HESTERNO, LICINI, DIE OTIOSI ... A DAY THAT WAS ALL HOLIDAY ...
Catullus (Gaius Valerius Catullus) tr. Humphrey Clucas
Hesterno, Licini, die otiosi
multum lusimus in meis tabellis,
ut convenerat esse delicatos:
scribens versiculos uterque nostrum
ludebat numero modo hoc modo illoc,
reddens mutua per iocum atque vinum.
Atque illinc abii tuo lepore
incensus, Licini, facetiisque,
ut nec me miserum cibus iuvaret
nec somnus tegeret quiete ocellos,
sed toto indomitus furore lecto
versarer, cupiens videre lucem,
ut tecum loquerer simulque ut essem.
At defessa labore membra postquam
semimortua lectulo iacebant,
hoc, iucunde, tibi poema feci,
ex quo perspiceres meum dolorem.
Nunc audax cave sis, precesque nostras,
oramus, cave despuas, ocelle,
ne poenas Nemesis reposcat a te.
Est vemens dea: laedere hanc caveto.
A day that was all holiday,
Licinius; a day of games -
Sophisticated, by arrangement;
A day scribbling epigrams.
Each followed his quick fancy,
Now one metre, now another,
Taking turns, while the wine and laughter
Flowed. I came away so roused
By your sharp wit, Licinius,
That I couldn't eat, or sleep either.
Open-eyed, I spent a restless
Night tossing around my bed,
Longing for dawn - another meeting,
More talk. But when at last
I could lie still, half-alive
And quite exhausted, I wrote this,
My friend, so that you'd know my need.
Don't be proud - and don't refuse
My invitation. Nemesis
Is a strict goddess, quick to punish;
Take care not to offend her.

Transl. Copyright © Humphrey Clucas 1985 - publ. Agenda Editions & Hippopotamus Press


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