat: 5

Nam mellitus erat suamque norat

Ipsa tam bene quam puella matrem

Nec sese a gremio illius movebat,

Sed circumsiliens modo huc modo illuc

Ad solam dominam usque pipiabat. 10

Qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum

Illuc, unde negant redire quemquam.

At vobis male sit, malae tenebrae

Orci, quae omnia bella devoratis:

Tam bellum mihi passerem abstulistis. 15

O factum male! io miselle passer!

Tua nunc opera meae puellae

Flendo turgiduli rubent ocelli.


On the Death of Lesbia’s Sparrow.

Weep every Venus, and all Cupids wail,

And men whose gentler spirits still prevail.

Dead is the Sparrow of my girl, the joy,

Sparrow, my sweeting’s most delicious toy,

Whom loved she dearer than her very eyes; 5

For he was honeyed-pet and anywise

Knew her, as even she her mother knew;

Ne’er from her bosom’s harbourage he flew

But ‘round her hopping here, there, everywhere,

Piped he to none but her his lady fair. 10

Now must he wander o’er the darkling way

Thither, whence life-return the Fates denay.

But ah! beshrew you, evil Shadows low’ring

In Orcus ever loveliest things devouring:

Who bore so pretty a Sparrow fro’ her ta’en. 15

(Oh hapless birdie and Oh deed of bane!)

Now by your wanton work my girl appears

With turgid eyelids tinted rose by tears.

Mourn ye, O ye Loves and Cupids and all men of gracious mind. Dead is the sparrow of my girl, sparrow, sweetling of my girl. Which more than her eyes she loved; for sweet as honey was it and its mistress knew, as well as damsel knoweth her own mother nor from her bosom did it rove, but hopping round first one side then the other, to its mistress alone it evermore did chirp. Now does it fare along that path of shadows whence naught may e’er return. Ill be to ye, savage glooms of Orcus, which swallow up all things of fairness: which have snatched away from me the comely sparrow. O deed of bale! O sparrow sad of plight! Now on thy account my girl’s sweet eyes, swollen, do redden with tear-drops.

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