ADESTE HENDECASYLLABI ...THE WRITING TABLETS:
TO THE HENDECASYLLABLES
Catullus (Gaius Valerius Catullus)tr. A. S. Kline
adeste hendecasyllabi. quot estis
omnes. undique quotquot estis omnes.
iocum me putat esse moecha turpis.
et negat mihi nostra reddituram
pugillaria si pati potestis.
persequamur eam. et reflagitemus.
quae sit quaeritis. illa quam uidetis
turpe incedere mimice ac moleste
ridentem catuli ore Gallicani.
circumsistite eam. et reflagitate.
moecha putida. redde codicillos.
redde putida moecha codicillos.
non assis facis. o lutum. lupanar,
aut si perditius potest quid esse.
sed non est tamen hoc satis putandum
quod si non aliud potest ruborem
ferreo canis exprimamus ore.
conclamate iterum altiore uoce.
moecha putida. redde codicillos.
redde putida moecha codicillos.
sed nil proficimus. nihil mouetur
mutanda est ratio modusque uobis
siquid proficere amplius potestis,
pudica et proba. redde codicillos.
Come, hendecasyllables, all that there are
and from every side, as many as are.
A base adulteress thinks I’m a joke,
and refuses to give me my tablets
once more, if you’d believe it.
We’ll follow her: ask for them back.
Which one, you may ask? The one you can see
strutting disgracefully, laughing ridiculously,
maddening, with the jaws of a Gaulish bitch.
Surround her: ask for them back:
‘Stinking adulteress, give back my letters,
give back, stinking adulteress, my letters!’
You won’t? O to the mire, the brothel,
or if anything can be more ruinous, then that!
But still don’t think that’s enough.
Call her again in a louder voice:
‘Stinking adulteress, give back my letters,
give back, stinking adulteress, my letters!’
But it’s no use: nothing disturbs her.
We’d better change methods and tactics,
if we want them to be of more use to us:
let’s see if we can’t get a blush
from that bitch’s brazen face.:
‘Honest and chaste one, give back my letters.’

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

Transl. Copyright © A. S. Kline 2003


next
index
translator's next