The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus


Oramus, si forte non molestumst,

Demostres, ubi sint tuae tenebrae.

Te campo quaesivimus minore,

Te in circo, te in omnibus libellis,

Te in templo summi Iovis sacrato. 5

In Magni simul ambulatione

Femellas omnes, amice, prendi,

Quas vultu vidi tamen serenas.

A, vel te sic ipse flagitabam,

‘Camerium mihi, pessimae puellae.’ 10

Quaedam inquit, nudum sinum reducens,

‘En heic in roseis latet papillis.’

Sed te iam ferre Herculei labos est. 13

Non custos si fingar ille Cretum, 23

Non si Pegaseo ferar volatu,

Non Ladas ego pinnipesve Perseus, 25

Non Rhesi nivea citaque biga:

Adde huc plumipedes volatilesque,

Ventorumque simul require cursum:

Quos cunctos, Cameri, mihi dicares,

Defessus tamen omnibus medullis 30

Et multis langoribus peresus

Essem te mihi, amice, quaeritando. 32

Tanto ten fastu negas, amice? 14

Dic nobis ubi sis futurus, ede

Audacter, conmitte, crede lucei.

Num te lacteolae tenent puellae?

Si linguam clauso tenes in ore,

Fructus proicies amoris omnes:

Verbosa gaudet Venus loquella. 20

Vel si vis, licet obseres palatum,

Dum vostri sim particeps amoris.


Of His Friend Camerius.

We pray, an’ haply irk it not when prayed,

Show us where shadowed hidest thou in shade!

Thee throughout Campus Minor sought we all,

Thee in the Circus, thee in each bookstall,

Thee in Almighty Jove’s fane consecrate. 5

Nor less in promenade titled from The Great

(Friend!) I accosted each and every quean,

But mostly madams showing mien serene,

For thee I pestered all with many pleas —

“Give me Camérius, wanton baggages!” 10

Till answered certain one a-baring breasts

“Lo, ‘twixt these rosy paps he haply rests!”

But now to find thee were Herculean feat. 13

Not if I feignèd me that guard of Crete, 23

Not if with Pegasèan wing I sped,

Or Ladas I or Perseus plumiped, 25

Or Rhesus borne in swifty car snow-white:

Add the twain foot-bewing’d and fast of flight,

And of the cursive winds require the blow:

All these (Camérius!) couldst on me bestow.

Tho’ were I wearied to each marrow bone 30

And by many o’ languors clean forgone

Yet I to seek thee (friend!) would still assay. 32

In such proud lodging (friend) wouldst self denay? 14

Tell us where haply dwell’st thou, speak outright,

Be bold and risk it, trusting truth to light,

Say do these milk-white girls thy steps detain?

If aye in tight-sealed lips thy tongue remain,

All Amor’s fruitage thou shalt cast away:

Verbose is Venus, loving verbal play! 20

But, an it please thee, padlockt palate bear,

So in your friendship I have partner-share.

We beg, if maybe ’tis not untoward, thou’lt shew us where may be thine haunt sequestered. Thee did we quest within the Lesser Fields, thee in the Circus, thee in every bookshop, thee in holy fane of highmost Jove. In promenade yclept “The Great,” the crowd of cocottes straightway did I stop, O friend, accosting those whose looks I noted were unruffled. And for thee loudly did I clamour, “Restore to me Camerius, most giddy girls.” Quoth such-an-one, her bosom bare a-shewing, “Look! ‘twixt rose-red paps he shelters him.” But labour ’tis of Hercules thee now to find. Not were I framed the Cretan guard, nor did I move with Pegasean wing, nor were I Ladas, or Persius with the flying foot, or Rhesus with swift and snowy team: to these add thou the feathery-footed and winged ones, ask likewise fleetness of the winds: which all united, O Camerius, couldst thou me grant, yet exhausted in mine every marrow and with many a faintness consumed should I be in my quest for thee, O friend. Why withdraw thyself in so much pride, O friend? Tell us where thou wilt be found, declare it boldly, give up the secret, trust it to the light. What, do the milk-white maidens hold thee? If thou dost hold thy tongue closed up in mouth, thou squanderest Love’s every fruit: for Venus joys in many-worded babblings. Yet if thou wishest, thou mayst bar thy palate, if I may be a sharer in thy love.

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