The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus, by Catullus


Surripui tibi, dum ludis, mellite Iuventi,

Suaviolum dulci dulcius ambrosia.

Verum id non inpune tuli: namque amplius horam

Suffixum in summa me memini esse cruce,

Dum tibi me purgo nec possum fletibus ullis 5

Tantillum vostrae demere saevitiae.

Nam simul id factumst, multis diluta labella

Abstersti guttis omnibus articulis,

Ne quicquam nostro contractum ex ore maneret,

Tamquam conmictae spurca saliva lupae. 10

Praeterea infesto miserum me tradere Amori

Non cessasti omnique excruciare modo,

Vt mi ex ambrosia mutatum iam foret illud

Suaviolum tristi tristius helleboro.

Quam quoniam poenam misero proponis amori, 15

Numquam iam posthac basia surripiam.


To Juventius.

E’en as thou played’st, from thee snatched I (O honied Juventius!)

Kisslet of savour so sweet sweetest Ambrosia unknows.

Yet was the theft nowise scot-free, for more than an hour I

Clearly remember me fixt hanging from crest of the Cross,

Whatwhile I purged my sin unto thee nor with any weeping 5

Tittle of cruel despite such as be thine could I ‘bate.

For that no sooner done thou washed thy liplets with many

Drops which thy fingers did wipe, using their every joint,

Lest of our mouths conjoined remain there aught by the contact

Like unto slaver foul shed by the butterèd bun. 10

Further, wretchedmost me betrayed to unfriendliest Love-god

Never thou ceased’st to pain hurting with every harm,

So that my taste be turned and kisses ambrosial erstwhile

Even than hellebore-juice bitterest bitterer grow.

Seeing such pangs as these prepared for unfortunate lover, 15

After this never again kiss will I venture to snatch.

I snatched from thee, whilst thou wast sporting, O honied Juventius, a kiss sweeter than sweet ambrosia. But I bore it off not unpunished; for more than an hour do I remember myself hung on the summit of the cross, whilst I purged myself [for my crime] to thee, nor could any tears in the least remove your anger. For instantly it was done, thou didst bathe thy lips with many drops, and didst cleanse them with every finger-joint, lest anything remained from the conjoining of our mouths, as though it were the obscene slaver of a fetid fricatrice. Nay, more, thou hast handed wretched me over to despiteful Love, nor hast thou ceased to agonize me in every way, so that for me that kiss is now changed from ambrosia to be harsher than harsh hellebore. Since thou dost award such punishment to wretched amourist, never more after this will I steal kisses.

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