MISER CATULLE, DESINAS INEPTIRE ... POOR OLD CATULLUS ...
Catullus (Gaius Valerius Catullus) tr. Colin Sydenham
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.
ibi illa multa tum iocosa fiebant,
quae tu volebas nec puella nolebat.
fulsere vere candidi tibi soles.
nunc iam illa non vult: tu quoque, impotens, noli,
nec quae fugit sectare, nec miser vive,
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!
quis nunc te adibit? cui videberis bella?
quem nunc amabis? cuius esse diceris?
quem basiabis? cui labella mordebis?
at tu, Catulle, destinatus obdura.
Poor old Catullus, make an end of this nonsense.
You know it’s over; time to write off all losses.
There was a time when every day for you dawned bright,
when all your journeyings were in a girl’s footsteps,
(a girl more loved than I shall ever love henceforth),
when happy intimacies used to be savoured,
your special wishes which she would indulge gladly -
truly a time when every day for you dawned bright.
Now she has changed her mind; you have no choice, change yours.
Don’t chase her now she’s gone, don’t make your life wretched,
but steel your heart, endure, learn to become granite.
Farewell then, girl, Catullus has become granite;
no calling back, no more importunate coaxing.
But you’ll be sorry when demand for you dries up.
Alas, what kind of life awaits you now, hard-heart?
Who’ll come near you? Who’ll think the world of your beauty?
Whom will you love? To whom will every tongue link you?
Whom will you kiss? Whose lips will your fierce teeth damage?
But you, Catullus, persevere, remain granite.

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Trans. Copyright © Colin Sydenham 2006


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