The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus


Quaeris, quot mihi basiationes

Tuae, Lesbia, sint satis superque.

Quam magnus numerus Libyssae arenae

Lasarpiciferis iacet Cyrenis,

Oraclum Iovis inter aestuosi 5

Et Batti veteris sacrum sepulcrum,

Aut quam sidera multa, cum tacet nox,

Furtivos hominum vident amores,

Tam te basia multa basiare

Vesano satis et super Catullost, 10

Quae nec pernumerare curiosi

Possint nec mala fascinare lingua.


To Lesbia Still Beloved.

Thou ask’st How many kissing bouts I bore

From thee (my Lesbia!) or be enough or more?

I say what mighty sum of Lybian-sands

Confine Cyrene’s Laserpitium-lands

‘Twixt Oracle of Jove the Swelterer 5

And olden Battus’ holy Sepulchre,

Or stars innumerate through night-stillness ken

The stolen Love-delights of mortal men,

For that to kiss thee with unending kisses

For mad Catullus enough and more be this, 10

Kisses nor curious wight shall count their tale,

Nor to bewitch us evil tongue avail.

Thou askest, how many kisses of thine, Lesbia, may be enough and to spare for me. As the countless Libyan sands which strew the spicy strand of Cyrene ‘twixt the oracle of swelt’ring Jove and the sacred sepulchre of ancient Battus, or as the thronging stars which in the hush of darkness witness the furtive loves of mortals, to kiss thee with kisses of so great a number is enough and to spare for passion-driven Catullus: so many that prying eyes may not avail to number, nor ill tongues to ensorcel.

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