QUAERIS, QUOT MIHI BASIATIONES ... HOW MANY KISSES SATISFY
Catullus (Gaius Valerius Catullus) tr. Humphrey Clucas
Quaeris, quot mihi basiationes
tuae, Lesbia, sint satis superque.
quam magnus numerus Libyssae harenae
lasarpiciferis iacet Cyrenis
oraclum Iovis inter aestuosi
et Batti veteris sacrum sepulcrum;
aut, quam sidera multa, cum tacet nox,
furtivos hominum vident amores;
tam te basia multa basiare
vesano satis et super Catullo est,
quae nec pernumerare curiosi
possint nec mala fascinare lingua.
How many kisses satisfy,
You ask; how many overwhelm?

As if you'd make reckoning
Of the grains of Libyan desert sand
In Cyrene, where the sylphium grows,
Between the oracle

Of sweltering Jove and the sacred tomb
Of old Battus - or catalogue
The stars that watch our stolen love
These quiet nights. Only

Infinite kissing satisfies
(And more) your mad Catullus - kisses
Beyond the range of an evil eye
Or a wicked tongue's bewitching.

Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

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


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