SIQUA RECORDANTI BENEFACTA ... IF A MAN CAN TAKE PLEASURE ...
Catullus (Gaius Valerius Catullus) tr. Colin Sydenham
Siqua recordanti benefacta priora voluptas
.....est homini, cum se cogitat esse pium,
nec sanctam violasse fidem, nec foedere in ullo
.....divum ad fallendos numine abusum homines,
multa parata manent in longa aetate, Catulle,
.....ex hoc ingrato gaudia amore tibi.
nam quaecumque homines bene cuiquam aut dicere
..............................possunt
.....aut facere, haec a te dictaque factaque sunt.

omnia quae ingratae perierunt credita menti.
.....quare iam te cur amplius excrucies?
quin tu animo offirmas atque istinc teque reducis,
.....et dis invitis desinis esse miser?

difficile est longum subito deponere amorem,
.....difficile est, verum hoc qua lubet efficias:
una salus haec est, hoc est tibi pervincendum,
.....hoc facias, sive id non pote sive pote.

o di, si vestrum est misereri, aut si quibus umquam
.....extremam iam ipsa in morte tulistis opem,
me miserum aspicite et, si vitam puriter egi,
.....eripite hanc pestem perniciemque mihi,
quae mihi subrepens imos ut torpor in artus
.....expulit ex omni pectore laetitias.

non iam illud quaero, contra ut me diligat illa,
.....aut, quod non potis est, esse pudica velit:
ipse valere opto et taetrum hunc deponere morbum.
.....o di, reddite mi hoc pro pietate mea.
If a man can take pleasure in calling to mind all the times he has done
.....what his duty required, all the benefits he has conferred,
how he never has cheated his neighbour by breaking his oath to the gods,
.....nor departed one jot from his solemnly covenanted word,
then, Catullus, this wretched and thankless affair has provided for you
.....a store of enjoyment to lighten the lifetime ahead,
for whatever the deed or the word by which man can advantage a friend,

.....by you that deed has been done and that word has been said.

But all of your efforts were futile, on heedless ingratitude wasted;
.....why then should you suffer such heartbreaking pain any more?
The gods are against you, itís time to stop all this misery; come,
.....you must harden your heart, from this hopeless position withdraw.

Itís a difficult deed to cut off a long-standing affair at a stroke,
.....but by hook or by crook you must pull off this difficult deed;
itís undoable, yet you must do it, must tackle and conquer the task,
.....for by no other means can recovery be guaranteed.

Ye gods, if you ever take pity on men, or if ever you have
.....saved any poor wretch from the jaws of deathís final extremity,
look kindly on me, if my life has been honest, and succour me now,
.....and wrench me away from this plague, this accursed calamity,
this creeping paralysis which has invaded the whole of my body
.....and every last vestige of joy from my heart has displaced.

My prayer is no longer that she should come to return my affection,
.....nor yet that she conquer her nature and learn to be chaste.
For the sake of my dutiful efforts, pray grant me these desperate pleas:
.....restore me to health; cleanse me of this filthy disease.

Trans. Copyright © Colin Sydenham 2006


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