The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus


Flavi, delicias tuas Catullo,

Nei sint inlepidae atque inelegantes,

Velles dicere, nec tacere posses.

Verum nescioquid febriculosi

Scorti diligis: hoc pudet fateri. 5

Nam te non viduas iacere noctes

Nequiquam tacitum cubile clamat

Sertis ac Syrio fragrans olivo,

Pulvinusque peraeque et hic et ille

Attritus, tremulique quassa lecti 10

Argutatio inambulatioque.

Nam nil stupra valet, nihil, tacere.

Cur? non tam latera ecfututa pandas,

Nei tu quid facias ineptiarum.

Quare quidquid habes boni malique, 15

Dic nobis. volo te ac tuos amores

Ad caelum lepido vocare versu.


To Flavius: Mis-Speaking His Mistress.

Thy Charmer (Flavius!) to Catullus’ ear

Were she not manner’d mean and worst in wit

Perforce thou hadst praised nor couldst silence keep.

But some enfevered jade, I wot-not-what,

Some piece thou lovest, blushing this to own. 5

For, nowise ‘customed widower nights to lie

Thou ‘rt ever summoned by no silent bed

With flow’r-wreaths fragrant and with Syrian oil,

By mattress, bolsters, here, there, everywhere

Deep-dinted, and by quaking, shaking couch 10

All crepitation and mobility.

Explain! none whoredoms (no!) shall close my lips.

Why? such outfuttered flank thou ne’er wouldst show

Had not some fulsome work by thee been wrought.

Then what thou holdest, boon or bane be pleased 15

Disclose! For thee and thy beloved fain would I

Upraise to Heaven with my liveliest lay.

O Flavius, of thy sweetheart to Catullus thou would’st speak, nor could’st thou keep silent, were she not both ill-mannered and ungraceful. In truth thou affectest I know not what hot-blooded whore: this thou art ashamed to own. For that thou dost not lie alone a-nights thy couch, fragrant with garlands and Syrian unguent, in no way mute cries out, and eke the pillow and bolsters indented here and there, and the creakings and joggings of the quivering bed: unless thou canst silence these, nothing and again nothing avails thee to hide thy whoredoms. And why? Thou wouldst not display such drainèd flanks unless occupied in some tomfoolery. Wherefore, whatsoever thou hast, be it good or ill, tell us! I wish to laud thee and thy loves to the sky in joyous verse.

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