The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus


Esti me adsiduo confectum cura dolore

Sevocat a doctis, Ortale, virginibus,

Nec potisest dulces Musarum expromere fetus

Mens animi, (tantis fluctuat ipsa malis:

Namque mei nuper Lethaeo gurgite fratris 5

Pallidulum manans adluit unda pedem,

Troia Rhoeteo quem subter littore tellus

Ereptum nostris obterit ex oculis.

Adloquar, audiero numquam tua facta loquentem,

Numquam ego te, vita frater amabilior, 10

Aspiciam posthac. at certe semper amabo,

Semper maesta tua carmina morte canam,

Qualia sub densis ramorum concinit umbris

Daulias absumpti fata gemens Itylei)—

Sed tamen in tantis maeroribus, Ortale, mitto 15

Haec expressa tibi carmina Battiadae,

Ne tua dicta vagis nequiquam credita ventis

Effluxisse meo forte putes animo,

Vt missum sponsi furtivo munere malum

Procurrit casto virginis e gremio, 20

Quod miserae oblitae molli sub veste locatum,

Dum adventu matris prosilit, excutitur:

Atque illud prono praeceps agitur decursu,

Huic manat tristi conscius ore rubor.


To Hortalus Lamenting a Lost Brother.

Albeit care that consumes, with dule assiduous grieving,

Me from the Learnèd Maids (Hortalus!) ever seclude,

Nor can avail sweet births of the Muses thou to deliver

Thought o’ my mind; (so much floats it on flooding of ills:

For that the Lethe-wave upsurging of late from abysses, 5

Lavèd my brother’s foot, paling with pallor of death,

He whom the Trojan soil, Rhoetean shore underlying,

Buries for ever and aye, forcibly snatched from our sight.

I can address; no more shall I hear thee tell of thy doings,

Say, shall I never again, brother all liefer than life, 10

Sight thee henceforth? But I will surely love thee for ever

Ever what songs I sing saddened shall be by thy death;

Such as the Daulian bird ‘neath gloom of shadowy frondage

Warbles, of Itys lost ever bemoaning the lot.)

Yet amid grief so great to thee, my Hortalus, send I 15

These strains sung to a mode borrowed from Battiades;

Lest shouldest weet of me thy words, to wandering wind-gusts

Vainly committed, perchance forth of my memory flowed —

As did that apple sent for a furtive giftie by wooer,

In the chaste breast of the Maid hidden a-sudden out-sprang; 20

For did the hapless forget when in loose-girt garment it lurkèd,

Forth would it leap as she rose, scared by her mother’s approach,

And while coursing headlong, it rolls far out of her keeping,

O’er the triste virgin’s brow flushes the conscious blush.

Though outspent with care and unceasing grief, I am withdrawn, Ortalus, from the learned Virgins, nor is my soul’s mind able to bring forth sweet babes of the Muses (so much does it waver ‘midst ills: for but lately the wave of the Lethean stream doth lave with its flow the pallid foot of my brother, whom ‘neath the Rhoetean seaboard the Trojan soil doth crush, thrust from our eyesight. * * * Never again may I salute thee, nor hear thy converse; never again, O brother, more loved than life, may I see thee in aftertime. But for all time in truth will I love thee, always will I sing elegies made gloomy by thy death, such as the Daulian bird pipes ‘neath densest shades of foliage, lamenting the lot of slain Itys.) Yet ‘midst sorrows so deep, O Ortalus, I send thee these verses recast from Battiades, lest thou shouldst credit thy words by chance have slipt from my mind, given o’er to the wandering winds, as ’twas with that apple, sent as furtive love-token by the wooer, which outleapt from the virgin’s chaste bosom; for, placed by the hapless girl ‘neath her soft vestment, and forgotten — when she starts at her mother’s approach, out ’tis shaken: and down it rolls headlong to the ground, whilst a tell-tale flush mantles the face of the distressed girl.

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