ORAMUS, SI FORTE NON
MOLESTUM EST...
PLEASE TELL ME - THAT'S IF YOU DON'T MIND...
Catullus (Gaius Valerius Catullus)tr. James Michie
Oramus, si forte non molestum est,
demonstres ubi sint tuae tenebrae.
te campo quaesivimus minore,
te in circo, te in omnibus libellis,
te in templo summi Iovis sacrato.
in Magni simul ambulatione
femellas omnes, amice, prendi,
quas vultu vidi tamen serenas.
A velte sic ipse flagitabam:
"camerium mihi, pessimae puellae!"
quaedam inquit nudum reduc
"en hic in roseis latet papillis."
sed te iam ferre Herculi labos est:
tanto ten fastu negas, amice?
dic nobis ubi sis futurus, ede
audacter, committe, crede luci.
nunc te lacteolae tenent puellae?
si linguam clauso tenes in ore,
fructus proicies amoris omnes:
verbosa gaudet Venus loquella.
vel vi vis, licet obseres palatum,
dum veri sis particeps amoris.
Please tell me - that's if you don't mind
Me asking - how am I to find
The holes and corners where you hide?
I searched the Lesser Campus, tried
The Circus Maximus and shrine
Of Jupiter on the Capitoline,
Combed all the bookshops, then waylaid
The girls in Pompey's colonnade,
Begging for you, but met wide-eyed,
Innocent looks on every side.
Desperate, I asked, "What have you done,
You bad girls, with Camerius?" One,
Teasing me, flaunted a bare breast:
"Here he is, in this rosy nest!"
You keep such a stand-offish distance
That one needs Hercules' persistence
To track you down these days, my friend.
Divulge, disclose where you intend
To be in future; come, commit
Yourself, be reckless, out with it!
Is it that you've spent all day sleeping
Snug in those creamy girls' safe-keeping?
If lips and tongue stay locked and chained,
You waste the whole crop love has gained:
Venus likes speech to be loose-reined.
By all means be discreet - providing
That I'm the one you confide in.

Transl. Copyright © James Michie, 1969 - publ. Penguin Classics


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