The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus


Siqua recordanti benefacta priora voluptas

Est homini, cum se cogitat esse pium,

Nec sanctam violasse fidem, nec foedere in ullo

Divom ad fallendos numine abusum homines,

Multa parata manent in longa aetate, Catulle, 5

Ex hoc ingrato gaudia amore tibi.

Nam quaecumque homines bene cuiquam aut dicere possunt

Aut facere, haec a te dictaque factaque sunt;

Omniaque ingratae perierunt credita menti.

Quare iam te cur amplius excrucies? 10

Quin tu animo offirmas atque istinc teque reducis

Et dis invitis desinis esse miser?

Difficilest longum subito deponere amorem.

Difficilest, verum hoc quae lubet efficias.

Vna salus haec est, hoc est tibi pervincendum: 15

Hoc facias, sive id non pote sive pote.

O di, si vestrumst misereri, aut si quibus umquam

Extremam iam ipsa morte tulistis opem,

Me miserum aspicite (et, si vitam puriter egi,

Eripite hanc pestem perniciemque mihi), 20

Ei mihi surrepens imos ut torpor in artus

Expulit ex omni pectore laetitias.

Non iam illud quaero, contra me ut diligat illa,

Aut, quod non potisest, esse pudica velit:

Ipse valere opto et taetrum hunc deponere morbum. 25

O di, reddite mi hoc pro pietate mea.


In Self-Gratulation.

If to remember deeds whilòme well done be a pleasure

Meet for a man who deems all of his dealings be just,

Nor Holy Faith ever broke nor in whatever his compact

Sanction of Gods abused better to swindle mankind,

Much there remains for thee during length of living, Catullus, 5

Out of that Love ingrate further to solace thy soul;

For whatever of good can mortal declare of another

Or can avail he do, such thou hast said and hast done;

While to a thankless mind entrusted all of them perisht.

Why, then, crucify self now with a furthering pain? 10

Why not steady thy thoughts and draw thee back from such purpose,

Ceasing wretched to be maugrè the will of the Gods?

Difficult ’tis indeed long Love to depose of a sudden,

Difficult ’tis, yet do e’en as thou deem to be best.

This be thy safe-guard sole; this conquest needs to be conquered; 15

This thou must do, thus act, whether thou cannot or can.

If an ye have (O Gods!) aught ruth, or if you for any

Bring at the moment of death latest assistance to man,

Look upon me (poor me!) and, should I be cleanly of living,

Out of my life deign pluck this my so pestilent plague, 20

Which as a lethargy o’er mine inmost vitals a-creeping,

Hath from my bosom expelled all of what joyance it joyed,

Now will I crave no more she love me e’en as I love her,

Nor (impossible chance!) ever she prove herself chaste:

Would I were only healed and shed this fulsome disorder. 25

Oh Gods, grant me this boon unto my piety due!

If to recall good deeds erewhiles performed be pleasure to a man, when he knows himself to be of probity, nor has violated sacred faith, nor has abused the holy assent of the gods in any pact, to work ill to men; great store of joys awaits thee during thy length of years, O Catullus, sprung from this ingrate love of thine. For whatever of benefit men can say or can do for anyone, such have been thy sayings and thy doings, and all thy confidences have been squandered on an ingrate mind. Wherefore now dost torture thyself further? Why not make firm thy heart and withdraw thyself from that [wretchedness], and cease to be unhappy despite the gods’ will? ’Tis difficult quickly to depose a love of long growth; ’tis difficult, yet it behoves thee to do this. This is thine only salvation, this is thy great victory; this thou must do, whether it be possible or impossible. O gods, if ’tis in you to have mercy, or if ever ye held forth help to men in death’s very extremity, look ye on pitiful me, and if I have acted my life with purity, snatch hence from me this canker and pest, which as a lethargy creeping through my veins and vitals, has cast out every gladness from my breast. Now I no longer pray that she may love me in return, or (what is not possible) that she should become chaste: I wish but for health and to cast aside this shameful complaint. O ye gods, vouchsafe me this in return for my probity.

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