ILLE MI PAR ESSE DEO
VIDETUR ...
THAT MAN I JUDGE THE EQUAL
OF A GOD ...
Catullus (Gaius Valerius Catullus) tr. Colin Sydenham
Ille mi par esse deo videtur,
ille, si fas est, superare divos,
qui sedens adversus identidem te
.....spectat et audit

dulce ridentem, misero quod omnis
eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te,
Lesbia, aspexi nihil est super mi
.....vocis in ore,

lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus
flamma demanat, sonitu suopte
tintinant aures, gemina teguntur
.....lumina nocte.

otium, Catulle, tibi molestum est:
otio exsultas nimiumque gestis:
otium et reges prius et beatas
.....perdidit urbes.
That man I judge the equal of a god,
or higher still, if such a thing can be,
who seats himself where he can see and hear
.....repeatedly

your lilting laughter, which bewitches all
my senses, Lesbia; the moment I
lay eyes on you Iím helpless, all my flow
.....of words runs dry,

my tongue is stilled, a febrile heat seeps through
my limbs, my ears with inner jangling grate,
a canopy of darkness falls, which neither eye
.....can penetrate.

Leisure is your besetting vice, Catullus,
you overdose on its addictive pleasure;
royal lines and wealthy city-states have been
.....destroyed by leisure.

Trans. Copyright © Colin Sydenham 2006


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