VIVAMVS, MEA LESBIA, ATQUE
AMEMUS ...
LESBIA'S KISSES
Catullus (Gaius Valerius Catullus) tr. Josephine Balmer
Vivamvs, mea Lesbia, atque amemus,
rumores - que senum severiorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis.
soles occidere et redire possunt:
nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux,
nox est perpetua una dormienda.
da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.
dein, cum multa milia fecerimus,
conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus,
aut ne quis malus invidere possit,
cum tantum sciat esse basiorum.
Time to live and let love, Lesbia,
count old men's cant, their carping chatter,
cheap talk, not worth one last penny piece.
You see, suns can set, can rise again
but when our brief light begins to wane
night brings on one long unending sleep.
So let me have a thousand kisses,
then a hundred, a thousand gratis,
a hundred, a thousand, on increase.
Then, when we've made our first million,
we can cook the books, just smudge the sums
so no evil eye can spy, sully,
by reckoning up our final tally.

Click here 7 for another translation of this poem.

Transl. Copyright © Josephine Balmer 2004 - publ. Bloodaxe Books


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