VIVAMVS, MEA LESBIA ... LET'S LIVE, DEAR LESBIA, AND LET'S LOVE
Catullus (Gaius Valerius Catullus) tr. Arthur McHugh


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.


Let's live, dear Lesbia, and let's love:
let's tell old moaners where to shove
their gossip -it's not worth a bean.
The setting sun will rise again,
but once we've lost our short-lived light
we'll have to sleep an endless night.
Give me a thousand kisses now,
a hundred, then a thousand more,
a second hundred then allow,
and add to all that came before
another thousand, and to those
another hundred still, and when
the total's many thousands, then
we'll muddle them, so no-one knows
what they come to, lest some mean cuss
counts them and puts a jinx on us.

Click here 5 for another translation of this poem.

Transl. Copyright © Arthur McHugh 2008


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