The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus


Miser Catulle, desinas ineptire,

Et quod vides perisse perditum ducas.

Fulsere quondam candidi tibi soles,

Cum ventitabas quo puella ducebat

Amata nobis quantum amabitur nulla. 5

Ibi illa multa tum iocosa fiebant,

Quae tu volebas nec puella nolebat.

Fulsere vere candidi tibi soles.

Nunc iam illa non vult: tu quoque, inpotens, noli

Nec quae fugit sectare, nec miser vive, 10

Sed obstinata mente perfer, obdura.

Vale, puella. iam Catullus obdurat,

Nec te requiret nec rogabit invitam:

At tu dolebis, cum rogaberis nulla.

Scelesta, vae te! quae tibi manet vita! 15

Quis nunc te adibit? cui videberis bella?

Quem nunc amabis? cuius esse diceris?

Quem basiabis? cui labella mordebis?

At tu, Catulle, destinatus obdura.


To Himself Recounting Lesbia’s Inconstancy.

Woe-full Catullus! cease to play the fool

And what thou seest dead as dead regard!

Whilòme the sheeniest suns for thee did shine

When oft-a-tripping whither led the girl

By us belovèd, as shall none be loved. 5

There all so merry doings then were done

After thy liking, nor the girl was loath.

Then certès sheeniest suns for thee did shine.

Now she’s unwilling: thou too (hapless!) will

Her flight to follow, and sad life to live: 10

Endure with stubborn soul and still obdure.

Damsel, adieu! Catullus obdurate grown

Nor seeks thee, neither asks of thine unwill;

Yet shalt thou sorrow when none woos thee more;

Reprobate! Woe to thee! What life remains? 15

Who now shall love thee? Who’ll think thee fair?

Whom now shalt ever love? Whose wilt be called?

To whom shalt kisses give? whose liplets nip?

But thou (Catullus!) destiny-doomed obdure.

Unhappy Catullus, cease thy trifling and what thou seest lost know to be lost. Once bright days used to shine on thee when thou wert wont to haste whither thy girl didst lead thee, loved by us as never girl will e’er be loved. There those many joys were joyed which thou didst wish, nor was the girl unwilling. In truth bright days used once to shine on thee. Now she no longer wishes: thou too, powerless to avail, must be unwilling, nor pursue the retreating one, nor live unhappy, but with firm-set mind endure, steel thyself. Farewell, girl, now Catullus steels himself, seeks thee not, nor entreats thy acquiescence. But thou wilt pine, when thou hast no entreaty proffered. Faithless, go thy way! what manner of life remaineth to thee? who now will visit thee? who find thee beautiful? whom wilt thou love now? whose girl wilt thou be called? whom wilt thou kiss? whose lips wilt thou bite? But thou, Catullus, remain hardened as steel.

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