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Title: The Carmina of Caius Valerius Catullus

Author: Caius Valerius Catullus

Translator: Richard  Burton
              Leonard  Smithers

Release Date: March 3, 2007 [EBook #20732]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Caius Valerius Catullus

Now first completely Englished into Verse
and Prose, the Metrical Part by Capt.
Sir Richard F. Burton, R.C.M.G.,
F.R.G.S., etc., etc., etc., and the
Prose Portion, Introduction,
and Notes Explanatory
and Illustrative by
Leonard C.

Printers Mark




Dear Mr. Smithers,

By every right I ought to choose you to edit and bring out Sir Richard Burton's translation of Catullus, because you collaborated with him on this work by a correspondence of many months before he died. If I have hesitated so long as to its production, it was because his notes, which are mostly like pencilled cobwebs, strewn all over his Latin edition, were headed, "NEVER SHEW HALF-FINISHED WORK TO WOMEN OR FOOLS." The reason of this remark was, that in all his writings, his first copy, his first thought, was always the best and the most powerful. Like many a painter who will go on improving and touching up his picture till he has destroyed the likeness, and the startling realistic nature of his subject, so would Sir Richard go on weakening his first copy by improvements, and then appeal to me to say which was the best. I was almost invariably obliged, in conscience, to induce him to stick to the first thought, which had grasped the whole meaning like a flash. These notes were made in a most curious way. He used to bring his Latin Catullus down to table d'hôte with him, and he used to come and sit by me, but the moment he got a person on the other side, who did not interest him, he used to whisper to me, "Talk, [vi]that I may do my Catullus," and between the courses he wrote what I now give you. The public school-boy is taught that the Atys was unique in subject and metre, that it was the greatest and most remarkable poem in Latin literature, famous for the fiery vehemence of the Greek dithyramb, that it was the only specimen in Latin of the Galliambic measure, so called, because sung by the Gallæ—and I suspect that the school-boy now learns that there are half a dozen others, which you can doubtless name. To my mind the gems of the whole translation are the Epithalamium or Epos of the marriage of Vinia and Manlius, and the Parcae in that of Peleus and Thetis. Sir Richard laid great stress on the following in his notes, headed "Compare with Catullus, the sweet and tender little Villanelle, by Mr. Edmund Gosse," for the Viol and Flute—the XIX cent. with the Ist.

"Little mistress mine, good-bye!

I have been your sparrow true;

Dig my grave, for I must die.

Waste no tear, and heave no sigh;

Life should still be blithe for you,

Little mistress mine, good-bye!

In your garden let me lie

Underneath the pointed yew,

Dig my grave, for I must die.

We have loved the quiet sky

With its tender arch of blue;

Little mistress mine, good-bye!


That I still may feel you nigh,

In your virgin bosom, too,

Dig my grave, for I must die.

Let our garden friends that fly

Be the mourners, fit and few.

Little mistress mine, good-bye!

Dig my grave, for I must die."

Sir Richard seriously began his Catullus on Feb. 18th, 1890, at Hamman R'irha, in North Africa. He had finished the first rough copy on March 31st, 1890, at Trieste. He made a second copy beginning May 23rd, 1890, at Trieste, which was finished July 21st, 1890, at Zurich. He then writes a margin. "Work incomplete, but as soon as I receive Mr. Smithers' prose, I will fill in the words I now leave in stars, in order that we may not use the same expressions, and I will then make a third, fair, and complete copy." But, alas! then he was surprised by Death.

I am afraid that Sir Richard's readers may be disappointed to find that, unlike Mr. Grant Allen, there is no excursus on the origin of Tree-worship, and therefore that, perhaps, through ignorance, I have omitted something. Sir Richard did write in the sixties and seventies on Tree-alphabets, the Ogham Runes and El Mushajjar, the Arabic Tree-alphabet,—and had theories and opinions as to its origin; but he did not, I know, connect them in any way, however remote, with Catullus. I therefore venture to think you will quite agree with me, [viii]that they have no business here, but should appear in connection with my future work, "Labours and Wisdom of Sir Richard Burton."

All these three and a half years, I have hesitated what to do, but after seeing other men's translations, his incomplete work is, in my humble estimation, too good to be consigned to oblivion, so that I will no longer defer to send you a type-written copy, and to ask you to bring it through the press, supplying the Latin text, and adding thereto your own prose, which we never saw.

Yours truly,

Isabel Burton.

July 11th, 1894.



A scholar lively, remembered to me, that Catullus translated word for word, is an anachronism, and that a literal English rendering in the nineteenth century could be true to the poet's letter, but false to his spirit. I was compelled to admit that something of this is true; but it is not the whole truth. "Consulting modern taste" means really a mere imitation, a re-cast of the ancient past in modern material. It is presenting the toga'd citizen, rough, haughty, and careless of any approbation not his own, in the costume of to-day,—boiled shirt, dove-tailed coat, black-cloth clothes, white pocket-handkerchief, and diamond ring. Moreover, of these transmogrifications we have already enough and to spare. But we have not, as far as I know, any version of Catullus which can transport the English reader from the teachings of our century to that preceding the Christian Era. As discovery is mostly my mania, I have hit upon a bastard-urging to indulge it, by a presenting to the public of certain classics in the nude Roman poetry, like the Arab, and of the same date....

Richard F. Burton.

Trieste, 1890.


[The Foreword just given is an unfinished pencilling on the margin of Sir Richard's Latin text of Catullus. I reproduce below, a portion of his Foreword to a previous translation from the Latin on which we collaborated and which was issued in the summer of 1890.—L. C. S.]

A 'cute French publisher lately remarked to me that, as a rule, versions in verse are as enjoyable to the writer as they are unenjoyed by the reader, who vehemently doubts their truth and trustworthiness. These pages hold in view one object sole and simple, namely, to prove that a translation, metrical and literal, may be true and may be trustworthy.

As I told the public (Camoens: Life and Lusiads ii. 185-198), it has ever been my ambition to reverse the late Mr. Matthew Arnold's peremptory dictum:—"In a verse translation no original work is any longer recognisable." And here I may be allowed to borrow from my Supplemental Arabian Nights (Vol. vi., Appendix pp. 411-412, a book known to few and never to be reprinted) my vision of the ideal translation which should not be relegated to the Limbus of Intentions.

"My estimate of a translator's office has never been of the low level generally assigned to it even in the days when Englishmen were in the habit of translating every work, interesting or important, published out of England, and of thus giving a continental and cosmopolitan flavour to their literature. We cannot at this period expect much from a 'man of letters' who must produce a monthly volume for a pittance of £20: of him we need not speak. But the translator at his best, works, when reproducing the matter and the manner of his original, upon two distinct lines. His prime and primary object is to please his reader, edifying him and gratifying his [xi]taste; the second is to produce an honest and faithful copy, adding naught to the sense or abating aught of its especial cachet. He has, however, or should have, another aim wherein is displayed the acme of hermeneutic art. Every language can profitably lend something to and take somewhat from its neighbours—an epithet, a metaphor, a naïf idiom, a turn of phrase. And the translator of original mind who notes the innumerable shades of tone, manner and complexion will not neglect the frequent opportunities of enriching his mother-tongue with novel and alien ornaments which shall justly be accounted barbarisms until formally naturalized and adopted. Nor will any modern versionist relegate to a foot-note, as is the malpractice of his banal brotherhood, the striking and often startling phases of the foreign author's phraseology and dull the text with well-worn and commonplace English equivalents, thus doing the clean reverse of what he should do. It was this beau idéal of a translator's success which made Eustache Deschamps write of his contemporary and brother bard,

Grand Translateur, noble Geoffroy Chaucier.


'The firste finder of our fair langage'

is styled 'a Socrates in philosophy, a Seneca in morals, an Angel in conduct and a great Translator,'—a seeming anti-climax which has scandalized not a little sundry inditers of 'Lives' and 'Memoirs.' The title is no bathos: it is given simply because Chaucer translated (using the term in its best and highest sense) into his pure, simple and strong English tongue with all its linguistic peculiarities, the thoughts and fancies of his foreign models, the very letter and spirit of Petrarch and Boccaccio."

For the humble literary status of translation in modern England and for the short-comings of the [xii]average English translator, public taste or rather caprice is mainly to be blamed. The "general reader," the man not in the street but the man who makes up the educated mass, greatly relishes a novelty in the way of "plot" or story or catastrophe while he has a natural dislike to novelties of style and diction, demanding a certain dilution of the unfamiliar with the familiar. Hence our translations in verse, especially when rhymed, become for the most part deflorations or excerpts, adaptations or periphrases more or less meritorious and the "translator" was justly enough dubbed "traitor" by critics of the severer sort. And he amply deserves the injurious name when ignorance of his original's language perforce makes him pander to popular prescription.

But the good time which has long been coming seems now to have come. The home reader will no longer put up with the careless caricatures of classical chefs d'œuvre which satisfied his old-fashioned predecessor. Our youngers, in most points our seniors, now expect the translation not only to interpret the sense of the original but also, when the text lends itself to such treatment, to render it verbatim et literatim, nothing being increased or diminished, curtailed or expanded. Moreover, in the choicer passages, they so far require an echo of the original music that its melody and harmony should be suggested to their mind. Welcomed also are the mannerisms of the translator's model as far as these aid in preserving, under the disguise of another dialect, the individuality of the foreigner and his peculiar costume.

That this high ideal of translation is at length becoming popular now appears in our literature. The "Villon Society," when advertizing the novels of Matteo Bandello, Bishop of Agen, justly remarks of the translator, Mr. John Payne, that his previous works have proved him to possess special qualifications for "the delicate and difficult task of transferring into his own [xiii]language at once the savour and the substance, the matter and the manner of works of the highest individuality, conceived and executed in a foreign language."

In my version of hexameters and pentameters I have not shirked the metre although it is strangely out of favour in English literature while we read it and enjoy it in German. There is little valid reason for our aversion; the rhythm has been made familiar to our ears by long courses of Greek and Latin and the rarity of spondaic feet is assuredly to be supplied by art and artifice.

And now it is time for farewelling my friends:—we may no longer (alas!) address them, with the ingenuous Ancient in the imperative

Vos Plaudite.

Richard F. Burton.

July, 1890.




The present translation was jointly undertaken by the late Sir Richard Burton and myself in 1890, some months before his sudden and lamented death. We had previously put into English, and privately printed, a body of verse from the Latin, and our aim was to follow it with literal and unexpurgated renderings of Catullus, Juvenal, and Ausonius, from the same tongue. Sir Richard laid great stress on the necessity of thoroughly annotating each translation from an erotic (and especially a paederastic) point of view, but subsequent circumstances caused me to abandon that intention.

The Latin text of Catullus printed in this volume is that of Mueller (A.D. 1885), which Sir Richard Burton chose as the basis for our translation, and to that text I have mainly adhered. On some few occasions, however, I have slightly deviated from it, and, although I have consulted Owen and Postgate, in such cases I have usually followed Robinson Ellis.

Bearing in mind my duty to the reader as well as to the author, I have aimed at producing a readable translation, and yet as literal a version (castrating no passages) as the dissimilarity in idiom of the two [xvi]languages, Latin and English, permit; and I claim for this volume that it is the first literal and complete English translation as yet issued of Catullus. The translations into English verse which I have consulted are The Adventures of Catullus, and the History of his Amours with Lesbia (done from the French, 1707), Nott, Lamb, Fleay, (privately printed, 1864), Hart-Davies, Shaw, Cranstoun, Martin, Grant Allen, and Ellis. Of these, none has been helpful to me save Professor Robinson Ellis's Poems and Fragments of Catullus translated in the metres of the original,—a most excellent and scholarly version, to which I owe great indebtedness for many a felicitous expression. I have also used Dr. Nott freely in my annotations. The only English prose translation of which I have any knowledge is the one in Bohn's edition of Catullus, and this, in addition to being bowdlerized, is in a host of passages more a paraphrase than a literal translation.

I have not thought it needful in any case to point out my deviations from Mueller's text, and I have cleared the volume of all the load of mythological and historical notes which are usually appended to a translation of a classic, contenting myself with referring the non-classical reader to Bohn's edition of the poet.

Of the boldness of Sir Richard Burton's experiment of a metrical and linear translation there can be no question; and on the whole he has succeeded [xvii]in proving his contention as to its possibility, though it must be confessed that it is at times at the cost of obscurity, or of inversions of sentences which certainly are compelled to lay claim to a poet's license. It must, however, be borne in mind that in a letter to me just before his death, he expressed his intention of going entirely through the work afresh, on receiving my prose, adding that it needed "a power of polishing."

To me has fallen the task of editing Sir Richard's share in this volume from a type-written copy literally swarming with copyist's errors. With respect to the occasional lacunae which appear, I can merely state that Lady Burton has repeatedly assured me that she has furnished me with a faithful copy of her husband's translation, and that the words omitted (which are here indicated by full points, not asterisks) were not filled in by him, because he was first awaiting my translation with the view of our not using similar expressions. However, Lady Burton has without any reason consistently refused me even a glance at his MS.; and in our previous work from the Latin I did not find Sir Richard trouble himself in the least concerning our using like expressions.

The frontispiece to this volume is reproduced from the statue which stands over the Palazzo di Consiglio, the Council House at Verona, which is the only representation of Catullus extant.

Leonard C. Smithers.

July 11th, 1894.
























































LI.—TO LESBIA ... 91




















LXXI.—TO VERRO ... 250
































CIII.—TO SILO ... 286


CV.—ON MAMURRA ... 287






CXI.—TO THE SAME ... 293


CXII.—ON NASO ... 293



CXV.—OF THE SAME ... 296




Decorative Heading

The Carmina


Caius Valerius Catullus




Quoi dono lepidum novom libellum

Arida modo pumice expolitum?

Corneli, tibi: namque tu solebas

Meas esse aliquid putare nugas,


Iam tum cum ausus es unus Italorum

Omne aevum tribus explicare chartis

Doctis, Iuppiter, et laboriosis.

Quare habe tibi quidquid hoc libelli,

Qualecumque, quod o patrona virgo,


Plus uno maneat perenne saeclo.


Dedication to Cornelius Nepos.

Now smooth'd to polish due with pumice dry

Whereto this lively booklet new give I?


To thee (Cornelius!); for wast ever fain

To deem my trifles somewhat boon contain;


E'en when thou single 'mongst Italians found

Daredst all periods in three Scripts expound

Learned (by Jupiter!) elaborately.

Then take thee whatso in this booklet be,

Such as it is, whereto O Patron Maid


To live down Ages lend thou lasting aid!

To whom inscribe my dainty tome—just out and with ashen pumice polished? Cornelius, to thee! for thou wert wont to deem my triflings of account, and at a time when thou alone of Italians didst dare unfold the ages' abstract in three chronicles—learned, by Jupiter!—and most laboriously writ. Wherefore take thou this booklet, such as 'tis, and O Virgin Patroness, may it outlive generations more than one.


Passer, deliciae meae puellae,

Quicum ludere, quem in sinu tenere,

Quoi primum digitum dare adpetenti

Et acris solet incitare morsus,


Cum desiderio meo nitenti

Carum nescioquid libet iocari

Vt solaciolum sui doloris,

Credo ut iam gravis acquiescat ardor:

Tecum ludere sicut ipsa possem


Et tristis animi levare curas!

      *       *       *       *


Tam gratumst mihi quam ferunt puellae

Pernici aureolum fuisse malum,

Quod zonam soluit diu ligatam.


Lesbia's Sparrow.

Sparrow! my pet's delicious joy,

Wherewith in bosom nurst to toy

She loves, and gives her finger-tip

For sharp-nib'd greeding neb to nip,


Were she who my desire withstood

To seek some pet of merry mood,

As crumb o' comfort for her grief,

Methinks her burning lowe's relief:

Could I, as plays she, play with thee,


That mind might win from misery free!

      *       *       *       *

To me t'were grateful (as they say),

Gold codling was to fleet-foot May,

Whose long-bound zone it loosed for aye.

Sparrow, petling of my girl, with which she wantons, which she presses to her bosom, and whose eager peckings is accustomed to incite by stretching forth her forefinger, when my bright-hued beautiful one is pleased to jest in manner light as (perchance) a solace for her heart ache, thus methinks she allays love's pressing heats! Would that in manner like, I were able with thee to sport and sad cares of mind to lighten!

      *       *       *       *


This were gracious to me as in story old to the maiden fleet of foot was the apple golden-fashioned which unloosed her girdle long-time girt.


Lugete, o Veneres Cupidinesque,

Et quantumst hominum venustiorum.

Passer mortuus est meae puellae,

Passer, deliciae meae puellae,


Quem plus illa oculis suis amabat:

Nam mellitus erat suamque norat

Ipsa tam bene quam puella matrem

Nec sese a gremio illius movebat,

Sed circumsiliens modo huc modo illuc


Ad solam dominam usque pipiabat.

Qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum

Illuc, unde negant redire quemquam.

At vobis male sit, malae tenebrae

Orci, quae omnia bella devoratis:


Tam bellum mihi passerem abstulistis.

O factum male! io miselle passer!

Tua nunc opera meae puellae

Flendo turgiduli rubent ocelli.


On the Death of Lesbia's Sparrow.

Weep every Venus, and all Cupids wail,

And men whose gentler spirits still prevail.

Dead is the Sparrow of my girl, the joy,


Sparrow, my sweeting's most delicious toy,


Whom loved she dearer than her very eyes;

For he was honeyed-pet and anywise

Knew her, as even she her mother knew;

Ne'er from her bosom's harbourage he flew

But 'round her hopping here, there, everywhere,


Piped he to none but her his lady fair.

Now must he wander o'er the darkling way

Thither, whence life-return the Fates denay.

But ah! beshrew you, evil Shadows low'ring

In Orcus ever loveliest things devouring:


Who bore so pretty a Sparrow fro' her ta'en.

(Oh hapless birdie and Oh deed of bane!)

Now by your wanton work my girl appears

With turgid eyelids tinted rose by tears.

Mourn ye, O ye Loves and Cupids and all men of gracious mind. Dead is the sparrow of my girl, sparrow, sweetling of my girl. Which more than her eyes she loved; for sweet as honey was it and its mistress knew, as well as damsel knoweth her own mother nor from her bosom did it rove, but hopping round first one side then the other, to its mistress alone it evermore did chirp. Now does it fare along that path of shadows whence naught may e'er return. Ill be to ye, savage glooms of Orcus, which swallow up all things of fairness: which have snatched away from me the comely sparrow. O deed of bale! O sparrow sad of plight! Now on thy account my girl's sweet eyes, swollen, do redden with tear-drops. [6]


Phaselus ille, quem videtis, hospites,

Ait fuisse navium celerrimus,

Neque ullius natantis impetum trabis

Nequisse praeter ire, sive palmulis


Opus foret volare sive linteo.

Et hoc negat minacis Adriatici

Negare litus insulasve Cycladas

Rhodumque nobilem horridamque Thraciam

Propontida trucemve Ponticum sinum,


Vbi iste post phaselus antea fuit

Comata silva: nam Cytorio in iugo

Loquente saepe sibilum edidit coma.

Amastri Pontica et Cytore buxifer,

Tibi haec fuisse et esse cognitissima


Ait phaselus: ultima ex origine

Tuo stetisse dicit in cacumine,

Tuo imbuisse palmulas in aequore,

Et inde tot per inpotentia freta

Erum tulisse, laeva sive dextera


Vocaret aura, sive utrumque Iuppiter

Simul secundus incidisset in pedem;

Neque ulla vota litoralibus deis

Sibi esse facta, cum veniret a marei

Novissime hunc ad usque limpidum lacum.


Sed haec prius fuere: nunc recondita

Senet quiete seque dedicat tibi,

Gemelle Castor et gemelle Castoris.



On his Pinnace.

Yonder Pinnace ye (my guests!) behold

Saith she was erstwhile fleetest-fleet of crafts,

Nor could by swiftness of aught plank that swims,

Be she outstripped, whether paddle plied,


Or fared she scudding under canvas-sail.

Eke she defieth threat'ning Adrian shore,

Dare not denay her, insular Cyclades,

And noble Rhodos and ferocious Thrace,

Propontis too and blustering Pontic bight.


Where she (my Pinnace now) in times before,

Was leafy woodling on Cytórean Chine

For ever loquent lisping with her leaves.

Pontic Amastris! Box-tree-clad Cytórus!

Cognisant were ye, and you weet full well


(So saith my Pinnace) how from earliest age

Upon your highmost-spiring peak she stood,

How in your waters first her sculls were dipt,

And thence thro' many and many an important strait

She bore her owner whether left or right,


Where breezes bade her fare, or Jupiter deigned

At once propitious strike the sail full square;

Nor to the sea-shore gods was aught of vow

By her deemed needful, when from Ocean's bourne

Extreme she voyaged for this limpid lake.


Yet were such things whilome: now she retired

In quiet age devotes herself to thee

(O twin-born Castor) twain with Castor's twin.


That pinnace which ye see, my friends, says that it was the speediest of boats, nor any craft the surface skimming but it could gain the lead, whether the course were gone o'er with plashing oars or bended sail. And this the menacing Adriatic shores may not deny, nor may the Island Cyclades, nor noble Rhodes and bristling Thrace, Propontis nor the gusty Pontic gulf, where itself (afterwards a pinnace to become) erstwhile was a foliaged clump; and oft on Cytorus' ridge hath this foliage announced itself in vocal rustling. And to thee, Pontic Amastris, and to box-screened Cytorus, the pinnace vows that this was alway and yet is of common knowledge most notorious; states that from its primal being it stood upon thy topmost peak, dipped its oars in thy waters, and bore its master thence through surly seas of number frequent, whether the wind whistled 'gainst the starboard quarter or the lee or whether Jove propitious fell on both the sheets at once; nor any vows [from stress of storm] to shore-gods were ever made by it when coming from the uttermost seas unto this glassy lake. But these things were of time gone by: now laid away, it rusts in peace and dedicates its age to thee, twin Castor, and to Castor's twin.


Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus,

Rumoresque 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 milia multa fecerimus,

Conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus,

Aut nequis malus invidere possit,

Cum tantum sciet esse basiorum.


To Lesbia, (of Lesbos—Clodia?)

Love we (my Lesbia!) and live we our day,

While all stern sayings crabbed sages say,

At one doit's value let us price and prize!

The Suns can westward sink again to rise


But we, extinguished once our tiny light,

Perforce shall slumber through one lasting night!

Kiss me a thousand times, then hundred more,

Then thousand others, then a new five-score,

Still other thousand other hundred store.


Last when the sums to many thousands grow,

The tale let's trouble till no more we know,

Nor envious wight despiteful shall misween us

Knowing how many kisses have been kissed between us.

Let us live, my Lesbia, and let us love, and count all the mumblings of sour age at a penny's fee. Suns set can rise again: we when once our brief light has set must sleep through a perpetual night. Give me of kisses a thousand, and then a hundred, [10]then another thousand, then a second hundred, then another thousand without resting, then a hundred. Then, when we have made many thousands, we will confuse the count lest we know the numbering, so that no wretch may be able to envy us through knowledge of our kisses' number.


Flavi, delicias tuas Catullo,

Nei sint inlepidae atque inelegantes,

Velles dicere, nec tacere posses.

Verum nescioquid febriculosi


Scorti diligis: hoc pudet fateri.

Nam te non viduas iacere noctes

Nequiquam tacitum cubile clamat

Sertis ac Syrio fragrans olivo,

Pulvinusque peraeque et hic et ille


Attritus, tremulique quassa lecti

Argutatio inambulatioque.

Nam nil stupra valet, nihil, tacere.

Cur? non tam latera ecfututa pandas,

Nei tu quid facias ineptiarum.


Quare quidquid habes boni malique,

Dic nobis. volo te ac tuos amores

Ad caelum lepido vocare versu.


To Flavius: Mis-speaking his Mistress.

Thy Charmer (Flavius!) to Catullus' ear

Were she not manner'd mean and worst in wit


Perforce thou hadst praised nor couldst silence keep.

But some enfevered jade, I wot-not-what,


Some piece thou lovest, blushing this to own.

For, nowise 'customed widower nights to lie

Thou 'rt ever summoned by no silent bed

With flow'r-wreaths fragrant and with Syrian oil,

By mattress, bolsters, here, there, everywhere


Deep-dinted, and by quaking, shaking couch

All crepitation and mobility.

Explain! none whoredoms (no!) shall close my lips.

Why? such outfuttered flank thou ne'er wouldst show

Had not some fulsome work by thee been wrought.


Then what thou holdest, boon or bane be pleased

Disclose! For thee and thy beloved fain would I

Upraise to Heaven with my liveliest lay.

O Flavius, of thy sweetheart to Catullus thou would'st speak, nor could'st thou keep silent, were she not both ill-mannered and ungraceful. In truth thou affectest I know not what hot-blooded whore: this thou art ashamed to own. For that thou dost not lie alone a-nights thy couch, fragrant with garlands and Syrian unguent, in no way mute cries out, and eke the pillow and bolsters indented here and there, and the creakings and joggings of the quivering bed: unless thou canst silence these, nothing and again nothing avails thee to hide thy whoredoms. And why? Thou wouldst not display such drainèd flanks unless occupied in some tomfoolery. Wherefore, whatsoever thou hast, be it good or ill, tell us! I wish to laud thee and thy loves to the sky in joyous verse. [12]


Quaeris, quot mihi basiationes

Tuae, Lesbia, sint satis superque.

Quam magnus numerus Libyssae arenae

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 Catullost,

Quae nec pernumerare curiosi

Possint nec mala fascinare lingua.


To Lesbia still Beloved.

Thou ask'st How many kissing bouts I bore

From thee (my Lesbia!) or be enough or more?

I say what mighty sum of Lybian-sands

Confine Cyrene's Laserpitium-lands


'Twixt Oracle of Jove the Swelterer

And olden Battus' holy Sepulchre,

Or stars innumerate through night-stillness ken

The stolen Love-delights of mortal men,

For that to kiss thee with unending kisses


For mad Catullus enough and more be this,

Kisses nor curious wight shall count their tale,

Nor to bewitch us evil tongue avail.


Thou askest, how many kisses of thine, Lesbia, may be enough and to spare for me. As the countless Libyan sands which strew the spicy strand of Cyrene 'twixt the oracle of swelt'ring Jove and the sacred sepulchre of ancient Battus, or as the thronging stars which in the hush of darkness witness the furtive loves of mortals, to kiss thee with kisses of so great a number is enough and to spare for passion-driven Catullus: so many that prying eyes may not avail to number, nor ill tongues to ensorcel.


Miser Catulle, desinas ineptire,

Et quod vides perisse perditum ducas.

Fulsere quondam candidi tibi soles,

Cum ventitabas quo puella ducebat


Amata nobis quantum amabitur nulla.

Ibi illa multa tum iocosa fiebant,

Quae tu volebas nec puella nolebat.

Fulsere vere candidi tibi soles.

Nunc iam illa non vult: tu quoque, inpotens, noli


Nec quae fugit sectare, nec miser vive,

Sed obstinata mente perfer, obdura.

Vale, puella. iam Catullus obdurat,

Nec te requiret nec rogabit invitam:

At tu dolebis, cum rogaberis nulla.


Scelesta, vae te! quae tibi manet vita!

Quis nunc te adibit? cui videberis bella?

Quem nunc amabis? cuius esse diceris?

Quem basiabis? cui labella mordebis?

At tu, Catulle, destinatus obdura.



To Himself recounting Lesbia's Inconstancy.

Woe-full Catullus! cease to play the fool

And what thou seest dead as dead regard!

Whilòme the sheeniest suns for thee did shine

When oft-a-tripping whither led the girl


By us belovèd, as shall none be loved.

There all so merry doings then were done

After thy liking, nor the girl was loath.

Then certès sheeniest suns for thee did shine.

Now she's unwilling: thou too (hapless!) will


Her flight to follow, and sad life to live:

Endure with stubborn soul and still obdure.

Damsel, adieu! Catullus obdurate grown

Nor seeks thee, neither asks of thine unwill;

Yet shalt thou sorrow when none woos thee more;


Reprobate! Woe to thee! What life remains?

Who now shall love thee? Who'll think thee fair?

Whom now shalt ever love? Whose wilt be called?

To whom shalt kisses give? whose liplets nip?

But thou (Catullus!) destiny-doomed obdure.

Unhappy Catullus, cease thy trifling and what thou seest lost know to be lost. Once bright days used to shine on thee when thou wert wont to haste whither thy girl didst lead thee, loved by us as never girl will e'er be loved. There those many joys were joyed which thou didst wish, nor was the girl unwilling. In truth bright days used once to shine on thee. Now she no longer wishes: thou too, [15]powerless to avail, must be unwilling, nor pursue the retreating one, nor live unhappy, but with firm-set mind endure, steel thyself. Farewell, girl, now Catullus steels himself, seeks thee not, nor entreats thy acquiescence. But thou wilt pine, when thou hast no entreaty proffered. Faithless, go thy way! what manner of life remaineth to thee? who now will visit thee? who find thee beautiful? whom wilt thou love now? whose girl wilt thou be called? whom wilt thou kiss? whose lips wilt thou bite? But thou, Catullus, remain hardened as steel.


Verani, omnibus e meis amicis

Antistans mihi milibus trecentis,

Venistine domum ad tuos Penates

Fratresque unanimos anumque matrem?


Venisti. o mihi nuntii beati!

Visam te incolumem audiamque Hiberum

Narrantem loca, facta, nationes,

Vt mos est tuus, adplicansque collum

Iocundum os oculosque suaviabor.


O quantumst hominum beatiorum,

Quid me laetius est beatiusve?


To Veranius returned from Travel.

Veranius! over every friend of me

Forestanding, owned I hundred thousands three,

Home to Penates and to single-soul'd

Brethren, returned art thou and mother old?


Yes, thou art come. Oh, winsome news come well!


Now shall I see thee, safely hear thee tell

Of sites Iberian, deeds and nations 'spied,

(As be thy wont) and neck-a-neck applied

I'll greet with kisses thy glad lips and eyne.


Oh! Of all mortal men beatified

Whose joy and gladness greater be than mine?

Veranius, of all my friends standing in the front, owned I three hundred thousands of them, hast thou come home to thy Penates, thy longing brothers and thine aged mother? Thou hast come back. O joyful news to me! I may see thee safe and sound, and may hear thee speak of regions, deeds, and peoples Iberian, as is thy manner; and reclining o'er thy neck shall kiss thy jocund mouth and eyes. O all ye blissfullest of men, who more gladsome or more blissful is than I am?


Varus me meus ad suos amores

Visum duxerat e foro otiosum,

Scortillum, ut mihi tum repente visumst,

Non sane inlepidum neque invenustum.


Huc ut venimus, incidere nobis

Sermones varii, in quibus, quid esset

Iam Bithynia, quo modo se haberet,

Ecquonam mihi profuisset aere.

Respondi id quod erat, nihil neque ipsis


Nec praetoribus esse nec cohorti,

Cur quisquam caput unctius referret,

Praesertim quibus esset inrumator

Praetor, non faciens pili cohortem.


'At certe tamen, inquiunt, quod illic


Natum dicitur esse, conparasti

Ad lecticam homines.' ego, ut puellae

Vnum me facerem beatiorem,

'Non' inquam 'mihi tam fuit maligne,

Vt, provincia quod mala incidisset,


Non possem octo homines parare rectos.'

At mi nullus erat nec hic neque illic,

Fractum qui veteris pedem grabati

In collo sibi collocare posset.

Hic illa, ut decuit cinaediorem,


'Quaeso' inquit 'mihi, mi Catulle, paulum

Istos. commode enim volo ad Sarapim

Deferri.' 'minime' inquii puellae;

      *       *       *       *

'Istud quod modo dixeram me habere,

Fugit me ratio: meus sodalis


Cinnast Gaius, is sibi paravit.

Verum, utrum illius an mei, quid ad me?

Vtor tam bene quam mihi pararim.

Sed tu insulsa male ac molesta vivis,

Per quam non licet esse negligentem.'


He meets Varus and Mistress.

Led me my Varus to his flame,

As I from Forum idling came.

Forthright some whorelet judged I it

Nor lacking looks nor wanting wit,


When hied we thither, mid us three


Fell various talk, as how might be

Bithynia now, and how it fared,

And if some coin I made or spared.

"There was no cause" (I soothly said)


"The Prætors or the Cohort made

Thence to return with oilier head;

The more when ruled by ——

Prætor, as pile the Cohort rating."

Quoth they, "But certès as 'twas there


The custom rose, some men to bear

Litter thou boughtest?" I to her

To seem but richer, wealthier,

Cry, "Nay, with me 'twas not so ill

That, given the Province suffered, still


Eight stiff-backed loons I could not buy.'

(Withal none here nor there owned I

Who broken leg of Couch outworn

On nape of neck had ever borne!)

Then she, as pathic piece became,


"Prithee Catullus mine, those same

Lend me, Serapis-wards I'd hie."

      *       *       *       *

"Easy, on no-wise, no," quoth I,

"Whate'er was mine, I lately said

Is some mistake, my camarade


One Cinna—Gaius—bought the lot,

But his or mine, it matters what?

I use it freely as though bought,

Yet thou, pert troubler, most absurd,

None suffer'st speak an idle word."


Varus drew me off to see his mistress as I was strolling from the Forum: a little whore, as it seemed to me at the first glance, neither inelegant nor lacking good looks. When we came in, we fell to discussing various subjects, amongst which, how was Bithynia now, how things had gone there, and whether I had made any money there. I replied, what was true, that neither ourselves nor the praetors nor their suite had brought away anything whereby to flaunt a better-scented poll, especially as our praetor, the irrumating beast, cared not a single hair for his suite. "But surely," she said, "you got some men to bear your litter, for they are said to grow there?" I, to make myself appear to the girl as one of the fortunate, "Nay," I say, "it did not go that badly with me, ill as the province turned out, that I could not procure eight strapping knaves to bear me." (But not a single one was mine either here or there who the fractured foot of my old bedstead could hoist on his neck.) And she, like a pathic girl, "I pray thee," says she, "lend me, my Catullus, those bearers for a short time, for I wish to be borne to the shrine of Serapis." "Stay," quoth I to the girl, "when I said I had this, my tongue slipped; my friend, Cinna Gaius, he provided himself with these. In truth, whether his or mine—what do I trouble? I use them as though I had paid for them. But thou, in ill manner with foolish teasing dost not allow me to be heedless." [20]


Furi et Aureli, comites Catulli,

Sive in extremos penetrabit Indos,

Litus ut longe resonante Eoa

Tunditur unda,


Sive in Hyrcanos Arabesve molles,

Seu Sacas sagittiferosve Parthos,

Sive qua septemgeminus colorat

Aequora Nilus,

Sive trans altas gradietur Alpes,


Caesaris visens monimenta magni,

Gallicum Rhenum, horribile aequor ulti-

mosque Britannos,

Omnia haec, quaecumque feret voluntas

Caelitum, temptare simul parati,


Pauca nuntiate meae puellae

Non bona dicta.

Cum suis vivat valeatque moechis,

Quos simul conplexa tenet trecentos,

Nullum amans vere, sed identidem omnium


Ilia rumpens:

Nec meum respectet, ut ante, amorem,

Qui illius culpa cecidit velut prati

Vltimi flos, praeter eunte postquam

Tactus aratrost.


A Parting Insult to Lesbia.

Furius and Aurelius, Catullus' friends,

Whether extremest Indian shore he brave,


Strands where far-resounding billow rends

The shattered wave,


Or 'mid Hyrcanians dwell he, Arabs soft and wild,

Sacæ and Parthians of the arrow fain,

Or where the Seven-mouth'd Nilus mud-defiled

Tinges the Main,

Or climb he lofty Alpine Crest and note


Works monumental, Cæsar's grandeur telling,

Rhine Gallic, horrid Ocean and remote

Britons low-dwelling;

All these (whatever shall the will design

Of Heaven-homed Gods) Oh ye prepared to tempt;


Announce your briefest to that damsel mine

In words unkempt:—

Live she and love she wenchers several,

Embrace three hundred wi' the like requitals,

None truly loving and withal of all


Bursting the vitals:

My love regard she not, my love of yore,

Which fell through fault of her, as falls the fair

Last meadow-floret whenas passed it o'er

Touch of the share.

Furius and Aurelius, comrades of Catullus, whether he penetrate to furthest Ind where the strand is lashed by the far-echoing Eoan surge, or whether 'midst the Hyrcans or soft Arabs, or whether the Sacians or quiver-bearing Parthians, or where the seven-mouthed Nile encolours the sea, or whether he traverse the lofty Alps, gazing at the monuments of mighty Caesar, the gallic Rhine, the dismal and [22]remotest Britons, all these, whatever the Heavens' Will may bear, prepared at once to attempt,—bear ye to my girl this brief message of no fair speech. May she live and flourish with her swivers, of whom may she hold at once embraced the full three hundred, loving not one in real truth, but bursting again and again the flanks of all: nor may she look upon my love as before, she whose own guile slew it, e'en as a flower on the greensward's verge, after the touch of the passing plough.


Marrucine Asini, manu sinistra

Non belle uteris in ioco atque vino:

Tollis lintea neglegentiorum.

Hoc salsum esse putas? fugit te, inepte:


Quamvis sordida res et invenustast.

Non credis mihi? crede Polioni

Fratri, qui tua furta vel talento

Mutari velit: est enim leporum

Disertus puer ac facetiarum.


Quare aut hendecasyllabos trecentos

Expecta aut mihi linteum remitte,

Quod me non movet aestimatione,

Verumst mnemosynum mei sodalis.

Nam sudaria Saetaba ex Hibereis


Miserunt mihi muneri Fabullus

Et Veranius: haec amem necessest

Vt Veraniolum meum et Fabullum.



To M. Asinius who Stole Napery.

Marrúcinus Asinius! ill thou usest

That hand sinistral in thy wit and wine

Filching the napkins of more heedless hosts.

Dost find this funny? Fool it passeth thee


How 'tis a sordid deed, a sorry jest.

Dost misbelieve me? Trust to Pollio,

Thy brother, ready to compound such thefts

E'en at a talent's cost; for he's a youth

In speech past master and in fair pleasantries.


Of hendecasyllabics hundreds three

Therefore expect thou, or return forthright

Linens whose loss affects me not for worth

But as mementoes of a comrade mine.

For napkins Sætaban from Ebro-land


Fabúllus sent me a free-giftie given

Also Veránius: these perforce I love

E'en as my Veraniólus and Fabúllus.

Marrucinius Asinius, thou dost use thy left hand in no fair fashion 'midst the jests and wine: thou dost filch away the napkins of the heedless. Dost thou think this a joke? it flies thee, stupid fool, how coarse a thing and unbecoming 'tis! Dost not credit me? credit thy brother Pollio who would willingly give a talent to divert thee from thy thefts: for he is a lad skilled in pleasantries and facetiousness. Wherefore, either expect hendecasyllables [24]three hundred, or return me my napkin which I esteem, not for its value but as a pledge of remembrance from my comrade. For Fabullus and Veranius sent me as a gift handkerchiefs from Iberian Saetabis; these must I prize e'en as I do Veraniolus and Fabullus.


Cenabis bene, mi Fabulle, apud me

Paucis, si tibi di favent, diebus,

Si tecum attuleris bonam atque magnam

Cenam, non sine candida puella


Et vino et sale et omnibus cachinnis.

Haec si, inquam, attuleris, venuste noster,

Cenabis bene: nam tui Catulli

Plenus sacculus est aranearum.

Sed contra accipies meros amores


Seu quid suavius elegantiusvest:

Nam unguentum dabo, quod meae puellae

Donarunt Veneres Cupidinesque,

Quod tu cum olfacies, deos rogabis,

Totum ut te faciant, Fabulle, nasum.


Fabullus is Invited to a Poet's Supper.

Thou'lt sup right well with me, Fabúllus mine,

In days few-numbered an the Gods design,

An great and goodly meal thou bring wi' thee

Nowise forgetting damsel bright o' blee,


With wine, and salty wit and laughs all-gay.


An these my bonny man, thou bring, I say

Thou'lt sup right well, for thy Catullus' purse

Save web of spider nothing does imburse.

But thou in countergift mere loves shalt take


Or aught of sweeter taste or fairer make:

I'll give thee unguent lent my girl to scent

By every Venus and all Cupids sent,

Which, as thou savour, pray Gods interpose

And thee, Fabúllus, make a Naught-but-nose.

Thou shalt feast well with me, my Fabullus, in a few days, if the gods favour thee, provided thou dost bear hither with thee a good and great feast, not forgetting a fair damsel and wine and wit and all kinds of laughter. Provided, I say, thou dost bear hither these, our charming one, thou wilt feast well: for thy Catullus' purse is brimful of cobwebs. But in return thou may'st receive a perfect love, or whatever is sweeter or more elegant: for I will give thee an unguent which the Loves and Cupids gave unto my girl, which when thou dost smell it, thou wilt entreat the gods to make thee, O Fabullus, one total Nose!


Ni te plus oculis meis amarem,

Iocundissime Calve, munere isto

Odissem te odio Vatiniano:

Nam quid feci ego quidve sum locutus,


Cur me tot male perderes poetis?

Isti di mala multa dent clienti,


Qui tantum tibi misit inpiorum.

Quod si, ut suspicor, hoc novum ac repertum

Munus dat tibi Sulla litterator,


Non est mi male, sed bene ac beate,

Quod non dispereunt tui labores.

Di magni, horribilem et sacrum libellum

Quem tu scilicet ad tuum Catullum

Misti, continuo ut die periret,


Saturnalibus, optimo dierum!

Non non hoc tibi, salse, sic abibit:

Nam, si luxerit, ad librariorum

Curram scrinia, Caesios, Aquinos,

Suffenum, omnia colligam venena,


Ac te his suppliciis remunerabor.

Vos hinc interea (valete) abite

Illuc, unde malum pedem attulistis,

Saecli incommoda, pessimi poetae.


Siqui forte mearum ineptiarum


Lectores eritis manusque vestras

Non horrebitis admovere nobis,

      *       *       *       *


To Calvus, acknowledging his Poems.

Did I not liefer love thee than my eyes

(Winsomest Calvus!), for that gift of thine

Certès I'd hate thee with Vatinian hate.

Say me, how came I, or by word or deed,


To cause thee plague me with so many a bard?

The Gods deal many an ill to such a client,

Who sent of impious wights to thee such crowd.

But if (as guess I) this choice boon new-found

To thee from "Commentator" Sulla come,


None ill I hold it—well and welcome 'tis,

For that thy labours ne'er to death be doom'd.

Great Gods! What horrid booklet damnable

Unto thine own Catullus thou (perdie!)

Did send, that ever day by day die he


In Saturnalia, first of festivals.

No! No! thus shall't not pass wi' thee, sweet wag,

For I at dawning day will scour the booths

Of bibliopoles, Aquinii, Cæsii and

Suffenus, gather all their poison-trash


And with such torments pay thee for thy pains.

Now for the present hence, adieu! begone

Thither, whence came ye, brought by luckless feet,

Pests of the Century, ye pernicious Poets.


An of my trifles peradventure chance


You to be readers, and the hands of you

Without a shudder unto us be offer'd

      *       *       *       *

Did I not love thee more than mine eyes, O most jocund Calvus, for thy gift I should abhor thee with Vatinian abhorrence. For what have I done or what have I said that thou shouldst torment me so vilely with these poets? May the gods give that client [28]of thine ills enow, who sent thee so much trash! Yet if, as I suspect, this new and care-picked gift, Sulla, the litterateur, gives thee, it is not ill to me, but well and beatific, that thy labours [in his cause] are not made light of. Great gods, what a horrible and accurst book which, forsooth, thou hast sent to thy Catullus that he might die of boredom the livelong day in the Saturnalia, choicest of days! No, no, my joker, this shall not leave thee so: for at daydawn I will haste to the booksellers' cases; the Caesii, the Aquini, Suffenus, every poisonous rubbish will I collect that I may repay thee with these tortures. Meantime (farewell ye) hence depart ye from here, whither an ill foot brought ye, pests of the period, puniest of poetasters.

If by chance ye ever be readers of my triflings and ye will not quake to lay your hands upon us,

      *       *       *       *


Commendo tibi me ac meos amores,

Aureli. veniam peto pudentem,

Vt, si quicquam animo tuo cupisti,

Quod castum expeteres et integellum,


Conserves puerum mihi pudice,

Non dico a populo: nihil veremur

Istos, qui in platea modo huc modo illuc

In re praetereunt sua occupati:

Verum a te metuo tuoque pene


Infesto pueris bonis malisque.

Quem tu qua lubet, ut iubet, moveto,


Quantum vis, ubi erit foris, paratum:

Hunc unum excipio, ut puto, pudenter.

Quod si te mala mens furorque vecors


In tantam inpulerit, sceleste, culpam,

Vt nostrum insidiis caput lacessas,

A tum te miserum malique fati,

Quem attractis pedibus patente porta

Percurrent raphanique mugilesque.


To Aurelius—Hands off the Boy!

To thee I trust my loves and me,

(Aurelius!) craving modesty.

That (if in mind didst ever long

To win aught chaste unknowing wrong)


Then guard my boy in purest way.

From folk I say not: naught affray

The crowds wont here and there to run

Through street-squares, busied every one;

But thee I dread nor less thy penis


Fair or foul, younglings' foe I ween is!

Wag it as wish thou, at its will,

When out of doors its hope fulfil;

Him bar I, modestly, methinks.

But should ill-mind or lust's high jinks


Thee (Sinner!), drive to sin so dread,

That durst ensnare our dearling's head,

Ah! woe's thee (wretch!) and evil fate,

Mullet and radish shall pierce and grate,

When feet-bound, haled through yawning gate.


I commend me to thee with my charmer, Aurelius. I come for modest boon that,—didst thine heart long for aught, which thou desiredst chaste and untouched,—thou 'lt preserve for me the chastity of my boy. I do not say from the public: I fear those naught who hurry along the thoroughfares hither thither occupied on their own business: truth my fear is from thee and thy penis, pestilent eke to fair and to foul. Set it in motion where thou dost please, whenever thou biddest, as much as thou wishest, wherever thou findest the opportunity out of doors: this one object I except, to my thought a reasonable boon. But if thy evil mind and senseless rutting push thee forward, scoundrel, to so great a crime as to assail our head with thy snares, O wretch, calamitous mishap shall happen thee, when with feet taut bound, through the open entrance radishes and mullets shall pierce.


Pedicabo ego vos et inrumabo,

Aureli pathice et cinaede Furi,

Qui me ex versiculis meis putastis,

Quod sunt molliculi, parum pudicum.


Nam castum esse decet pium poetam

Ipsum, versiculos nihil necessest,

Qui tum denique habent salem ac leporem,

Si sunt molliculi ac parum pudici

Et quod pruriat incitare possunt,


Non dico pueris, sed his pilosis,


Qui duros nequeunt movere lumbos.

Vos, quom milia multa basiorum

Legistis, male me marem putatis?

Pedicabo ego vos et inrumabo.


To Aurelius and Furius in Defence of His Muse's Honesty.

I'll —— you twain and ——

Pathic Aurélius! Fúrius, libertines!

Who durst determine from my versicles

Which seem o'er softy, that I'm scant of shame.


For pious poet it behoves be chaste

Himself; no chastity his verses need;

Nay, gain they finally more salt of wit

When over softy and of scanty shame,

Apt for exciting somewhat prurient,


In boys, I say not, but in bearded men

Who fail of movements in their hardened loins.

Ye who so many thousand kisses sung

Have read, deny male masculant I be?

You twain I'll —— and ——

I will paedicate and irrumate you, Aurelius the bardache and Furius the cinaede, who judge me from my verses rich in love-liesse, to be their equal in modesty. For it behoves your devout poet to be chaste himself; his verses—not of necessity. Which verses, in a word, may have a spice and volupty, may have passion's cling and such like decency, so that [32]they can incite with ticklings, I do not say boys, but bearded ones whose stiffened limbs amort lack pliancy in movement. You, because of many thousand kisses you have read, think me womanish. I will paedicate and irrumate you!


O Colonia, quae cupis ponte ludere longo,

Et salire paratum habes, sed vereris inepta

Crura ponticuli assulis stantis in redivivis,

Ne supinus eat cavaque in palude recumbat;


Sic tibi bonus ex tua pons libidine fiat,

In quo vel Salisubsili sacra suscipiantur:

Munus hoc mihi maximi da, Colonia, risus.

Quendam municipem meum de tuo volo ponte

Ire praecipitem in lutum per caputque pedesque,


Verum totius ut lacus putidaeque paludis

Lividissima maximeque est profunda vorago.

Insulsissimus est homo, nec sapit pueri instar

Bimuli tremula patris dormientis in ulna.

Quoi cum sit viridissimo nupta flore puella


(Et puella tenellulo delicatior haedo,

Adservanda nigerrimis diligentius uvis),

Ludere hanc sinit ut lubet, nec pili facit uni,

Nec se sublevat ex sua parte, sed velut alnus

In fossa Liguri iacet suppernata securi,


Tantundem omnia sentiens quam si nulla sit usquam,

Talis iste meus stupor nil videt, nihil audit,

Ipse qui sit, utrum sit an non sit, id quoque nescit.


Nunc eum volo de tuo ponte mittere pronum,

Si pote stolidum repente excitare veternum


Et supinum animum in gravi derelinquere caeno,

Ferream ut soleam tenaci in voragine mula.


Of a "Predestined" Husband.

Colony! fain to display thy games on length of thy town-bridge!

There, too, ready to dance, though fearing the shaking of crazy

Logs of the Bridgelet propt on pier-piles newly renewèd,

Lest supine all sink deep-merged in the marish's hollow,


So may the bridge hold good when builded after thy pleasure

Where Salisúbulus' rites with solemn function are sacred,

As thou (Colony!) grant me boon of mightiest laughter.

Certain a townsman mine I'd lief see thrown from thy gangway

Hurlèd head over heels precipitous whelmed in the quagmire,


Where the lake and the boglands are most rotten and stinking,

Deepest and lividest lie, the swallow of hollow voracious.

Witless surely the wight whose sense is less than of boy-babe


Two-year-old and a-sleep on trembling forearm of father.

He though wedded to girl in greenest bloom of her youth-tide,


(Bride-wife daintier bred than ever was delicate kidlet,

Worthier diligent watch than grape-bunch blackest and ripest)

Suffers her sport as she please nor rates her even at hair's worth,

Nowise 'stirring himself, but lying log-like as alder

Felled and o'er floating the fosse of safe Ligurian woodsman,


Feeling withal, as though such spouse he never had own'd;

So this marvel o' mine sees naught, and nothing can hear he,

What he himself, an he be or not be, wholly unknowing.

Now would I willingly pitch such wight head first fro' thy bridge,

Better a-sudden t'arouse that numskull's stolid old senses,


Or in the sluggish mud his soul supine to deposit

Even as she-mule casts iron shoe where quagmire is stiffest.

O Colonia, that longest to disport thyself on a long bridge and art prepared for the dance, but that fearest the trembling legs of the bridgelet builded on re-used shavings, lest supine it may lie stretched in [35]the hollow swamp; may a good bridge take its place designed to thy fancy, on which e'en the Salian dances may be sustained: for the which grant to me, Colonia, greatest of gifts glee-exciting. Such an one, townsman of mine, I want from thy bridge to be pitched in the sludge head over heels, right where the lake of all its stinking slime is dankest and most superfluent—a deep-sunk abyss. The man is a gaping gaby! lacking the sense of a two-years-old baby dozing on its father's cradling arm. Although to him is wedded a girl flushed with springtide's bloom (and a girl more dainty than a tender kid, meet to be watched with keener diligence than the lush-black grape-bunch), he leaves her to sport at her list, cares not a single hair, nor bestirs himself with marital office, but lies as an alder felled by Ligurian hatchet in a ditch, as sentient of everything as though no woman were at his side. Such is my booby! he sees not, he hears naught. Who himself is, or whether he be or be not, he also knows not. Now I wish to chuck him head first from thy bridge, so as to suddenly rouse (if possible) this droning dullard and to leave behind in the sticky slush his sluggish spirit, as a mule casts its iron shoe in the tenacious slough.


Hunc lucum tibi dedico, consecroque, Priape,

Qua domus tua Lampsaci est, quaque silva, Priape,

Nam te praecipue in suis urbibus colit ora

Hellespontia, caeteris ostreosior oris.



To Priapus, the Garden-God.

This grove to thee devote I give, Priapus!

Who home be Lampsacus and holt, Priapus!

For thee in cities worship most the shores

Of Hellespont the richest oystery strand.

This grove I dedicate and consecrate to thee, Priapus, who hast thy home at Lampsacus, and eke thy woodlands, Priapus; for thee especially in its cities worships the coast of the Hellespont, richer in oysters than all other shores.


Hunc ego, juvenes, locum, villulamque palustrem,

Tectam vimine junceo, caricisque maniplis,

Quercus arida, rustica conformata securi,

Nunc tuor: magis, et magis ut beata quotannis.


Hujus nam Domini colunt me, Deumque salutant,

Pauperis tugurii pater, filiusque coloni:

Alter, assidua colens diligentia, ut herba

Dumosa, asperaque a meo sit remota sacello:

Alter, parva ferens manu semper munera larga.


Florido mihi ponitur picta vere corolla

Primitu', et tenera virens spica mollis arista:

Luteae violae mihi, luteumque papaver,

Pallentesque cucurbitae, et suaveolentia mala,

Vva pampinea rubens educata sub umbra.


Sanguine hanc etiam mihi (sed tacebitis) aram


Barbatus linit hirculus, cornipesque capella:

Pro queis omnia honoribus haec necesse Priapo

Praestare, et domini hortulum, vineamque tueri.

Quare hinc, o pueri, malas abstinete rapinas.


Vicinus prope dives est, negligensque Priapus.

Inde sumite: semita haec deinde vos feret ipsa.


To Priapus.

This place, O youths, I protect, nor less this turf-builded cottage,

Roofed with its osier-twigs and thatched with its bundles of sedges;

I from the dried oak hewn and fashioned with rustical hatchet,

Guarding them year by year while more are they evermore thriving.


For here be owners twain who greet and worship my Godship,

He of the poor hut lord and his son, the pair of them peasants:

This with assiduous toil aye works the thicketty herbage

And the coarse water-grass to clear afar from my chapel:

That with his open hand ever brings me offerings humble.


Hung up in honour mine are flowery firstlings of spring-tide,


Wreaths with their ears still soft the tender stalklets a-crowning;

Violets pale are mine by side of the poppy-head pallid;

With the dull yellow gourd and apples sweetest of savour;

Lastly the blushing grape disposed in shade of the vine-tree.


Anon mine altar (this same) with blood (but you will be silent!)

Bearded kid and anon some horny-hoofed nanny shall sprinkle.

Wherefore Priapus is bound to requite such honours by service,

Doing his duty to guard both vineyard and garth of his lordling.

Here then, O lads, refrain from ill-mannered picking and stealing:


Rich be the neighbour-hind and negligent eke his Priapus:

Take what be his: this path hence leadeth straight to his ownings.

This place, youths, and the marshland cot thatched with rushes, osier-twigs and bundles of sedge, I, carved from a dry oak by a rustic axe, now protect, so that they thrive more and more every year. For its owners, the father of the poor hut and his son,—both husbandmen,—revere me and salute me as a god; the one labouring with assiduous diligence that the harsh weeds and brambles may be [39]kept away from my sanctuary, the other often bringing me small offerings with open hand. On me is placed a many-tinted wreath of early spring flowers and the soft green blade and ear of the tender corn. Saffron-coloured violets, the orange-hued poppy, wan gourds, sweet-scented apples, and the purpling grape trained in the shade of the vine, [are offered] to me. Sometimes, (but keep silent as to this) even the bearded he-goat, and the horny-footed nanny sprinkle my altar with blood; for which honours Priapus is bound in return to do everything [which lies in his duty], and to keep strict guard over the little garden and vineyard of his master. Wherefore, abstain, O lads, from your evil pilfering here. Our next neighbour is rich and his Priapus is negligent. Take from him; this path then will lead you to his grounds.


Ego haec ego arte fabricata rustica,

Ego arida, o viator, ecce populus

Agellulum hunc, sinistra, tute quem vides,

Herique villulam, hortulumque pauperis


Tuor, malasque furis arceo manus.

Mihi corolla picta vero ponitur:

Mihi rubens arista sole fervido:

Mihi virente dulcis uva pampino:

Mihique glauca duro oliva frigore.


Meis capella delicata pascuis

In urbem adulta lacte portat ubera:

Meisque pinguis agnus ex ovilibus


Gravem domum remittit aere dexteram:

Tenerque, matre mugiente, vaccula


Deum profundit ante templa sanguinem.

Proin', viator, hunc Deum vereberis,

Manumque sorsum habebis hoc tibi expedit.

Parata namque crux, sine arte mentula.

Velim pol, inquis: at pol ecce, villicus


Venit: valente cui revulsa brachio

Fit ista mentula apta clava dexterae.


To Priapus.

I thuswise fashionèd by rustic art

And from dried poplar-trunk (O traveller!) hewn,

This fieldlet, leftwards as thy glances fall,

And my lord's cottage with his pauper garth


Protect, repelling thieves' rapacious hands.

In spring with vari-coloured wreaths I'm crown'd,

In fervid summer with the glowing grain,

Then with green vine-shoot and the luscious bunch,

And glaucous olive-tree in bitter cold.


The dainty she-goat from my pasture bears

Her milk-distended udders to the town:

Out of my sheep-cotes ta'en the fatted lamb

Sends home with silver right-hand heavily charged;

And, while its mother lows, the tender calf


Before the temples of the Gods must bleed.

Hence of such Godhead, (traveller!) stand in awe,

Best it befits thee off to keep thy hands.

Thy cross is ready, shaped as artless yard;


"I'm willing, 'faith" (thou say'st) but 'faith here comes


The boor, and plucking forth with bended arm

Makes of this tool a club for doughty hand.

I, O traveller, shaped with rustic art from a dry poplar, guard this little field which thou seest on the left, and the cottage and small garden of its indigent owner, and keep off the greedy hands of the robber. In spring a many-tinted wreath is placed upon me; in summer's heat ruddy grain; [in autumn] a luscious grape cluster with vine-shoots, and in the bitter cold the pale-green olive. The tender she-goat bears from my pasture to the town milk-distended udders; the well-fattened lamb from my sheepfolds sends back [its owner] with a heavy handful of money; and the tender calf, 'midst its mother's lowings, sheds its blood before the temple of the Gods. Hence, wayfarer, thou shalt be in awe of this God, and it will be profitable to thee to keep thy hands off. For a punishment is prepared—a roughly-shaped mentule. "Truly, I am willing," thou sayest; then, truly, behold the farmer comes, and that same mentule plucked from my groin will become an apt cudgel in his strong right hand.


Aureli, pater essuritionum,

Non harum modo, sed quot aut fuerunt

Aut sunt aut aliis erunt in annis,

Pedicare cupis meos amores.


Nec clam: nam simul es, iocaris una,

Haeres ad latus omnia experiris.

Frustra: nam insidias mihi instruentem

Tangem te prior inrumatione.

Atque id si faceres satur, tacerem:


Nunc ipsum id doleo, quod essurire,

A me me, puer et sitire discet.

Quare desine, dum licet pudico,

Ne finem facias, sed inrumatus.


To Aurelius the Skinflint.

Aurelius, father of the famisht crew,

Not sole of starvelings now, but wretches who

Were, are, or shall be in the years to come,

My love, my dearling, fain art thou to strum.


Nor privately; for nigh thou com'st and jestest

And to his side close-sticking all things questest.

'Tis vain: while lay'st thou snares for me the worst,

By —— I will teach thee first.

An food-full thus do thou, my peace I'd keep:


But what (ah me! ah me!) compels me weep

Are thirst and famine to my dearling fated.

Cease thou so doing while as modest rated,

Lest to thy will thou win—but ——

Aurelius, father of the famished, in ages past in time now present and in future years yet to come, thou art longing to paedicate my love. Nor is't done secretly: for thou art with him jesting, closely [43]sticking at his side, trying every means. In vain: for, instructed in thy artifice, I'll strike home beforehand by irrumating thee. Now if thou didst this to work off the results of full-living I would say naught: but what irks me is that my boy must learn to starve and thirst with thee. Wherefore, desist, whilst thou mayst with modesty, lest thou reach the end,—but by being irrumated.


Suffenus iste, Vare, quem probe nosti,

Homost venustus et dicax et urbanus,

Idemque longe plurimos facit versus.

Puto esse ego illi milia aut decem aut plura


Perscripta, nec sic ut fit in palimpseston

Relata: chartae regiae, novei libri,

Novei umbilici, lora rubra, membrana

Derecta plumbo, et pumice omnia aequata.

Haec cum legas tu, bellus ille et urbanus


Suffenus unus caprimulgus aut fossor

Rursus videtur; tantum abhorret ac mutat.

Hoc quid putemus esse? qui modo scurra

Aut siquid hac re scitius videbatur,

Idem infacetost infacetior rure,


Simul poemata attigit, neque idem umquam

Aequest beatus ac poema cum scribit:

Tam gaudet in se tamque se ipse miratur.

Nimirum idem omnes fallimur, nequest quisquam,

Quem non in aliqua re videre Suffenum


Possis. suus cuique attributus est error:

Sed non videmus, manticae quod in tergost.



To Varus abusing Suffenus.

Varus, yon wight Suffenus known to thee

Fairly for wit, free talk, urbanity,

The same who scribbles verse in amplest store—

Methinks he fathers thousands ten or more


Indited not as wont on palimpsest,

But paper-royal, brand-new boards, and best

Fresh bosses, crimson ribbands, sheets with lead

Ruled, and with pumice-powder all well polished.

These as thou readest, seem that fine, urbane


Suffenus, goat-herd mere, or ditcher-swain

Once more, such horrid change is there, so vile.

What must we wot thereof? a Droll erst while,

Or (if aught) cleverer, he with converse meets,

He now in dullness, dullest villain beats


Forthright on handling verse, nor is the wight

Ever so happy as when verse he write:

So self admires he with so full delight.

In sooth, we all thus err, nor man there be

But in some matter a Suffenus see


Thou canst: his lache allotted none shall lack

Yet spy we nothing of our back-borne pack.

That Suffenus, Varus, whom thou know'st right well, is a man fair spoken, witty and urbane, and one who makes of verses lengthy store. I think he has writ at full length ten thousand or more, nor are they set down, as of custom, on palimpsest: regal paper, new boards, unused bosses, red ribands, lead-ruled [45]parchment, and all most evenly pumiced. But when thou readest these, that refined and urbane Suffenus is seen on the contrary to be a mere goatherd or ditcher-lout, so great and shocking is the change. What can we think of this? he who just now was seen a professed droll, or e'en shrewder than such in gay speech, this same becomes more boorish than a country boor immediately he touches poesy, nor is the dolt e'er as self-content as when he writes in verse,—so greatly is he pleased with himself, so much does he himself admire. Natheless, we all thus go astray, nor is there any man in whom thou canst not see a Suffenus in some one point. Each of us has his assigned delusion: but we see not what's in the wallet on our back.


Furei, quoi neque servos est neque arca

Nec cimex neque araneus neque ignis,

Verumst et pater et noverca, quorum

Dentes vel silicem comesse possunt,


Est pulchre tibi cum tuo parente

Et cum coniuge lignea parentis.

Nec mirum: bene nam valetis omnes,

Pulchre concoquitis, nihil timetis,

Non incendia, non graves ruinas,


Non furta inpia, non dolos veneni,

Non casus alios periculorum.

Atqui corpora sicciora cornu

Aut siquid magis aridumst habetis


Sole et frigore et essuritione.


Quare non tibi sit bene ac beate?

A te sudor abest, abest saliva,

Mucusque et mala pituita nasi.

Hanc ad munditiem adde mundiorem,

Quod culus tibi purior salillost,


Nec toto decies cacas in anno,

Atque id durius est faba et lapillis;

Quod tu si manibus teras fricesque,

Non umquam digitum inquinare possis.

Haec tu commoda tam beata, Furi,


Noli spernere nec putare parvi,

Et sestertia quae soles precari

Centum desine: nam sat es beatus.


To Furius satirically praising his Poverty.

Furius! Nor chest, nor slaves can claim,

Bug, Spider, nor e'en hearth aflame,

Yet thine a sire and step-dame who

Wi' tooth can ever flint-food chew!


So thou, and pleasant happy life

Lead wi' thy parent's wooden wife.

Nor this be marvel: hale are all,

Well ye digest; no fears appal

For household-arsons, heavy ruin,


Plunderings impious, poison-brewin'

Or other parlous case forlorn.

Your frames are hard and dried like horn,

Or if more arid aught ye know,


By suns and frosts and hunger-throe.


Then why not happy as thou'rt hale?

Sweat's strange to thee, spit fails, and fail

Phlegm and foul snivel from the nose.

Add cleanness that aye cleanlier shows

A bum than salt-pot cleanlier,


Nor ten times cack'st in total year,

And harder 'tis than pebble or bean

Which rubbed in hand or crumbled, e'en

On finger ne'er shall make unclean.

Such blessings (Furius!) such a prize


Never belittle nor despise;

Hundred sesterces seek no more

With wonted prayer—enow's thy store!

O Furius, who neither slaves, nor coffer, nor bug, nor spider, nor fire hast, but hast both father and step-dame whose teeth can munch up even flints,—thou livest finely with thy sire, and with thy sire's wood-carved spouse. Nor need's amaze! for in good health are ye all, grandly ye digest, naught fear ye, nor arson nor house-fall, thefts impious nor poison's furtive cunning, nor aught of perilous happenings whatsoe'er. And ye have bodies drier than horn (or than aught more arid still, if aught there be), parched by sun, frost, and famine. Wherefore shouldst thou not be happy with such weal. Sweat is a stranger to thee, absent also are saliva, phlegm, and evil nose-snivel. Add to this cleanliness the thing that's still more cleanly, that thy backside is purer [48]than a salt-cellar, nor cackst thou ten times in the total year, and then 'tis harder than beans and pebbles; nay, 'tis such that if thou dost rub and crumble it in thy hands, not a finger canst thou ever dirty. These goodly gifts and favours, O Furius, spurn not nor think lightly of; and cease thy 'customed begging for an hundred sesterces: for thou'rt blest enough!


O qui flosculus es Iuventiorum,

Non horum modo, sed quot aut fuerunt

Aut posthac aliis erunt in annis,

Mallem divitias Midae dedisses


Isti, quoi neque servus est neque arca,

Quam sic te sineres ab illo amari.

'Qui? non est homo bellus?' inquies. est:

Sed bello huic neque servos est neque arca.

Hoc tu quam lubet abice elevaque:


Nec servom tamen ille habet neque arcam.


To Juventius concerning the Choice of a Friend.

O of Juventian youths the flowret fair

Not of these only, but of all that were

Or shall be, coming in the coming years,

Better waste Midas' wealth (to me appears)


On him that owns nor slave nor money-chest

Than thou shouldst suffer by his love possest.


"What! is he vile or not fair?" "Yes!" I attest,

"Yet owns this man so comely neither slaves nor chest

My words disdain thou or accept at best


Yet neither slave he owns nor money-chest."

O thou who art the floweret of Juventian race, not only of these now living, but of those that were of yore and eke of those that will be in the coming years, rather would I that thou hadst given the wealth e'en of Midas to that fellow who owns neither slave nor store, than that thou shouldst suffer thyself to be loved by such an one. "What! isn't he a fine-looking man?" thou askest. He is; but this fine-looking man has neither slaves nor store. Contemn and slight this as it please thee: nevertheless, he has neither slave nor store.


Cinaede Thalle, mollior cuniculi capillo

Vel anseris medullula vel imula oricilla

Vel pene languido senis situque araneoso,

Idemque Thalle turbida rapacior procella,


Cum diva munerarios ostendit oscitantes,

Remitte pallium mihi meum, quod involasti,

Sudariumque Saetabum catagraphosque Thynos,

Inepte, quae palam soles habere tamquam avita.

Quae nunc tuis ab unguibus reglutina et remitte,


Ne laneum latusculum manusque mollicellas

Inusta turpiter tibi flagella conscribillent,

Et insolenter aestues velut minuta magno

Deprensa navis in mari vesaniente vento.



Address to Thallus the Napery-Thief.

Thou bardache Thallus! more than Coney's robe

Soft, or goose-marrow or ear's lowmost lobe,

Or Age's languid yard and cobweb'd part,

Same Thallus greedier than the gale thou art,


When the Kite-goddess shows thee Gulls agape,

Return my muffler thou hast dared to rape,

Saetaban napkins, tablets of Thynos, all

Which (Fool!) ancestral heirlooms thou didst call.

These now unglue-ing from thy claws restore,


Lest thy soft hands, and floss-like flanklets score

The burning scourges, basely signed and lined,

And thou unwonted toss like wee barque tyned

'Mid vasty Ocean vexed by madding wind!

O Thallus the catamite, softer than rabbit's fur, or goose's marrow, or lowmost ear-lobe, limper than the drooping penis of an oldster, in its cobwebbed must, greedier than the driving storm, such time as the Kite-Goddess shews us the gaping Gulls, give me back my mantle which thou hast pilfered, and the Saetaban napkin and Thynian tablets which, idiot, thou dost openly parade as though they were heirlooms. These now unglue from thy nails and return, lest the stinging scourge shall shamefully score thy downy flanks and delicate hands, and thou unwonted heave and toss like a tiny boat surprised on the vasty sea by a raging storm.



Furi, villula nostra non ad Austri

Flatus oppositast neque ad Favoni

Nec saevi Boreae aut Apeliotae,

Verum ad milia quindecim et ducentos.


O ventum horribilem atque pestilentem!


Catullus concerning his Villa.

Furius! our Villa never Austral force

Broke, neither set thereon Favonius' course,

Nor savage Boreas, nor Epeliot's strain,

But fifteen thousand crowns and hundreds twain


Wreckt it,—Oh ruinous by-wind, breezy bane!

Furius, our villa not 'gainst the southern breeze is pitted nor the western wind nor cruel Boreas nor sunny east, but sesterces fifteen thousand two hundred oppose it. O horrible and baleful draught.


Minister vetuli puer Falerni

Inger mi calices amariores,

Vt lex Postumiae iubet magistrae,

Ebriosa acina ebriosioris.


At vos quo lubet hinc abite, lymphae

Vini pernicies, et ad severos

Migrate: hic merus est Thyonianus.



To his Cup-Boy.

Thou youngling drawer of Falernian old

Crown me the goblets with a bitterer wine

As was Postumia's law that rules the feast

Than ebriate grape-stone more inebriate.


But ye fare whither please ye (water-nymphs!)

To wine pernicious, and to sober folk

Migrate ye: mere Thyonian juice be here!

Boy cupbearer of old Falernian, pour me fiercer cups as bids the laws of Postumia, mistress of the feast, drunker than a drunken grape. But ye, hence, as far as ye please, crystal waters, bane of wine, hie ye to the sober: here the Thyonian juice is pure.


Pisonis comites, cohors inanis

Aptis sarcinulis et expeditis,

Verani optime tuque mi Fabulle,

Quid rerum geritis? satisne cum isto


Vappa frigoraque et famem tulistis?

Ecquidnam in tabulis patet lucelli

Expensum, ut mihi, qui meum secutus

Praetorem refero datum lucello

'O Memmi, bene me ac diu supinum


Tota ista trabe lentus inrumasti.'

Sed, quantum video, pari fuistis

Casu: nam nihilo minore verpa

Farti estis. pete nobiles amicos.

At vobis mala multa di deaeque


Dent, opprobria Romulei Remique.



To Friends on Return from Travel.

Followers of Piso, empty band

With your light budgets packt to hand,

Veránius best! Fabúllus mine!

What do ye? Bore ye enough, in fine


Of frost and famine with yon sot?

What loss or gain have haply got

Your tablets? so, whenas I ranged

With Praetor, gains for loss were changed.

"O Memmius! thou did'st long and late


—— me supine slow and ——"

But (truly see I) in such case

Diddled you were by wight as base

Sans mercy. Noble friends go claim!

Now god and goddess give you grame


Disgrace of Romulus! Remus' shame!

Piso's Company, a starveling band, with lightweight knapsacks, scantly packed, most dear Veranius thou, and my Fabullus eke, how fortunes it with you? have ye borne frost and famine enow with that sot? Which in your tablets appear—the profits or expenses? So with me, who when I followed a praetor, inscribed more gifts than gains. "O Memmius, well and slowly didst thou irrumate me, supine, day by day, with the whole of that beam." But, from what I see, in like case ye have been; for ye have been crammed with no smaller a poker. Courting friends of high rank! But may the gods and goddesses heap ill upon ye, reproach to Romulus and Remus. [54]


Quis hoc potest videre, quis potest pati,

Nisi inpudicus et vorax et aleo,

Mamurram habere quod Comata Gallia

Habebat ante et ultima Britannia?


Cinaede Romule, haec videbis et feres?


Es inpudicus et vorax et aleo.

Et ille nunc superbus et superfluens

Perambulabit omnium cubilia

Vt albulus columbus aut Adoneus?

Cinaede Romule, haec videbis et feres?


Es inpudicus et vorax et aleo.

Eone nomine, imperator unice,

Fuisti in ultima occidentis insula,

Vt ista vostra defututa Mentula

Ducenties comesset aut trecenties?


Quid est alid sinistra liberalitas?

Parum expatravit an parum eluatus est?

Paterna prima lancinata sunt bona:

Secunda praeda Pontica: inde tertia

Hibera, quam scit amnis aurifer Tagus.


Timentne Galliae hunc, timent Britanniae?

Quid hunc malum fovetis? aut quid hic potest,

Nisi uncta devorare patrimonia?

Eone nomine urbis, o potissimei

Socer generque, perdidistis omnia?


To Cæsar of Mamurra, called Mentula.

Who e'er could witness this (who could endure

Except the lewdling, dicer, greedy-gut)


That should Mamurra get what hairy Gaul

And all that farthest Britons held whilòme?


(Thou bardache Romulus!) this wilt see and bear?


Then art a lewdling, dicer, greedy-gut!

He now superb with pride superfluous

Shall go perambulate the bedrooms all

Like white-robed dovelet or Adonis-love.

Romulus thou bardache! this wilt see and bear?


Then art a lewdling, dicer, greedy-gut!

Is't for such like name, sole Emperor thou!

Thou soughtest extreme Occidental Isle?

That this your —— Mentula

Millions and Milliards might at will absorb?


What is't but Liberality misplaced?

What trifles wasted he, small heirlooms spent?

First his paternal goods were clean dispersed;

Second went Pontus' spoils and for the third,—

Ebro-land,—weets it well gold-rolling Tage.


Fear him the Gallias? Him the Britons' fear?

Why cherish this ill-wight? what 'vails he do?

Save fat paternal heritage devour?

Lost ye for such a name, O puissant pair

(Father and Son-in-law), our all-in-all?

Who can witness this, who can brook it, save a whore-monger, a guzzler, and a gamester, that Mamurra should possess what long-haired Gaul and remotest Britain erstwhile had. Thou catamite Romulus, this thou'lt see and bear? Then thou'rt a whore-monger, a guzzler, and a gamester. And shall he now, superb and o'er replete, saunter o'er each [56]one's bed, as though he were a snow-plumed dove or an Adonis? Thou catamite Romulus, this thou'lt see and hear? Then thou'rt a whore-monger, a guzzler, and a gamester. For such a name, O general unique, hast thou been to the furthest island of the west, that this thy futtered-out Mentula should squander hundreds of hundreds? What is't but ill-placed munificence? What trifles has he squandered, or what petty store washed away? First his patrimony was mangled; secondly the Pontic spoils; then thirdly the Iberian, which the golden Tagus-stream knoweth. Do not the Gauls fear this man, do not the Britons quake? Why dost thou foster this scoundrel? What use is he save to devour well-fattened inheritances? Wast for such a name, O most puissant father-in-law and son-in-law, that ye have spoiled the entire world.


Alfene inmemor atque unanimis false sodalibus

Iam te nil miseret, dure, tui dulcis amiculi?

Iam me prodere, iam non dubitas fallere, perfide?

Nec facta inpia fallacum hominum caelicolis placent:


Quod tu neglegis, ac me miserum deseris in malis.

Eheu quid faciant, dic, homines, cuive habeant fidem?

Certe tute iubebas animam tradere, inique, me

Inducens in amorem, quasi tuta omnia mi forent.

Idem nunc retrahis te ac tua dicta omnia factaque


Ventos inrita ferre ac nebulas aerias sinis.


Si tu oblitus es, at di meminerunt, meminit Fides,

Quae te ut paeniteat postmodo facti faciet tui.


To Alfenus the Perjuror.

Alfénus! short of memory, false to comrades dearest-dear,

Now hast no pity (hardened Soul!) for friend and loving fere?

Now to betray me, now to guile thou (traitor!) ne'er dost pause?

Yet impious feats of fraudful men ne'er force the Gods' applause:


When heed'st thou not deserting me (Sad me!) in sorest scathe,

Ah say whate'er shall humans do? in whom shall man show faith?

For sure thou bad'st me safely yield my spirit (wretch!) to thee,

Lulling my love as though my life were all security.

The same now dost withdraw thyself and every word and deed


Thou suffer'st winds and airy clouds to sweep from out thy head.

But an forget thou, mindful be the Gods, and Faith in mind

Bears thee, and soon shall gar thee rue the deeds by thee design'd.


Alfenus, unmemoried and unfaithful to thy comrades true, is there now no pity in thee, O hard of heart, for thine sweet loving friend? Dost thou betray me now, and scruplest not to play me false now, dishonourable one? Yet the irreverent deeds of traitorous men please not the dwellers in heaven: this thou takest no heed of, leaving me wretched amongst my ills. Alas, what may men do, I pray you, in whom put trust? In truth thou didst bid me entrust my soul to thee, sans love returned, lulling me to love, as though all [love-returns] were safely mine. Yet now thou dost withdraw thyself, and all thy purposeless words and deeds thou sufferest to be wafted away into winds and nebulous clouds. If thou hast forgotten, yet the gods remember, and in time to come will make thee rue thy doing.


Paeninsularum, Sirmio, insularumque

Ocelle, quascumque in liquentibus stagnis

Marique vasto fert uterque Neptunus,

Quam te libenter quamque laetus inviso,


Vix mi ipse credens Thyniam atque Bithynos

Liquisse campos et videre te in tuto.

O quid solutis est beatius curis,

Cum mens onus reponit, ac peregrino

Labore fessi venimus larem ad nostrum


Desideratoque acquiescimus lecto.

Hoc est, quod unumst pro laboribus tantis.


Salve, o venusta Sirmio, atque ero gaude:

Gaudete vosque, o Libuae lacus undae:

Ridete, quidquid est domi cachinnorum.


On Return to Sirmio and his Villa.

Sirmio! of Islands and Peninsulas

Eyelet, and whatsoe'er in limpid meres

And vasty Ocean either Neptune owns,

Thy scenes how willing-glad once more I see,


At pain believing Thynia and the Fields

Bithynian left, I'm safe to sight thy Site.

Oh what more blessèd be than cares resolved,

When mind casts burthen and by peregrine

Work over wearied, lief we hie us home


To lie reposing in the longed-for bed!

This be the single meed for toils so triste.

Hail, O fair Sirmio, in thy lord rejoice:

And ye, O waves of Lybian Lake be glad,

And laugh what laughter pealeth in my home.

Sirmio! Eyebabe of Islands and Peninsulas, which Neptune holds whether in limpid lakes or on mighty mains, how gladly and how gladsomely do I re-see thee, scarce crediting that I've left behind Thynia and the Bithynian champaign, and that safe and sound I gaze on thee. O what's more blissful than cares released, when the mind casts down its burden, and when wearied with travel-toils we reach our hearth, and sink on the craved-for couch. This and only this [60]repays our labours numerous. Hail, lovely Sirmio, and gladly greet thy lord; and joy ye, wavelets of the Lybian lake; laugh ye the laughters echoing from my home.


Amabo, mea dulcis Ipsithilla,

Meae deliciae, mei lepores,

Iube ad te veniam meridiatum.

Et si iusseris illud, adiuvato,


Nequis liminis obseret tabellam,

Neu tibi lubeat foras abire,

Sed domi maneas paresque nobis

Novem continuas fututiones.

Verum, siquid ages, statim iubeto:


Nam pransus iaceo et satur supinus

Pertundo tunicamque palliumque.


Craving Ipsithilla's Last Favours.

I'll love my Ipsithilla sweetest,

My desires and my wit the meetest,

So bid me join thy nap o' noon!

Then (after bidding) add the boon


Undraw thy threshold-bolt none dare,

Lest thou be led afar to fare;

Nay bide at home, for us prepare

Nine-fold continuous love-delights.

But aught do thou to hurry things,


For dinner-full I lie aback,

And gown and tunic through I crack.


I'll love thee, my sweet Ipsithilla, my delight, my pleasure: an thou bid me come to thee at noontide. And an thou thus biddest, I adjure thee that none makes fast the outer door [against me], nor be thou minded to gad forth, but do thou stay at home and prepare for us nine continuous conjoinings. In truth if thou art minded, give instant summons: for breakfast o'er, I lie supine and ripe, thrusting through both tunic and cloak.


O furum optime balneariorum

Vibenni pater, et cinaede fili,

(Nam dextra pater inquinatiore,

Culo filius est voraciore)


Cur non exilium malasque in oras

Itis, quandoquidem patris rapinae

Notae sunt populo, et natis pilosas,

Fili, non potes asse venditare.


On the Vibenii—Bath-Thieves.

Oh, best of robbers who in Baths delight,

Vibennius, sire and son, the Ingle hight,

(For that the father's hand be fouler one

And with his anus greedier is the Son)


Why not to banishment and evil hours

Haste ye, when all the parent's plundering powers

Are public knowledge, nor canst gain a Cent

Son! by the vending of thy pilèd vent.


O, chiefest of pilferers, baths frequenting, Vibennius the father and his pathic son (for with the right hand is the sire more in guilt, and with his backside is the son the greedier), why go ye not to exile and ill hours, seeing that the father's plunderings are known to all folk, and that, son, thou can'st not sell thine hairy buttocks for a doit?


Dianae sumus in fide

Puellae et pueri integri:

Dianam pueri integri

Puellaeque canamus.


O Latonia, maximi

Magna progenies Iovis,

Quam mater prope Deliam

Deposivit olivam,

Montium domina ut fores


Silvarumque virentium

Saltuumque reconditorum

Amniumque sonantum.

Tu Lucina dolentibus

Iuno dicta puerperis,


Tu potens Trivia et notho's

Dicta lumine Luna.

Tu cursu, dea, menstruo

Metiens iter annuom

Rustica agricolae bonis


Tecta frugibus exples.


Sis quocumque tibi placet

Sancta nomine, Romulique,

Antique ut solita's, bona

Sospites ope gentem.


Hymn to Diana.

Diana's faith inbred we bear

Youths whole of heart and maidens fair,

Let boys no blemishes impair,

And girls of Dian sing!


O great Latonian progeny,

Of greatest Jove descendancy,

Whom mother bare 'neath olive-tree,

Deep in the Delian dell;

That of the mountains reign thou Queen


And forest ranges ever green,

And coppices by man unseen,

And rivers resonant.

Thou art Lucína, Juno hight

By mothers lien in painful plight,


Thou puissant Trivia and the Light

Bastard, yclept the Lune.

Thou goddess with thy monthly stage,

The yearly march doth mete and guage

And rustic peasant's messuage,


Dost brim with best o' crops,


Be hailed by whatso name of grace,

Please thee and olden Romulus' race,

Thy wonted favour deign embrace,

And save with choicest aid.

We, maids and upright youths, are in Diana's care: upright youths and maids, we sing Diana.

O Latonia, progeny great of greatest Jove, whom thy mother bare 'neath Delian olive,

That thou mightst be Queen of lofty mounts, of foliaged groves, of remote glens, and of winding streams.

Thou art called Juno Lucina by the mother in her travail-pangs, thou art named potent Trivia and Luna with an ill-got light.

Thou, Goddess, with monthly march measuring the yearly course, dost glut with produce the rustic roofs of the farmer.

Be thou hallowed by whatsoe'er name thou dost prefer; and cherish, with thine good aid, as thou art wont, the ancient race of Romulus.


Poetae tenero, meo sodali

Velim Caecilio, papyre, dicas,

Veronam veniat, Novi relinquens

Comi moenia Lariumque litus:


Nam quasdam volo cogitationes

Amici accipiat sui meique.

Quare, si sapiet, viam vorabit,

Quamvis candida milies puella


Euntem revocet manusque collo


Ambas iniciens roget morari,

Quae nunc, si mihi vera nuntiantur,

Illum deperit inpotente amore:

Nam quo tempore legit incohatam

Dindymi dominam, ex eo misellae


Ignes interiorem edunt medullam.

Ignosco tibi, Sapphica puella

Musa doctior: est enim venuste

Magna Caecilio incohata mater.


An Invitation to Poet Cecilius.

Now to that tender bard, my Comrade fair,

(Cecilius) say I, "Paper go, declare,

Verona must we make and bid to New

Comum's town-walls and Larian Shores adieu;"


For I determined certain fancies he

Accept from mutual friend to him and me.

Wherefore he will, if wise, devour the way,

Though the blonde damsel thousand times essay

Recall his going and with arms a-neck


A-winding would e'er seek his course to check;

A girl who (if the truth be truly told)

Dies of a hopeless passion uncontroul'd;

For since the doings of the Díndymus-dame,

By himself storied, she hath read, a flame


Wasting her inmost marrow-core hath burned.

I pardon thee, than Sapphic Muse more learn'd,

Damsel: for truly sung in sweetest lays

Was by Cecilius Magna Mater's praise.


To that sweet poet, my comrade, Caecilius, I bid thee, paper, say: that he hie him here to Verona, quitting New Comum's city-walls and Larius' shore; for I wish him to give ear to certain counsels from a friend of his and mine. Wherefore, an he be wise, he'll devour the way, although a milk-white maid doth thousand times retard his going, and flinging both arms around his neck doth supplicate delay—a damsel who now, if truth be brought me, is undone with immoderate love of him. For, since what time she first read of the Dindymus Queen, flames devour the innermost marrow of the wretched one. I grant thee pardon, damsel, more learned than the Sapphic muse: for charmingly has the Mighty Mother been sung by Caecilius.


Annales Volusi, cacata charta,

Votum solvite pro mea puella:

Nam sanctae Veneri Cupidinique

Vovit, si sibi restitutus essem


Desissemque truces vibrare iambos,

Electissima pessimi poetae

Scripta tardipedi deo daturam

Infelicibus ustulanda lignis.

Et haec pessima se puella vidit


Iocose lepide vovere divis.

Nunc, o caeruleo creata ponto,

Quae sanctum Idalium Vriosque portus


Quaeque Ancona Cnidumque harundinosam

Colis quaeque Amathunta quaeque Golgos


Quaeque Durrachium Adriae tabernam,

Acceptum face redditumque votum,

Si non inlepidum neque invenustumst.

At vos interea venite in ignem,

Pleni ruris et inficetiarum


Annales Volusi, cacata charta.


On "The Annals"—A so-called Poem of Volusius.

Volusius' Annals, paper scum-bewrayed!

Fulfil that promise erst my damsel made;

Who vowed to Holy Venus and her son,

Cupid, should I return to her anon


And cease to brandish iamb-lines accurst,

The writ selected erst of bards the worst

She to the limping Godhead would devote

With slowly-burning wood of illest note.

This was the vilest which my girl could find


With vow facetious to the Gods assigned.

Now, O Creation of the azure sea,

Holy Idalium, Urian havenry

Haunting, Ancona, Cnidos' reedy site,

Amathus, Golgos, and the tavern hight


Durrachium—thine Adrian abode—

The vow accepting, recognize the vowed

As not unworthy and unhandsome naught.


But do ye meanwhile to the fire be brought,

That teem with boorish jest of sorry blade,


Volusius' Annals, paper scum-bewrayed.

Volusius' Annals, merdous paper, fulfil ye a vow for my girl: for she vowed to sacred Venus and to Cupid that if I were re-united to her and I desisted hurling savage iambics, she would give the most elect writings of the pettiest poet to the tardy-footed God to be burned with ill-omened wood. And this the saucy minx chose, jocosely and drolly to vow to the gods. Now, O Creation of the cerulean main, who art in sacred Idalium, and in Urian haven, and who doth foster Ancona and reedy Cnidos, Amathus and Golgos, and Dyrrhachium, Adriatic tavern, accept and acknowledge this vow if it lack not grace nor charm. But meantime, hence with ye to the flames, crammed with boorish speech and vapid, Annals of Volusius, merdous paper.


Salax taberna vosque contubernales,

A pileatis nona fratribus pila,

Solis putatis esse mentulas vobis,

Solis licere, quidquid est puellarum,


Confutuere et putare ceteros hircos?

An, continenter quod sedetis insulsi

Centum an ducenti, non putatis ausurum

Me una ducentos inrumare sessores?

Atqui putate: namque totius vobis


Frontem tabernae scorpionibus scribam.


Puella nam mi, quae meo sinu fugit,

Amata tantum quantum amabitur nulla,

Pro qua mihi sunt magna bella pugnata,

Consedit istic. hanc boni beatique


Omnes amatis, et quidem, quod indignumst,

Omnes pusilli et semitarii moechi;

Tu praeter omnes une de capillatis,

Cuniculosae Celtiberiae fili

Egnati, opaca quem bonum facit barba


Et dens Hibera defricatus urina.


To the Frequenters of a low Tavern.

Salacious Tavern and ye taverner-host,

From Pileate Brothers the ninth pile-post,

D'ye claim, you only of the mentule boast,

D'ye claim alone what damsels be the best


To swive: as he-goats holding all the rest?

Is't when like boobies sit ye incontinent here,

One or two hundred, deem ye that I fear

Two hundred —— at one brunt?

Ay, think so, natheless all your tavern-front


With many a scorpion I will over-write.

For that my damsel, fro' my breast took flight,

By me so lovèd, as shall loved be none,

Wherefor so mighty wars were waged and won,

Does sit in public here. Ye fain, rich wights,


All woo her: thither too (the chief of slights!)

All pitiful knaves and by-street wenchers fare,


And thou, (than any worse), with hanging hair,

In coney-breeding Celtiberia bred,

Egnatius! bonnified by beard full-fed,


And teeth with Spanish urine polishèd.

Tavern of lust and you its tippling crowd, (at ninth pile sign-post from the Cap-donned Brothers) think ye that ye alone have mentules, that 'tis allowed to you alone to touzle whatever may be feminine, and to deem all other men mere goats? But, because ye sit, a row of fools numbering one hundred or haply two hundred, do ye think I dare not irrumate your entire two hundred—loungers!—at once! Think it! but I'll scrawl all over the front of your tavern with scorpion-words. For my girl, who has fled from my embrace (she whom I loved as ne'er a maid shall be beloved—for whom I fought fierce fights) has seated herself here. All ye, both honest men and rich, and also, (O cursed shame) all ye paltry back-slum fornicators, are making hot love to her; and thou above all, one of the hairy-visaged sons of coney-caverned Celtiberia, Egnatius, whose quality is stamped by dense-grown beard, and teeth with Spanish urine scrubbed.


Malest, Cornifici, tuo Catullo,

Malest, me hercule, et est laboriose,

Et magis magis in dies et horas.

Quem tu, quod minimum facillimumquest,


Qua solatus es adlocutione?


Irascor tibi. sic meos amores?

Paulum quid lubet adlocutionis,

Maestius lacrimis Simonideis.


A Complaint to Cornificius.

Cornificius! 'Tis ill with thy Catullus,

'Tis ill (by Hercules) distressfully:

Iller and iller every day and hour.

Whose soul (as smallest boon and easiest)


With what of comfort hast thou deign'd console?

Wi' thee I'm angered! Dost so prize my love?

Yet some consoling utterance had been well

Though sadder 'twere than Simonídean tears.

'Tis ill, Cornificius, with thy Catullus, 'tis ill, by Hercules, and most untoward; and greater, greater ill, each day and hour! And thou, what solace givest thou, e'en the tiniest, the lightest, by thy words? I'm wroth with thee. Is my love but worth this? Yet one little message would cheer me, though more full of sadness than Simonidean tears.


Egnatius, quod candidos habet dentes,

Renidet usque quaque. sei ad rei ventumst

Subsellium, cum orator excitat fletum,

Renidet ille. sei ad pii rogum fili


Lugetur, orba cum flet unicum mater,


Renidet ille. quidquid est, ubicumquest,

Quodcumque agit, renidet. hunc habet morbum,

Neque elegantem, ut arbitror, neque urbanum.

Quare monendum test mihi, bone Egnati.


Si urbanus esses aut Sabinus aut Tiburs

Aut fartus Vmber aut obesus Etruscus

Aut Lanuinus ater atque dentatus

Aut Transpadanus, ut meos quoque attingam,

Aut quilubet, qui puriter lavit dentes,


Tamen renidere usque quaque te nollem:

Nam risu inepto res ineptior nullast.

Nunc Celtiber es: Celtiberia in terra,

Quod quisque minxit, hoc sibi solet mane

Dentem atque russam defricare gingivam,


Vt quo iste vester expolitior dens est,

Hoc te amplius bibisse praedicet loti.


On Egnatius of the White Teeth.

Egnatius for that owns he teeth snow-white,

Grins ever, everywhere. When placed a wight

In dock, when pleader would draw tears, the while

He grins. When pious son at funeral pile


Mourns, or lone mother sobs for sole lost son,

He grins. Whate'er, whene'er, howe'er is done,

Of deed he grins. Such be his malady,

Nor kind, nor courteous—so beseemeth me—

Then take thou good Egnatius, rede of mine!


Wert thou corrupt Sabine or a Tiburtine,


Stuffed Umbrian or Tuscan overgrown

Swarthy Lanuvian with his teeth-rows shown,

Transpádan also, that mine own I touch,

Or any washing teeth to shine o'er much,


Yet thy incessant grin I would not see,

For naught than laughter silly sillier be.

Thou Celtiber art, in Celtiberia born,

Where man who's urined therewith loves a-morn

His teeth and ruddy gums to scour and score;


So the more polisht are your teeth, the more

Argue they sipping stale in ampler store.

Egnatius, who has milk-white teeth, grins for ever and aye. An he be in court, when counsel excites tears, he grins. An he be at funeral pyre where one mourns a son devoted, where a bereft mother's tears stream for her only one, he grins. Whatever it may be, wherever he is, whate'er may happen, he grins. Such ill habit has he—neither in good taste, well assumed, nor refined. Wherefore do thou take note from me, my good Egnatius. Be thou refined Sabine or Tiburtine, paunch-full Umbrian or obese Tuscan, Lanuvian dusky and large-tusked, or Transpadine (to touch upon mine own folk also), or whom thou wilt of those who cleanly wash their teeth, still I'd wish thee not to grin for ever and aye; for than senseless giggling nothing is more senseless. Now thou'rt a Celtiberian! and in the Celtiberian land each wight who has urined is wont each morn to scrub with it his [74]teeth and pinky gums, so that the higher the polish on thy teeth, the greater fund it notes that thou hast drunk of urine.


Quaenam te mala mens, miselle Ravide,

Agit praecipitem in meos iambos?

Quis deus tibi non bene advocatus

Vecordem parat excitare rixam?


An ut pervenias in ora vulgi?

Quid vis? qua lubet esse notus optas?

Eris, quandoquidem meos amores

Cum longa voluisti amare poena.


Threatening Ravidus who stole his Mistress.

What thought of folly Rávidus (poor churl!)

Upon my iambs thus would headlong hurl?

What good or cunning counsellor would fain

Urge thee to struggle in such strife insane?


Is't that the vulgar mouth thy name by rote?

What will'st thou? Wishest on any wise such note?

Then shalt be noted since my love so lief

For love thou sued'st to thy lasting grief.

What mind ill set, O sorry Ravidus, doth thrust thee rashly on to my iambics? What god, none advocate of good for thee, doth stir thee to a senseless contest? That thou may'st be in the people's [75]mouth? What would'st thou? Dost wish to be famed, no matter in what way? So thou shalt be, since thou hast aspired to our loved one's love, but by our long-drawn vengeance.


Ametina puella defututa

Tota milia me decem poposcit,

Ista turpiculo puella naso,

Decoctoris amica Formiani.


Propinqui, quibus est puella curae,

Amicos medicosque convocate:

Non est sana puella. nec rogate,

Qualis sit: solet esse imaginosa.


On Mamurra's Mistress.

That Ametina, worn-out whore,

Me for a myriad oft would bore,

That strumpet of th' ignoble nose,

To leman, rakehell Formian chose.


An ye would guard her (kinsmen folk)

Your friends and leaches d'ye convoke:

The girl's not sound-sens'd; ask ye naught

Of her complaint: she's love-distraught.

Ametina, out-drainèd maiden, worries me for a whole ten thousand, that damsel with an outspread nose, chère amie of Formianus the wildling. Ye near [76]of kin in whose care the maiden is, summon ye both friends and medicals: for the girl's not sane. Nor ask ye, in what way: she is subject to delusions.


Adeste, hendecasyllabi, quot estis

Omnes undique, quotquot estis omnes.

Iocum me putat esse moecha turpis

Et negat mihi nostra reddituram


Pugillaria, si pati potestis.

Persequamur eam, et reflagitemus.

Quae sit, quaeritis. illa, quam videtis

Turpe incedere, mimice ac moleste

Ridentem catuli ore Gallicani.


Circumsistite eam, et reflagitate,

'Moecha putida, redde codicillos,

Redde, putida moecha, codicillos.'

Non assis facis? o lutum, lupanar,

Aut si perditius potest quid esse.


Sed non est tamen hoc satis putandum.

Quod si non aliud potest, ruborem

Ferreo canis exprimamus ore.

Conclamate iterum altiore voce

'Moecha putida, redde codicillos,


Redde, putida moecha, codicillos.'

Sed nil proficimus, nihil movetur.

Mutandast ratio modusque vobis,

Siquid proficere amplius potestis,

'Pudica et proba, redde codicillos.'



On a Strumpet who stole his Tablets.

Come, Hendecasyllabics, many as may

All hither, every one that of you be!

That fulsome harlot makes me laughing-stock

And she refuses at our prayer restore


Our stolen Note-books, an such slights ye bear.

Let us pursue her clamouring our demands.

"Who's she?" ye question: yonder one ye sight

Mincingly pacing mime-like, perfect pest,

With jaws wide grinning like a Gallic pup.


Stand all round her dunning with demands,

"Return (O rotten whore!) our noting books.

Our noting books (O rotten whore!) return!"

No doit thou car'st? O Mire! O Stuff o' stews!

Or if aught fouler filthier dirt there be.


Yet must we never think these words suffice.

But if naught else avail, at least a blush

Forth of that bitch-like brazen brow we'll squeeze.

Cry all together in a higher key

"Restore (O rotten whore!) our noting books,


Our noting books (O rotten whore!) restore!"

Still naught avails us, nothing is she moved.

Now must our measures and our modes be changed

An we would anywise our cause advance.

"Restore (chaste, honest Maid!) our noting books!"

Hither, all ye hendecasyllables, as many as may be, from every part, all of ye, as many soever as [78]there be! A shameless prostitute deems me fair sport, and denies return to me of our writing tablets, if ye are able to endure this. Let's after her, and claim them back. "Who may she be," ye ask? That one, whom ye see strutting awkwardly, stagily, and stiffly, and with a laugh on her mouth like a Gallic whelp. Throng round her, and claim them back. "O putrid punk, hand back our writing tablets; hand back, O putrid punk, our writing tablets." Not a jot dost heed? O Muck, Brothel-Spawn, or e'en loathsomer if it is possible so to be! Yet think not yet that this is enough. For if naught else we can extort a blush on thy brazened bitch's face. We'll yell again in heightened tones, "O putrid punk, hand back our writing tablets, hand back, O putrid punk, our writing tablets." But naught we profit, naught she budges. Changed must your measure and your manner be, an you would further progress make—"O Virgin pure and spotless, hand back our writing tablets."


Salve, nec minimo puella naso

Nec bello pede nec nigris ocellis

Nec longis digitis nec ore sicco

Nec sane nimis elegante lingua,


Decoctoris amica Formiani.

Ten provincia narrat esse bellam?

Tecum Lesbia nostra conparatur?

O saeclum insapiens et infacetum!



To Mamurra's Mistress.

Hail, girl who neither nose of minim size

Owns, nor a pretty foot, nor jetty eyes,

Nor thin long fingers, nor mouth dry of slaver

Nor yet too graceful tongue of pleasant flavour,


Leman to Formian that rake-a-hell.

What, can the Province boast of thee as belle?

Thee with my Lesbia durst it make compare?

O Age insipid, of all humour bare!

Hail, O maiden with nose not of the tiniest, with foot lacking shape and eyes lacking darkness, with fingers scant of length, and mouth not dry and tongue scant enough of elegance, chère amie of Formianus the wildling. And thee the province declares to be lovely? With thee our Lesbia is to be compared? O generation witless and unmannerly!


O funde noster seu Sabine seu Tiburs,

(Nam te esse Tiburtem autumant, quibus non est

Cordi Catullum laedere: at quibus cordist,

Quovis Sabinum pignore esse contendunt)


Sed seu Sabine sive verius Tiburs,

Fui libenter in tua suburbana

Villa malamque pectore expuli tussim,

Non inmerenti quam mihi meus venter,

Dum sumptuosas adpeto, dedit, cenas.


Nam, Sestianus dum volo esse conviva,

Orationem in Antium petitorem

Plenam veneni et pestilentiae legi.

Hic me gravido frigida et frequens tussis

Quassavit usque dum in tuum sinum fugi


Et me recuravi otioque et urtica.

Quare refectus maximas tibi grates

Ago, meum quod non es ulta peccatum.

Nec deprecor iam, si nefaria scripta

Sesti recepso, quin gravidinem et tussim


Non mi, sed ipsi Sestio ferat frigus,

Qui tum vocat me, cum malum librum legi.


Catullus to his own Farm.

O Farm our own, Sabine or Tiburtine,

(For style thee "Tiburs" who have not at heart

To hurt Catullus, whereas all that have

Wage any wager thou be Sabine classed)


But whether Sabine or of Tiburs truer

To thy suburban Cottage fared I fain

And fro' my bronchials drave that cursèd cough

Which not unmerited on me my maw,

A-seeking sumptuous banquetings, bestowed.


For I requesting to be Sestius' guest

Read against claimant Antius a speech,

Full-filled with poisonous pestilential trash.

Hence a grave frigid rheum and frequent cough

Shook me till fled I to thy bosom, where


Repose and nettle-broth healed all my ills.


Wherefore recruited now best thanks I give

To thee for nowise punishing my sins:

Nor do I now object if noisome writs

Of Sestius hear I, but that cold and cough


And rheum may plague, not me, but Sestius' self

Who asks me only his ill writs to read.

O, Homestead of ours, whether Sabine or Tiburtine (for that thou'rt Tiburtine folk concur, in whose heart 'tis not to wound Catullus; but those in whose heart 'tis, will wager anything thou'rt Sabine) but whether Sabine or more truly Tiburtine, o'erjoyed was I to be within thy rural country-home, and to cast off an ill cough from my chest, which—not unearned—my belly granted me, for grasping after sumptuous feeds. For, in my wish to be Sestius' guest, his defence against the plaintiff Antius, crammed with venom and pestilent dulness, did I read through. Hence a chill heavy rheum and fitful cough shattered me continually until I fled to thine asylum, and brought me back to health with rest and nettle-broth. Wherefore, re-manned, I give thee utmost thanks, that thou hast not avenged my fault. Nor do I pray now for aught but that, should I re-take Sestius' nefarious script, its frigid vapidness may bring a cold and cough to Sestius' self; for he but invites me when I read dull stuff.


Acmen Septumius suos amores

Tenens in gremio 'mea' inquit 'Acme,


Ni te perdite amo atque amare porro

Omnes sum adsidue paratus annos


Quantum qui pote plurimum perire,

Solus in Libya Indiave tosta

Caesio veniam obvius leoni.'

Hoc ut dixit, Amor, sinistra ut ante,

Dextra sternuit adprobationem.


At Acme leviter caput reflectens

Et dulcis pueri ebrios ocellos

Illo purpureo ore saviata

'Sic' inquit 'mea vita Septumille,

Huic uni domino usque serviamus,


Vt multo mihi maior acriorque

Ignis mollibus ardet in medullis.'

Hoc ut dixit, Amor, sinistra ut ante,

Dextra sternuit adprobationem.

Nunc ab auspicio bono profecti


Mutuis animis amant amantur.

Vnam Septumius misellus Acmen

Mavolt quam Syrias Britanniasque:

Vno in Septumio fidelis Acme

Facit delicias libidinesque.


Quis ullos homines beatiores

Vidit, quis Venerem auspicatiorem?


On Acme and Septumius.

To Acmé quoth Septumius who his fere

Held on his bosom—"Acmé, mine! next year,

Unless I love thee fondlier than before,


And with each twelve month love thee more and more,


As much as lover's life can slay with yearning,

Alone in Lybia, or Hind's clime a-burning,

Be mine to encounter Lion grisly-eyed!"

While he was speaking Love on leftward side

(As wont) approving sneeze from dextral sped.


But Acmé backwards gently bending head,

And the love-drunken eyes of her sweet boy

Kissing with yonder rosy mouth, "My joy,"

She murmured, "my life-love Septumillus mine!

Unto one master's hest let's aye incline,


As burns with fuller and with fiercer fire

In my soft marrow set, this love-desire!"

While she was speaking, Love from leftward side

(As wont) with sneeze approving rightwards hied.

Now with boon omens wafted on their way,


In mutual fondness, love and loved are they.

Love-sick Septumius holds one Acmé's love,

Of Syrias or either Britains high above,

Acmé to one Septumius full of faith

Her love and love-liesse surrendereth.


Who e'er saw mortals happier than these two?

Who e'er a better omened Venus knew?

Septumius clasping Acme his adored to his bosom, "Acme mine," quoth he, "if thee I love not to perdition, nor am prepared to love through all the future years moreover without cease, as greatly and distractedly as man may,—alone in Libya or in torrid India may I oppose a [84]steel-eyed lion." As thus he said, Love, leftwards as before, with approbation rightwards sneezed. Then Acme slightly bending back her head, and the swimming eyes of her sweet boy with rose-red lips a-kissing, "So," quoth she, "my life, Septumillus, this Lord unique let us serve for aye, as more forceful in me burns the fire greater and keener 'midst my soft marrow." As thus she said, Love, leftwards as before, with approbation rightwards sneezed. Now with good auspice urged along, with mutual minds they love and are beloved. The thrall o' love Septumius his only Acme far would choose, than Tyrian or Britannian realms: the faithful Acme with Septumius unique doth work her love delights and wantonings. Whoe'er has seen folk blissfuller, whoe'er a more propitious union?


Iam ver egelidos refert tepores,

Iam caeli furor aequinoctialis

Iocundis Zephyri silescit aureis.

Linquantur Phrygii, Catulle, campi


Nicaeaeque ager uber aestuosae:

Ad claras Asiae volemus urbes.

Iam mens praetrepidans avet vagari,

Iam laeti studio pedes vigescunt.

O dulces comitum valete coetus,


Longe quos simul a domo profectos

Diversae variae viae reportant.



His Adieux to Bithynia.

Now Spring his cooly mildness brings us back,

Now th' equinoctial heaven's rage and wrack

Hushes at hest of Zephyr's bonny breeze.

Far left (Catullus!) be the Phrygian leas


And summery Nicæa's fertile downs:

Fly we to Asia's fame-illumined towns.

Now lust my fluttering thoughts for wayfare long,

Now my glad eager feet grow steady, strong.

O fare ye well, my comrades, pleasant throng,


Ye who together far from homesteads flying,

By many various ways come homewards hieing.

Now springtide brings back its mild and tepid airs, now the heaven's fury equinoctial is calmed by Zephyr's benign breath. The Phrygian meadows are left behind, O Catullus, and the teeming fields of sun-scorched Nicaea: to the glorious Asian cities let us haste. Now my palpitating soul craves wander, now my feet grow vigorous with glad zeal. O charming circlet of comrades, fare ye well, who are together met from distant homes to which divers sundered ways lead back.


Porci et Socration, duae sinistrae

Pisonis, scabies famesque mundi

Vos Veraniolo meo et Fabullo


Verpus praeposuit Priapus ille?


Vos convivia lauta sumptuose

De die facitis? mei sodales

Quaerunt in trivio vocationes?


To Porcius and Socration.

Porcius and Socration, pair sinister

Of Piso, scabs and starvelings of the world,

You to Fabúllus and my Verianólus,

Hath dared yon snipt Priapus to prefer?


Upon rich banquets sumptuously spread

Still gorge you daily while my comrades must

Go seek invitals where the three roads fork?

Porcius and Socration, twins in rascality of Piso, scurf and famisht of the earth, you before my Veraniolus and Fabullus has that prepuce-lacking Priapus placed? Shall you betimes each day in luxurious opulence banquet? And must my cronies quest for dinner invitations, [lounging] where the three cross-roads meet?


Mellitos oculos tuos, Iuventi,

Siquis me sinat usque basiare,

Vsque ad milia basiem trecenta,

Nec umquam videar satur futurus,


Non si densior aridis aristis

Sit nostrae seges osculationis.



To Juventius.

Those honied eyes of thine (Juventius!)

If any suffer me sans stint to buss,

I'd kiss of kisses hundred thousands three,

Nor ever deem I'd reach satiety,


Not albe denser than dried wheat-ears show

The kissing harvests our embraces grow.

Thine honey-sweet eyes, O Juventius, had I the leave to kiss for aye, for aye I'd kiss e'en to three hundred thousand kisses, nor ever should I reach to future plenity, not even if thicker than dried wheat sheaves be the harvest of our kisses.


Disertissime Romuli nepotum,

Quot sunt quotque fuere, Marce Tulli,

Quotque post aliis erunt in annis,

Gratias tibi maximas Catullus


Agit pessimus omnium poeta,

Tanto pessimus omnium poeta

Quanto tu optimus omnium patronus.


To Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Most eloquent 'mid race of Romulus

That is or ever was (Marc Tullius!)

Or in the coming years the light shall see,

His thanks, the warmest, offers unto thee


Catullus, poet sorriest that be,

And by such measure poet sorriest,

As thou of pleaders art the bestest best.

Most eloquent of Romulus' descendancy, who are, who have been, O Marcus Tullius, and who shall later be in after time, to thee doth give his greatest gratitude Catullus, pettiest of all the poets,—and so much pettiest of all the poets as thou art peerless 'mongst all pleaders.


Hesterno, Licini, die otiosi

Multum lusimus in meis tabellis,

Vt 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,

Vt nec me miserum cibus iuvaret,


Nec somnus tegeret quiete ocellos,

Sed toto indomitus furore lecto

Versarer cupiens videre lucem,

Vt tecum loquerer, simulque ut essem.

At defessa labore membra postquam


Semimortua lectulo iacebant,

Hoc, iocunde, 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.


To his friend Licinius.

Idly (Licinius!) we our yesterday,

Played with my tablets much as pleased us play,

In mode becoming souls of dainty strain.

Inditing verses either of us twain


Now in one measure then in other line

We rang the changes amid wit and wine.

Then fared I homewards by thy fun so fired

And by thy jests (Licinius!) so inspired,

Nor food my hapless appetite availed


Nor sleep in quiet rest my eyelids veiled,

But o'er the bedstead wild in furious plight

I tossed a-longing to behold the light,

So I might talk wi' thee, and be wi' thee.

But when these wearied limbs from labour free


Were on my couchlet strewn half-dead to lie,

For thee (sweet wag!) this poem for thee wrote I,

Whereby thou mete and weet my cark and care.

Now be not over-bold, nor this our prayer

Outspit thou (apple of mine eyes!): we pray


Lest doom thee Nemesis hard pain repay:—

She's a dire Goddess, 'ware thou cross her way.

Yestreen, Licinius, in restful day, much mirthful verse we flashed upon my tablets, as became us, men [90]of fancy. Each jotting versicles in turn sported first in this metre then in that, exchanging mutual epigrams 'midst jokes and wine. But I departed thence, afire, Licinius, with thy wit and drolleries, so that food was useless to my wretched self; nor could sleep close mine eyes in quiet, but all o'er the bed in restless fury did I toss, longing to behold daylight that with thee I might speak, and again we might be together. But afterwards, when my limbs, weakened by my restless labours, lay stretched in semi-death upon the bed, this poem, O jocund one, I made for thee, from which thou mayst perceive my dolour. Now 'ware thee of presumptuousness, and our pleadings 'ware thee of rejecting, we pray thee, eye-babe of ours, lest Nemesis exact her dues from thee. She is a forceful Goddess; 'ware her wrath.


Ille mi par esse deo videtur,

Ille, si fas est, superare divos,

Qui sedens adversus identidem te

Spectat et audit


Dulce ridentem, misero quod omnis

Eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te,

Lesbia, aspexi, nihil est super mi

      *       *       *       *

Lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus


Flamma demanat, sonitu suopte

Tintinant aures geminae, teguntur

Lumina nocte.



Otium, Catulle, tibi molestumst:


Otio exultas nimiumque gestis.

Otium et reges prius et beatas

Perdidit urbes.


To Lesbia.

Peer of a God meseemeth he,

Nay passing Gods (and that can be!)

Who all the while sits facing thee

Sees thee and hears


Thy low sweet laughs which (ah me!) daze

Mine every sense, and as I gaze

Upon thee (Lesbia!) o'er me strays

      *       *       *       *

My tongue is dulled, my limbs adown


Flows subtle flame; with sound its own

Rings either ear, and o'er are strown

Mine eyes with night.


Ease has thy lot, Catullus, crost,


Ease gladdens thee at heaviest cost,

Ease killed the Kings ere this and lost

The tallest towns.

He to me to be peer to a god doth seem, he, if such were lawful, to o'er-top the gods, who sitting oft a-front of thee doth gaze on thee, and [92]doth listen to thine laughter lovely, which doth snatch away from sombre me mine every sense: for instant falls my glance on thee, Lesbia, naught is left to me [of voice], but my tongue is numbed, a keen-edged flame spreads through my limbs, with sound self-caused my twin ears sing, and mine eyes are enwrapped with night.

Sloth, O Catullus, to thee is hurtful: in sloth beyond measure dost thou exult and pass thy life. Sloth hath erewhile ruined rulers and gladsome cities.


Quid est, Catulle? quid moraris emori?

Sella in curuli struma Nonius sedet,

Per consulatum peierat Vatinius:

Quid est, Catulle? quid moraris emori?


Catullus to Himself.

What is't, Catullus? Why delay to out die?

That Wen hight Nonius sits in curule chair,

For Consulship Vatinius false doth swear;

What is't, Catullus? Why delay to out die?

Prithee Catullus, why delay thine death? Nonius the tumour is seated in the curule chair, Vatinius forswears himself for consul's rank: prithee Catullus, why delay thine death? [93]


Risi nescioquem modo e corona,

Qui, cum mirifice Vatiniana

Meus crimina Calvos explicasset,

Admirans ait haec manusque tollens,


'Di magni, salaputium disertum!'


A Jest concerning Calvus.

I laughed at one 'mid Forum-crowd unknown

Who, when Vatinius' crimes in wondrous way

Had by my Calvus been explained, exposed,

His hand upraising high admiring cried


"Great Gods! the loquent little Doodle-diddle!"

I laughed at I know not whom in the crowded court who, when with admirable art Vatinius' crimes my Calvus had set forth, with hands uplifted and admiring mien thus quoth "Great Gods, the fluent little Larydoodle!"


Othonis caput oppidost pusillum

      *       *       *       *

Neri rustica semilauta crura,

Subtile et leve peditum Libonis.

      *       *       *       *

Si non omnia displicere vellem


Tibi et Fuficio seni recocte



Irascere iterum meis iambis

Inmerentibus, unice imperator.


To Julius Cæsar. (?)

The head of Otho, puniest of pates

      *       *       *       *

The rustic half-washt shanks of Nerius

And Libo's subtle silent fizzling-farts.

      *       *       *       *

I wish that leastwise these should breed disgust


In thee and old Fuficius, rogue twice-cookt.


Again at these mine innocent iamb-lines

Wi' wrath be wrothest; unique Emperor!

Otho's head is paltry past all phrase * * * the uncouth semi-soaped shanks of Nerius, the slender soundless fizzlings of Libo * * * if not all things I wish would displease thee and Fuficius, the white-headed and green-tailed.

Anew thou shalt be enraged at my harmless iambics, emperor unique.


Oramus, si forte non molestumst,

Demostres, 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, vel te sic ipse flagitabam,


'Camerium mihi, pessimae puellae.'

Quaedam inquit, nudum sinum reducens,

'En heic in roseis latet papillis.'


Sed te iam ferre Herculei labos est.


Non custos si fingar ille Cretum,

Non si Pegaseo ferar volatu,


Non Ladas ego pinnipesve Perseus,

Non Rhesi nivea citaque biga:

Adde huc plumipedes volatilesque,

Ventorumque simul require cursum:

Quos cunctos, Cameri, mihi dicares,


Defessus tamen omnibus medullis

Et multis langoribus peresus


Essem te mihi, amice, quaeritando.


Tanto ten fastu negas, amice?

Dic nobis ubi sis futurus, ede

Audacter, conmitte, crede lucei.

Num te lacteolae tenent puellae?

Si linguam clauso tenes in ore,

Fructus proicies amoris omnes:


Verbosa gaudet Venus loquella.

Vel si vis, licet obseres palatum,

Dum vostri sim particeps amoris.



Of his friend Camerius.

We pray, an' haply irk it not when prayed,

Show us where shadowed hidest thou in shade!

Thee throughout Campus Minor sought we all,

Thee in the Circus, thee in each bookstall,


Thee in Almighty Jove's fane consecrate.

Nor less in promenade titled from The Great

(Friend!) I accosted each and every quean,

But mostly madams showing mien serene,

For thee I pestered all with many pleas—


"Give me Camérius, wanton baggages!"

Till answered certain one a-baring breasts

"Lo, 'twixt these rosy paps he haply rests!"


But now to find thee were Herculean feat.


Not if I feignèd me that guard of Crete,

Not if with Pegasèan wing I sped,


Or Ladas I or Perseus plumiped,

Or Rhesus borne in swifty car snow-white:

Add the twain foot-bewing'd and fast of flight,

And of the cursive winds require the blow:

All these (Camérius!) couldst on me bestow.


Tho' were I wearied to each marrow bone

And by many o' languors clean forgone


Yet I to seek thee (friend!) would still assay.


In such proud lodging (friend) wouldst self denay?

Tell us where haply dwell'st thou, speak outright,

Be bold and risk it, trusting truth to light,

Say do these milk-white girls thy steps detain?


If aye in tight-sealed lips thy tongue remain,

All Amor's fruitage thou shalt cast away:


Verbose is Venus, loving verbal play!

But, an it please thee, padlockt palate bear,

So in your friendship I have partner-share.

We beg, if maybe 'tis not untoward, thou'lt shew us where may be thine haunt sequestered. Thee did we quest within the Lesser Fields, thee in the Circus, thee in every bookshop, thee in holy fane of highmost Jove. In promenade yclept "The Great," the crowd of cocottes straightway did I stop, O friend, accosting those whose looks I noted were unruffled. And for thee loudly did I clamour, "Restore to me Camerius, most giddy girls." Quoth such-an-one, her bosom bare a-shewing, "Look! 'twixt rose-red paps he shelters him." But labour 'tis of Hercules thee now to find. Not were I framed the Cretan guard, nor did I move with Pegasean wing, nor were I Ladas, or Persius with the flying foot, or Rhesus with swift and snowy team: to these add thou the feathery-footed and winged ones, ask likewise fleetness of the winds: which all united, O Camerius, couldst thou me grant, yet exhausted in mine every marrow and with many a faintness consumed should I be in my quest for thee, O friend. Why withdraw thyself in so much pride, O friend? Tell us where thou wilt be found, declare it boldly, give up the secret, trust it to the light. What, do the milk-white maidens hold thee? If [98]thou dost hold thy tongue closed up in mouth, thou squanderest Love's every fruit: for Venus joys in many-worded babblings. Yet if thou wishest, thou mayst bar thy palate, if I may be a sharer in thy love.


Orem ridiculam, Cato, et iocosam

Dignamque auribus et tuo cachinno.

Ride, quidquid amas, Cato, Catullum:

Res est ridicula et nimis iocosa.


Deprendi modo pupulum puellae

Trusantem: hunc ego, si placet Dionae,

Protelo rigida mea cecidi.


To Cato, describing a "Black Joker."

O risible matter (Cato!) and jocose,

Digne of thy hearing, of thy sneering digne.

Laugh (Cato!) an thou love Catullus thine;

The thing is risible, nay, too jocose.


Erstwhile I came upon a lad who a lass

Was —— and (so please it Dion!) I

Pierced him with stiffest staff and did him die.

O thing ridiculous, Cato, and facetious, and worthy of thine ears and of thy laughter. Laugh, Cato, the more thou lovest Catullus: the thing is ridiculous, and beyond measure facetious. Just now I caught a boy a-thrusting in a girl: and on him (so please you, Dione) with rigid spear of mine I fell. [99]


Pulcre convenit inprobis cinaedis,

Mamurrae pathicoque Caesarique.

Nec mirum: maculae pares utrisque,

Vrbana altera et illa Formiana,


Inpressae resident nec eluentur:

Morbosi pariter, gemelli utrique

Vno in lectulo, erudituli ambo,

Non hic quam ille magis vorax adulter,

Rivales sociei puellularum.


Pulcre convenit inprobis cinaedis.


On Mamurra and Julius Cæsar.

Right well are paired these Cinaedes sans shame

Mamurra and Cæsar, both of pathic fame.

No wonder! Both are fouled with foulest blight,

One urban being, Formian t'other wight,


And deeply printed with indelible stain:

Morbose is either, and the twin-like twain

Share single Couchlet; peers in shallow lore,

Nor this nor that for lechery hungers more,

As rival wenchers who the maidens claim


Right well are paired these Cinaedes sans shame.

A comely couple of shameless catamites, Mamurra and Caesar, pathics both. Nor needs amaze: they share like stains—this, Urban, the other, Formian,—which stay deep-marked nor can they be got rid of. Both morbidly diseased [100]through pathic vice, the pair of twins lie in one bed, alike in erudition, one not more than other the greater greedier adulterer, allied rivals of the girls. A comely couple of shameless catamites.


Caeli, Lesbia nostra, Lesbia illa,

Illa Lesbia, quam Catullus unam

Plus quam se atque suos amavit omnes,

Nunc in quadriviis et angiportis


Glubit magnanimos Remi nepotes.


On Lesbia who Ended Badly.

Cælius! That Lesbia of ours, that Lesbia,

That only Lesbia by Catullus loved,

Than self, far fondlier, than all his friends,

She now where four roads fork, and wind the wynds


Husks the high-minded scions Remus-sprung.

O Caelius, our Lesbia, that Lesbia, the self-same Lesbia whom Catullus more than himself and all his own did worship, now at cross-roads and in alleys husks off the mettlesome descendants of Remus.


Bononiensis Rufa Rufulum fellat,

Vxor Meneni, saepe quam in sepulcretis

Vidistis ipso rapere de rogo cenam,

Cum devolutum ex igne prosequens panem


Ab semiraso tunderetur ustore.



On Rufa.

Rúfa the Bolognese drains Rufule dry,

(Wife to Menenius) she 'mid tombs you'll spy,

The same a-snatching supper from the pyre

Following the bread-loaves rolling forth the fire


Till frapped by half-shaved body-burner's ire.

Rufa of Bononia lends her lips to Rufulus, she the wife of Menenius, whom oft among the sepulchres ye have seen clutching her meal from the funeral pile, when pursuing the bread which has rolled from the fire, whilst she was being buffeted by a semi-shorn corpse-burner.


Num te leaena montibus Libystinis

Aut Scylla latrans infima inguinum parte

Tam mente dura procreavit ac taetra,

Vt supplicis vocem in novissimo casu


Contemptam haberes a! nimis fero corde?


To a Cruel Charmer.

Bare thee some lioness wild in Lybian wold?

Or Scylla barking from low'st inguinal fold?

With so black spirit, of so dure a mould,

E'en voice of suppliant must thou disregard


In latest circumstance ah, heart o'er hard?


Did a lioness of the Libyan Hills, or Scylla yelping from her lowmost groin, thee procreate, with mind so hard and horrid, that thou hast contempt upon a suppliant's voice in calamity's newest stress? O heart o'ergreatly cruel.


Collis o Heliconii

Cultor, Vraniae genus,

Qui rapis teneram ad virum

Virginem, o Hymenaee Hymen,


O Hymen Hymenaee,

Cinge tempora floribus

Suave olentis amaraci,

Flammeum cape, laetus huc

Huc veni niveo gerens


Luteum pede soccum,

Excitusque hilari die

Nuptialia concinens

Voce carmina tinnula

Pelle humum pedibus, manu


Pineam quate taedam.

Namque Vinia Manlio,

Qualis Idalium colens

Venit ad Phrygium Venus

Iudicem, bona cum bona


Nubet alite virgo,


Floridis velut enitens

Myrtus Asia ramulis,

Quos Hamadryades deae

Ludicrum sibi rosido


Nutriunt umore.

Quare age huc aditum ferens

Perge linquere Thespiae

Rupis Aonios specus,

Nympha quos super inrigat


Frigerans Aganippe,

Ac domum dominam voca

Coniugis cupidam novi,

Mentem amore revinciens,

Vt tenax hedera huc et huc


Arborem inplicat errans.

Vosque item simul, integrae

Virgines, quibus advenit

Par dies, agite in modum

Dicite 'o Hymenaee Hymen,


O Hymen Hymenaee,'

Vt lubentius, audiens

Se citarier ad suom

Munus, huc aditum ferat

Dux bonae Veneris, boni


Coniugator amoris.

Quis deus magis anxiis

Est petendus amantibus?

Quem colent homines magis

Caelitum? o Hymenaee Hymen,


O Hymen Hymenaee.


Te suis tremulus parens

Invocat, tibi virgines

Zonula soluunt sinus,

Te timens cupida novos


Captat aure maritus.

Tu fero iuveni in manus

Floridam ipse puellulam

Dedis a gremio suae

Matris, o Hymenaee Hymen,


O Hymen Hymenaee.

Nil potest sine te Venus,

Fama quod bona conprobet,

Commodi capere: at potest

Te volente. quis huic deo


Conpararier ausit?

Nulla quit sine te domus

Liberos dare, nec parens

Stirpe cingier: at potest

Te volente. quis huic deo


Conpararier ausit?

Quae tuis careat sacris,

Non queat dare praesides

Terra finibus: at queat

Te volente. quis huic deo


Conpararier ausit?

Claustra pandite ianuae,

Virgo ades. viden ut faces

Splendidas quatiunt comas?

Tardet ingenuos pudor:

      *       *       *       *


      *       *       *       *

      *       *       *       *

      *       *       *       *


Quem tamen magis audiens


Flet, quod ire necesse est.


Flere desine. non tibi, A-

runculeia, periculumst,

Nequa femina pulchrior


Clarum ab Oceano diem


Viderit venientem.

Talis in vario solet

Divitis domini hortulo

Stare flos hyacinthinus.


Sed moraris, abit dies:

Prodeas, nova nupta.

Prodeas, nova nupta, si

Iam videtur, et audias

Nostra verba. vide ut faces


Aureas quatiunt comas:

Prodeas, nova nupta.

Non tuos levis in mala

Deditus vir adultera

Probra turpia persequens


A tuis teneris volet

Secubare papillis,

Lenta quin velut adsitas

Vitis inplicat arbores,

Inplicabitur in tuom


Conplexum. sed abit dies:

Prodeas, nova nupta.


O cubile, quod omnibus

      *       *       *       *

      *       *       *       *


      *       *       *       *

Candido pede lecti,

Quae tuo veniunt ero,

Quanta gaudia, quae vaga

Nocte, quae medio die


Gaudeat! sed abit dies:

Prodeas, nova nupta.

Tollite, o pueri, faces:

Flammeum video venire.

Ite, concinite in modum


'O Hymen Hymenaee io,

O Hymen Hymenaee.'

Ne diu taceat procax

Fescennina iocatio,

Nec nuces pueris neget


Desertum domini audiens

Concubinus amorem.

Da nuces pueris, iners

Concubine: satis diu

Lusisti nucibus: lubet


Iam servire Talasio.

Concubine, nuces da.

Sordebant tibi vilicae,

Concubine, hodie atque heri:

Nunc tuom cinerarius


Tondet os. miser a miser

Concubine, nuces da.


Diceris male te a tuis

Vnguentate glabris marite

Abstinere: sed abstine.


O Hymen Hymenaee io,

O Hymen Hymenaee.

Scimus haec tibi quae licent

Sola cognita: sed marito

Ista non eadem licent.


O Hymen Hymenaee io,

O Hymen Hymenaee.

Nupta, tu quoque, quae tuos

Vir petet, cave ne neges,

Ni petitum aliunde eat.


O Hymen Hymenaee io,

O Hymen Hymenaee.

En tibi domus ut potens

Et beata viri tui,

Quae tibi sine fine erit


(O Hymen Hymenaee io,

O Hymen Hymenaee),

Vsque dum tremulum movens

Cana tempus anilitas

Omnia omnibus adnuit.


O Hymen Hymenaee io,

O Hymen Hymenaee.

Transfer omine cum bono

Limen aureolos pedes,

Rasilemque subi forem.


O Hymen Hymenaee io,

O Hymen Hymenaee.


Aspice, intus ut accubans

Vir tuos Tyrio in toro

Totus inmineat tibi.


O Hymen Hymenaee io,

O Hymen Hymenaee.

Illi non minus ac tibi

Pectore uritur intimo

Flamma, sed penite magis.


O Hymen Hymenaee io,

O Hymen Hymenaee.

Mitte brachiolum teres,

Praetextate, puellulae:

Iam cubile adeat viri.


O Hymen Hymenaee io,

O Hymen Hymenaee.

Vos bonae senibus viris

Cognitae bene feminae,

Collocate puellulam.


O Hymen Hymenaee io,

O Hymen Hymenaee.

Iam licet venias, marite:

Vxor in thalamo tibist

Ore floridulo nitens,


Alba parthenice velut

Luteumve papaver.

At, marite, (ita me iuvent

Caelites) nihilo minus

Pulcher es, neque te Venus


Neglegit. sed abit dies:

Perge, ne remorare.


Non diu remoratus es,

Iam venis. bona te Venus

Iuverit, quoniam palam


Quod cupis capis et bonum

Non abscondis amorem.

Ille pulveris Africei

Siderumque micantium

Subducat numerum prius,


Qui vostri numerare volt

Multa milia ludei.

Ludite ut lubet, et brevi

Liberos date. non decet

Tam vetus sine liberis


Nomen esse, sed indidem

Semper ingenerari.

Torquatus volo parvolus

Matris e gremio suae

Porrigens teneras manus


Dulce rideat ad patrem

Semhiante labello.

Sit suo similis patri

Manlio et facile inscieis

Noscitetur ab omnibus


Et pudicitiam suae

Matris indicet ore.

Talis illius a bona

Matre laus genus adprobet,

Qualis unica ab optima


Matre Telemacho manet

Fama Penelopeo.


Claudite ostia, virgines:

Lusimus satis. at, bonei

Coniuges, bene vivite et


Munere adsiduo valentem

Exercete inventam.


Epithalamium on Vinia and Manlius.


Of Helicon-hill, O Thou that be

Haunter, Urania's progeny,

Who hurriest soft virginity

To man, O Hymenæus Hymen,


O Hymen Hymenæus.


About thy temples bind the bloom,

Of Marjoram flow'ret scented sweet;

Take flamey veil: glad hither come

Come hither borne by snow-hue'd feet


Wearing the saffron'd sock.


And, roused by day of joyful cheer,

Carolling nuptial lays and chaunts

With voice as silver-ringing clear,

Beat ground with feet, while brandisht flaunts


Thy hand the piney torch.



For Vinia comes by Manlius woo'd,

As Venus on th' Idalian crest,

Before the Phrygian judge she stood

And now with blessèd omens blest,


The maid is here to wed.


A maiden shining bright of blee,

As Myrtle branchlet Asia bred,

Which Hamadryad deity

As toy for joyance aye befed


With humour of the dew.


Then hither come thou, hieing lief,

Awhile to leave th' Aonian cave,

Where 'neath the rocky Thespian cliff

Nymph Aganippe loves to lave


In cooly waves outpoured.


And call the house-bride, homewards bring

Maid yearning for new married fere,

Her mind with fondness manacling,

As the tough ivy here and there


Errant the tree enwinds.


And likewise ye, clean virginal

Maidens, to whom shall haps befall

Like day, in measure join ye all

Singing, O Hymenæus Hymen,


O Hymen Hymenæus.



That with more will-full will a-hearing

The call to office due, he would

Turn footsteps hither, here appearing,

Guide to good Venus, and the good


Lover conjoining strait.


What God than other Godheads more

Must love-sick wights for aid implore?

Whose Godhead foremost shall adore

Mankind? O Hymenæus Hymen,


O Hymen Hymenæus.


Thee for his own the trembling sire

Invokes, thee Virgins ever sue

Who laps of zone to loose aspire,

And thee the bashful bridegrooms woo


With ears that long to hear.


Thou to the hand of love-fierce swain

Deliverest maiden fair and fain,

From mother's fondling bosom ta'en

Perforce, O Hymenæus Hymen


O Hymen Hymenæus.


Thou lacking, Venus ne'er avails—

While Fame approves for honesty—

Love-joys to lavish: ne'er she fails

Thou willing:—with such Deity


Whoe'er shall dare compare?



Thou wanting, never son and heir

The Hearth can bear, nor parents be

By issue girt, yet can it bear,

Thou willing:—with such Deity,


Whoe'er shall dare compare?


An lack a land thy sacring rite,

The perfect rule we ne'er shall see

Reach Earth's far bourne; yet such we sight,

Thou willing:—with such Deity


Whoe'er shall dare compare?


Your folds ye gateways wide-ope swing!

The maiden comes. Seest not the sheen

Of links their splendent tresses fling?

Let shame retard the modest mien.

      *       *       *       *


      *       *       *       *

      *       *       *       *

      *       *       *       *


Who more she hears us weeps the more,


That needs she must advance.



Cease raining tear-drops! not for thee,

Aurunculeia, risk we deem,

That fairer femininety


Clear day outdawned from Ocean stream


Shall ever more behold.



Such in the many-tinted bower

Of rich man's garden passing gay

Upstands the hyacinthine flower.


But thou delayest, wanes the day:

Prithee, come forth new Bride.


Prithee, come forth new Bride! methinks,

Drawing in sight, the talk we hold

Thou haply hearest. See the Links!


How shake their locks begilt with gold:

Prithee, new Bride come forth.


Not lightly given thy mate to ill

Joys and adulterous delights

Foul fleshly pleasures seeking still


Shall ever choose he lie o' nights

Far from thy tender paps.


But as with pliant shoots the vine

Round nearest tree-trunk winds her way,

He shall be ever twined in thine


Embraces:—yet, lo! wanes the day:

Prithee, come forth new Bride!


Couchlet which to me and all

      *       *       *       *

      *       *       *       *


      *       *       *       *

With bright white bedstead foot.



What joys the lord of thee betide!

What love-liesse on vaguing way

O' nights! What sweets in morning tide


For thee be stored! Yet wanes the day:

Prithee, come forth fresh Bride!


Your lighted links, O boys, wave high:

I see the flamey veil draw nigh:

Hie, sing in merry mode and cry


"O Hymen Hymenæus io,

O Hymen Hymenæus!"


Lest longer mute tongue stays that joys

In festal jest, from Fescennine,

Nor yet denay their nuts to boys,


He-Concubine! who learns in fine

His lordling's love is fled.


Throw nuts to boys thou idle all

He-Concubine! wast fain full long

With nuts to play: now pleased as thrall


Be thou to swell Talasios' throng:

He-Concubine throw nuts.


Wont thou at peasant-girls to jape

He-whore! Thy Lord's delight the while:

Now shall hair-curling chattel scrape


Thy cheeks: poor wretch, ah! poor and vile:—

He-Concubine, throw nuts.



'Tis said from smooth-faced ingle train

(Anointed bridegroom!) hardly fain

Hast e'er refrained; now do refrain!


O Hymen Hymenæus io,

O Hymen Hymenæus!


We know that naught save licit rites

Be known to thee, but wedded wights

No more deem lawful such delights.


O Hymen Hymenæus io,

O Hymen Hymenæus.


Thou too, O Bride, whatever dare

Thy groom, of coy rebuff beware,

Lest he to find elsewhither fare.


O Hymen Hymenæus io,

O Hymen Hymenæus.


Lo! here the house of high degree

Thy husband's puissant home to be,

Which ever shall obey thy gree.


O Hymen Hymenæus io,

O Hymen Hymenæus!


Till Time betide when eld the hoar

Thy head and temples trembling o'er

Make nod to all things evermore.


O Hymen Hymenæus io,

O Hymen Hymenæus.



O'erstep with omen meetest meet

The threshold-stone thy golden feet

Up, past the polisht panels fleet.


O Hymen Hymenæus io,

O Hymen Hymenæus.


Within bestrewn thy bridegroom see

On couch of Tyrian cramoisy

All imminent awaiting thee.


O Hymen Hymenæus io,

O Hymen Hymenæus.


For in his breast not less than thine

Burn high the flames that deepest shrine,

Yet his the lowe far deeper lien.


O Hymen Hymenæus io,

O Hymen Hymenæus.


Let fall the maid's soft arms, thou fair

Boy purple-hem'd: now be thy care

Her bridegroom's couch she seek and share.


O Hymen Hymenæus io,

O Hymen Hymenæus.


Ye wives time-tried to husbands wed,

Well-known for chastity inbred,

Dispose the virginette a-bed.


O Hymen Hymenæus io,

O Hymen Hymenæus.



Groom, now 'tis meet thou hither pace,

With bride in genial bed to blend,

For sheenly shines her flowery face


Where the white chamomiles contend

With poppies blushing red.


Yet bridegroom (So may Godhead deign

Help me!) nowise in humbler way

Art fair, nor Venus shall disdain


Thy charms, but look! how wanes the day:

Forward, nor loiter more!


No longer loitering makest thou,

Now comest thou. May Venus good

Aid thee when frankly takest thou


Thy wishes won, nor true Love woo'd

Thou carest to conceal.


Of Afric's wolds and wilds each grain,

Or constellations glistening,

First reckon he that of the twain


To count alone were fain to bring

The many thousand joys.


Play as ye please: soon prove ye deft

At babying babes,—'twere ill design'd

A name thus ancient should be left


Heirless, but issue like of kind

Engendered aye should be.



A wee Torquátus fain I'd see

Encradled on his mother's breast

Put forth his tender puds while he


Smiles to his sire with sweetest gest

And liplets half apart.


Let son like father's semblance show

(Manlius!) so with easy guess

All know him where his sire they know,


And still his face and form express

His mother's honest love.


Approve shall fair approof his birth

From mother's seed-stock generous,

As rarest fame of mother's worth


Unique exalts Telemachus

Penelope's own son.


Fast close the door-leaves, virgin band:

Enow we've played. But ye the fair

New-wedded twain live happy, and


Functions of lusty married pair

Exercise sans surcease.

O Fosterer of the Helicon Hill, sprung from Urania, who beareth the gentle virgin to her mate, O Hymenaeus Hymen, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

Twine round thy temples sweet-smelling flowerets of marjoram; put on thy gold-tinted veil; light-hearted, hither, hither haste, bearing on snowy foot the golden-yellow sandal: [120]

And a-fire with the joyous day, chanting wedding melodies with ringing voice, strike the ground with thy feet, with thine hand swing aloft the pine-link.

For Vinia—fair as Idalian Venus, when stood before the Phrygian judge—a virgin fair, weds Manlius 'midst happy auspices.

She, bright-shining as the Asian myrtle florid in branchlets, which the Hamadryads nurture for their pleasure with besprinkled dew.

Wherefore, hither! leaving the Aonian grot in the Thespian Rock, o'er which flows the chilling stream of Aganippe.

And summon homewards the mistress, eager for her new yoke, firm-prisoning her soul in love; as tight-clasping ivy, wandering hither, thither, enwraps the tree around.

And also ye, upright virgins, for whom a like day is nearing, chant ye in cadence, singing "O Hymenaeus Hymen, O Hymen Hymenaeus!"

That more freely, hearing himself to his duty called, will he bear hither his presence, Lord of true Venus, uniter of true lovers.

What god is worthier of solicitation by anxious amourists? Whom of the celestials do men worship more greatly? O Hymenaeus Hymen, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

Thee for his young the trembling father beseeches, for thee virgins unclasp the zone from their breasts, for thee the fear-full bridegroom harkeneth with eager ear. [121]

Thou bearest to the youngster's arms that flower-like damsel, taken from her mother's bosom, O Hymenaeus Hymen, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

Nor lacking thee may Venus take her will with fair Fame's approbation; but she may, with thy sanction. With such a God who dares compare?

Lacking thee, no house can yield heirs, nor parent be surrounded by offspring; but they may, with thy sanction. With such a God who dares compare?

Nor lacking thy rites may our land be protected e'en to its boundaries; but it may, with thy sanction. With such a God who dares compare?

Gates open wide: the virgin is here. See how the torch-flakes shake their gleaming locks? Let shame retard the modest:

      *       *       *       *

Yet hearing, greater does she weep, that she must onwards go.

Cease thy tears. For thee there is no peril, Aurunculeia, that any woman more beauteous from Ocean springing shall ever see the light of day.

Thou art like the hyacinthine flower, wont to stand aloft 'midst varied riches of its lordling's garden. But thou delayest, day slips by: advance, new mated one.

Advance, new mated, now in sight, and listen to our speech. Note how the torch-flakes shake their glittering tresses: advance, new mated one.

Nor given to ill adulteries, nor seeking lawless shames, shall thy husband ever wish to lie away from thy soft breasts, [122]

But as the lithe vine amongst neighbouring trees doth cling, so shall he be enclasped in thine encircled arms. But day slips by: advance, new mated one.

O nuptial couch * * * * with feet of ivory white.

What joys are coming to thy lord, in gloom o' night, in noon of day. Let him rejoice! but day slips by: advance, new mated one.

High raise, O boys, the torches: I see the gleaming veil approach. Come, chant in cadence, "O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus."

Nor longer silent is lewd Fescinnine jest, nor to the boys the nuts deny, ingle, hearing thy master's love has flown.

Give nuts to the boys, O listless ingle; enough of days thou hast played with nuts: now 'tis meet to serve Talassius. O ingle, give the nuts!

The country lasses slighted were by thee, O ingle, till to-day: now the bride's tiresman shaves thy face. Wretched, wretched ingle, give the nuts.

They say that from thy hairless ingles, O sweet-scented bridegroom, thou canst scarce abstain: but abstain thou! O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus.

We know that these delights were known to thee only when lawful: but to the wedded these same no more are lawful. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus! [123]

Thou also, bride, what thy husband seekest beware of denying, lest he go elsewhere in its search. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

Look, thy husband's home is thine, potent and goodly, and shall be thine for ever more. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

Until with trembling movement thine hoary brow nods ever to everything. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

Lift o'er the threshold with good omen thy glistening feet, and go through the polished gates. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

Look! thy lord within, lying on Tyrian couch, all-expectant waits for thee. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

Not less than in thine, in his breast burns an inmost flame, but more deeply inward. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus!

Unloose the damsel's slender arm, O purple-bordered youth: now let her approach her husband's couch. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus.

Ye good dames of fair renown to aged spouses, put ye the damsel a-bed. O Hymen Hymenaeus io, O Hymen Hymenaeus.

Now thou mayst come, O bridegroom: thy wife is in the bridal-bed, with face brightly blushing as white parthenice 'midst ruddy poppies.

But, O bridegroom (so help me the heaven-dwellers) in no way less beautiful art thou, nor doth [124]Venus slight thee. But the day slips by: on! nor more delay.

Nor long hast thou delayed, thou comest now. May kindly Venus help thee, since what thou dost desire thou takest publicly, and dost not conceal true love.

Of Afric's sands and glittering stars the number first let him tell, who wishes to keep count of your many-thousand sports.

Sport as ye like, and speedily give heirs. It does not become so old a name to be sans heirs, but for similar stock always to be generated.

A little Torquatus I wish, from his mother's bosom reaching out his dainty hands, and smiling sweetly at his father with lips apart.

May he be like his sire Manlius, and easily acknowledged by every stranger, and by his face point out his mother's faithfulness.

May such praise confirm his birth from true mother, such fame unique as rests with Telemachus from best of mothers, Penelope.

Close ye the doors, virgins: enough we've sported. But, fair bride and groom, live ye well, and diligently fulfil the office of vigorous youth.


Vesper adest, iuvenes, consurgite: Vesper Olympo

Expectata diu vix tandem lumina tollit.


Surgere iam tempus, iam pingues linquere mensas,

Iam veniet virgo, iam dicetur Hymenaeus.


Hymen o Hymenaee, Hymen ades o Hymenaee!

Cernitis, innuptae, iuvenes? consurgite contra:

Nimirum Oetaeos ostendit noctifer ignes.

Sic certest; viden ut perniciter exiluere?

Non temere exiluere, canent quod vincere par est.


Hymen o Hymenaee, Hymen ades o Hymenaee!

Non facilis nobis, aequales, palma paratast,

Adspicite, innuptae secum ut meditata requirunt.

Non frustra meditantur, habent memorabile quod sit.

Nec mirum, penitus quae tota mente laborent.


Nos alio mentes, alio divisimus aures:

Iure igitur vincemur, amat victoria curam.

Quare nunc animos saltem convertite vestros,

Dicere iam incipient, iam respondere decebit.

Hymen o Hymenaee, Hymen ades o Hymenaee!


Hespere, qui caelo fertur crudelior ignis?

Qui natam possis conplexu avellere matris,

Conplexu matris retinentem avellere natam

Et iuveni ardenti castam donare puellam.

Quid faciunt hostes capta crudelius urbe?


Hymen o Hymenaee, Hymen ades o Hymenaee!

Hespere, qui caelo lucet iocundior ignis?

Qui desponsa tua firmes conubia flamma,

Quae pepigere viri, pepigerunt ante parentes

Nec iunxere prius quam se tuus extulit ardor.


Quid datur a divis felici optatius hora?


Hymen o Hymenaee, Hymen ades o Hymenaee!

      *       *       *       *

Hesperus e nobis, aequales, abstulit unam

      *       *       *       *

Hymen o Hymenaee, Hymen ades o Hymenaee!

      *       *       *       *

Namque tuo adventu vigilat custodia semper.

Nocte latent fures, quos idem saepe revertens,


Hespere, mutato conprendis nomine Eous.

At libet innuptis ficto te carpere questu.

Quid tum, si carpunt, tacita quem mente requirunt?

Hymen o Hymenaee, Hymen ades o Hymenaee!

Vt flos in saeptis secretus nascitur hortis,


Ignotus pecori, nullo convolsus aratro,

Quem mulcent aurae, firmat sol, educat imber

      *       *       *       *

Multi illum pueri, multae optavere puellae:

Idem cum tenui carptus defloruit ungui,

Nulli illum pueri, nullae optavere puellae:


Sic virgo, dum intacta manet, dum cara suis est;

Cum castum amisit polluto corpore florem,

Nec pueris iocunda manet, nec cara puellis.

Hymen o Hymenaee, Hymen ades o Hymenaee!

Vt vidua in nudo vitis quae nascitur arvo


Numquam se extollit, numquam mitem educat uvam,

Sed tenerum prono deflectens pondere corpus


Iam iam contingit summum radice flagellum;

Hanc nulli agricolae, nulli coluere bubulci:

At si forte eademst ulmo coniuncta marito,


Multi illam agricolae, multi coluere bubulci:

Sic virgo dum intacta manet, dum inculta senescit;

Cum par conubium maturo tempore adeptast,

Cara viro magis et minus est invisa parenti.


Hymen o Hymenaee, Hymen ades o Hymenaee!

At tu ne pugna cum tali coniuge virgo.


Non aequomst pugnare, pater cui tradidit ipse,

Ipse pater cum matre, quibus parere necessest.

Virginitas non tota tuast, ex parte parentumst,

Tertia pars patrist, pars est data tertia matri,

Tertia sola tuast: noli pugnare duobus,


Qui genero sua iura simul cum dote dederunt.

Hymen o Hymenaee, Hymen ades o Hymenaee!


Nuptial Song by Youth And Damsels.



Vesper is here, O youths, rise all; for Vesper Olympus

Scales and in fine enfires what lights so long were expected!

Time 'tis now to arise, now leave we tables rich laden,

Now shall the Virgin come; now chaunt we the Hymenæus.


Hymen O Hymenæus: Hymen here, O Hymenæus!



View ye the Youths, O Maids unwed? Then rise to withstand them:

Doubtless the night-fraught Star displays his splendour Œtéän.

Sooth 'tis so; d'ye sight how speedily sprang they to warfare?

Nor for a naught up-sprang: they'll sing what need we to conquer.


Hymen O Hymenæus: Hymen here, O Hymenæus!


Nowise easy the palm for us (Companions!) be proffer'd,

Lo! now the maidens muse and meditate matter of forethought

Nor meditate they in vain; they muse a humorous something.

Yet naught wonder it is, their sprites be wholly in labour.


We bear divided thought one way and hearing in other:

Vanquish't by right we must be, since Victory loveth the heedful.

Therefore at least d'ye turn your minds the task to consider,

Soon shall begin their say whose countersay shall befit you.

Hymen O Hymenæus: Hymen here, O Hymenæus!




Hesperus! say what flame more cruel in Heaven be fanned?

Thou who the girl perforce canst tear from a mother's embraces,

Tear from a parent's clasp her child despite of her clinging

And upon love-hot youth bestowest her chastest of maidenhoods!

What shall the foeman deal more cruel to city becaptured?


Hymen O Hymenæus, Hymen here, O Hymenæus!


Hesperus! say what flame more gladsome in Heavens be shining?

Thou whose light makes sure long-pledged connubial promise

Plighted erewhile by men and erstwhile plighted by parents.

Yet to be ne'er fulfilled before thy fire's ardours have risen!


What better boon can the gods bestow than hour so desirèd?

Hymen O Hymenæus, Hymen here, O Hymenæus!


      *       *       *       *

Hesperus! one of ourselves (Companions!) carried elsewhither

      *       *       *       *

Hymen O Hymenæus, Hymen here, O Hymenæus!



      *       *       *       *

For at thy coming in sight a guard is constantly watching.

Hidden o'nights lurk thieves and these as oft as returnest,


Hesper! thou seizest them with title changed to Eöus.

Pleases the bevy unwed with feigned complaints to accuse thee.

What if assail they whom their souls in secrecy cherish?

Hymen O Hymenæus, Hymen here, O Hymenæus!


E'en as a flow'ret born secluded in garden enclosèd,


Unto the flock unknown and ne'er uptorn by the ploughshare,

Soothed by the zephyrs and strengthened by suns and nourish't by showers

      *       *       *       *

Loves her many a youth and longs for her many a maiden:

Yet from her lissome stalk when cropt that flower deflowered,

Loves her never a youth nor longs for her ever a maiden:


Thus while the virgin be whole, such while she's the dearling of kinsfolk;

Yet no sooner is lost her bloom from body polluted,

Neither to youths she is joy, nor a dearling she to the maidens.

Hymen O Hymenæus, Hymen here, O Hymenæus!



E'en as an unmated vine which born in field of the barest


Never upraises head nor breeds the mellowy grape-bunch,

But under weight prone-bowed that tender body a-bending

Makes she her root anon to touch her topmost of tendrils;

Tends her never a hind nor tends her ever a herdsman:

Yet if haply conjoinèd the same with elm as a husband,


Tends her many a hind and tends her many a herdsman:

Thus is the maid when whole, uncultured waxes she aged;

But whenas union meet she wins her at ripest of seasons,

More to her spouse she is dear and less she's irk to her parents.

Hymen O Hymenæus, Hymen here, O Hymenæus!

Youths and Damsels.

But do thou cease to resist (O Maid!) such bridegroom opposing,

Right it is not to resist whereto consigned thee a father,

Father and mother of thee unto whom obedience is owing.


Not is that maidenhood all thine own, but partly thy parents!

Owneth thy sire one third, one third is right of thy mother,

Only the third is thine: stint thee to strive with the others,


Who to the stranger son have yielded their dues with a dower!

Hymen O Hymenæus: Hymen here, O Hymenæus!


Vesper is here, arise ye youths: Vesper at last has just borne aloft in the heavens his long-looked-for light. Now 'tis time to arise, now to leave the fattened tables, now comes the virgin, now is said the Hymenaeus. Hymen O Hymenaeus, Hymen hither O Hymenaeus!


Discern ye, O unwedded girls, the youths? Arise in response: forsooth the Star of Eve displays its Oetaean fires. Thus 'tis; see how fleetly have they leapt forth? Nor without intent have they leapt forth, they will sing what 'tis meet we surpass. Hymen O Hymenaeus, Hymen hither O Hymenaeus!


Nor easily is for us, O comrades, the palm prepared; see ye how they talk together in deep thought. Nor in vain do they muse, they have what may be worthy of memory. Nor be wonder: for inwardly toil they with whole of their minds. Our [133]minds one way, our ears another, we have divided: wherefore by right are we conquered, for victory loveth solicitude. So now your minds at the least turn ye hither, now their chant they begin, anon ye will have to respond. Hymen O Hymenaeus, Hymen hither O Hymenaeus!


Hesperus! what crueler light is borne aloft in the heavens? Thou who canst pluck the maid from her mother's enfolding, pluck from her mother's enfolding the firm-clinging maid, and canst give the chaste girl to the burning youngster. What more cruel could victors in vanquished city contrive? Hymen O Hymenaeus, Hymen hither O Hymenaeus!


Hesperus! what more jocund light is borne aloft in the heavens? Thou who dost confirm with thy flame the marriage betrothals which the men had pledged, the parents had pledged of aforetime, nor may they be joined in completion before thy flame is borne aloft. What can the gods give more gladsome than that happy hour? Hymen O Hymenaeus, Hymen hither O Hymenaeus!


* * * * Hesperus from us, O comrades, has stolen one away * * * * Hymen O Hymenaeus, Hymen hither O Hymenaeus!


* * * * For at thy advent a guard [134]always keeps watch. Thieves lie in wait by night, whom often on thy return, O Hesperus, thou hap'st upon, when with thy changed name Eous. Yet it doth please the unwedded girls to carp at thee with plaints fictitious. But what if they carp at that which in close-shut mind they long for? Hymen O Hymenaeus, Hymen hither O Hymenaeus!


As grows the hidden flower in garden closed, to kine unknown, uprooted by no ploughshare, whilst the winds caress it, the sun makes it sturdy, and the shower gives it growth * * * * many a boy and many a girl longs for it: this same when pluckt, deflowered from slender stalklet, never a boy and never a girl doth long for it: so the virgin, while she stays untouched, so long is she dear to her folk; when she hath lost her chaste flower from her body profaned, nor to the boys stays she beauteous, nor is she dear to the girls. Hymen O Hymenaeus, Hymen hither O Hymenaeus!


As the widowed vine which grows in naked field ne'er uplifts itself, ne'er ripens a mellow grape, but bending prone 'neath the weight of its tender body now and again its highmost bough touches with its root; this no husbandmen, no herdsmen will foster: but if this same chance to be joined with marital elm, it many husbandmen, many herdsmen will foster: so the virgin, whilst she stays untouched, so long does she age, unfostered; but when fitting [135]union she obtain in meet time, dearer is she to her lord and less of a trouble to parent. Hymen O Hymenaeus, Hymen hither O Hymenaeus!

Youths and Maidens.

But struggle not 'gainst such a mate, O virgin. 'Tis improper to struggle, thou whose father hath handed thee o'er, that father together with thy mother to whom obedience is needed. Thy maidenhead is not wholly thine, in part 'tis thy parents': a third part is thy father's, a third part is given to thy mother, a third alone is thine: be unwilling to struggle against two, who to their son-in-law their rights together with dowry have given. Hymen O Hymenaeus, Hymen hither O Hymenaeus!


Super alta vectus Attis celeri rate maria

Phrygium ut nemus citato cupide pede tetigit

Adiitque opaca, silvis redimita loca deae,

Stimulatus ibi furenti rabie, vagus animis,


Devolsit ilei acuto sibi pondera silice.

Itaque ut relicta sensit sibi membra sine viro,

Etiam recente terrae sola sanguine maculans

Niveis citata cepit manibus leve typanum,

Typanum, tuom Cybebe, tua, mater, initia,


Quatiensque terga taurei teneris cava digitis

Canere haec suis adortast tremebunda comitibus.

'Agite ite ad alta, Gallae, Cybeles nemora simul,

Simul ite, Dindymenae dominae vaga pecora,

Aliena quae petentes velut exules loca


Sectam meam executae duce me mihi comites

Rabidum salum tulistis truculentaque pelage

Et corpus evirastis Veneris nimio odio,

Hilarate erae citatis erroribus animum.

Mora tarda mente cedat: simul ite, sequimini


Phrygiam ad domum Cybebes, Phrygia ad nemora deae,

Vbi cymbalum sonat vox, ubi tympana reboant,

Tibicen ubi canit Phryx curvo grave calamo,

Vbi capita Maenades vi iaciunt ederigerae,

Vbi sacra sancta acutis ululatibus agitant,


Vbi suevit illa divae volitare vaga cohors:

Quo nos decet citatis celerare tripudiis.'

Simul haec comitibus Attis cecinit notha mulier,

Thiasus repente linguis trepidantibus ululat,

Leve tympanum remugit, cava cymbala recrepant,


Viridem citus adit Idam properante pede chorus.

Furibunda simul anhelans vaga vadit, animam agens,

Comitata tympano Attis per opaca nemora dux,

Veluti iuvenca vitans onus indomita iugi:

Rapidae ducem sequuntur Gallae properipedem.


Itaque ut domum Cybebes tetigere lassulae,

Nimio e labore somnum capiunt sine Cerere.

Piger his labante langore oculos sopor operit:

Abit in quiete molli rabidus furor animi.

Sed ubi oris aurei Sol radiantibus oculis


Lustravit aethera album, sola dura, mare ferum,

Pepulitque noctis umbras vegetis sonipedibus,

Ibi Somnus excitam Attin fugiens citus abiit:

Trepidante eum recepit dea Pasithea sinu.


Ita de quiete molli rapida sine rabie


Simul ipsa pectore Attis sua facta recoluit,

Liquidaque mente vidit sine queis ubique foret,

Animo aestuante rusum reditum ad vada tetulit.

Ibi maria vasta visens lacrimantibus oculis,

Patriam allocuta maestast ita voce miseriter.


'Patria o mei creatrix, patria o mea genetrix,

Ego quam miser relinquens, dominos ut erifugae

Famuli solent, ad Idae tetuli nemora pedem,

Vt aput nivem et ferarum gelida stabula forem

Et earum operta adirem furibunda latibula?


Vbinam aut quibus locis te positam, patria, reor?

Cupit ipsa pupula ad te sibi dirigere aciem,

Rabie fera carens dum breve tempus animus est.

Egone a mea remota haec ferar in nemora domo?

Patria, bonis, amicis, genitoribus abero?


Abero foro, palaestra, stadio et guminasiis?

Miser a miser, querendumst etiam atque etiam, anime.

Quod enim genus figuraest, ego non quod habuerim?

Ego mulier, ego adolescens, ego ephebus, ego puer,

Ego guminasi fui flos, ego eram decus olei:


Mihi ianuae frequentes, mihi limina tepida,

Mihi floridis corollis redimita domus erat,

Linquendum ubi esset orto mihi sole cubiculum.

Ego nunc deum ministra et Cybeles famula ferar?

Ego Maenas, ego mei pars, ego vir sterilis ero?


Ego viridis algida Idae nive amicta loca colam?

Ego vitam agam sub altis Phrygiae columinibus,

Vbi cerva silvicultrix, ubi aper nemorivagus?


Iam iam dolet quod egi, iam iamque paenitet.'

Roseis ut huic labellis sonitus celer abiit,


Geminas deorum ad aures nova nuntia referens,

Ibi iuncta iuga resolvens Cybele leonibus

Laevumque pecoris hostem stimulans ita loquitur.

'Agedum' inquit 'age ferox i, fac ut hunc furor agitet,

Fac uti furoris ictu reditum in nemora ferat,


Mea libere nimis qui fugere imperia cupit.

Age caede terga cauda, tua verbera patere,

Fac cuncta mugienti fremitu loca retonent,

Rutilam ferox torosa cervice quate iubam.'

Ait haec minax Cybebe religatque iuga manu.


Ferus ipse sese adhortans rapidum incitat animo,

Vadit, fremit, refringit virgulta pede vago.

At ubi umida albicantis loca litoris adiit,

Teneramque vidit Attin prope marmora pelagi,

Facit impetum: illa demens fugit in nemora fera:


Ibi semper omne vitae spatium famula fuit.

Dea magna, dea Cybebe, Didymei dea domina,

Procul a mea tuos sit furor omnis, era, domo:

Alios age incitatos, alios age rabidos.


The Adventures of Atys.

O'er high deep seas in speedy ship his voyage Atys sped

Until he trod the Phrygian grove with hurried eager tread


And as the gloomy tree-shorn stead, the she-god's home, he sought

There sorely stung with fiery ire and madman's vaguing thought,


Share he with sharpened flint the freight wherewith his form was fraught.

Then as the she-he sensèd limbs were void of manly strain

And sighted freshly shed a-ground spot of ensanguined stain,

Snatched she the timbrel's legier load with hands as snowdrops white,

Thy timbrel, Mother Cybebé, the firstings of thy rite,


And as her tender finger-tips on bull-back hollow rang

She rose a-grieving and her song to listening comrades sang.

"Up Gallæ, hie together, haste for Cybebe's deep grove,

Hie to the Dindyménean dame, ye flocks that love to rove;

The which affecting stranger steads as bound in exile's brunt


My sect pursuing led by me have nerved you to confront

The raging surge of salty sea and ocean's tyrant hand

As your hate of Venus' hest your manly forms unmann'd,

Gladden your souls, ye mistresses, with sense of error bann'd.


Drive from your spirits dull delay, together follow ye


To hold of Phrygian goddess, home of Phrygian Cybebe,

Where loud the cymbal's voice resounds with timbrel-echoes blending,

And where the Phrygian piper drones grave bass from reed a-bending,

Where toss their ivy-circled heads with might the Mænades

Where ply mid shrilly lullilooes the holiest mysteries,


Where to fly here and there be wont the she-god's vaguing train,

Thither behoves us lead the dance in quick-step hasty strain."

Soon as had Atys (bastard-she) this lay to comrades sung

The Chorus sudden lulliloos with quivering, quavering tongue,

Again the nimble timbrel groans, the scooped-out cymbals clash,


And up green Ida flits the Choir, with footsteps hurrying rash.

Then Atys frantic, panting, raves, a-wandering, lost, insane,

And leads with timbrel hent and treads the shades where shadows rain,

Like heifer spurning load of yoke in yet unbroken pride;

And the swift Gallæ follow fain their first and fleetfoot guide.


But when the home of Cybebe they make with toil out-worn

O'er much, they lay them down to sleep and gifts of Ceres scorn;

Till heavy slumbers seal their eyelids langourous, drooping lowly,

And raving phrenzy flies each brain departing softly, slowly.

But when Dan Sol with radiant eyes that fire his face of gold


Surveyed white aether and solid soil and waters uncontrol'd,

And chased with steeds sonorous-hooved the shades of lingering night,

Then sleep from waking Atys fled fleeting with sudden flight,

By Nymph Pásithae welcomèd to palpitating breast.

Thus when his phrenzy raging rash was soothed to gentlest rest,


Atys revolved deeds lately done, as thought from breast unfolding,

And what he'd lost and what he was with lucid sprite beholding,

To shallows led by surging soul again the way 'gan take.

There casting glance of weeping eyes where vasty billows brake,

Sad-voiced in pitifullest lay his native land bespake.


"Country of me, Creatress mine, O born to thee and bred,


By hapless me abandoned as by thrall from lordling fled,

When me to Ida's groves and glades these vaguing footsteps bore

To tarry 'mid the snows and where lurk beasts in antres frore

And seek the deeply hidden lairs where furious ferals meet!


Where, Country! whither placed must I now hold thy site and seat?

Lief would these balls of eyes direct to thee their line of sight,

Which for a while, a little while, would free me from despite.

Must I for ever roam these groves from house and home afar?

Of country, parents, kith and kin (life's boon) myself debar?


Fly Forum, fly Palestra, fly the Stadium, the Gymnase?

Wretch, ah poor wretch, I'm doomed (my soul!) to mourn throughout my days,

For what of form or figure is, which I failed to enjoy?

I full-grown man, I blooming youth, I stripling, I a boy,

I of Gymnasium erst the bloom, I too of oil the pride:


Warm was my threshold, ever stood my gateways opening wide,

My house was ever garlanded and hung with flowery freight,


And couch to quit with rising sun, has ever been my fate:

Now must I Cybebe's she-slave, priestess of gods, be hight?

I Mænad I, mere bit of self, I neutral barren wight?


I spend my life-tide couch't beneath high-towering Phrygian peaks?

I dwell on Ida's verdant slopes mottled with snowy streaks,

Where homes the forest-haunting doe, where roams the wildling boar?

Now, now I rue my deed foredone, now, now it irks me sore!"

Whenas from out those roseate lips these accents rapid flew,


Bore them to ears divine consigned a Nuncio true and new;

Then Cybebe her lions twain disjoining from their yoke

The left-hand enemy of the herds a-goading thus bespoke:—

"Up feral fell! up, hie with him, see rage his footsteps urge,

See that his fury smite him till he seek the forest verge,


He who with over-freedom fain would fly mine empery.

Go, slash thy flank with lashing tail and sense the strokes of thee,

Make the whole mountain to thy roar sound and resound again,


And fiercely toss thy brawny neck that bears the tawny mane!"

So quoth an-angered Cybebe, and yoke with hand untied:


The feral rose in fiery wrath and self-inciting hied,

A-charging, roaring through the brake with breaking paws he tore.

But when he reached the humid sands where surges cream the shore,

Spying soft Atys lingering near the marbled pave of sea

He springs: the terror-madded wretch back to the wood doth flee,


Where for the remnant of her days a bondmaid's life led she.

Great Goddess, Goddess Cybebe, Dindymus dame divine,

Far from my house and home thy wrath and wrack, dread mistress mine:

Goad others on with Fury's goad, others to Ire consign!

Over the vast main borne by swift-sailing ship, Attis, as with hasty hurried foot he reached the Phrygian wood and gained the tree-girt gloomy sanctuary of the Goddess, there roused by rabid rage and mind astray, with sharp-edged flint downwards wards dashed his burden of virility. Then as he felt his limbs were left without their manhood, and [145]the fresh-spilt blood staining the soil, with bloodless hand she hastily hent a tambour light to hold, taborine thine, O Cybebe, thine initiate rite, and with feeble fingers beating the hollowed bullock's back, she rose up quivering thus to chant to her companions.

"Haste ye together, she-priests, to Cybebe's dense woods, together haste, ye vagrant herd of the dame Dindymene, ye who inclining towards strange places as exiles, following in my footsteps, led by me, comrades, ye who have faced the ravening sea and truculent main, and have castrated your bodies in your utmost hate of Venus, make glad our mistress speedily with your minds' mad wanderings. Let dull delay depart from your thoughts, together haste ye, follow to the Phrygian home of Cybebe, to the Phrygian woods of the Goddess, where sounds the cymbal's voice, where the tambour resounds, where the Phrygian flautist pipes deep notes on the curved reed, where the ivy-clad Maenades furiously toss their heads, where they enact their sacred orgies with shrill-sounding ululations, where that wandering band of the Goddess is wont to flit about: thither 'tis meet to hasten with hurried mystic dance."

When Attis, spurious woman, had thus chanted to her comity, the chorus straightway shrills with trembling tongues, the light tambour booms, the concave cymbals clang, and the troop swiftly hastes with rapid feet to verdurous Ida. Then raging wildly, breathless, wandering, with brain distraught, [146]hurrieth Attis with her tambour, their leader through dense woods, like an untamed heifer shunning the burden of the yoke: and the swift Gallae press behind their speedy-footed leader. So when the home of Cybebe they reach, wearied out with excess of toil and lack of food they fall in slumber. Sluggish sleep shrouds their eyes drooping with faintness, and raging fury leaves their minds to quiet ease.

But when the sun with radiant eyes from face of gold glanced o'er the white heavens, the firm soil, and the savage sea, and drave away the glooms of night with his brisk and clamorous team, then sleep fast-flying quickly sped away from wakening Attis, and goddess Pasithea received Somnus in her panting bosom. Then when from quiet rest torn, her delirium over, Attis at once recalled to mind her deed, and with lucid thought saw what she had lost, and where she stood, with heaving heart she backwards traced her steps to the landing-place. There, gazing o'er the vast main with tear-filled eyes, with saddened voice in tristful soliloquy thus did she lament her land:

"Mother-land, O my creatress, mother-land, O my begetter, which full sadly I'm forsaking, as runaway serfs are wont from their lords, to the woods of Ida I have hasted on foot, to stay 'mongst snow and icy dens of ferals, and to wander through the hidden lurking-places of ferocious beasts. Where, or in what part, O mother-land, may I imagine that thou art? My very eyeball craves to fix its glance towards [147]thee, whilst for a brief space my mind is freed from wild ravings. And must I wander o'er these woods far from mine home? From country, goods, friends, and parents, must I be parted? Leave the forum, the palaestra, the race-course, and gymnasium? Wretched, wretched soul, 'tis thine to grieve for ever and for aye. For whatso shape is there, whose kind I have not worn? I (now a woman), I a man, a stripling, and a lad; I was the gymnasium's flower, I was the pride of the oiled wrestlers: my gates, my friendly threshold, were crowded, my home was decked with floral coronals, when I was wont to leave my couch at sunrise. Now shall I live a ministrant of gods and slave to Cybebe? I a Maenad, I a part of me, I a sterile trunk! Must I range o'er the snow-clad spots of verdurous Ida, and wear out my life 'neath lofty Phrygian peaks, where stay the sylvan-seeking stag and woodland-wandering boar? Now, now, I grieve the deed I've done; now, now, do I repent!"

As the swift sound left those rosy lips, borne by new messenger to gods' twinned ears, Cybebe, unloosing her lions from their joined yoke, and goading the left-hand foe of the herd, thus doth speak: "Come," she says, "to work, thou fierce one, cause a madness urge him on, let a fury prick him onwards till he return through our woods, he who over-rashly seeks to fly from my empire. On! thrash thy flanks with thy tail, endure thy strokes; make the whole place re-echo with roar of thy [148]bellowings; wildly toss thy tawny mane about thy nervous neck." Thus ireful Cybebe spoke and loosed the yoke with her hand. The monster, self-exciting, to rapid wrath his heart doth spur, he rushes, he roars, he bursts through the brake with heedless tread. But when he gained the humid verge of the foam-flecked shore, and spied the womanish Attis near the opal sea, he made a bound: the witless wretch fled into the wild wold: there throughout the space of her whole life a bondsmaid did she stay. Great Goddess, Goddess Cybebe, Goddess Dame of Dindymus, far from my home may all thine anger be, O mistress: urge others to such actions, to madness others hound.


Peliaco quondam prognatae vertice pinus

Dicuntur liquidas Neptuni nasse per undas

Phasidos ad fluctus et fines Aeetaeos,

Cum lecti iuvenes, Argivae robora pubis,


Auratam optantes Colchis avertere pellem

Ausi sunt vada salsa cita decurrere puppi,

Caerula verrentes abiegnis aequora palmis.

Diva quibus retinens in summis urbibus arces

Ipsa levi fecit volitantem flamine currum,


Pinea coniungens inflexae texta carinae.

Illa rudem cursu prima imbuit Amphitriten.

Quae simulac rostro ventosum proscidit aequor,

Tortaque remigio spumis incanduit unda,

Emersere freti canenti e gurgite vultus


Aequoreae monstrum Nereides admirantes.

Atque illic alma viderunt luce marinas

Mortales oculi nudato corpore Nymphas

Nutricum tenus extantes e gurgite cano.

Tum Thetidis Peleus incensus fertur amore,


Tum Thetis humanos non despexit hymenaeos,

Tum Thetidi pater ipse iugandum Pelea sanxit.

O nimis optato saeclorum tempore nati

Heroes, salvete, deum genus, o bona matrum

Progenies, salvete iterum placidique favete.

Vos ego saepe meo, vos carmine conpellabo,


Teque adeo eximie taedis felicibus aucte

Thessaliae columen Peleu, cui Iuppiter ipse,

Ipse suos divom genitor concessit amores.

Tene Thetis tenuit pulcherrima Nereine?

Tene suam Tethys concessit ducere neptem,


Oceanusque, mari totum qui amplectitur orbem?

Quoi simul optatae finito tempore luces

Advenere, domum conventu tota frequentat

Thessalia, oppletur laetanti regia coetu:

Dona ferunt prae se, declarant gaudia voltu.


Deseritur Cieros, linquunt Phthiotica tempe,

Crannonisque domos ac moenia Larisaea,

Pharsalum coeunt, Pharsalia tecta frequentant.

Rura colit nemo, mollescunt colla iuvencis,

Non humilis curvis purgatur vinea rastris,


Non falx attenuat frondatorum arboris umbram,


Non glaebam prono convellit vomere taurus,

Squalida desertis rubigo infertur aratris.

Ipsius at sedes, quacumque opulenta recessit


Regia, fulgenti splendent auro atque argento.


Candet ebur soliis, collucent pocula mensae,

Tota domus gaudet regali splendida gaza.

Pulvinar vero divae geniale locatur

Sedibus in mediis, Indo quod dente politum

Tincta tegit roseo conchyli purpura fuco.


Haec vestis priscis hominum variata figuris

Heroum mira virtutes indicat arte.

Namque fluentisono prospectans litore Diae

Thesea cedentem celeri cum classe tuetur

Indomitos in corde gerens Ariadna furores,


Necdum etiam sese quae visit visere credit,

Vt pote fallaci quae tum primum excita somno

Desertam in sola miseram se cernat arena.

Inmemor at iuvenis fugiens pellit vada remis,

Inrita ventosae linquens promissa procellae.


Quem procul ex alga maestis Minois ocellis,

Saxea ut effigies bacchantis, prospicit, eheu,

Prospicit et magnis curarum fluctuat undis,

Non flavo retinens subtilem vertice mitram,

Non contecta levi † velatum pectus amictu,


Non tereti strophio lactantes vincta papillas,

Omnia quae toto delapsa e corpore passim

Ipsius ante pedes fluctus salis adludebant.

Set neque tum mitrae neque tum fluitantis amictus

Illa vicem curans toto ex te pectore, Theseu,


Toto animo, tota pendebat perdita mente.

A misera, adsiduis quam luctibus externavit

Spinosas Erycina serens in pectore curas

Illa tempestate, ferox quom robore Theseus


Egressus curvis e litoribus Piraei


Attigit iniusti regis Gortynia tecta.

Nam perhibent olim crudeli peste coactam

Androgeoneae poenas exolvere caedis

Electos iuvenes simul et decus innuptarum

Cecropiam solitam esse dapem dare Minotauro.


Quis angusta malis cum moenia vexarentur,

Ipse suom Theseus pro caris corpus Athenis

Proicere optavit potius quam talia Cretam

Funera Cecropiae nec funera portarentur,

Atque ita nave levi nitens ac lenibus auris


Magnanimum ad Minoa venit sedesque superbas.

Hunc simulac cupido conspexit lumine virgo

Regia, quam suavis expirans castus odores

Lectulus in molli conplexu matris alebat,

Quales Eurotae progignunt flumina myrtus


Aurave distinctos educit verna colores,

Non prius ex illo flagrantia declinavit

Lumina, quam cuncto concepit corpore flammam

Funditus atque imis exarsit tota medullis.

Heu misere exagitans inmiti corde furores


Sancte puer, curis hominum qui gaudia misces,

Quaeque regis Golgos quaeque Idalium frondosum,

Qualibus incensam iactastis mente puellam

Fluctibus in flavo saepe hospite suspirantem!

Quantos illa tulit languenti corde timores!


Quam tum saepe magis † fulgore expalluit auri!

Cum saevom cupiens contra contendere monstrum

Aut mortem oppeteret Theseus aut praemia laudis.

Non ingrata tamen frustra munuscula divis


Promittens tacito succepit vota labello.


Nam velut in summo quatientem brachia Tauro

Quercum aut conigeram sudanti cortice pinum

Indomitum turben contorquens flamine robur

Eruit (illa procul radicitus exturbata

Prona cadit, late quast impetus obvia frangens),


Sic domito saevom prostravit corpore Theseus

Nequiquam vanis iactantem cornua ventis.

Inde pedem sospes multa cum laude reflexit

Errabunda regens tenui vestigia filo,

Ne labyrintheis e flexibus egredientem


Tecti frustraretur inobservabilis error.

Sed quid ego a primo digressus carmine plura

Conmemorem, ut linquens genitoris filia voltum,

Vt consanguineae conplexum, ut denique matris,

Quae misera in gnata deperdita laetabatur,


Omnibus his Thesei dulcem praeoptarit amorem,

Aut ut vecta rati spumosa ad litora Diae

Venerit, aut ut eam devinctam lumina somno

Liquerit inmemori discedens pectore coniunx?

Saepe illam perhibent ardenti corde furentem


Clarisonas imo fudisse e pectore voces,

Ac tum praeruptos tristem conscendere montes,

Vnde aciem in pelagi vastos protenderet aestus,

Tum tremuli salis adversas procurrere in undas

Mollia nudatae tollentem tegmina surae,


Atque haec extremis maestam dixisse querellis,

Frigidulos udo singultus ore cientem.

'Sicine me patriis avectam, perfide, ab oris,

Perfide, deserto liquisti in litore, Theseu?


Sicine discedens neglecto numine divom


Inmemor a, devota domum periuria portas?

Nullane res potuit crudelis flectere mentis

Consilium? tibi nulla fuit clementia praesto,

Inmite ut nostri vellet miserescere pectus?

At non haec quondam nobis promissa dedisti,


Vane: mihi non haec miserae sperare iubebas,

Sed conubia laeta, sed optatos hymenaeos:

Quae cuncta aerii discerpunt irrita venti.

Iam iam nulla viro iuranti femina credat,

Nulla viri speret sermones esse fideles;


Quis dum aliquid cupiens animus praegestit apisci,

Nil metuunt iurare, nihil promittere parcunt:

Sed simulac cupidae mentis satiata libidost,

Dicta nihil meminere, nihil periuria curant.

Certe ego te in medio versantem turbine leti


Eripui, et potius germanum amittere crevi,

Quam tibi fallaci supremo in tempore dessem.

Pro quo dilaceranda feris dabor alitibusque

Praeda, neque iniecta tumulabor mortua terra.

Quaenam te genuit sola sub rupe leaena?


Quod mare conceptum spumantibus expuit undis?

Quae Syrtis, quae Scylla rapax, quae vasta Charybdis?

Talia qui reddis pro dulci praemia vita.

Si tibi non cordi fuerant conubia nostra,

Saeva quod horrebas prisci praecepta parentis,


At tamen in vostras potuisti ducere sedes,

Quae tibi iocundo famularer serva labore,

Candida permulcens liquidis vestigia lymphis


Purpureave tuum consternens veste cubile.

Sed quid ego ignaris nequiquam conqueror auris,


Externata malo, quae nullis sensibus auctae

Nec missas audire queunt nec reddere voces?

Ille autem prope iam mediis versatur in undis,

Nec quisquam adparet vacua mortalis in alga.

Sic nimis insultans extremo tempore saeva


Fors etiam nostris invidit questibus aures.

Iuppiter omnipotens, utinam ne tempore primo

Gnosia Cecropiae tetigissent litora puppes,

Indomito nec dira ferens stipendia tauro

Perfidus in Creta religasset navita funem,


Nec malus hic celans dulci crudelia forma

Consilia in nostris requiesset sedibus hospes!

Nam quo me referam? quali spe perdita nitar?

Idomeneosne petam montes? a, gurgite lato

Discernens ponti truculentum ubi dividit aequor?


An patris auxilium sperem? quemne ipsa reliqui,

Respersum iuvenem fraterna caede secuta?

Coniugis an fido consoler memet amore,

Quine fugit lentos incurvans gurgite remos?

Praeterea nullo litus, sola insula, tecto,


Nec patet egressus pelagi cingentibus undis:

Nulla fugae ratio, nulla spes: omnia muta,

Omnia sunt deserta, ostentant omnia letum.

Non tamen ante mihi languescent lumina morte,

Nec prius a fesso secedent corpore sensus,


Quam iustam a divis exposcam prodita multam,

Caelestumque fidem postrema conprecer hora.

Quare facta virum multantes vindice poena,


Eumenides, quibus anguino redimita capillo

Frons expirantis praeportat pectoris iras,


Huc huc adventate, meas audite querellas,

Quas ego vae! misera extremis proferre medullis

Cogor inops, ardens, amenti caeca furore.

Quae quoniam verae nascuntur pectore ab imo,

Vos nolite pati nostrum vanescere luctum,


Sed quali solam Theseus me mente reliquit,

Tali mente, deae, funestet seque suosque.'

Has postquam maesto profudit pectore voces,

Supplicium saevis exposcens anxia factis,

Adnuit invicto caelestum numine rector,


Quo motu tellus atque horrida contremuerunt

Aequora concussitque micantia sidera mundus.

Ipse autem caeca mentem caligine Theseus

Consitus oblito dimisit pectore cuncta,

Quae mandata prius constanti mente tenebat,


Dulcia nec maesto sustollens signa parenti

Sospitem Erechtheum se ostendit visere portum.

Namque ferunt olim, castae cum moenia divae

Linquentem gnatum ventis concrederet Aegeus,

Talia conplexum iuveni mandata dedisse.


'Gnate, mihi longa iocundior unice vita,


Reddite in extrema nuper mihi fine senectae,


Gnate, ego quem in dubios cogor dimittere casus,

Quandoquidem fortuna mea ac tua fervida virtus

Eripit invito mihi te, cui languida nondum


Lumina sunt gnati cara saturata figura:

Non ego te gaudens laetanti pectore mittam,

Nec te ferre sinam fortunae signa secundae,


Sed primum multas expromam mente querellas,

Canitiem terra atque infuso pulvere foedans,


Inde infecta vago suspendam lintea malo,

Nostros ut luctus nostraeque incendia mentis

Carbasus obscurata decet ferrugine Hibera.

Quod tibi si sancti concesserit incola Itoni,

Quae nostrum genus ac sedes defendere Erechthei


Adnuit, ut tauri respergas sanguine dextram,

Tum vero facito ut memori tibi condita corde

Haec vigeant mandata, nec ulla oblitteret aetas,

Vt simulac nostros invisent lumina colles,

Funestam antennae deponant undique vestem,


Candidaque intorti sustollant vela rudentes,


Lucida qua splendent summi carchesia mali,

Quam primum cernens ut laeta gaudia mente

Agnoscam, cum te reducem aetas prospera sistet.'

Haec mandata prius constanti mente tenentem

Thesea ceu pulsae ventorum flamine nubes


Aerium nivei montis liquere cacumen.

At pater, ut summa prospectum ex arce petebat,

Anxia in adsiduos absumens lumina fletus,

Cum primum infecti conspexit lintea veli,

Praecipitem sese scopulorum e vertice iecit,


Amissum credens inmiti Thesea fato.

Sic funesta domus ingressus tecta paterna

Morte ferox Theseus qualem Minoidi luctum

Obtulerat mente inmemori talem ipse recepit.

Quae tamen aspectans cedentem maesta carinam


Multiplices animo volvebat saucia curas.

At parte ex alia florens volitabat Iacchus


Cum thiaso Satyrorum et Nysigenis Silenis,

Te quaerens, Ariadna, tuoque incensus amore.

      *       *       *       *

Quae tum alacres passim lymphata mente furebant


Euhoe bacchantes, euhoe capita inflectentes.

Harum pars tecta quatiebant cuspide thyrsos,

Pars e divolso iactabant membra iuvenco,

Pars sese tortis serpentibus incingebant,

Pars obscura cavis celebrabant orgia cistis,


Orgia, quae frustra cupiunt audire profani,

Plangebant aliae proceris tympana palmis

Aut tereti tenues tinnitus aere ciebant,

Multis raucisonos efflabant cornua bombos

Barbaraque horribili stridebat tibia cantu.


Talibus amplifice vestis decorata figuris

Pulvinar conplexa suo velabat amictu.

Quae postquam cupide spectando Thessala pubes

Expletast, sanctis coepit decedere divis.

Hic, qualis flatu placidum mare matutino


Horrificans Zephyrus proclivas incitat undas

Aurora exoriente vagi sub limina Solis,

Quae tarde primum clementi flamine pulsae

Procedunt (leni resonant plangore cachinni),

Post vento crescente magis magis increbescunt


Purpureaque procul nantes a luce refulgent,

Sic ibi vestibuli linquentes regia tecta

Ad se quisque vago passim pede discedebant.

Quorum post abitum princeps e vertice Pelei

Advenit Chiron portans silvestria dona:


Nam quoscumque ferunt campi, quos Thessala magnis


Montibus ora creat, quos propter fluminis undas

Aura parit flores tepidi fecunda Favoni,

Hos indistinctis plexos tulit ipse corollis,

Quo permulsa domus iocundo risit odore.


Confestim Penios adest, viridantia Tempe,

Tempe, quae silvae cingunt super inpendentes,

† Minosim linquens crebris celebranda choreis,

Non vacuos: namque ille tulit radicitus altas

Fagos ac recto proceras stipite laurus,


Non sine nutanti platano lentaque sorore

Flammati Phaethontis et aeria cupressu.

Haec circum sedes late contexta locavit,

Vestibulum ut molli velatum fronde vireret.

Post hunc consequitur sollerti corde Prometheus,


Extenuata gerens veteris vestigia poenae,

Quam quondam scythicis restrictus membra catena

Persolvit pendens e verticibus praeruptis.

Inde pater divom sancta cum coniuge natisque

Advenit caelo, te solum, Phoebe, relinquens


Vnigenamque simul cultricem montibus Idri:

Pelea nam tecum pariter soror aspernatast

Nec Thetidis taedas voluit celebrare iugalis,

Qui postquam niveis flexerunt sedibus artus,

Large multiplici constructae sunt dape mensae,


Cum interea infirmo quatientes corpora motu

Veridicos Parcae coeperunt edere cantus.

His corpus tremulum conplectens undique vestis

Candida purpurea talos incinxerat ora,

Annoso niveae residebant vertice vittae,


Aeternumque manus carpebant rite laborem.


Laeva colum molli lana retinebat amictum,

Dextera tum leviter deducens fila supinis

Formabat digitis, tum prono in pollice torquens

Libratum tereti versabat turbine fusum,


Atque ita decerpens aequabat semper opus dens,

Laneaque aridulis haerebant morsa labellis,

Quae prius in levi fuerant extantia filo:

Ante pedes autem candentis mollia lanae

Vellera virgati custodibant calathisci.


Haec tum clarisona pectentes vellera voce

Talia divino fuderunt carmine fata,

Carmine, perfidiae quod post nulla arguet aetas.

O decus eximium magnis virtutibus augens,

Emathiae tutamen opis, clarissime nato,


Accipe, quod laeta tibi pandunt luce sorores,

Veridicum oraclum. sed vos, quae fata sequuntur,

Currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi.

Adveniet tibi iam portans optata maritis

Hesperus, adveniet fausto cum sidere coniunx,


Quae tibi flexanimo mentem perfundat amore

Languidulosque paret tecum coniungere somnos,

Levia substernens robusto brachia collo.

Currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi.

Nulla domus tales umquam conexit amores,


Nullus amor tali coniunxit foedere amantes,

Qualis adest Thetidi, qualis concordia Peleo.

Currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi.

Nascetur vobis expers terroris Achilles,

Hostibus haud tergo, sed forti pectore notus,


Quae persaepe vago victor certamine cursus

Flammea praevertet celeris vestigia cervae.

Currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi.

Non illi quisquam bello se conferet heros,

Cum Phrygii Teucro manabunt sanguine † tenen,


Troicaque obsidens longinquo moenia bello

Periuri Pelopis vastabit tertius heres.

Currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi.

Illius egregias virtutes claraque facta

Saepe fatebuntur gnatorum in funere matres,


Cum in cinerem canos solvent a vertice crines

Putridaque infirmis variabunt pectora palmis.

Currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi.

Namque velut densas praecerpens cultor aristas

Sole sub ardenti flaventia demetit arva,


Troiugenum infesto prosternet corpora ferro.

Currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi.

Testis erit magnis virtutibus unda Scamandri,

Quae passim rapido diffunditur Hellesponto,

Cuius iter caesis angustans corporum acervis


Alta tepefaciet permixta flumina caede.

Currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi.

Denique testis erit morti quoque reddita praeda,

Cum terrae ex celso coacervatum aggere bustum

Excipiet niveos percussae virginis artus.


Currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi.

Nam simul ac fessis dederit fors copiam Achivis

Vrbis Dardaniae Neptunia solvere vincla,


Alta Polyxenia madefient caede sepulcra,

Quae, velut ancipiti succumbens victima ferro,


Proiciet truncum submisso poplite corpus.

Currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi.

Quare agite optatos animi coniungite amores.

Accipiat coniunx felici foedere divam,

Dedatur cupido iandudum nupta marito.


Currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi.

Non illam nutrix orienti luce revisens

Hesterno collum poterit circumdare filo,

[Currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi]

Anxia nec mater discordis maesta puellae


Secubitu caros mittet sperare nepotes.

Currite ducentes subtegmina, currite, fusi.

Talia praefantes quondam felicia Pelei

Carmina divino cecinerunt pectore Parcae.

Praesentes namque ante domos invisere castas


Heroum et sese mortali ostendere coetu

Caelicolae nondum spreta pietate solebant.

Saepe pater divom templo in fulgente residens,

Annua cum festis venissent sacra diebus,

Conspexit terra centum procumbere tauros.


Saepe vagus Liber Parnasi vertice summo

Thyiadas effusis euhantes crinibus egit.

      *       *       *       *

Cum Delphi tota certatim ex urbe ruentes

Acciperent laeti divom fumantibus aris.

Saepe in letifero belli certamine Mavors


Aut rapidi Tritonis era aut Rhamnusia virgo


Armatas hominumst praesens hortata catervas.

Sed postquam tellus scelerest imbuta nefando,

Iustitiamque omnes cupida de mente fugarunt,

Perfudere manus fraterno sanguine fratres,


Destitit extinctos natus lugere parentes,

Optavit genitor primaevi funera nati,

Liber ut innuptae poteretur flore novercae,

Ignaro mater substernens se inpia nato

Inpia non veritast divos scelerare penates:


Omnia fanda nefanda malo permixta furore

Iustificam nobis mentem avertere deorum.

Quare nec tales dignantur visere coetus,

Nec se contingi patiuntur lumine claro.


Marriage of Peleus and Thetis.

(Fragment of an Epos.)

Pine-trees gendered whilòme upon soaring Peliac summit

Swam (as the tale is told) through liquid surges of Neptune

Far as the Phasis-flood and frontier-land Æëtéan;

Whenas the youths elect, of Argive vigour the oak-heart,


Longing the Golden Fleece of the Colchis-region to harry,

Dared in a poop swift-paced to span salt seas and their shallows,

Sweeping the deep blue seas with sweeps a-carven of fir-wood.


She, that governing Goddess of citadels crowning the cities,

Builded herself their car fast-flitting with lightest of breezes,


Weaving plants of the pine conjoined in curve of the kelson;

Foremost of all to imbue rude Amphitrité with ship-lore.

Soon as her beak had burst through wind-rackt spaces of ocean,

While th'oar-tortured wave with spumy whiteness was blanching,

Surged from the deep abyss and hoar-capped billows the faces


Seaborn, Nereids eyeing the prodigy wonder-smitten.

There too mortal orbs through softened spendours regarded

Ocean-nymphs who exposed bodies denuded of raiment

Bare to the breast upthrust from hoar froth capping the sea-depths.

Then Thetis Péleus fired (men say) a-sudden with love-lowe,


Then Thetis nowise spurned to mate and marry wi' mortal,

Then Thetis' Sire himself her yoke with Peleus sanctioned.

Oh, in those happier days now fondly yearned-for, ye heroes

Born; (all hail!) of the Gods begotten, and excellent issue


Bred by your mothers, all hail! and placid deal me your favour.

Oft wi' the sound of me, in strains and spells I'll invoke you;


Thee too by wedding-torch so happily, highly augmented,

Peleus, Thessaly's ward, whomunto Jupiter's self deigned

Yield of the freest gree his loves though gotten of Godheads.

Thee Thetis, fairest of maids Nereian, vouchsafed to marry?

Thee did Tethys empower to woo and wed with her grandchild;


Nor less Oceanus, with water compassing th' Earth-globe?

But when ended the term, and wisht-for light of the day-tide

Uprose, flocks to the house in concourse mighty convenèd,

Thessaly all, with glad assembly the Palace fulfilling:

Presents afore they bring, and joy in faces declare they.


Scyros desert abides: they quit Phthiotican Tempe,

Homesteads of Crannon-town, eke bulwarkt walls of Larissa;

Meeting at Pharsálus, and roof Pharsálian seeking.

None will the fields now till; soft wax all necks of the oxen,


Never the humble vine is purged by curve of the rake-tooth,


Never a pruner's hook thins out the shade of the tree-tufts,


Never a bull up-plows broad glebe with bend of the coulter,

Over whose point unuse displays the squalor of rust-stain.

But in the homestead's heart, where'er that opulent palace

Hides a retreat, all shines with splendour of gold and of silver.


Ivory blanches the seats, bright gleam the flagons a-table,

All of the mansion joys in royal riches and grandeur.

But for the Diva's use bestrewn is the genial bedstead,

Hidden in midmost stead, and its polisht framework of Indian

Tusk underlies its cloth empurpled by juice of the dye-shell.


This be a figured cloth with forms of manhood primeval

Showing by marvel-art the gifts and graces of heroes.

Here upon Dia's strand wave-resonant, ever-regarding

Theseus borne from sight outside by fleet of the fleetest,

Stands Ariadne with heart full-filled with furies unbated,


Nor can her sense as yet believe she 'spies the espied,


When like one that awakes new roused from slumber deceptive,

Sees she her hapless self lone left on loneliest sandbank:

While as the mindless youth with oars disturbeth the shallows,

Casts to the windy storms what vows he vainly had vowèd.


Him through the sedges afar the sad-eyed maiden of Minos,

Likest a Bacchant-girl stone-carven, (O her sorrow!)

'Spies, a-tossing the while on sorest billows of love-care.

Now no more on her blood-hued hair fine fillets retains she,

No more now light veil conceals her bosom erst hidden,


Now no more smooth zone contains her milky-hued paplets:

All gear dropping adown from every part of her person

Thrown, lie fronting her feet to the briny wavelets a sea-toy.

But at such now no more of her veil or her fillet a-floating

Had she regard: on thee, O Theseus! all of her heart-strength,


All of her sprite, her mind, forlorn, were evermore hanging.

Ah, sad soul, by grief and grievance driven beside thee,


Sowed Erycína first those brambly cares in thy bosom,

What while issuing fierce with will enstarkenèd, Theseus

Forth from the bow-bent shore Piræan putting a-seawards


Reacht the Gortynian roofs where dwelt th' injurious Monarch.

For 'twas told of yore how forced by pestilence cruel,

Eke as a blood rite due for th' Androgéonian murthur,

Many a chosen youth and the bloom of damsels unmarried

Food for the Minotaur, Cecropia was wont to befurnish.


Seeing his narrow walls in such wise vexed with evils,

Theseus of freest will for dear-loved Athens his body

Offered a victim so that no more to Crete be deported

Lives by Cecropia doomed to burials burying nowise;

Then with a swifty ship and soft breathed breezes a-stirring,


Sought he Minos the Haughty where homed in proudest of Mansions.

Him as with yearning glance forthright espièd the royal

Maiden, whom pure chaste couch aspiring delicate odours

Cherisht, in soft embrace of a mother comforted all-whiles,

(E'en as the myrtles begot by the flowing floods of Eurotas,


Or as the tincts distinct brought forth by breath of the springtide)

Never the burning lights of her eyes from gazing upon him

Turned she, before fierce flame in all her body conceived she

Down in its deepest depths and burning amiddle her marrow.

Ah, with unmitigate heart exciting wretchedmost furies,


Thou, Boy sacrosanct! man's grief and gladness commingling,

Thou too of Golgos Queen and Lady of leafy Idalium,

Whelm'd ye in what manner waves that maiden phantasy-firèd,

All for a blond-haired youth suspiring many a singulf!

Whiles how dire was the dread she dreed in languishing heart-strings;


How yet more, ever more, with golden splendour she palèd!

Whenas yearning to mate his might wi' the furious monster

Theseus braved his death or sought the prizes of praises.

Then of her gifts to gods not ingrate, nor profiting naught,

Promise with silent lip, addressed she timidly vowing.


For as an oak that shakes on topmost summit of Taurus


Its boughs, or cone-growing pine from bole bark resin exuding,

Whirlwind of passing might that twists the stems with its storm-blasts,

Uproots, deracinates, forthright its trunk to the farthest,

Prone falls, shattering wide what lies in line of its downfall,—


Thus was that wildling flung by Theseus and vanquisht of body,

Vainly tossing its horns and goring the wind to no purpose.

Thence with abounding praise returned he, guiding his footsteps,

Whiles did a fine drawn thread check steps in wander abounding,

Lest when issuing forth of the winding maze labyrinthine


Baffled become his track by inobservable error.

But for what cause should I, from early subject digressing,

Tell of the daughter who the face of her sire unseeing,

Eke her sister's embrace nor less her mother's endearments,

Who in despair bewept her hapless child that so gladly


Chose before every and each the lively wooing of Theseus?

Or how borne by the ship to the yeasting shore-line of Dia


Came she? or how when bound her eyes in bondage of slumber

Left her that chosen mate with mind unmindful departing?

Often (they tell) with heart inflamed by fiery fury


Poured she shrilling of shrieks from deepest depths of her bosom;

Now she would sadly scale the broken faces of mountains,

Whence she might overglance the boundless boiling of billows,

Then she would rush to bestem the salt-plain's quivering wavelet

And from her ankles bare the dainty garment uplifting,


Spake she these words ('tis said) from sorrow's deepest abysses,

Whiles from her tear-drencht face outburst cold shivering singulfs.

"Thus fro' my patrial shore, O traitor, hurried to exile,

Me on a lonely strand hast left, perfidious Theseus?

Thus wise farest, despite the godhead of Deities spurned,


(Reckless, alas!) to thy home convoying perjury-curses?

Naught, then, ever availed that mind of cruelest counsel

Alter? No saving grace in thee was evermore ready,

That to have pity on me vouchsafed thy pitiless bosom?


Natheless not in past time such were the promises wordy


Lavishèd; nor such hopes to me the hapless were bidden;

But the glad married joys, the longed-for pleasures of wedlock.

All now empty and vain, by breath of the breezes bescattered!

Now, let woman no more trust her to man when he sweareth,

Ne'er let her hope to find or truth or faith in his pleadings,


Who whenas lustful thought forelooks to somewhat attaining,

Never an oath they fear, shall spare no promise to promise.

Yet no sooner they sate all lewdness and lecherous fancy,

Nothing remember of words and reck they naught of fore-swearing.

Certès, thee did I snatch from midmost whirlpool of ruin


Deadly, and held it cheap loss of a brother to suffer

Rather than fail thy need (O false!) at hour the supremest.

Therefor my limbs are doomed to be torn of birds, and of ferals

Prey, nor shall upheapt Earth afford a grave to my body.


Say me, what lioness bare thee 'neath lone rock of the desert?


What sea spued thee conceived from out the spume of his surges!

What manner Syrt, what ravening Scylla, what vasty Charybdis?

Thou who for sweet life saved such meeds art lief of returning!

If never willed thy breast with me to mate thee in marriage,

Hating the savage law decreed by primitive parent,


Still of your competence 'twas within your household to home me,

Where I might serve as slave in gladsome service familiar,

Laving thy snow-white feet in clearest chrystalline waters

Or with its purpling gear thy couch in company strewing.

Yet for what cause should I 'plain in vain to the winds that unknow me,


(I so beside me with grief!) which ne'er of senses enduèd

Hear not the words sent forth nor aught avail they to answer?

Now be his course well-nigh engaged in midway of ocean,

Nor any mortal shape appears in barrens of seawrack.

Thus at the latest hour with insults over-sufficient


E'en to my plaints fere Fate begrudges ears that would hear me.

Jupiter! Lord of All-might, Oh would in days that are bygone

Ne'er had Cecropian poops toucht ground at Gnossian foreshore,

Nor to th' unconquered Bull that tribute direful conveying

Had the false Seaman bound to Cretan island his hawser,


Nor had yon evil wight, 'neath shape the softest hard purpose

Hiding, enjoyed repose within our mansion beguested!

Whither can wend I now? What hope lends help to the lost one?

Idomenéan mounts shall I scale? Ah, parted by whirlpools

Widest, yon truculent main where yields it power of passage?


Aid of my sire can I crave? Whom I willing abandoned,

Treading in tracks of a youth bewrayed with blood of a brother!

Can I console my soul wi' the helpful love of a helpmate

Who flies me with pliant oars, flies overbounding the sea-depths?

Nay, an this Coast I quit, this lone isle lends me no roof-tree,


Nor aught issue allows begirt by billows of Ocean:

Nowhere is path for flight: none hope shows: all things are silent:

All be a desolate waste: all makes display of destruction.

Yet never close these eyne in latest languor of dying,

Ne'er from my wearied frame go forth slow-ebbing my senses,


Ere from the Gods just doom implore I, treason-betrayed,

And with my breath supreme firm faith of Celestials invoke I.

Therefore, O ye who 'venge man's deed with penalties direful,

Eumenides! aye wont to bind with viperous hair-locks

Foreheads,—Oh, deign outspeak fierce wrath from bosom outbreathing,


Hither, Oh hither, speed, and lend ye all ear to my grievance,

Which now sad I (alas!) outpour from innermost vitals

Maugre my will, sans help, blind, fired with furious madness.

And, as indeed all spring from veriest core of my bosom,

Suffer ye not the cause of grief and woe to evanish;


But wi' the Will wherewith could Theseus leave me in loneness,


Goddesses! bid that Will lead him, lead his, to destruction."

E'en as she thus poured forth these words from anguish of bosom,

And for this cruel deed, distracted, sued she for vengeance,

Nodded the Ruler of Gods Celestial, matchless of All-might,


When at the gest earth-plain and horrid spaces of ocean

Trembled, and every sphere rockt stars and planets resplendent.

Meanwhile Theseus himself, obscured in blindness of darkness

As to his mind, dismiss'd from breast oblivious all things

Erewhile enjoined and held hereto in memory constant,


Nor for his saddened sire the gladness-signals uphoisting

Heralded safe return within sight of the Erechthean harbour.

For 'twas told of yore, when from walls of the Virginal Deëss

Ægeus speeding his son, to the care of breezes committed,

Thus with a last embrace to the youth spake words of commandment:


"Son! far nearer my heart (sole thou) than life of the longest,


Son, I perforce dismiss to doubtful, dangerous chances,

Lately restored to me when eld draws nearest his ending,

Sithence such fortune in me, and in thee such boiling of valour

Tear thee away from me so loath, whose eyne in their languor


Never are sated with sight of my son, all-dearest of figures.

Nor will I send thee forth with joy that gladdens my bosom,

Nor will I suffer thee show boon signs of favouring Fortune,

But fro' my soul I'll first express an issue of sorrow,

Soiling my hoary hairs with dust and ashes commingled;


Then will I hang stained sails fast-made to the wavering yard-arms,

So shall our mourning thought and burning torture of spirit

Show by the dark sombre-dye of Iberian canvas spread.

But, an grant me the grace Who dwells in Sacred Itone,

(And our issue to guard and ward the seats of Erechtheus


Sware She) that be thy right besprent with blood of the Man-Bull,


Then do thou so-wise act, and storèd in memory's heart-core

Dwell these mandates of me, no time their traces untracing.

Dip, when first shall arise our hills to gladden thy eye-glance,

Down from thine every mast th'ill-omened vestments of mourning,


Then let the twisten ropes upheave the whitest of canvas,


Wherewith splendid shall gleam the tallest spars of the top-mast,

These seeing sans delay with joy exalting my spirit

Well shall I wot boon Time sets thee returning before me."

Such were the mandates which stored at first in memory constant

Faded from Theseus' mind like mists, compelled by the whirlwind,


Fleet from äerial crests of mountains hoary with snow-drifts.

But as the sire had sought the citadel's summit for outlook,

Wasting his anxious eyes with tear-floods evermore flowing,

Forthright e'en as he saw the sail-gear darkened with dye-stain,

Headlong himself flung he from the sea-cliff's pinnacled summit


Holding his Theseus lost by doom of pitiless Fortune.


Thus as he came to the home funest, his roof-tree paternal,

Theseus (vaunting the death), what dule to the maiden of Minos

Dealt with unminding mind so dree'd he similar dolour.

She too gazing in grief at the kelson vanishing slowly,


Self-wrapt, manifold cares revolved, in spirit perturbèd.

On Another Part of the Coverlet.

But fro' the further side came flitting bright-faced Iacchus

Girded by Satyr-crew and Nysa-rearèd Sileni

Burning wi' love unto thee (Ariadne!) and greeting thy presence.

      *       *       *       *

Who flocking eager to fray did rave with infuriate spirit,


"Evoë" phrensying loud, with heads at "Evoë" rolling.

Brandisht some of the maids their thyrsi sheathèd of spear-point,

Some snatcht limbs and joints of sturlings rended to pieces,

These girt necks and waists with writhing bodies of vipers,

Those wi' the gear enwombed in crates dark orgies ordainèd—


Orgies that ears prophane must vainly lust for o'er hearing—

Others with palms on high smote hurried strokes on the cymbal,

Or from the polisht brass woke thin-toned tinkling music,

While from the many there boomed and blared hoarse blast of the horn-trump,

And with its horrid skirl loud shrilled the barbarous bag-pipe,


Showing such varied forms, that richly-decorate couch-cloth

Folded in strait embrace the bedding drapery-veilèd.

This when the Théssalan youths had eyed with eager inspection

Fulfilled, place they began to provide for venerate Godheads,

Even as Zephyrus' breath, seas couching placid at dawn-tide,


Roughens, then stings and spurs the wavelets slantingly fretted—

Rising Aurora the while 'neath Sol the wanderer's threshold—

Tardy at first they flow by the clement breathing of breezes

Urgèd, and echo the shores with soft-toned ripples of laughter,

But as the winds wax high so waves wax higher and higher,


Flashing and floating afar to outswim morn's purpurine splendours,—

So did the crowd fare forth, the royal vestibule leaving,

And to their house each wight with vaguing paces departed.

After their wending, the first, foremost from Pelion's summit,

Chiron came to the front with woodland presents surchargèd:


Whatso of blooms and flowers bring forth Thessalian uplands

Mighty with mountain crests, whate'er of riverine lea flowers

Reareth Favonius' air, bud-breeding, tepidly breathing,

All in his hands brought he, unseparate in woven garlands,

Whereat laughèd the house as soothed by pleasure of perfume.


Presently Péneus appears, deserting verdurous Tempe—

Tempe girt by her belts of greenwood ever impending,

Left for the Mamonides with frequent dances to worship—

Nor is he empty of hand, for bears he tallest of beeches

Deracinate, and bays with straight boles lofty and stately,


Not without nodding plane-tree nor less the flexible sister

Fire-slain Phaëton left, and not without cypresses airy.

These in a line wide-broke set he, the Mansion surrounding,

So by the soft leaves screened, the porch might flourish in verdure.

Follows hard on his track with active spirit Prometheus,


Bearing extenuate sign of penalties suffer'd in bygones.

Paid erewhiles what time fast-bound as to every member,

Hung he in carkanet slung from the Scythian rock-tor.

Last did the Father of Gods with his sacred spouse and his offspring,

Proud from the Heavens proceed, thee leaving (Phœbus) in loneness,


Lone wi' thy sister twin who haunteth mountains of Idrus:

For that the Virgin spurned as thou the person of Peleus,

Nor Thetis' nuptial torch would greet by act of her presence.

When they had leaned their limbs upon snowy benches reposing,

Tables largely arranged with various viands were garnisht.


But, ere opened the feast, with infirm gesture their semblance

Shaking, the Parcae fell to chaunting veridique verses.

Robed were their tremulous frames all o'er in muffle of garments

Bright-white, purple of hem enfolding heels in its edges;

Snowy the fillets that bound heads agèd by many a year-tide,


And, as their wont aye was, their hands plied labour unceasing.

Each in her left upheld with soft fleece clothèd a distaff,

Then did the right that drew forth thread with upturn of fingers

Gently fashion the yarn which deftly twisted by thumb-ball

Speeded the spindle poised by thread-whorl perfect of polish;


Thus as the work was wrought, the lengths were trimmed wi' the fore-teeth,

While to their thin, dry lips stuck wool-flecks severed by biting,

Which at the first outstood from yarn-hanks evenly fine-drawn.

Still at their feet in front soft fleece-flecks white as the snow-flake

Lay in the trusty guard of wickers woven in withies.


Always a-carding the wool, with clear-toned voices resounding

Told they such lots as these in song divinely directed,

Chaunts which none after-time shall 'stablish falsehood-convicted.


O who by virtues great all highmost honours enhancest,

Guard of Emáthia-land, most famous made by thine offspring,


Take what the Sisters deign this gladsome day to disclose thee,

Oracles soothfast told,—And ye, by Destiny followed,

Speed ye, the well-spun woof out-drawing, speed ye, O Spindles.


Soon to thy sight shall rise, their fond hopes bringing to bridegrooms,

Hesperus: soon shall come thy spouse with planet auspicious,


Who shall thy mind enbathe with a love that softens the spirit,

And as thyself shall prepare for sinking in languorous slumber,

Under thy neck robust, soft arms dispreading as pillow.

Speed ye, the well-spun woof out-drawing, speed ye, O Spindles.



Never a house like this such loves as these hath united,


Never did love conjoin by such-like covenant lovers,

As th'according tie Thetis deigned in concert wi' Peleus.

Speed ye, the well-spun woof out-drawing, speed ye, O Spindles.


Born of yon twain shall come Achilles guiltless of fear-sense,

Known by his forceful breast and ne'er by back to the foeman,


Who shall at times full oft in doubtful contest of race-course

Conquer the fleet-foot doe with slot-tracks smoking and burning.

Speed ye, the well-spun woof out-drawing, speed ye, O Spindles.


None shall with him compare, howe'er war-doughty a hero,

Whenas the Phrygian rills flow deep with bloodshed of Teucer,


And beleaguering the walls of Troy with longest of warfare

He shall the works lay low, third heir of Pelops the perjured.

Speed ye, the well-spun woof out-drawing, speed ye, O Spindles.



His be the derring-do and deeds of valour egregious,

Often mothers shall own at funeral-rites of their children,


What time their hoary hairs from head in ashes are loosened,

And wi' their hands infirm they smite their bosoms loose duggèd.

Speed ye, the well-spun woof out-drawing, speed ye, O Spindles.


For as the toiling hind bestrewing denseness of corn-stalks

Under the broiling sun mows grain-fields yellow to harvest,


So shall his baneful brand strew earth with corpses of Troy-born.

Speed ye, the well-spun woof out-drawing, speed ye, O Spindles.


Aye to his valorous worth attest shall wave of Scamander

Which unto Hellé-Sea fast flowing ever dischargeth,

Straiter whose course shall grow by up-heaped barrage of corpses,


While in his depths runs warm his stream with slaughter commingled.

Speed ye, the well-spun woof out-drawing, speed ye, O Spindles.



Witness in fine shall be the victim rendered to death-stroke,

Whenas the earthern tomb on lofty tumulus builded

Shall of the stricken maid receive limbs white as the snow-flake.


Speed ye, the well-spun woof out-drawing, speed ye, O Spindles.


For when at last shall Fors to weary Achaians her fiat

Deal, of Dardanus-town to burst Neptunian fetters,

Then shall the high-reared tomb stand bathed with Polyxena's life-blood,

Who, as the victim doomed to fall by the double-edged falchion,


Forward wi' hams relaxt shall smite a body beheaded.

Speed ye, the well-spun woof out-drawing, speed ye, O Spindles.


Wherefore arise, ye pair, conjoin loves ardently longed-for,

Now doth the groom receive with happiest omen his goddess,

Now let the bride at length to her yearning spouse be delivered.


Speed ye, the well-spun woof out-drawing, speed ye, O Spindles.



Neither the nurse who comes at dawn to visit her nursling

E'er shall avail her neck to begird with yesterday's ribband.

[Speed ye, the well-spun woof out-drawing, speed ye, O spindles.]

Nor shall the mother's soul for ill-matcht daughter a-grieving


Lose by a parted couch all hopes of favourite grandsons.

Speed ye, the well-spun woof out-drawing, speed ye, O Spindles.

Thus in the bygone day Peleus' fate foretelling

Chaunted from breasts divine prophetic verse the Parcae.

For that the pure chaste homes of heroes to visit in person


Oft-tide the Gods, and themselves to display where mortals were gathered,

Wont were the Heavenlies while none human piety spurned.

Often the Deities' Sire, in fulgent temple a-dwelling,

Whenas in festal days received he his annual worship,

Looked upon hundreds of bulls felled prone on pavement before him.


Full oft Liber who roamed from topmost peak of Parnassus

Hunted his howling host, his Thyiads with tresses dishevelled.

      *       *       *       *


Then with contending troops from all their city outflocking

Gladly the Delphians hailed their God with smoking of altars.

Often in death-full war and bravest of battle, or Mavors


Or rapid Triton's Queen or eke the Virgin Rhamnusian,

Bevies of weaponed men exhorting, provèd their presence.

But from the time when earth was stained with unspeakable scandals

And forth fro' greeding breasts of all men justice departed,

Then did the brother drench his hands in brotherly bloodshed,


Stinted the son in heart to mourn decease of his parents,

Longèd the sire to sight his first-born's funeral convoy

So more freely the flower of step-dame-maiden to rifle;

After that impious Queen her guiltless son underlying,

Impious, the household gods with crime ne'er dreading to sully—


All things fair and nefand being mixt in fury of evil

Turned from ourselves avert the great goodwill of the Godheads.

Wherefor they nowise deign our human assemblies to visit,

Nor do they suffer themselves be met in light of the day-tide.


Pines aforetimes sprung from Pelion peak floated, so 'tis said, through liquid billows of Neptune to the flowing Phasis and the confines Aeetaean, when the picked youth, the vigour of Argive manhood seeking to carry away the Golden Fleece from Colchis, dared to skim o'er salt seas in a swift-sailing ship, sweeping caerulean ocean with paddles shapen from fir-wood. That Goddess who guards the castles in topmost parts of the towns herself fashioned the car, scudding with lightest of winds, uniting the interweaved pines unto the curving keel. That same first instructed untaught Amphitrite with sailing. Scarce had it split with its stem the windy waves, and the billow vext with oars had whitened into foam, when arose from the abyss of the hoary eddies the faces of sea-dwelling Nereids wondering at the marvel. And then on that propitious day mortal eyes gazed on sea-nymphs with naked bodies bare to the breasts outstanding from the foamy abyss. Then 'tis said Peleus burned with desire for Thetis, then Thetis contemned not mortal hymenaeals, then Thetis' sire himself sanctioned her joining to Peleus. O born in the time of joyfuller ages, heroes, hail! sprung from the gods, good progeny of mothers, hail! and favourably be ye inclined. You oft in my song I'll address, thee too I'll approach, Peleus, pillar of Thessaly, so increased in importance by thy fortunate wedding-torches, to whom Jupiter himself, the sire of the gods himself, yielded up his beloved. Did not Thetis embrace thee, she most [190]winsome of Nereids born? Did not Tethys consent that thou should'st lead home her grandchild, and Oceanus eke, whose waters girdle the total globe? When in full course of time the longed-for day had dawned, all Thessaly assembled throngs his home, a gladsome company o'erspreading the halls: they bear gifts to the fore, and their joy in their faces they shew. Scyros desert remains, they leave Phthiotic Tempe, Crannon's homes, and the fortressed walls of Larissa; to Pharsalia they hie, 'neath Pharsalian roofs they gather. None tills the soil, the heifers' necks grow softened, the trailing vine is not cleansed by the curved rake-prongs, nor does the sickle prune the shade of the spreading tree-branches, nor does the bullock up-tear the glebe with the prone-bending ploughshare; squalid rust steals o'er the neglected ploughs.

But this mansion, throughout its innermost recesses of opulent royalty, glitters with gleaming gold and with silver. Ivory makes white the seats; goblets glint on the boards; the whole house delights in the splendour of royal treasure. Placed in the midst of the mansion is the bridal bed of the goddess, made glossy with Indian tusks and covered with purple, tinted with the shell-fish's rosy dye. This tapestry embroidered with figures of men of ancient time pourtrays with admirable art the heroes' valour. For looking forth from Dia's beach, resounding with crashing of breakers, Theseus hasting from sight with swiftest of fleets, Ariadne watches, her heart [191]swelling with raging passion, nor scarce yet credits she sees what she sees, as, newly-awakened from her deceptive sleep, she perceives herself, deserted and woeful, on the lonely shore. But the heedless youth, flying away, beats the waves with his oars, leaving his perjured vows to the gusty gales. In the dim distance from amidst the sea-weed, the daughter of Minos with sorrowful eyes, like a stone-carved Bacchante, gazes afar, alas! gazes after him, heaving with great waves of grief. No longer does the fragile fillet bind her yellow locks, no more with light veil is her hidden bosom covered, no more with rounded zone the milky breasts are clasped; down fallen from her body everything is scattered, hither, thither, and the salt waves toy with them in front of her very feet. But neither on fillet nor floating veil, but on thee, Theseus, in their stead, was she musing: on thee she bent her heart, her thoughts, her love-lorn mind. Ah, woeful one, with sorrows unending distraught, Erycina sows thorny cares deep in thy bosom, since that time when Theseus fierce in his vigour set out from the curved bay of Piraeus, and gained the Gortynian roofs of the iniquitous ruler.

For of old 'tis narrated, that constrained by plague of the cruelest to expiate the slaughter of Androgeos, both chosen youths and the pick of the unmarried maidens Cecropia was wont to give as a feast to the Minotaur. When thus his strait walls with ills were vexed, Theseus with free will preferred to yield up his body for adored Athens rather than [192]such Cecropian corpses be carried to Crete unobsequied. And therefore borne in a speedy craft by favouring breezes, he came to the imperious Minos and his superb seat. Instant the royal virgin him saw with longing glance, she whom the chaste couch out-breathing sweetest of scents cradled in her mother's tender enfoldings, like to the myrtle which the rivers of Eurotas produce, or the many-tinted blooms opening with the springtide's breezes, she bent not down away from him her kindling glance, until the flame spread through her whole body, and burned into her innermost marrow. Ah, hard of heart, urging with misery to madness, O holy boy, who mingles men's cares and their joyings, and thou queen of Golgos and of foliaged Idalium, on what waves did you heave the mind-kindled maid, sighing full oft for the golden-haired guest! What dreads she bore in her swooning soul! How often did she grow sallower in sheen than gold! When craving to contend against the savage monster Theseus faced death or the palm of praise. Then gifts to the gods not unmeet not idly given, with promise from tight-closed lips did she address her vows. For as an oak waving its boughs on Taurus' top, or a coniferous pine with sweating stem, is uprooted by savage storm, twisting its trunk with its blast (dragged from its roots prone it falleth afar, breaking all in the line of its fall) so did Theseus fling down the conquered body of the brute, tossing its horns in vain towards the skies. Thence [193]backwards he retraced his steps 'midst great laud, guiding his errant footsteps by means of a tenuous thread, lest when outcoming from tortuous labyrinthines his efforts be frustrated by unobservant wandering. But why, turned aside from my first story, should I recount more, how the daughter fleeing her father's face, her sister's embrace, and e'en her mother's, who despairingly bemoaned her lost daughter, preferred to all these the sweet love of Theseus; or how borne by their boat to the spumy shores of Dia she came; or how her yokeman with unmemoried breast forsaking her, left her bound in the shadows of sleep? And oft, so 'tis said, with her heart burning with fury she outpoured clarion cries from depths of her bosom, then sadly scaled the rugged mounts, whence she could cast her glance o'er the vasty seething ocean, then ran into the opposing billows of the heaving sea, raising from her bared legs her clinging raiment, and in uttermost plight of woe with tear-stained face and chilly sobs spake she thus:—

"Is it thus, O perfidious, when dragged from my motherland's shores, is it thus, O false Theseus, that thou leavest me on this desolate strand? thus dost depart unmindful of slighted godheads, bearing home thy perjured vows? Was no thought able to bend the intent of thy ruthless mind? hadst thou no clemency there, that thy pitiless bowels might compassionate me? But these were not the promises thou gavest me idly of old, this was not what thou didst bid me hope for, but the blithe bride-bed, [194]hymenaeal happiness: all empty air, blown away by the breezes. Now, now, let no woman give credence to man's oath, let none hope for faithful vows from mankind; for whilst their eager desire strives for its end, nothing fear they to swear, nothing of promises stint they: but instant their lusting thoughts are satiate with lewdness, nothing of speech they remember, nothing of perjuries reck. In truth I snatched thee from the midst of the whirlpool of death, preferring to suffer the loss of a brother rather than fail thy need in the supreme hour, O ingrate. For the which I shall be a gift as prey to be rent by wild beasts and the carrion-fowl, nor dead shall I be placed in the earth, covered with funeral mound. What lioness bare thee 'neath lonely crag? What sea conceived and spued thee from its foamy crest? What Syrtis, what grasping Scylla, what vast Charybdis? O thou repayer with such guerdon for thy sweet life! If 'twas not thy heart's wish to yoke with me, through holding in horror the dread decrees of my stern sire, yet thou couldst have led me to thy home, where as thine handmaid I might have served thee with cheerful service, laving thy snowy feet with clear water, or spreading the purple coverlet o'er thy couch. Yet why, distraught with woe, do I vainly lament to the unknowing winds, which unfurnished with sense, can neither hear uttered complaints nor can return them? For now he has sped away into the midst of the seas, nor doth any mortal appear along this desolate seaboard. Thus with o'erweening [195]scorn doth bitter Fate in my extreme hour even grudge ears to my plaints. All-powerful Jupiter! would that in old time the Cecropian poops had not touched at the Gnossian shores, nor that bearing to the unquelled bull the direful ransom had the false mariner moored his hawser to Crete, nor that yon wretch hiding ruthless designs beneath sweet seemings had reposed as a guest in our halls! For whither may I flee? in what hope, O lost one, take refuge? Shall I climb the Idomenean crags? but the truculent sea stretching amain with its whirlings of waters separates us. Can I quest help from my father, whom I deserted to follow a youth besprinkled with my brother's blood? Can I crave comfort from the care of a faithful yokeman, who is fleeing with yielding oars, encurving 'midst whirling waters. If I turn from the beach there is no roof in this tenantless island, no way sheweth a passage, circled by waves of the sea; no way of flight, no hope; all denotes dumbness, desolation, and death. Natheless mine eyes shall not be dimmed in death, nor my senses secede from my spent frame, until I have besought from the gods a meet mulct for my betrayal, and implored the faith of the celestials with my latest breath. Wherefore ye requiters of men's deeds with avenging pains, O Eumenides, whose front enwreathed with serpent-locks blazons the wrath exhaled from your bosom, hither, hither haste, hear ye my plainings, which I, sad wretch, am urged to outpour from mine innermost marrow, helpless, burning, and blind [196]with frenzied fury. And since in truth they spring from the veriest depths of my heart, be ye unwilling to allow my agony to pass unheeded, but with such mind as Theseus forsook me, with like mind, O goddesses, may he bring evil on himself and on his kin."

After she had poured forth these words from her grief-laden bosom, distractedly clamouring for requital against his heartless deeds, the celestial ruler assented with almighty nod, at whose motion the earth and the awe-full waters quaked, and the world of glittering stars did quiver. But Theseus, self-blinded with mental mist, let slip from forgetful breast all those injunctions which until then he had held firmly in mind, nor bore aloft sweet signals to his sad sire, shewing himself safe when in sight of Erectheus' haven. For 'tis said that aforetime, when Aegeus entrusted his son to the winds, on leaving the walls of the chaste goddess's city, these commands he gave to the youth with his parting embrace.

"O mine only son, far dearer to me than long life, lately restored to me at extreme end of my years, O son whom I must perforce dismiss to a doubtful hazard, since my ill fate and thine ardent valour snatch thee from unwilling me, whose dim eyes are not yet sated with my son's dear form: nor gladly and with joyous breast do I send thee, nor will I suffer thee to bear signs of helpful fortune, but first from my breast many a plaint will I express, sullying my grey hairs with dust and ashes, and then will I hang dusky sails to the swaying mast, so that [197]our sorrow and burning lowe are shewn by Iberian canvas, rustily darkened. Yet if the dweller on holy Itone, who deigns defend our race and Erectheus' dwellings, grant thee to besprinkle thy right hand in the bull's blood, then see that in very truth these commandments deep-stored in thine heart's memory do flourish, nor any time deface them. Instant thine eyes shall see our cliffs, lower their gloomy clothing from every yard, and let the twisted cordage bear aloft snowy sails, where splendent shall shine bright topmast spars, so that, instant discerned, I may know with gladness and lightness of heart that in prosperous hour thou art returned to my face."

These charges, at first held in constant mind, from Theseus slipped away as clouds are impelled by the breath of the winds from the ethereal peak of a snow-clad mount. But his father as he betook himself to the castle's turrets as watchplace, dimming his anxious eyes with continual weeping, when first he spied the discoloured canvas, flung himself headlong from the top of the crags, deeming Theseus lost by harsh fate. Thus as he entered the grief-stricken house, his paternal roof, Theseus savage with slaughter met with like grief as that which with unmemoried mind he had dealt to Minos' daughter: while she with grieving gaze at his disappearing keel, turned over a tumult of cares in her wounded spirit.

But on another part [of the tapestry] swift hastened the flushed Iacchus with his train of Satyrs and Nisa-begot Sileni, thee questing, Ariadne, [198]and aflame with love for thee. * * * * These scattered all around, an inspired band, rushed madly with mind all distraught, ranting "Euhoe," with tossing of heads "Euhoe." Some with womanish hands shook thyrsi with wreath-covered points; some tossed limbs of a rended steer; some engirt themselves with writhed snakes; some enacted obscure orgies with deep chests, orgies of which the profane vainly crave a hearing; others beat the tambours with outstretched palms, or from the burnished brass provoked shrill tinklings, blew raucous-sounding blasts from many horns, and the barbarous pipe droned forth horrible song.

With luxury of such figures was the coverlet adorned, enwrapping the bed with its mantling embrace. After the Thessalian youthhood with eager engazing were sated they began to give way to the sacred gods. Hence, as with his morning's breath brushing the still sea Zephyrus makes the sloping billows uprise, when Aurora mounts 'neath the threshold of the wandering sun, which waves heave slowly at first with the breeze's gentle motion (plashing with the sound as of low laughter) but after, as swells the wind, more and more frequent they crowd and gleam in the purple light as they float away,—so quitting the royal vestibule did the folk hie them away each to his home with steps wandering hither and thither.

After they had wended their way, chief from the Pelion vertex Chiron came, the bearer of sylvan [199]spoil: for whatsoever the fields bear, whatso the Thessalian land on its high hills breeds, and what flowers the fecund air of warm Favonius begets near the running streams, these did he bear enwreathed into blended garlands wherewith the house rippled with laughter, caressed by the grateful odour.

Speedily stands present Penios, for a time his verdant Tempe, Tempe whose overhanging trees encircle, leaving to the Dorian choirs, damsels Magnesian, to frequent; nor empty-handed,—for he has borne hither lofty beeches uprooted and the tall laurel with straight stem, nor lacks he the nodding plane and the lithe sister of flame-wrapt Phaethon and the aerial cypress. These wreathed in line did he place around the palace so that the vestibule might grow green sheltered with soft fronds.

After him follows Prometheus of inventive mind, bearing diminishing traces of his punishment of aforetime, which of old he had suffered, with his limbs confined by chains hanging from the rugged Scythian crags. Then came the sire of gods from heaven with his holy consort and offspring, leaving thee alone, Phoebus, with thy twin-sister the fosterer of the mountains of Idrus: for equally with thyself did thy sister disdain Peleus nor was she willing to honour the wedding torches of Thetis. After they had reclined their snow-white forms along the seats, tables were loaded on high with food of various kinds. [200]

In the meantime with shaking bodies and infirm gesture the Parcae began to intone their veridical chant. Their trembling frames were enwrapped around with white garments, encircled with a purple border at their heels, snowy fillets bound each aged brow, and their hands pursued their never-ending toil, as of custom. The left hand bore the distaff enwrapped in soft wool, the right hand lightly withdrawing the threads with upturned fingers did shape them, then twisting them with the prone thumb it turned the balanced spindle with well-polished whirl. And then with a pluck of their tooth the work was always made even, and the bitten wool-shreds adhered to their dried lips, which shreds at first had stood out from the fine thread. And in front of their feet wicker baskets of osier twigs took charge of the soft white woolly fleece. These, with clear-sounding voice, as they combed out the wool, outpoured fates of such kind in sacred song, in song which none age yet to come could tax with untruth.

"O with great virtues thine exceeding honour augmenting, stay of Emathia-land, most famous in thine issue, receive what the sisters make known to thee on this gladsome day, a weird veridical! But ye whom the fates do follow:—Haste ye, a-weaving the woof, O hasten, ye spindles.

"Now Hesperus shall come unto thee bearing what is longed for by bridegrooms, with that fortunate star shall thy bride come, who ensteeps thy soul with the sway of softening love, and prepares with thee [201]to conjoin in languorous slumber, making her smooth arms thy pillow round 'neath thy sinewy neck. Haste ye, a-weaving the woof, O hasten, ye spindles.

"No house ever yet enclosed such loves, no love bound lovers with such pact, as abideth with Thetis, as is the concord of Peleus. Haste ye, a-weaving the woof, O hasten, ye spindles.

"To ye shall Achilles be born, a stranger to fear, to his foemen not by his back, but by his broad breast known, who, oft-times the victor in the uncertain struggle of the foot-race, shall outrun the fire-fleet footsteps of the speedy doe. Haste ye, a-weaving the woof, O hasten, ye spindles.

"None in war with him may compare as a hero, when the Phrygian streams shall trickle with Trojan blood, and when besieging the walls of Troy with a long-drawn-out warfare perjured Pelops' third heir shall lay that city waste. Haste ye, a-weaving the woof, O hasten, ye spindles.

"His glorious acts and illustrious deeds often shall mothers attest o'er funeral-rites of their sons, when the white locks from their heads are unloosed amid ashes, and they bruise their discoloured breasts with feeble fists. Haste ye, a-weaving the woof, O hasten, ye spindles.

"For as the husbandman bestrewing the dense wheat-ears mows the harvest yellowed 'neath ardent sun, so shall he cast prostrate the corpses of Troy's sons with grim swords. Haste ye, a-weaving the woof, O hasten, ye spindles. [202]

"His great valour shall be attested by Scamander's wave, which ever pours itself into the swift Hellespont, narrowing whose course with slaughtered heaps of corpses he shall make tepid its deep stream by mingling warm blood with the water. Haste ye, a-weaving the woof, O hasten, ye spindles.

"And she a witness in fine shall be the captive-maid handed to death, when the heaped-up tomb of earth built in lofty mound shall receive the snowy limbs of the stricken virgin. Haste ye, a-weaving the woof, O hasten, ye spindles.

"For instant fortune shall give the means to the war-worn Greeks to break Neptune's stone bonds of the Dardanian city, the tall tomb shall be made dank with Polyxena's blood, who as the victim succumbing 'neath two-edged sword, with yielding hams shall fall forward a headless corpse. Haste ye, a-weaving the woof, O hasten, ye spindles.

"Wherefore haste ye to conjoin in the longed-for delights of your love. Bridegroom thy goddess receive in felicitous compact; let the bride be given to her eager husband. Haste ye, a-weaving the woof, O hasten, ye spindles.

"Nor shall the nurse at orient light returning, with yester-e'en's thread succeed in circling her neck. [Haste ye, a-weaving the woof, O hasten, ye spindles.] Not need her solicitous mother fear sad discord shall cause a parted bed for her daughter, nor need she cease to hope for dear grandchildren. Haste ye, a-weaving the woof, O hasten, ye spindles." [203]

With such soothsaying songs of yore did the Parcae chant from divine breast the felicitous fate of Peleus. For of aforetime the heaven-dwellers were wont to visit the chaste homes of heroes and to shew themselves in mortal assembly ere yet their worship was scorned. Often the father of the gods, a-resting in his glorious temple, when on the festal days his annual rites appeared, gazed on an hundred bulls strewn prone on the earth. Often wandering Liber on topmost summit of Parnassus led his yelling Thyiads with loosely tossed locks. * * * * When the Delphians tumultuously trooping from the whole of their city joyously acclaimed the god with smoking altars. Often in lethal strife of war Mavors, or swift Triton's queen, or the Rhamnusian virgin, in person did exhort armed bodies of men. But after the earth was infected with heinous crime, and each one banished justice from their grasping mind, and brothers steeped their hands in fraternal blood, the son ceased grieving o'er departed parents, the sire craved for the funeral rites of his first-born that freely he might take of the flower of unwedded step-dame, the unholy mother, lying under her unknowing son, did not fear to sully her household gods with dishonour: everything licit and lawless commingled with mad infamy turned away from us the just-seeing mind of the gods. Wherefore nor do they deign to appear at such-like assemblies, nor will they permit themselves to be met in the day-light. [204]


Esti me adsiduo confectum cura dolore

Sevocat a doctis, Ortale, virginibus,

Nec potisest dulces Musarum expromere fetus

Mens animi, (tantis fluctuat ipsa malis:


Namque mei nuper Lethaeo gurgite fratris

Pallidulum manans adluit unda pedem,

Troia Rhoeteo quem subter littore tellus

Ereptum nostris obterit ex oculis.

      *       *       *       *

Adloquar, audiero numquam tua facta loquentem,


Numquam ego te, vita frater amabilior,

Aspiciam posthac. at certe semper amabo,

Semper maesta tua carmina morte canam,

Qualia sub densis ramorum concinit umbris

Daulias absumpti fata gemens Itylei)—


Sed tamen in tantis maeroribus, Ortale, mitto

Haec expressa tibi carmina Battiadae,

Ne tua dicta vagis nequiquam credita ventis

Effluxisse meo forte putes animo,

Vt missum sponsi furtivo munere malum


Procurrit casto virginis e gremio,

Quod miserae oblitae molli sub veste locatum,

Dum adventu matris prosilit, excutitur:

Atque illud prono praeceps agitur decursu,

Huic manat tristi conscius ore rubor.


To Hortalus Lamenting a Lost Brother.

Albeit care that consumes, with dule assiduous grieving,


Me from the Learnèd Maids (Hortalus!) ever seclude,

Nor can avail sweet births of the Muses thou to deliver

Thought o' my mind; (so much floats it on flooding of ills:


For that the Lethe-wave upsurging of late from abysses,

Lavèd my brother's foot, paling with pallor of death,

He whom the Trojan soil, Rhoetean shore underlying,

Buries for ever and aye, forcibly snatched from our sight.

      *       *       *       *

I can address; no more shall I hear thee tell of thy doings,


Say, shall I never again, brother all liefer than life,

Sight thee henceforth? But I will surely love thee for ever

Ever what songs I sing saddened shall be by thy death;

Such as the Daulian bird 'neath gloom of shadowy frondage

Warbles, of Itys lost ever bemoaning the lot.)


Yet amid grief so great to thee, my Hortalus, send I

These strains sung to a mode borrowed from Battiades;

Lest shouldest weet of me thy words, to wandering wind-gusts


Vainly committed, perchance forth of my memory flowed—

As did that apple sent for a furtive giftie by wooer,


In the chaste breast of the Maid hidden a-sudden out-sprang;

For did the hapless forget when in loose-girt garment it lurkèd,

Forth would it leap as she rose, scared by her mother's approach,

And while coursing headlong, it rolls far out of her keeping,

O'er the triste virgin's brow flushes the conscious blush.

Though outspent with care and unceasing grief, I am withdrawn, Ortalus, from the learned Virgins, nor is my soul's mind able to bring forth sweet babes of the Muses (so much does it waver 'midst ills: for but lately the wave of the Lethean stream doth lave with its flow the pallid foot of my brother, whom 'neath the Rhoetean seaboard the Trojan soil doth crush, thrust from our eyesight. * * * Never again may I salute thee, nor hear thy converse; never again, O brother, more loved than life, may I see thee in aftertime. But for all time in truth will I love thee, always will I sing elegies made gloomy by thy death, such as the Daulian bird pipes 'neath densest shades of foliage, lamenting the lot of slain Itys.) Yet 'midst sorrows so deep, O Ortalus, I send thee these verses re-cast from Battiades, lest thou shouldst credit thy words by [207]chance have slipt from my mind, given o'er to the wandering winds, as 'twas with that apple, sent as furtive love-token by the wooer, which outleapt from the virgin's chaste bosom; for, placed by the hapless girl 'neath her soft vestment, and forgotten,—when she starts at her mother's approach, out 'tis shaken: and down it rolls headlong to the ground, whilst a tell-tale flush mantles the face of the distressed girl.


Omnia qui magni dispexit lumina mundi,

Qui stellarum ortus comperit atque obitus,

Flammeus ut rapidi solis nitor obscuretur,

Vt cedant certis sidera temporibus,


Vt Triviam furtim sub Latmia saxa relegans

Dulcis amor gyro devocet aerio,

Idem me ille Conon caelesti in lumine vidit

E Beroniceo vertice caesariem

Fulgentem clare, quam cunctis illa deorum


Levia protendens brachia pollicitast,

Qua rex tempestate novo auctus hymenaeo

Vastatum finis iverat Assyrios,

Dulcia nocturnae portans vestigia rixae,

Quam de virgineis gesserat exuviis.


Estne novis nuptis odio venus? anne parentum

Frustrantur falsis gaudia lacrimulis,

Vbertim thalami quas intra lumina fundunt?

Non, ita me divi, vera gemunt, iuerint.

Id mea me multis docuit regina querellis


Invisente novo praelia torva viro.


An tu non orbum luxti deserta cubile,

Sed fratris cari flebile discidium?

Quam penitus maestas excedit cura medullas!

Vt tibi tum toto pectore sollicitae


Sensibus ereptis mens excidit! at te ego certe

Cognoram a parva virgine magnanimam.

Anne bonum oblita's facinus, quo regium adepta's

Coniugium, quo non fortius ausit alis?

Sed tum maesta virum mittens quae verba locuta's!


Iuppiter, ut tristi lumina saepe manu!

Quis te mutavit tantus deus? an quod amantes

Non longe a caro corpore abesse volunt?

Atque ibi me cunctis pro dulci coniuge divis

Non sine taurino sanguine pollicita's


Sei reditum tetullisset. is haut in tempore longo

Captam Asiam Aegypti finibus addiderat.

Quis ego pro factis caelesti reddita coetu

Pristina vota novo munere dissoluo.

Invita, o regina, tuo de vertice cessi,


Invita: adiuro teque tuomque caput,

Digna ferat quod siquis inaniter adiurarit:

Sed qui se ferro postulet esse parem?

Ille quoque eversus mons est, quem maximum in orbi

Progenies Thiae clara supervehitur,


Cum Medi peperere novom mare, cumque inventus

Per medium classi barbara navit Athon.

Quid facient crines, cum ferro talia cedant?

Iuppiter, ut Chalybon omne genus pereat,

Et qui principio sub terra quaerere venas


Institit ac ferri frangere duritiem!

Abiunctae paulo ante comae mea fata sorores

Lugebant, cum se Memnonis Aethiopis

Vnigena inpellens nictantibus aera pennis

Obtulit Arsinoes Locridos ales equos,


Isque per aetherias me tollens avolat umbras

Et Veneris casto collocat in gremio.

Ipsa suum Zephyritis eo famulum legarat,

Graia Canopieis incola litoribus.

† Hi dii ven ibi vario ne solum in lumine caeli


Ex Ariadneis aurea temporibus

Fixa corona foret, sed nos quoque fulgeremus

Devotae flavi verticis exuviae,

Vvidulam a fletu cedentem ad templa deum me

Sidus in antiquis diva novom posuit:


Virginis et saevi contingens namque Leonis

Lumina, Callisto iuncta Lycaoniae,

Vertor in occasum, tardum dux ante Booten,

Qui vix sero alto mergitur Oceano.

Sed quamquam me nocte premunt vestigia divom,


Lux autem canae Tethyi restituit,

(Pace tua fari hic liceat, Rhamnusia virgo,

Namque ego non ullo vera timore tegam,

Nec si me infestis discerpent sidera dictis,

Condita quin verei pectoris evoluam):


Non his tam laetor rebus, quam me afore semper,

Afore me a dominae vertice discrucior,

Quicum ego, dum virgo curis fuit omnibus expers,

Vnguenti Suriei milia multa bibi.

Nunc vos, optato quom iunxit lumine taeda,


Non prius unanimis corpora coniugibus

Tradite nudantes reiecta veste papillas,

Quam iocunda mihi munera libet onyx,

Voster onyx, casto petitis quae iura cubili.

Sed quae se inpuro dedit adulterio,


Illius a mala dona levis bibat irrita pulvis:

Namque ego ab indignis praemia nulla peto.

Sed magis, o nuptae, semper concordia vostras

Semper amor sedes incolat adsiduos.

Tu vero, regina, tuens cum sidera divam


Placabis festis luminibus Venerem,

Vnguinis expertem non siris esse tuam me,

Sed potius largis adfice muneribus.

Sidera corruerent utinam! coma regia fiam:

Proximus Hydrochoi fulgeret Oarion!


(Loquitur) Berenice's Lock.

He who every light of the sky world's vastness inspected,

He who mastered in mind risings and settings of stars,

How of the fast rising sun obscured be the fiery splendours,

How at the seasons assured vanish the planets from view,


How Diana to lurk thief-like 'neath Latmian stonefields,

Summoned by sweetness of Love, comes from her aëry gyre;


That same Cónon espied among lights Celestial shining

Me, Berenice's Hair, which, from her glorious head,

Fulgent in brightness afar, to many a host of the Godheads


Stretching her soft smooth arms she vowed to devoutly bestow,

What time strengthened by joy of new-made wedlock the monarch

Bounds of Assyrian land hurried to plunder and pill;

Bearing of nightly strife new signs and traces delicious,

Won in the war he waged virginal trophies to win.


Loathsome is Venus to all new-paired? Else why be the parents'

Pleasure frustrated aye by the false flow of tears

Poured in profusion amid illuminate genial chamber?

Nay not real the groans; ever so help me the Gods!

This truth taught me my Queen by force of manifold 'plainings


After her new groom hied facing the fierceness of fight.

Yet so thou mournedst not for a bed deserted of husband,

As for a brother beloved wending on woefullest way?

How was the marrow of thee consumedly wasted by sorrow!


So clean forth of thy breast, rackt with solicitous care,


Mind fled, sense being reft! But I have known thee for certain

E'en from young virginal years lofty of spirit to be.

Hast thou forgotten the feat whose greatness won thee a royal

Marriage—a deed so prow, never a prower was dared?

Yet how sad was the speech thou spakest, thy husband farewelling!


(Jupiter!) Often thine eyes wiping with sorrowful hand!

What manner God so great thus changed thee? Is it that lovers

Never will tarry afar parted from person beloved?

Then unto every God on behalf of thy helpmate, thy sweeting,

Me thou gavest in vow, not without bloodshed of bulls,


If he be granted return, and long while nowise delaying,

Captive Asia he add unto Egyptian bounds.

Now for such causes I, enrolled in host of the Heavens,

By a new present, discharge promise thou madest of old:

Maugrè my will, O Queen, my place on thy head I relinquished,


Maugrè my will, I attest, swearing by thee and thy head;


Penalty due shall befall whoso makes oath to no purpose.

Yet who assumes the vaunt forceful as iron to be?

E'en was that mount o'erthrown, though greatest in universe, where through

Thía's illustrious race speeded its voyage to end,


Whenas the Medes brought forth new sea, and barbarous youth-hood

Urged an Armada to swim traversing middle-Athos.

What can be done by Hair when such things yield them to Iron?

Jupiter! Grant Chalybon perish the whole of the race,

Eke who in primal times ore seeking under the surface


Showed th' example, and spalled iron however so hard.

Shortly before I was shorn my sister tresses bewailèd

Lot of me, e'en as the sole brother to Memnon the Black,

Winnowing upper air wi' feathers flashing and quiv'ring,

Chloris' wing-borne steed, came before Arsinoë,


Whence upraising myself he flies through aëry shadows,

And in chaste Venus' breast drops he the present he bears.

Eke Zephyritis had sent, for the purpose trusted, her bondsman,


Settler of Grecian strain on the Canopian strand.

So willèd various Gods, lest sole 'mid lights of the Heavens


Should Ariadne's crown taken from temples of her

Glitter in gold, but we not less shine fulgent in splendour,

We the consecrate spoils shed by a blond-hued head,

Even as weeping-wet sought I the fanes of Celestials,

Placed me the Goddess a new light amid starlights of old:


For with Virgo in touch and joining the furious Lion's

Radiance with Callisto, maid of Lycáon beloved,

Wind I still to the west, conducting tardy Boötes,

Who unwilling and slow must into Ocean merge.

Yet though press me o'night the pacing footprints of Godheads,


Tethys, hoary of hair, ever regains me by day.

(Lend me thy leave to speak such words, Rhamnusian Virgin,

Verities like unto these never in fear will I veil;

Albeit every star asperse me with enemy's censure,

Secrets in soothfast heart hoarded perforce I reveal.)


Nowise gladdens me so this state as absence torments me,

Absence doomèd for aye ta'en fro' my mistress's head,

Where I was wont (though she such cares unknew in her girlhood)


Many a thousand scents, Syrian unguents, to sip.

Now do you pair conjoined by the longed-for light of the torches,


Earlier yield not selves unto unanimous wills

Nor wi' the dresses doft your barèd nipples encounter,

Ere shall yon onyx-vase pour me libations glad,

Onyx yours, ye that seek only rights of virtuous bed-rite.

But who yieldeth herself unto advowtry impure,


Ah! may her loathèd gifts in light dust uselessly soak,

For of unworthy sprite never a gift I desire.

Rather, O new-mated brides, be concord aye your companion,

Ever let constant love dwell in the dwellings of you.

Yet when thou sightest, O Queen, the Constellations, I pray thee,


Every festal day Venus the Goddess appease;

Nor of thy unguent-gifts allow myself to be lacking,

Nay, do thou rather add largeliest increase to boons.

Would but the stars down fall! Could I of my Queen be the hair-lock,

Neighbour to Hydrochois e'en let Oarion shine.

He who scanned all the lights of the great firmament, who ascertained the rising and the setting of the stars, how the flaming splendour of the swift sun was endarkened, how the planets disappear at certain seasons, how sweet love with [216]stealth detaining Trivia beneath the Latmian crags, draws her away from her airy circuit, that same Conon saw me amongst celestial light, the hair from Berenice's head, gleaming with brightness, which she outstretching graceful arms did devote to the whole of the gods, when the king flushed with the season of new wedlock had gone to lay waste the Assyrian borders, bearing the sweet traces of nightly contests, in which he had borne away her virginal spoils. Is Venus abhorred by new-made brides? Why be the parents' joys turned aside by feigned tears, which they shed copiously amid the lights of the nuptial chamber? Untrue are their groans, by the gods I swear! This did my queen teach me by her many lamentings, when her bridegroom set out for stern warfare. Yet thou didst not mourn the widowhood of desolate couch, but the tearful separation from a dear brother? How care made sad inroads in thy very marrow! In so much that thine whole bosom being agitated, and thy senses being snatched from thee, thy mind wandered! But in truth I have known thee great of heart ever since thou wast a little maiden. Hast thou forgotten that noble deed, by which thou didst gain a regal wedlock, than which none dared other deeds bolder? Yet what grieving words didst thou speak when bidding thy bridegroom farewell! Jupiter! as with sad hand often thine eyes thou didst dry! What mighty god changed thee? Was it that lovers are unwilling to be long absent from [217]their dear one's body? Then didst thou devote me to the whole of the gods on thy sweet consort's behalf, not without blood of bullocks, should he be granted safe return. In no long time he added captive Asia to the Egyptian boundaries. Wherefore for these reasons I, bestowed 'midst the celestial host, by a new gift fulfil thine ancient promise. With grief, O queen, did I quit thy brow, with grief: I swear to thee and to thine head; fit ill befall whosoever shall swear lightly: but who may bear himself peer with steel? Even that mountain was swept away, the greatest on earth, over which Thia's illustrious progeny passed, when the Medes created a new sea, and the barbarian youth sailed its fleet through the middle of Athos. What can locks of hair do, when such things yield to iron? Jupiter! may the whole race of the Chalybes perish, and whoever first questing the veins 'neath the earth harassed its hardness, breaking it through with iron. Just before severance my sister locks were mourning my fate, when Ethiop Memnon's brother, the winged steed, beating the air with fluttering pennons, appeared before Locrian Arsinoe, and this one bearing me up, flies through aethereal shadows and lays me in the chaste bosom of Venus. Him Zephyritis herself had dispatched as her servant, a Grecian settler on the Canopian shores. For 'twas the wish of many gods that not alone in heaven's light should the golden coronet from Ariadne's temples stay fixed, but that we also should gleam, [218]the spoils devote from thy golden-yellow head; when humid with weeping I entered the temples of the gods, the Goddess placed me, a new star, amongst the ancient ones. For a-touching the Virgin's and the fierce Lion's gleams, hard by Callisto of Lycaon, I turn westwards fore-guiding the slow-moving Bootes who sinks unwillingly and late into the vasty ocean. But although the footsteps of the gods o'erpress me in the night-tide, and the daytime restoreth me to the white-haired Tethys, (grant me thy grace to speak thus, O Rhamnusian virgin, for I will not hide the truth through any fear, even if the stars revile me with ill words yet I will unfold the pent-up feelings from truthful breast) I am not so much rejoiced at these things as I am tortured by being for ever parted, parted from my lady's head, with whom I (though whilst a virgin she was free from all such cares) drank many a thousand of Syrian scents.

Now do you, whom the gladsome light of the wedding torches hath joined, yield not your bodies to your desiring husbands nor throw aside your vestments and bare your bosom's nipples, before your onyx cup brings me jocund gifts, your onyx, ye who seek the dues of chaste marriage-bed. But she who giveth herself to foul adultery, may the light-lying dust responselessly drink her vile gifts, for I seek no offerings from folk that do ill. But rather, O brides, may concord always be yours, [219]and constant love ever dwell in your homes. But when thou, O queen, whilst gazing at the stars, shalt propitiate the goddess Venus with festal torch-lights, let not me, thine own, be left lacking of unguent, but rather gladden me with large gifts. Stars fall in confusion! So that I become a royal tress, Orion might gleam in Aquarius' company.


O dulci iocunda viro, iocunda parenti,

Salve, teque bona Iuppiter auctet ope,

Ianua, quam Balbo dicunt servisse benigne

Olim, cum sedes ipse senex tenuit,


Quamque ferunt rursus voto servisse maligno,

Postquam es porrecto facta marita sene.

Dic agedum nobis, quare mutata feraris

In dominum veterem deseruisse fidem.

'Non (ita Caecilio placeam, cui tradita nunc sum)


Culpa meast, quamquam dicitur esse mea,

Nec peccatum a me quisquam pote dicere quicquam:

Verum istud populi fabula, Quinte, facit,

Qui, quacumque aliquid reperitur non bene factum,

Ad me omnes clamant: ianua, culpa tuast.'


Non istuc satis est uno te dicere verbo,

Sed facere ut quivis sentiat et videat.

'Qui possum? nemo quaerit nec scire laborat.'

Nos volumus: nobis dicere ne dubita.

'Primum igitur, virgo quod fertur tradita nobis,


Falsumst. non illam vir prior attigerit,


Languidior tenera cui pendens sicula beta

Numquam se mediam sustulit ad tunicam:

Sed pater illius gnati violasse cubile

Dicitur et miseram conscelerasse domum,


Sive quod inpia mens caeco flagrabat amore,

Seu quod iners sterili semine natus erat,

Et quaerendus is unde foret nervosius illud,

Quod posset zonam solvere virgineam.'

Egregium narras mira pietate parentem,


Qui ipse sui gnati minxerit in gremium.

Atqui non solum hoc se dicit cognitum habere

Brixia Cycneae supposita speculae,

Flavos quam molli percurrit flumine Mella,

Brixia Veronae mater amata meae.


'Et de Postumio et Corneli narrat amore,

Cum quibus illa malum fecit adulterium.'

Dixerit hic aliquis: qui tu isthaec, ianua, nosti?

Cui numquam domini limine abesse licet,

Nec populum auscultare, sed heic suffixa tigillo


Tantum operire soles aut aperire domum?

'Saepe illam audivi furtiva voce loquentem

Solam cum ancillis haec sua flagitia,

Nomine dicentem quos diximus, ut pote quae mi

Speraret nec linguam esse nec auriculam.


Praeterea addebat quendam, quem dicere nolo

Nomine, ne tollat rubra supercilia.

Longus homost, magnas quoi lites intulit olim

Falsum mendaci ventre puerperium.'



Dialogue concerning Catullus at a Harlot's Door.


O to the gentle spouse right dear, right dear to his parent,

Hail, and with increase fair Jupiter lend thee his aid,

Door, 'tis said wast fain kind service render to Balbus

Erst while, long as the house by her old owner was held;


Yet wast rumoured again to serve a purpose malignant,

After the elder was stretched, thou being oped for a bride.

Come, then, tell us the why in thee such change be reported

That to thy lord hast abjured faithfulness owèd of old?


Never (so chance I to please Cæcilius owning me now-a-days!)


Is it my own default, how so they say it be mine;

Nor can any declare aught sin by me was committed.

Yet it is so declared (Quintus!) by fable of folk;

Who, whenever they find things done no better than should be,

Come to me outcrying all:—"Door, the default is thine own!"




This be never enough for thee one-worded to utter,

But in such way to deal, each and all sense it and see.


What shall I do? None asks, while nobody troubles to know.


Willing are we? unto us stay not thy saying to say.


First let me note that the maid to us committed (assert they)


Was but a fraud: her mate never a touch of her had,

      *       *       *       *

      *       *       *       *

But that a father durst dishonour the bed of his firstborn,

Folk all swear, and the house hapless with incest bewray;


Or that his impious mind was blunt with fiery passion

Or that his impotent son sprang from incapable seed.

And to be sought was one with nerve more nervous endowèd,

Who could better avail zone of the virgin to loose.


'Sooth, of egregious sire for piety wondrous, thou tellest,


Who in the heart of his son lief was ——!


Yet professed herself not only this to be knowing,

Brixia-town that lies under the Cycnean cliff,

Traversed by Mella-stream's soft-flowing yellow-hued current,

Brixia, Vérona's mother, I love for my home.



Eke of Posthumius' loves and Cornelius too there be tattle,

With whom darèd the dame evil advowtry commit.


Here might somebody ask:—"How, Door, hast mastered such matter?

Thou that canst never avail threshold of owner to quit,

Neither canst listen to folk since here fast fixt to the side-posts


Only one office thou hast, shutting or opening the house."


Oft have I heard our dame in furtive murmurs o'er telling,

When with her handmaids alone, these her flagitious deeds,

Citing fore-cited names for that she never could fancy

Ever a Door was endow'd either with earlet or tongue.


Further she noted a wight whose name in public to mention


Nill I, lest he upraise eyebrows of carroty hue;

Long is the loon and large the law-suit brought they against him

Touching a child-bed false, claim of a belly that lied.


O dear in thought to the sweet husband, dear in thought to his sire, hail! and may Jove augment his good grace to thee, Door! which of old, men say, didst serve Balbus benignly, whilst the oldster held his home here; and which contrariwise, so 'tis said, didst serve with grudging service after the old man was stretched stark, thou doing service to the bride. Come, tell us why thou art reported to be changed and to have renounced thine ancient faithfulness to thy lord?


No, (so may I please Caecilius to whom I am now made over!) it is not my fault, although 'tis said so to be, nor may anyone impute any crime to me; albeit the fabling tongues of folk make it so, who, whene'er aught is found not well done, all clamour at me: "Door, thine is the blame!"


It is not enough for thee to say this by words merely, but so to act that everyone may feel it and see it.


In what way can I? No one questions or troubles to know.



We are wishful: be not doubtful to tell us.


First then, the virgin (so they called her!) who was handed to us was spurious. Her husband was not the first to touch her, he whose little dagger, hanging more limply than the tender beet, never raised itself to the middle of his tunic: but his father is said to have violated his son's bed and to have polluted the unhappy house, either because his lewd mind blazed with blind lust, or because his impotent son was sprung from sterile seed, and therefore one greater of nerve than he was needed, who could unloose the virgin's zone.


Thou tellest of an excellent parent marvellous in piety, who himself urined in the womb of his son!


But not this alone is Brixia said to have knowledge of, placed 'neath the Cycnean peak, through which the golden-hued Mella flows with its gentle current, Brixia, beloved mother of my Verona. For it talks of the loves of Postumius and of Cornelius, with whom she committed foul adultery.


Folk might say here: "How knowest thou these things, O door? thou who art never allowed absence from thy lord's threshold, nor mayst hear [226]the folk's gossip, but fixed to this beam art wont only to open or to shut the house!"


Often have I heard her talking with hushed voice, when alone with her handmaids, about her iniquities, quoting by name those whom we have spoken of, for she did not expect me to be gifted with either tongue or ear. Moreover she added a certain one whose name I'm unwilling to speak, lest he uplift his red eyebrows. A lanky fellow, against whom some time ago was brought a grave law-suit anent the spurious child-birth of a lying belly.


Quod mihi fortuna casuque oppressus acerbo

Conscriptum hoc lacrimis mittis epistolium,

Naufragum ut eiectum spumantibus aequoris undis

Sublevem et a mortis limine restituam,


Quem neque sancta Venus molli requiescere somno

Desertum in lecto caelibe perpetitur,

Nec veterum dulci scriptorum carmine Musae

Oblectant, cum mens anxia pervigilat,

Id gratumst mihi, me quoniam tibi dicis amicum,


Muneraque et Musarum hinc petis et Veneris:

Sed tibi ne mea sint ignota incommoda, Mani,

Neu me odisse putes hospitis officium,

Accipe, quis merser fortunae fluctibus ipse,

Ne amplius a misero dona beata petas.


Tempore quo primum vestis mihi tradita purast,

Iocundum cum aetas florida ver ageret,

Multa satis lusi: non est dea nescia nostri,

Quae dulcem curis miscet amaritiem:

Sed totum hoc studium luctu fraterna mihi mors


Abstulit. o misero frater adempte mihi,

Tu mea tu moriens fregisti commoda, frater,

Tecum una totast nostra sepulta domus,

Omnia tecum una perierunt gaudia nostra,

Quae tuos in vita dulcis alebat amor.


Cuius ego interitu tota de mente fugavi

Haec studia atque omnis delicias animi.

Quare, quod scribis Veronae turpe Catullo

Esse, quod hic quivis de meliore nota

Frigida deserto tepefactet membra cubili,


Id, Mani, non est turpe, magis miserumst.

Ignosces igitur, si, quae mihi luctus ademit,

Haec tibi non tribuo munera, cum nequeo.

Nam, quod scriptorum non magnast copia apud me,

Hoc fit, quod Romae vivimus: illa domus,


Illa mihi sedes, illic mea carpitur aetas:

Huc una ex multis capsula me sequitur.

Quod cum ita sit, nolim statuas nos mente maligna

Id facere aut animo non satis ingenuo,

Quod tibi non utriusque petenti copia factast:


Vltro ego deferrem, copia siqua foret.

Non possum reticere, deae, qua me Allius in re

Iuverit aut quantis iuverit officiis:

Nec fugiens saeclis obliviscentibus aetas

Illius hoc caeca nocte tegat studium:


Sed dicam vobis, vos porro dicite multis

Milibus et facite haec charta loquatur anus

      *       *       *       *

Notescatque magis mortuos atque magis,

Nec tenuem texens sublimis aranea telam


In deserto Alli nomine opus faciat.

Nam, mihi quam dederit duplex Amathusia curam,

Scitis, et in quo me corruerit genere,

Cum tantum arderem quantum Trinacria rupes

Lymphaque in Oetaeis Malia Thermopylis,


Maesta neque adsiduo tabescere lumina fletu

Cessarent tristique imbre madere genae.

Qualis in aerii perlucens vertice montis

Rivos muscoso prosilit e lapide,

Qui cum de prona praeceps est valle volutus,


Per medium sensim transit iter populi,

Dulci viatori lasso in sudore levamen,

Cum gravis exustos aestus hiulcat agros:

Hic, velut in nigro iactatis turbine nautis

Lenius aspirans aura secunda venit


Iam prece Pollucis, iam Castoris inplorata,

Tale fuit nobis Manius auxilium.

Is clusum lato patefecit limite campum,

Isque domum nobis isque dedit dominam,

Ad quam communes exerceremus amores.


Quo mea se molli candida diva pede

Intulit et trito fulgentem in limine plantam

Innixa arguta constituit solea,

Coniugis ut quondam flagrans advenit amore


Protesilaeam Laudamia domum


Inceptam frustra, nondum cum sanguine sacro

Hostia caelestis pacificasset eros.

Nil mihi tam valde placeat, Rhamnusia virgo,

Quod temere invitis suscipiatur eris.

Quam ieiuna pium desideret ara cruorem,


Doctast amisso Laudamia viro,

Coniugis ante coacta novi dimittere collum,

Quam veniens una atque altera rursus hiemps

Noctibus in longis avidum saturasset amorem,

Posset ut abrupto vivere coniugio,


Quod scirant Parcae non longo tempore adesse,

Si miles muros isset ad Iliacos:

Nam tum Helenae raptu primores Argivorum

Coeperat ad sese Troia ciere viros,

Troia (nefas) commune sepulcrum Asiae Europaeque,


Troia virum et virtutum omnium acerba cinis,

Quaene etiam nostro letum miserabile fratri

Attulit. ei misero frater adempte mihi,

Ei misero fratri iocundum lumen ademptum,

Tecum una totast nostra sepulta domus,


Omnia tecum una perierunt gaudia nostra,

Quae tuos in vita dulcis alebat amor.

Quem nunc tam longe non inter nota sepulcra

Nec prope cognatos conpositum cineres,

Sed Troia obscaena, Troia infelice sepultum


Detinet extremo terra aliena solo.

Ad quam tum properans fertur simul undique pubes

Graeca penetrales deseruisse focos,


Ne Paris abducta gavisus libera moecha

Otia pacato degeret in thalamo.


Quo tibi tum casu, pulcherrima Laudamia,

Ereptumst vita dulcius atque anima

Coniugium: tanto te absorbens vertice amoris

Aestus in abruptum detulerat barathrum,

Quale ferunt Grai Pheneum prope Cylleneum


Siccare emulsa pingue palude solum,

Quod quondam caesis montis fodisse medullis

Audit falsiparens Amphitryoniades,

Tempore quo certa Stymphalia monstra sagitta

Perculit imperio deterioris eri,


Pluribus ut caeli tereretur ianua divis,

Hebe nec longa virginitate foret.

Sed tuos altus amor barathro fuit altior illo,

Qui durum domitam ferre iugum docuit:

Nam nec tam carum confecto aetate parenti


Vna caput seri nata nepotis alit,

Qui, cum divitiis vix tandem inventus avitis

Nomen testatas intulit in tabulas,

Inpia derisi gentilis gaudia tollens

Suscitat a cano volturium capiti:


Nec tantum niveo gavisast ulla columbo

Conpar, quae multo dicitur inprobius

Oscula mordenti semper decerpere rostro,

Quam quae praecipue multivolast mulier.

Sed tu horum magnos vicisti sola furores,


Vt semel es flavo conciliata viro.

Aut nihil aut paulo cui tum concedere digna

Lux mea se nostrum contulit in gremium,


Quam circumcursans hinc illinc saepe Cupido

Fulgebat crocina candidus in tunica.


Quae tamen etsi uno non est contenta Catullo,

Rara verecundae furta feremus erae,

Ne nimium simus stultorum more molesti.

Saepe etiam Iuno, maxima caelicolum,

Coniugis in culpa flagrantem conquoquit iram,


Noscens omnivoli plurima furta Iovis.

Atquei nec divis homines conponier aequomst,

      *       *       *       *

      *       *       *       *

Ingratum tremuli tolle parentis onus.

Nec tamen illa mihi dextra deducta paterna

Fragrantem Assyrio venit odore domum,


Sed furtiva dedit muta munuscula nocte,

Ipsius ex ipso dempta viri gremio.

Quare illud satis est, si nobis is datur unis,

Quem lapide illa diem candidiore notat.

Hoc tibi, qua potui, confectum carmine munus


Pro multis, Alli, redditur officiis,

Ne vostrum scabra tangat rubigine nomen

Haec atque illa dies atque alia atque alia.

Huc addent divi quam plurima, quae Themis olim

Antiquis solitast munera ferre piis:


Sitis felices et tu simul et tua vita

Et domus, ipsi in qua lusimus et domina,

Et qui principio nobis te tradidit Anser,

A quo sunt primo mi omnia nata bona.

Et longe ante omnes mihi quae me carior ipsost,


Lux mea, qua viva vivere dulce mihist.



To Manius on Various Matters.

When to me sore opprest by bitter chance of misfortune

This thy letter thou send'st written wi' blotting of tears,

So might I save thee flung by spuming billows of ocean,

Shipwreckt, rescuing life snatcht from the threshold of death;


Eke neither Venus the Holy to rest in slumber's refreshment

Grants thee her grace on couch lying deserted and lone,

Nor can the Muses avail with dulcet song of old writers

Ever delight thy mind sleepless in anxious care;

Grateful be this to my thought since thus thy friend I'm entitled,


Hence of me seekest thou gifts Muses and Venus can give:

But that bide not unknown to thee my sorrows (O Manius!)

And lest office of host I should be holden to hate,

Learn how in Fortune's deeps I chance myself to be drownèd,

Nor fro' the poor rich boons furthermore prithee require.


What while first to myself the pure-white garment was given,


Whenas my flowery years flowed in fruition of spring,

Much I disported enow, nor 'bode I a stranger to Goddess

Who with our cares is lief sweetness of bitter to mix:

Yet did a brother's death pursuits like these to my sorrow


Bid for me cease: Oh, snatcht brother! from wretchedest me.

Then, yea, thou by thy dying hast broke my comfort, O brother;

Buried together wi' thee lieth the whole of our house;

Perisht along wi' thyself all gauds and joys of our life-tide,

Douce love fostered by thee during the term of our days.


After thy doom of death fro' mind I banishèd wholly

Studies like these, and all lending a solace to soul;

Wherefore as to thy writ:—"Verona's home for Catullus

Bringeth him shame, for there men of superior mark

Must on a deserted couch fain chafe their refrigerate limbs:"


Such be no shame (Manius!): rather 'tis matter of ruth.


Pardon me, then, wilt thou an gifts bereft me by grieving

These I send not to thee since I avail not presènt.

For, that I own not here abundant treasure of writings

Has for its cause, in Rome dwell I; and there am I homed,


There be my seat, and there my years are gathered to harvest;

Out of book-cases galore here am I followed by one.

This being thus, nill I thou deem 'tis spirit malignant

Acts in such wise or mind lacking of liberal mood

That to thy prayer both gifts be not in plenty supplièd:


Willingly both had I sent, had I the needed supply.

Nor can I (Goddesses!) hide in what things Allius sent me

Aid, forbear to declare what was the aidance he deigned:

Neither shall fugitive Time from centuries ever oblivious

Veil in the blinds of night friendship he lavisht on me.


But will I say unto you what you shall say to the many

Thousands in turn, and make paper, old crone, to proclaim

      *       *       *       *


And in his death become noted the more and the more,

Nor let spider on high that weaves her delicate webbing


Practise such labours o'er Allius' obsolete name.

For that ye weet right well what care Amathúsia two-faced

Gave me, and how she dasht every hope to the ground,

Whenas I burnt so hot as burn Trinacria's rocks or

Mallia stream that feeds Œtéan Thermopylæ;


Nor did these saddened eyes to be dimmed by assiduous weeping

Cease, and my cheeks with showers ever in sadness be wet.

E'en as from aëry heights of mountain springeth a springlet

Limpidest leaping forth from rocking felted with moss,

Then having headlong rolled the prone-laid valley downpouring,


Populous region amid wendeth his gradual way,

Sweetest solace of all to the sweltering traveller wayworn,

Whenas the heavy heat fissures the fiery fields;

Or, as to seamen lost in night of whirlwind a-glooming

Gentle of breath there comes fairest and favouring breeze,


Pollux anon being prayed, nor less vows offered to Castor:—


Such was the aidance to us Manius pleased to afford.

He to my narrow domains far wider limits laid open,

He too gave me the house, also he gave me the dame,

She upon whom both might exert them, partners in love deeds.


Thither graceful of gait pacing my goddess white-hued

Came and with gleaming foot on the worn sole of the threshold

Stood she and prest its slab creaking her sandals the while;

E'en so with love enflamed in olden days to her helpmate,

Laodamía the home Protesiléan besought,


Sought, but in vain, for ne'er wi' sacrificial bloodshed

Victims appeasèd the Lords ruling Celestial seats:

Never may I so joy in aught (Rhamnusian Virgin!)

That I engage in deed maugrè the will of the Lords.

How starved altar can crave for gore in piety pourèd,


Laodamia learnt taught by the loss of her man,

Driven perforce to loose the neck of new-wedded help-mate,


Whenas a winter had gone, nor other winter had come,

Ere in the long dark nights her greeding love was so sated

That she had power to live maugrè a marriage broke off,


Which, as the Parcæ knew, too soon was fated to happen

Should he a soldier sail bound for those Ilian walls.

For that by Helena's rape, the Champion-leaders of Argives

Unto herself to incite Troy had already begun,

Troy (ah, curst be the name) common tomb of Asia and Europe,


Troy to sad ashes that turned valour and valorous men!

Eke to our brother beloved, destruction ever lamented

Brought she: O Brother for aye lost unto wretchedmost me,

Oh, to thy wretchedmost brother lost the light of his life-tide,

Buried together wi' thee lieth the whole of our house:


Perisht along wi' thyself forthright all joys we enjoyèd,

Douce joys fed by thy love during the term of our days;

Whom now art tombed so far nor 'mid familiar pavestones


Nor wi' thine ashes stored near to thy kith and thy kin,

But in that Troy obscene, that Troy of ill-omen, entombèd


Holds thee, an alien earth-buried in uttermost bourne.

Thither in haste so hot ('tis said) from allwhere the Youth-hood

Grecian, farèd in hosts forth of their hearths and their homes,

Lest with a stolen punk with fullest of pleasure should Paris

Fairly at leisure and ease sleep in the pacific bed.


Such was the hapless chance, most beautiful Laodamia,

Tare fro' thee dearer than life, dearer than spirit itself,

Him, that husband, whose love in so mighty a whirlpool of passion

Whelmed thee absorbèd and plunged deep in its gulfy abyss,

E'en as the Grecians tell hard by Phenéus of Cylléne


Drained was the marish and dried, forming the fattest of soils,

Whenas in days long done to delve through marrow of mountains

Darèd, falsing his sire, Amphtryóniades;

What time sure of his shafts he smote Stymphalian monsters


Slaying their host at the hest dealt by a lord of less worth,


So might the gateway of Heaven be trodden by more of the godheads,

Nor might Hébé abide longer to maidenhood doomed.

Yet was the depth of thy love far deeper than deepest of marish

Which the hard mistress's yoke taught him so tamely to bear;

Never was head so dear to a grandsire wasted by life-tide


Whenas one daughter alone a grandson so tardy had reared,

Who being found against hope to inherit riches of forbears

In the well-witnessed Will haply by name did appear,

And 'spite impious hopes of baffled claimant to kinship

Startles the Vulturine grip clutching the frost-bitten poll.


Nor with such rapture e'er joyed his mate of snowy-hued plumage

Dove-mate, albeit aye wont in her immoderate heat

Said be the bird to snatch hot kisses with beak ever billing,

As diddest thou:—yet is Woman multivolent still.

But thou 'vailedest alone all these to conquer in love-lowe,


When conjoinèd once more unto thy yellow-haired spouse.

Worthy of yielding to her in naught or ever so little

Came to the bosom of us she, the fair light of my life,

Round whom fluttering oft the Love-God hither and thither

Shone with a candid sheen robed in his safflower dress.


She though never she bide with one Catullus contented,

Yet will I bear with the rare thefts of my dame the discreet,

Lest over-irk I give which still of fools is the fashion.

Often did Juno eke Queen of the Heavenly host

Boil wi' the rabidest rage at dire default of a husband


Learning the manifold thefts of her omnivolent Jove,

Yet with the Gods mankind 'tis nowise righteous to liken,

      *       *       *       *

      *       *       *       *

Rid me of graceless task fit for a tremulous sire.

Yet was she never to me by hand paternal committed

Whenas she came to my house reeking Assyrian scents;


Nay, in the darkness of night her furtive favours she deigned me,


Self-willed taking herself from very mate's very breast.

Wherefore I hold it enough since given to us and us only

Boon of that day with Stone whiter than wont she denotes.

This to thee—all that I can—this offering couched in verses


(Allius!) as my return give I for service galore;

So wi' the seabriny rust your name may never be sullied

This day and that nor yet other and other again.

Hereto add may the Gods all good gifts, which Themis erewhiles

Wont on the pious of old from her full store to bestow:


Blest be the times of the twain, thyself and she who thy life is,

Also the home wherein dallied we, no less the Dame,

Anser to boot who first of mortals brought us together,

Whence from beginning all good Fortunes that blest us were born.

Lastly than every else one dearer than self and far dearer,


Light of my life who alive living to me can endear.


That when, opprest by fortune and in grievous case, thou didst send me this epistle o'erwrit with tears, that I might bear up shipwrecked thee tossed by the foaming waves of the sea, and restore thee from the threshold of death; thou whom neither sacred Venus suffers to repose in soft slumber, desolate on a a lonely couch, nor do the Muses divert with the sweet song of ancient poets, whilst thy anxious mind keeps vigil:—this is grateful to me, since thou dost call me thy friend, and dost seek hither the gifts of the Muses and of Venus. But that my troubles may not be unknown to thee, O Manius, nor thou deem I shun the office of host, hear how I am whelmed in the waves of that same fortune, nor further seek joyful gifts from a wretched one. In that time when the white vestment was first handed to me, and my florid age was passing in jocund spring, much did I sport enow: nor was the goddess unknown to us who mixes bitter-sweet with our cares. But my brother's death plunged all this pursuit into mourning. O brother, taken from my unhappy self; thou by thy dying hast broken my ease, O brother; all our house is buried with thee; with thee have perished the whole of our joys, which thy sweet love nourished in thy lifetime. Thou lost, I have dismissed wholly from mind these studies and every delight of mind. Wherefore, as to what thou writest, "'Tis shameful for Catullus to be at Verona, for there anyone of utmost note must chafe his frigid limbs on a desolate couch;" that, Manius, is not shameful; rather 'tis a [243]pity. Therefore, do thou forgive, if what grief has snatched from me, these gifts, I do not bestow on thee, because I am unable. For, that there is no great store of writings with me arises from this, that we live at Rome: there is my home, there is my hall, thither my time is passed; hither but one of my book-cases follows me. As 'tis thus, I would not that thou deem we act so from ill-will or from a mind not sufficiently ingenuous, that ample store is not forthcoming to either of thy desires: both would I grant, had I the wherewithal. Nor can I conceal, goddesses, in what way Allius has aided me, or with how many good offices he has assisted me; nor shall fleeting time with its forgetful centuries cover with night's blindness this care of his. But I tell it to you, and do ye declare it to many thousands, and make this paper, grown old, speak of it * * * * And let him be more and more noted when dead, nor let the spider aloft, weaving her thin-drawn web, carry on her work over the neglected name of Allius. For you know what anxiety of mind wily Amathusia gave me, and in what manner she overthrew me, when I was burning like the Trinacrian rocks, or the Malian fount in Oetaean Thermopylae; nor did my piteous eyes cease to dissolve with continual weeping, nor my cheeks with sad showers to be bedewed. As the pellucid stream gushes forth from the moss-grown rock on the aerial crest of the mountain, which when it has rolled headlong prone down the valley, softly wends its way through the midst of the [244]populous parts, sweet solace to the wayfarer sweating with weariness, when the oppressive heat cracks the burnt-up fields agape: or, as to sailors tempest-tossed in black whirlpool, there cometh a favourable and a gently-moving breeze, Pollux having been prayed anon, and Castor alike implored: of such kind was Manius' help to us. He with a wider limit laid open my closed field; he gave us a home and its mistress, on whom we both might exercise our loves in common. Thither with gracious gait my bright-hued goddess betook herself, and pressed her shining sole on the worn threshold with creaking of sandal; as once came Laodamia, flaming with love for her consort, to the home of Protesilaus,—a beginning of naught! for not yet with sacred blood had a victim made propitiate the lords of the heavens. May nothing please me so greatly, Rhamnusian virgin, that I should act thus heedlessly against the will of those lords! How the thirsty altar craves for sacrificial blood Laodamia was taught by the loss of her husband, being compelled to abandon the neck of her new spouse when one winter was past, before another winter had come, in whose long nights she might so glut her greedy love, that she could have lived despite her broken marriage-yoke, which the Parcae knew would not be long distant, if her husband as soldier should fare to the Ilian walls. For by Helena's rape Troy had begun to put the Argive Chiefs in the field; Troy accurst, the common grave of Asia and [245]of Europe, Troy, the sad ashes of heroes and of every noble deed, that also lamentably brought death to our brother. O brother taken from unhappy me! O jocund light taken from thy unhappy brother! in thy one grave lies all our house, in thy one grave have perished all our joys, which thy sweet love did nurture during life. Whom now is laid so far away, not amongst familiar tombs nor near the ashes of his kindred, but obscene Troy, malign Troy, an alien earth, holds thee entombed in its remote soil. Thither, 'tis said, hastening together from all parts, the Grecian manhood forsook their hearths and homes, lest Paris enjoy his abducted trollop with freedom and leisure in a peaceful bed. Such then was thy case, loveliest Laodamia, to be bereft of husband sweeter than life, and than soul; thou being sucked in so great a whirlpool of love, its eddy submerged thee in its steep abyss, like (so folk say) to the Graian gulph near Pheneus of Cyllene with its fat swamp's soil drained and dried, which aforetime the falsely-born Amphitryoniades dared to hew through the marrow of cleft mountains, at the time when he smote down the Stymphalian monsters with sure shafts by the command of his inferior lord, so that the heavenly portal might be pressed by a greater number of deities, nor Hebe longer remain in her virginity. But deeper than that abyss was thy deep love which taught [thy husband] to bear his lady's forceful yoke. For not so dear to the spent age of the grandsire is the late born [246]grandchild an only daughter rears, who, long-wished-for, at length inherits the ancestral wealth, his name duly set down in the attested tablets; and casting afar the impious hopes of the baffled next-of-kin, scares away the vulture from the whitened head; nor so much does any dove-mate rejoice in her snow-white consort (though, 'tis averred, more shameless than most in continually plucking kisses with nibbling beak) as thou dost, though woman is especially inconstant. But thou alone didst surpass the great frenzies of these, when thou wast once united to thy yellow-haired husband. Worthy to yield to whom in naught or in little, my light brought herself to my bosom, round whom Cupid, often running hither thither, gleamed lustrous-white in saffron-tinted tunic. Still although she is not content with Catullus alone, we will suffer the rare frailties of our coy lady, lest we may be too greatly unbearable, after the manner of fools. Often even Juno, greatest of heaven-dwellers, boiled with flaring wrath at her husband's default, wotting the host of frailties of all-wishful Jove. Yet 'tis not meet to match men with the gods, * * * * bear up the ungrateful burden of a tremulous parent. Yet she was not handed to me by a father's right hand when she came to my house fragrant with Assyrian odour, but she gave me her stealthy favours in the mute night, withdrawing of her own will from the bosom of her spouse. Wherefore that is enough if to us alone she gives that day which she [247]marks with a whiter stone. This gift to thee, all that I can, of verse completed, is requital, Allius, for many offices, so that this day and that, and other and other of days may not tarnish your name with scabrous rust. Hither may the gods add gifts full many, which Themis aforetimes was wont to bear to the pious of old. May ye be happy, both thou and thy life's-love together, and thy home in which we have sported, and its mistress, and Anser who in the beginning brought thee to us, from whom all my good fortunes were first born, and lastly she whose very self is dearer to me than all these,—my light, whom living, 'tis sweet to me to live.


Noli admirari, quare tibi femina nulla,

Rufe, velit tenerum supposuisse femur,

Non si illam rarae labefactes munere vestis

Aut perluciduli deliciis lapidis.


Laedit te quaedam mala fabula, qua tibi fertur

Valle sub alarum trux habitare caper.

Hunc metuunt omnes. neque mirum: nam mala valdest

Bestia, nec quicum bella puella cubet.

Quare aut crudelem nasorum interfice pestem,


Aut admirari desine cur fugiunt.



To Rufus the Fetid.

Wonder not blatantly why no woman shall ever be willing

(Rufus!) her tender thigh under thyself to bestow,

Not an thou tempt her full by bribes of the rarest garments,

Or by the dear delights gems the pellucidest deal.


Harms thee an ugly tale wherein of thee is recorded

Horrible stench of the goat under thine arm-pits be lodged.

All are in dread thereof; nor wonder this, for 'tis evil

Beastie, nor damsel fair ever thereto shall succumb.

So do thou either kill that cruel pest o' their noses,


Or at their reason of flight blatantly wondering cease.

Be unwilling to wonder wherefore no woman, O Rufus, is wishful to place her tender thigh 'neath thee, not even if thou dost tempt her by the gift of a rare robe or by the delights of a crystal-clear gem. A certain ill tale injures thee, that thou bearest housed in the valley of thine armpits a grim goat. Hence everyone's fear. Nor be marvel: for 'tis an exceeding ill beast, with whom no fair girl will sleep. Wherefore, either murder that cruel plague of their noses, or cease to marvel why they fly? [249]


Nulli se dicit mulier mea nubere malle

Quam mihi, non si se Iuppiter ipse petat.

Dicit: sed mulier cupido quod dicit amanti,

In vento et rapida scribere oportet aqua.


On Woman's Inconstancy.

Never, my woman oft says, with any of men will she mate be,

Save wi' my own very self, ask her though Jupiter deign!

Says she: but womanly words that are spoken to desireful lover

Ought to be written on wind or upon water that runs.

No one, saith my lady, would she rather wed than myself, not even if Jupiter's self crave her. Thus she saith! but what a woman tells an ardent amourist ought fitly to be graven on the breezes and in running waters.


Siquoi iure bono sacer alarum obstitit hircus,

Aut siquem merito tarda podagra secat,

Aemulus iste tuos, qui vostrum exercet amorem,

Mirificost fato nactus utrumque malum,


Nam quotiens futuit, totiens ulciscitur ambos:

Illam adfligit odore, ipse perit podagra.



To Verro.

An of a goat-stink damned from armpits fusty one suffer,

Or if a crippling gout worthily any one rack,

'Tis that rival o' thine who lief in loves of you meddles,

And, by a wondrous fate, gains him the twain of such ills.


For that, oft as he ——, so oft that penance be two-fold;

Stifles her stench of goat, he too is kilt by his gout.

If ever anyone was deservedly cursed with an atrocious goat-stench from armpits, or if limping gout did justly gnaw one, 'tis thy rival, who occupies himself with your love, and who has stumbled by the marvel of fate on both these ills. For as oft as he swives, so oft is he taken vengeance on by both; she he prostrates by his stink, he is slain by his gout.


Dicebas quondam solum te nosse Catullum,

Lesbia, nec prae me velle tenere Iovem.

Dilexi tum te non tantum ut volgus amicam,

Sed pater ut gnatos diligit et generos.


Nunc te cognovi: quare etsi inpensius uror,

Multo mi tamen es vilior et levior.

Qui potisest? inquis. quod amantem iniuria talis

Cogit amare magis, sed bene velle minus.



To Lesbia the False.

Wont thou to vaunt whilòme of knowing only Catullus

(Lesbia!) nor to prefer Jupiter's self to myself.

Then, too, I loved thee well, not as vulgar wretch his mistress

But as a father his sons loves and his sons by the law.


Now have I learnt thee aright; wherefor though burn I the hotter,

Lighter and viler by far thou unto me hast become.

"How can this be?" dost ask: 'tis that such injury ever

Forces the hotter to love, also the less well to will.

Once thou didst profess to know but Catullus, Lesbia, nor wouldst hold Jove before me. I loved thee then, not only as a churl his mistress, but as a father loves his own sons and sons-in-law. Now I do know thee: wherefore if more strongly I burn, thou art nevertheless to me far viler and of lighter thought. How may this be? thou askest. Because such wrongs drive a lover to greater passion, but to less wishes of welfare.


Desine de quoquam quicquam bene velle mereri

Aut aliquem fieri posse putare pium.

Omnia sunt ingrata, nihil fecisse benigne


Prodest, immo etiam taedet obestque magis


Vt mihi, quem nemo gravius nec acerbius urget,

Quam modo qui me unum atque unicum amicum habuit.


Of an Ingrate.

Cease thou of any to hope desirèd boon of well-willing,

Or deem any shall prove pious and true to his dues.

Waxes the world ingrate, no deed benevolent profits,

Nay full oft it irks even offending the more:


Such is my case whom none maltreats more grievously bitter,

Than does the man that me held one and only to friend.

Cease thou to wish to merit well from anyone in aught, or to think any can become honourable. All are ingrate, naught benign doth avail to aught, but rather it doth irk and prove the greater ill: so with me, whom none doth o'erpress more heavily nor more bitterly than he who a little while ago held me his one and only friend.


Gellius audierat patruom obiurgare solere,

Siquis delicias diceret aut faceret.

Hoc ne ipsi accideret, patrui perdepsuit ipsam


Vxorem et patruom reddidit Harpocratem.


Quod voluit fecit: nam, quamvis inrumet ipsum

Nunc patruom, verbum non faciet patruos.


Of Gellius.

Wont was Gellius hear his uncle rich in reproaches,

When any ventured aught wanton in word or in deed.

Lest to him chance such befall, his uncle's consort seduced he,

And of his uncle himself fashioned an Harpocrates.


Whatso he willed did he; and nowdays albe his uncle

—— he, no word ever that uncle shall speak.

Gellius had heard that his uncle was wont to be wroth, if any spake of or practised love-sportings. That this should not happen to him, he kneaded up his uncle's wife herself, and made of his uncle a god of silence. Whatever he wished, he did; for now, even if he irrumate his uncle's self, not a word will that uncle murmur.


Rufe mihi frustra ac nequiquam credite amico

(Frustra? immo magno cum pretio atque malo),

Sicine subrepsti mei, atque intestina perurens

Ei misero eripuisti omnia nostra bona?


Eripuisti, heu heu nostrae crudele venenum

Vitae, heu heu nostrae pestis amicitiae.

Sed nunc id doleo, quod purae pura puellae

Savia conminxit spurca saliva tua.

Verum id non inpune feres: nam te omnia saecla


Noscent, et qui sis fama loquetur anus.


To Rufus, the Traitor Friend.

Rufus, trusted as friend by me, so fruitlessly, vainly,

(Vainly? nay to my bane and at a ruinous price!)

Hast thou cajoled me thus, and enfiring innermost vitals,

Ravished the whole of our good own'd by wretchedest me?


Ravished; (alas and alas!) of our life thou cruellest cruel

Venom, (alas and alas!) plague of our friendship and pest.

Yet must I now lament that lips so pure of the purest

Damsel, thy slaver foul soilèd with filthiest kiss.

But ne'er hope to escape scot free; for thee shall all ages


Know, and what thing thou be, Fame, the old crone, shall declare.

O Rufus, credited by me as a friend, wrongly and for naught, (wrongly? nay, at an ill and grievous price) hast thou thus stolen upon me, and a-burning [255]my innermost bowels, snatched from wretched me all our good? Thou hast snatched it, alas, alas, thou cruel venom of our life! alas, alas, thou plague of our amity. But now 'tis grief, that thy swinish slaver has soiled the pure love-kisses of our pure girl. But in truth thou shalt not come off with impunity; for every age shall know thee, and Fame the aged, shall denounce what thou art.


Gallus habet fratres, quorumst lepidissima coniunx

Alterius, lepidus filius alterius.

Gallus homost bellus: nam dulces iungit amores,

Cum puero ut bello bella puella cubet.


Gallus homost stultus nec se videt esse maritum,

Qui patruos patrui monstret adulterium.


Of Gallus.

Gallus hath brothers in pair, this owning most beautiful consort,

While unto that is given also a beautiful son.

Gallus is charming as man; for sweet loves ever conjoins he,

So that the charming lad sleep wi' the charmer his lass.


Gallus is foolish wight, nor self regards he as husband,

When being uncle how nuncle to cuckold he show.


Gallus has brothers, one of whom has a most charming spouse, the other a charming son. Gallus is a nice fellow! for pandering to their sweet loves, he beds together the nice lad and the nice aunt. Gallus is a foolish fellow not to see that he is himself a husband who as an uncle shews how to cuckold an uncle.


Lesbius est pulcher: quid ni? quem Lesbia malit

Quam te cum tota gente, Catulle, tua.

Sed tamen hic pulcher vendat cum gente Catullum,

Si tria notorum savia reppererit.


Of Lesbius.

Lesbius is beauty-man: why not? when Lesbia wills him

Better, Catullus, than thee backed by the whole of thy clan.

Yet may that beauty-man sell all his clan with Catullus,

An of three noted names greeting salute he can gain.

Lesbius is handsome: why not so? when Lesbia prefers him to thee, Catullus, and to thy whole tribe. Yet this handsome one may sell Catullus and his tribe if from three men of note he can gain kisses of salute. [257]


Quid dicam, Gelli, quare rosea ista labella

Hiberna fiant candidiora nive,

Mane domo cum exis et cum te octava quiete

E molli longo suscitat hora die?


Nescioquid certest: an vere fama susurrat

Grandia te medii tenta vorare viri?

Sic certest: clamant Victoris rupta miselli

Ilia, et emulso labra notata sero.


To Gellius.

How shall I (Gellius!) tell what way lips rosy as thine are

Come to be bleached and blanched whiter than wintry snow,

Whenas thou quittest the house a-morn, and at two after noon-tide

Rousèd from quiet repose, wakest for length of the day?


Certès sure am I not an Rumour rightfully whisper

      *       *       *       *

      *       *       *       *

      *       *       *       *

What shall I say, Gellius, wherefore those lips, erstwhile rosy-red, have become whiter than wintery snow, thou leaving home at morn and when the noontide hour arouses thee from soothing slumber [258]to face the longsome day? I know not forsure! but is Rumour gone astray with her whisper that thou devourest the well-grown tenseness of a man's middle? So forsure it must be! the ruptured guts of wretched Virro cry it aloud, and thy lips marked with lately-drained σεμεν publish the fact.


Nemone in tanto potuit populo esse, Iuventi,

Bellus homo, quem tu diligere inciperes,

Praeterquam iste tuus moribunda a sede Pisauri

Hospes inaurata pallidior statua,


Qui tibi nunc cordist, quem tu praeponere nobis

Audes, et nescis quod facinus facias.


To Juventius.

Could there never be found in folk so thronging (Juventius!)

Any one charming thee whom thou couldst fancy to love,

Save and except that host from deadliest site of Pisaurum,

Wight than a statue gilt wanner and yellower-hued,


Whom to thy heart thou takest and whom thou darest before us

Choose? But villain what deed doest thou little canst wot!


Could there be no one in so great a crowd, Juventius, no gallant whom thou couldst fall to admiring, beyond him, the guest of thy hearth from moribund Pisaurum, wanner than a gilded statue? Who now is in thine heart, whom thou darest to place above us, and knowest not what crime thou dost commit.


Quinti, si tibi vis oculos debere Catullum

Aut aliud siquid carius est oculis,

Eripere ei noli, multo quod carius illi

Est oculis seu quid carius est oculis.


To Quintius.

Quintius! an thou wish that Catullus should owe thee his eyes

Or aught further if aught dearer can be than his eyes,

Thou wilt not ravish from him what deems he dearer and nearer

E'en than his eyes if aught dearer there be than his eyes.

Quintius, if thou dost wish Catullus to owe his eyes to thee, or aught, if such may be, dearer than his eyes, be unwilling to snatch from him what is much dearer to him than his eyes, or than aught which itself may be dearer to him than his eyes. [260]


Lesbia mi praesente viro mala plurima dicit:

Haec illi fatuo maxima laetitiast.

Mule, nihil sentis. si nostri oblita taceret,

Sana esset: nunc quod gannit et obloquitur,


Non solum meminit, sed quae multo acrior est res

Iratast. Hoc est, uritur et coquitur.


Of Lesbia's Husband.

Lesbia heaps upon me foul words her mate being present;

Which to that simple soul causes the fullest delight.

Mule! naught sensest thou: did she forget us in silence,

Whole she had been; but now whatso she rails and she snarls,


Not only dwells in her thought, but worse and even more risky,

Wrathful she bides. Which means, she is afire and she fumes.

Lesbia in her lord's presence says the utmost ill about me: this gives the greatest pleasure to that ninny. Ass, thou hast no sense! if through forgetfulness she were silent about us, it would be well: now that she snarls and scolds, not only does she remember, but what is a far bitterer thing, she is enraged. That is, she inflames herself and ripens her passion. [261]


Chommoda dicebat, si quando commoda vellet

Dicere, et insidias Arrius hinsidias,

Et tum mirifice sperabat se esse locutum,

Cum quantum poterat dixerat hinsidias.


Credo, sic mater, sic Liber avonculus eius,

Sic maternus avos dixerat atque avia.

Hoc misso in Syriam requierant omnibus aures:

Audibant eadem haec leniter et leviter,

Nec sibi postilla metuebant talia verba,


Cum subito adfertur nuntius horribilis,

Ionios fluctus, postquam illuc Arrius isset,

Iam non Ionios esse, sed Hionios.


On Arrius, a Roman 'Arry.

Wont is Arrius say "Chommodious" whenas "commodious"

Means he, and "Insidious" aspirate "Hinsidious,"

What time flattering self he speaks with marvellous purity,

Clamouring "Hinsidious" loudly as ever he can.


Deem I thus did his dame and thus-wise Liber his uncle

Speak, and on spindle-side grandsire and grandmother too.

Restful reposed all ears when he was sent into Syria,

Hearing the self-same words softly and smoothly pronouncèd,


Nor any feared to hear such harshness uttered thereafter,


Whenas a sudden came message of horrible news,

Namely th' Ionian waves when Arrius thither had wended,

Were "Ionian" no more—they had "Hionian" become.

Chommodious did Arrius say, whenever he had need to say commodious, and for insidious hinsidious, and felt confident he spoke with accent wondrous fine, when aspirating hinsidious to the full of his lungs. I understand that his mother, his uncle Liber, his maternal grand-parents all spoke thus. He being sent into Syria, everyone's ears were rested, hearing these words spoken smoothly and slightly, nor after that did folk fear such words from him, when on a sudden is brought the nauseous news that th' Ionian waves, after Arrius' arrival thither, no longer are Ionian hight, but are now the Hionian Hocean.


Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris.

Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.


How the Poet Loves.

Hate I, and love I. Haps thou'lt ask me wherefore I do so.

Wot I not, yet so I do feeling a torture of pain.


I hate and I love. Wherefore do I so, peradventure thou askest. I know not, but I feel it to be thus and I suffer.


Quintia formosast multis, mihi candida, longa,

Rectast. haec ego sic singula confiteor,

Totum illud formosa nego: nam nulla venustas,

Nulla in tam magnost corpore mica salis.


Lesbia formosast, quae cum pulcherrima totast,

Tum omnibus una omnes surripuit Veneres.


Of Quintia.

Quintia beautiful seems to the crowd; to me, fair, and tall,

Straight; and merits as these readily thus I confess,

But that she is beauteous all I deny, for nothing of lovesome,

Never a grain of salt, shows in her person so large.


Lesbia beautiful seems, and when all over she's fairest,

Any Venus-gift stole she from every one.

Quintia is lovely to many; to me she is fair, tall, and shapely. Each of these qualities I grant. But that all these make loveliness I deny: for nothing of beauty nor scintilla of sprightliness is in her body so massive. Lesbia is lovely, for whilst the whole of her is most beautiful, she has stolen for herself every love-charm from all her sex. [264]


Nulla potest mulier tantum se dicere amatam

Vere, quantum a me Lesbia amata mea's.

Nulla fides ullo fuit umquam foedere tanta,

Quanta in amore tuo ex parte reperta meast.


Nunc est mens diducta tua, mea Lesbia, culpa,

Atque ita se officio perdidit ipsa suo,

Vt iam nec bene velle queat tibi, si optima fias,

Nec desistere amare, omnia si facias.


To Lesbia.

Never a woman could call herself so fondly belovèd

Truly as Lesbia mine has been beloved of myself.

Never were Truth and Faith so firm in any one compact

As on the part of me kept I my love to thyself.


Now is my mind to a pass, my Lesbia, brought by thy treason,

So in devotion to thee lost is the duty self due,

Nor can I will thee well if best of women thou prove thee,

Nor can I cease to love, do thou what doings thou wilt.

No woman can say with truth that she has been loved as much as thou, Lesbia, hast been loved by me: no love-troth was ever so greatly observed as in love of thee on my part has been found.

Now is my mind so led apart, my Lesbia, by thy fault, and has so lost itself by its very worship, that [265]now it can not wish well to thee, wert thou to become most perfect, nor cease to love thee, do what thou wilt!


Siqua recordanti benefacta priora voluptas

Est homini, cum se cogitat esse pium,

Nec sanctam violasse fidem, nec foedere in ullo

Divom ad fallendos numine abusum homines,


Multa parata manent in longa aetate, Catulle,

Ex hoc ingrato gaudia amore tibi.

Nam quaecumque homines bene cuiquam aut dicere possunt

Aut facere, haec a te dictaque factaque sunt;

Omniaque ingratae perierunt credita menti.


Quare iam te cur amplius excrucies?

Quin tu animo offirmas atque istinc teque reducis

Et dis invitis desinis esse miser?

Difficilest longum subito deponere amorem.

Difficilest, verum hoc quae lubet efficias.


Vna salus haec est, hoc est tibi pervincendum:

Hoc facias, sive id non pote sive pote.

O di, si vestrumst misereri, aut si quibus umquam

Extremam iam ipsa morte tulistis opem,

Me miserum aspicite (et, si vitam puriter egi,


Eripite hanc pestem perniciemque mihi),

Ei mihi surrepens imos ut torpor in artus

Expulit ex omni pectore laetitias.

Non iam illud quaero, contra me ut diligat illa,

Aut, quod non potisest, esse pudica velit:


Ipse valere opto et taetrum hunc deponere morbum.

O di, reddite mi hoc pro pietate mea.



In Self-Gratulation.

If to remember deeds whilòme well done be a pleasure

Meet for a man who deems all of his dealings be just,

Nor Holy Faith ever broke nor in whatever his compact

Sanction of Gods abused better to swindle mankind,


Much there remains for thee during length of living, Catullus,

Out of that Love ingrate further to solace thy soul;

For whatever of good can mortal declare of another

Or can avail he do, such thou hast said and hast done;

While to a thankless mind entrusted all of them perisht.


Why, then, crucify self now with a furthering pain?

Why not steady thy thoughts and draw thee back from such purpose,

Ceasing wretched to be maugrè the will of the Gods?

Difficult 'tis indeed long Love to depose of a sudden,

Difficult 'tis, yet do e'en as thou deem to be best.


This be thy safe-guard sole; this conquest needs to be conquered;


This thou must do, thus act, whether thou cannot or can.

If an ye have (O Gods!) aught ruth, or if you for any

Bring at the moment of death latest assistance to man,

Look upon me (poor me!) and, should I be cleanly of living,


Out of my life deign pluck this my so pestilent plague,

Which as a lethargy o'er mine inmost vitals a-creeping,

Hath from my bosom expelled all of what joyance it joyed,

Now will I crave no more she love me e'en as I love her,

Nor (impossible chance!) ever she prove herself chaste:


Would I were only healed and shed this fulsome disorder.

Oh Gods, grant me this boon unto my piety due!

If to recall good deeds erewhiles performed be pleasure to a man, when he knows himself to be of probity, nor has violated sacred faith, nor has abused the holy assent of the gods in any pact, to work ill to men; great store of joys awaits thee during thy length of years, O Catullus, sprung from this ingrate love of thine. For whatever of benefit men can say or can do for anyone, such have been thy sayings and thy doings, and all thy confidences have been [268]squandered on an ingrate mind. Wherefore now dost torture thyself further? Why not make firm thy heart and withdraw thyself from that [wretchedness], and cease to be unhappy despite the gods' will? 'Tis difficult quickly to depose a love of long growth; 'tis difficult, yet it behoves thee to do this. This is thine only salvation, this is thy great victory; this thou must do, whether it be possible or impossible. O gods, if 'tis in you to have mercy, or if ever ye held forth help to men in death's very extremity, look ye on pitiful me, and if I have acted my life with purity, snatch hence from me this canker and pest, which as a lethargy creeping through my veins and vitals, has cast out every gladness from my breast. Now I no longer pray that she may love me in return, or (what is not possible) that she should become chaste: I wish but for health and to cast aside this shameful complaint. O ye gods, vouchsafe me this in return for my probity.


Quid facit is, Gelli, qui cum matre atque sorore

Prurit et abiectis pervigilat tunicis?

Quid facit is, patruom qui non sinit esse maritum?

Ecqui scis quantum suscipiat sceleris?


Suscipit, o Gelli, quantum non ultima Tethys

Nec genitor lympharum abluit Oceanus:


Nam nihil est quicquam sceleris, quo prodeat ultra,

Non si demisso se ipse voret capite.


To Gellius.

What may he (Gellius!) do that ever for mother and sister

Itches and wakes thro' the nights, working wi' tunic bedoffed?

What may he do who nills his uncle ever be husband?

Wottest thou how much he ventures of sacrilege-sin?


Ventures he (O Gellius!) what ne'er can ultimate Tethys

Wash from his soul, nor yet Ocean, watery sire.

For that of sin there's naught wherewith this sin can exceed he

—— his head on himself.

What does he, Gellius, who with mother and sister itches and keeps vigils with tunics cast aside? What does he, who suffers not his uncle to be a husband? Dost thou know the weight of crime he takes upon himself? He takes, O Gellius, such store as not furthest Tethys nor Oceanus, progenitor of waters, can cleanse: for there is nothing of any crime which can go further, not though with lowered head he swallow himself. [270]


Gellius est tenuis: quid ni? cui tam bona mater

Tamque valens vivat tamque venusta soror

Tamque bonus patruos tamque omnia plena puellis

Cognatis, quare is desinat esse macer?


Qui ut nihil attingit, nisi quod fas tangere non est,

Quantumvis quare sit macer invenies.


On Gellius.

Gellius is lean: Why not? For him so easy a mother

Lives, and a sister so boon, bonny and buxom to boot,

Uncle so kindly good and all things full of his lady-

Cousins, how can he cease leanest of lankies to be?


Albeit, touch he naught save that whose touch is a scandal,

Soon shall thou find wherefor he be as lean as thou like.

Gellius is meagre: why not? He who lives with so good a mother, so healthy and so beauteous a sister, and who has such a good uncle, and a world-*full of girl cousins, wherefore should he leave off being lean? Though he touch naught save what is banned, thou canst find ample reason wherefore he may stay lean. [271]


Nascatur magus ex Gelli matrisque nefando

Coniugio et discat Persicum aruspicium:

Nam magus ex matre et gnato gignatur oportet,

Si verast Persarum inpia relligio,


Navos ut accepto veneretur carmine divos

Omentum in flamma pingue liquefaciens.


On Gellius.

Born be a Magus, got by Gellius out of his mother

(Marriage nefand!) who shall Persian augury learn.

Needs it a Magus begot of son upon mother who bare him,

If that impious faith, Persian religion be fact,


So may their issue adore busy gods with recognised verses

Melting in altar-flame fatness contained by the caul.

Let there be born a Magian from the infamous conjoining of Gellius and his mother, and he shall learn the Persian aruspicy. For a Magian from a mother and son must needs be begotten, if there be truth in Persia's vile creed that one may worship with acceptable hymn the assiduous gods, whilst the caul's fat in the sacred flame is melting. [272]


Non ideo, Gelli, sperabam te mihi fidum

In misero hoc nostro, hoc perdito amore fore,

Quod te cognossem bene constantemve putarem

Aut posse a turpi mentem inhibere probro,


Sed neque quod matrem nec germanam esse videbam

Hanc tibi, cuius me magnus edebat amor.

Et quamvis tecum multo coniungerer usu,

Non satis id causae credideram esse tibi.

Tu satis id duxti: tantum tibi gaudium in omni


Culpast, in quacumque est aliquid sceleris.


To Gellius.

Not for due cause I hoped to find thee (Gellius!) faithful

In this saddest our love, love that is lost and forlore,

Or fro' my wotting thee well or ever believing thee constant,

Or that thy mind could reject villany ever so vile,


But that because was she to thyself nor mother nor sister,

This same damsel whose Love me in its greatness devoured.

Yet though I had been joined wi' thee by amplest of usance,


Still could I never believe this was sufficient of cause.

Thou diddest deem it suffice: so great is thy pleasure in every


Crime wherein may be found somewhat enormous of guilt.

Not for other reason, Gellius, did I hope for thy faith to me in this our unhappy, this our desperate love (because I knew thee well nor thought thee constant or able to restrain thy mind from shameless act), but that I saw this girl was neither thy mother nor thy sister, for whom my ardent love ate me. And although I have had many mutual dealings with thee, I did not credit this case to be enough cause for thee. Thou didst find it enough: so great is thy joy in every kind of guilt in which is something infamous.


Lesbia mi dicit semper male nec tacet umquam

De me: Lesbia me dispeream nisi amat.

Quo signo? quia sunt † totidem mea: deprecor illam

Absidue, verum dispeream nisi amo.


On Lesbia.

Lesbia naggeth at me evermore and ne'er is she silent

Touching myself: May I die but that by Lesbia I'm loved.


What be the proof? I rail and retort like her and revile her

Carefully, yet may I die but that I love her with love.

Lesbia forever speaks ill of me nor is ever silent anent me: may I perish if Lesbia do not love me! By what sign? because I am just the same: I malign her without cease, yet may I die if I do not love her in sober truth.


Nil nimium studeo Caesar tibi belle placere,

Nec scire utrum sis albus an ater homo.


On Julius Cæsar.

Study I not o'ermuch to please thee (Cæsar!) and court thee,

Nor do I care e'en to know an thou be white or be black.

I am not over anxious, Caesar, to please thee greatly, nor to know whether thou art white or black man.


Mentula moechatur. moechatur mentula: certe.

Hoc est, quod dicunt, ipsa olera olla legit.



Against Mentula (Mamurra).

Mentula wooeth much: much wooeth he, be assured.

That is, e'en as they say, the Pot gathers leeks for the pot.

Mentula whores. By the mentule he is be-whored: certes. This is as though they say the oil pot itself gathers the olives.


Zmyrna mei Cinnae nonam post denique messem

Quam coeptast nonamque edita post hiemem,

Milia cum interea quingenta Hortensius uno

      *       *       *       *


Zmyrna cavas Satrachi penitus mittetur ad undas,

Zmyrnam cana diu saecula pervoluent.

At Volusi annales Paduam morientur ad ipsam

Et laxas scombris saepe dabunt tunicas.

Parva mei mihi sint cordi monumenta sodalis,


At populus tumido gaudeat Antimacho.


On the "Zmyrna" of the Poet Cinna.

"Zmyrna" begun erstwhile nine harvests past by my Cinna

Publisht appears when now nine of his winters be gone;


Thousands fifty of lines meanwhile Hortensius in single

      *       *       *       *


"Zmyrna" shall travel afar as the hollow breakers of Satrax,

"Zmyrna" by ages grey lastingly shall be perused.

But upon Padus' brink shall die Volusius his annals

And to the mackerel oft loose-fitting jacket afford.

Dear to my heart are aye the lightest works of my comrade,


Leave I the mob to enjoy tumidest Antimachus.

My Cinna's "Zmyrna" at length, after nine harvests from its inception, is published when nine winters have gone by, whilst in the meantime Hortensius thousands upon thousands in one * * * * "Zmyrna" shall wander abroad e'en to the curving surf of Satrachus, hoary ages shall turn the leaves of "Zmyrna" in distant days. But Volusius' Annals shall perish at Padua itself, and shall often furnish loose wrappings for mackerel. The short writings of my comrade are gladsome to my heart; let the populace rejoice in bombastic Antimachus.


Si quicquam mutis gratum acceptumve sepulcris

Accidere a nostro, Calve, dolore potest,

Quo desiderio veteres renovamus amores

Atque olim missas flemus amicitias,


Certe non tanto mors inmatura dolorist

Quintiliae, quantum gaudet amore tuo.



To Calvus anent Dead Quintilia.

If to the dumb deaf tomb can aught or grateful or pleasing

(Calvus!) ever accrue rising from out of our dule,

Wherewith yearning desire renews our loves in the bygone,

And for long friendships lost many a tear must be shed;


Certès, never so much for doom of premature death-day

Must thy Quintilia mourn as she is joyed by thy love.

If aught grateful or acceptable can penetrate the silent graves from our dolour, Calvus, when with sweet regret we renew old loves and beweep the lost friendships of yore, of a surety not so much doth Quintilia mourn her untimely death as she doth rejoice o'er thy constant love.


Non (ita me di ament) quicquam referre putavi,

Vtrumne os an culum olfacerem Aemilio.

Nilo mundius hoc, niloque immundior ille,

Verum etiam culus mundior et melior:


Nam sine dentibus est: dentes os sesquipedales,

Gingivas vero ploxeni habet veteris,

Praeterea rictum qualem diffissus in aestu

Meientis mulae cunnus habere solet.


Hic futuit multas et se facit esse venustum,


Et non pistrino traditur atque asino?

Quem siqua attingit, non illam posse putemus

Aegroti culum lingere carnificis?


On Æmilius the Foul.

Never (so love me the Gods!) deemed I 'twas preference matter

Or Æmilius' mouth choose I to smell or his ——

Nothing is this more clean, uncleaner nothing that other,

Yet I ajudge —— cleaner and nicer to be;


For while this one lacks teeth, that one has cubit-long tushes,

Set in their battered gums favouring a muddy old box,

Not to say aught of gape like wide-cleft gap of a she-mule

Whenas in summer-heat wont peradventure to stale.

Yet has he many a motte and holds himself to be handsome—


Why wi' the baker's ass is he not bound to the mill?

Him if a damsel kiss we fain must think she be ready

With her fair lips ——

Nay (may the Gods thus love me) have I thought there to be aught of choice whether I might [279]smell thy mouth or thy buttocks, O Aemilius. Nothing could the one be cleaner, nothing the other more filthy; nay in truth thy backside is the cleaner and better,—for it is toothless. Thy mouth hath teeth full half a yard in length, gums of a verity like to an old waggon-box, behind which its gape is such as hath the vulva of a she-mule cleft apart by the summer's heat, always a-staling. This object swives girls enow, and fancies himself a handsome fellow, and is not condemned to the mill as an ass? Whatso girl would touch thee, we think her capable of licking the breech of a leprous hangman.


In te, si in quemquam, dici pote, putide Victi,

Id quod verbosis dicitur et fatuis.

Ista cum lingua, si usus veniat tibi, possis

Culos et crepidas lingere carpatinas.


Si nos omnino vis omnes perdere, Victi,

Hiscas: omnino quod cupis efficies.


To Victius the Stinkard.

Rightly of thee may be said, an of any, (thou stinkingest Victius!)

Whatso wont we to say touching the praters and prigs.

Thou wi' that tongue o' thine own, if granted occasion availest

Brogues of the cowherds to kiss, also their ——


Wouldst thou undo us all with a thorough undoing (O Victius!)

Open thy gape:—thereby all shall be wholly undone.

To thee, if to anyone, may I say, foul-mouthed Victius, that which is said to wind bags and fatuities. For with that tongue, if need arrive, thou couldst lick clodhoppers' shoes, clogs, and buttocks. If thou wishest to destroy us all entirely, Victius, thou need'st but gape: thou wilt accomplish what thou wishest entirely.


Surripui tibi, dum ludis, mellite Iuventi,

Suaviolum dulci dulcius ambrosia.

Verum id non inpune tuli: namque amplius horam

Suffixum in summa me memini esse cruce,


Dum tibi me purgo nec possum fletibus ullis

Tantillum vostrae demere saevitiae.

Nam simul id factumst, multis diluta labella

Abstersti guttis omnibus articulis,

Ne quicquam nostro contractum ex ore maneret,


Tamquam conmictae spurca saliva lupae.

Praeterea infesto miserum me tradere Amori

Non cessasti omnique excruciare modo,

Vt mi ex ambrosia mutatum iam foret illud

Suaviolum tristi tristius helleboro.


Quam quoniam poenam misero proponis amori,

Numquam iam posthac basia surripiam.



To Juventius.

E'en as thou played'st, from thee snatched I (O honied Juventius!)

Kisslet of savour so sweet sweetest Ambrosia unknows.

Yet was the theft nowise scot-free, for more than an hour I

Clearly remember me fixt hanging from crest of the Cross,


Whatwhile I purged my sin unto thee nor with any weeping

Tittle of cruel despite such as be thine could I 'bate.

For that no sooner done thou washed thy liplets with many

Drops which thy fingers did wipe, using their every joint,

Lest of our mouths conjoined remain there aught by the contact


Like unto slaver foul shed by the butterèd bun.

Further, wretchedmost me betrayed to unfriendliest Love-god

Never thou ceased'st to pain hurting with every harm,

So that my taste be turned and kisses ambrosial erstwhile

Even than hellebore-juice bitterest bitterer grow.


Seeing such pangs as these prepared for unfortunate lover,

After this never again kiss will I venture to snatch.


I snatched from thee, whilst thou wast sporting, O honied Juventius, a kiss sweeter than sweet ambrosia. But I bore it off not unpunished; for more than an hour do I remember myself hung on the summit of the cross, whilst I purged myself [for my crime] to thee, nor could any tears in the least remove your anger. For instantly it was done, thou didst bathe thy lips with many drops, and didst cleanse them with every finger-joint, lest anything remained from the conjoining of our mouths, as though it were the obscene slaver of a fetid fricatrice. Nay, more, thou hast handed wretched me over to despiteful Love, nor hast thou ceased to agonize me in every way, so that for me that kiss is now changed from ambrosia to be harsher than harsh hellebore. Since thou dost award such punishment to wretched amourist, never more after this will I steal kisses.


Caelius Aufilenum et Quintius Aufilenam

Flos Veronensum depereunt iuvenum,

Hic fratrem, ille sororem. hoc est, quod dicitur, illud

Fraternum vere dulce sodalitium.


Cui faveam potius? Caeli, tibi: nam tua nobis

Per facta exhibitast unica amicitia,

Cum vesana meas torreret flamma medullas.

Sis felix, Caeli, sis in amore potens.



On Cælius and Quintius.

Cælius Aufilénus and Quintius Aufiléna,

Love to the death, both swains bloom of the youth Veronese,

This woo'd brother and that sue'd sister: so might the matter

Claim to be titled wi' sooth fairest fraternalest tie.


Whom shall I favour the first? Thee (Cælius!) for thou hast provèd

Singular friendship to us shown by the deeds it has done,

Whenas the flames insane had madded me, firing my marrow:

Cælius! happy be thou; ever be lusty in love.

Caelius, Aufilenus; and Quintius, Aufilena;—flower of the Veronese youth,—love desperately: this, the brother; that, the sister. This is, as one would say, true brotherhood and sweet friendship. To whom shall I incline the more? Caelius, to thee; for thy single devotion to us was shewn by its deeds, when the raging flame scorched my marrow. Be happy, O Caelius, be potent in love.


Multas per gentes et multa per aequora vectus

Advenio has miseras, frater, ad inferias,

Vt te postremo donarem munere mortis

Et mutam nequiquam adloquerer cinerem,


Quandoquidem fortuna mihi tete abstulit ipsum,

Heu miser indigne frater adempte mihi.

      *       *       *       *

Nunc tamen interea haec prisco quae more parentum

Tradita sunt tristes munera ad inferias,

Accipe fraterno multum manantia fletu,


Atque in perpetuom, frater, ave atque vale.


On the Burial of his Brother.

Faring thro' many a folk and plowing many a sea-plain

These sad funeral-rites (Brother!) to deal thee I come,

So wi' the latest boons to the dead bestowed I may gift thee,

And I may vainly address ashes that answer have none,


Sithence of thee, very thee, to deprive me Fortune behested,

Woe for thee, Brother forlore! Cruelly severed fro' me.

      *       *       *       *

Yet in the meanwhile now what olden usage of forbears

Brings as the boons that befit mournfullest funeral rites,

Thine be these gifts which flow with tear-flood shed by thy brother,


And, for ever and aye (Brother!) all hail and farewell.


Through many a folk and through many waters borne, I am come, brother, to thy sad grave, that I may give the last gifts to the dead, and may vainly speak to thy mute ashes, since fortune hath borne from me thyself. Ah, hapless brother, heavily snatched from me. * * * But now these gifts, which of yore, in manner ancestral handed down, are the sad gifts to the grave, accept thou, drenched with a brother's tears, and for ever, brother, hail! for ever, adieu!


Si quicquam tacito conmissumst fido ab amico,

Cuius sit penitus nota fides animi,

Meque esse invenies illorum iure sacratum,

Corneli, et factum me esse puta Harpocratem.


To Cornelius.

If by confiding friend aught e'er be trusted in silence,

Unto a man whose mind known is for worthiest trust,

Me shalt thou find no less than such to secrecy oathbound,

(Cornelius!) and now hold me an Harpocrates.

If aught be committed to secret faith from a friend to one whose inner faith of soul is known, thou wilt find me to be of that sacred faith, O Cornelius, and may'st deem me become an Harpocrates. [286]


Aut, sodes, mihi redde decem sestertia, Silo,

Deinde esto quamvis saevus et indomitus:

Aut, si te nummi delectant, desine quaeso

Leno esse atque idem saevus et indomitus.


To Silo.

Or, d'ye hear, refund those ten sestertia (Silo!)

Then be thou e'en at thy will surly and savage o' mood:

Or, an thou love o'er-well those moneys, prithee no longer

Prove thee a pimp and withal surly and savage o' mood.

Prithee, either return me my ten thousand sesterces, Silo; then be to thy content surly and boorish: or, if the money allure thee, desist I pray thee from being a pander and likewise surly and boorish.


Credis me potuisse meae maledicere vitae,

Ambobus mihi quae carior est oculis?

Non potui, nec si possem tam perdite amarem:

Sed tu cum Tappone omnia monstra facis.



Concerning Lesbia.

Canst thou credit that I could avail to revile my life-love,

She who be dearer to me even than either my eyes?

Ne'er could I, nor an I could, should I so losingly love her:

But with Tappo thou dost design every monstrous deed.

Dost deem me capable of speaking ill of my life, she who is dearer to me than are both mine eyes? I could not, nor if I could, would my love be so desperate: but thou with Tappo dost frame everything heinous.


Mentula conatur Pipleum scandere montem:

Musae furcillis praecipitem eiciunt.


On Mamurra.

Mentula fain would ascend Pipléan mountain up-mounting:

Pitch him the Muses down headlong wi' forklets a-hurled.

Mentula presumes the Pimplean mount to scale: the Muses with their pitchforks chuck him headlong down. [288]


Cum puero bello praeconem qui videt esse,

Quid credat, nisi se vendere discupere?


The Auctioneer and the Fair Boy.

When with a pretty-faced boy we see one playing the Crier,

What can we wot except longs he for selling the same?

When with a comely lad a crier is seen to be, what may be thought save that he longs to sell himself.


Siquoi quid cupido optantique obtigit umquam

Insperanti, hoc est gratum animo proprie.

Quare hoc est gratum nobisque est carius auro,

Quod te restituis, Lesbia, mi cupido,


Restituis cupido atque insperanti ipsa refers te.

Nobis o lucem candidiore nota!

Quis me uno vivit felicior, aut magis hac res

Optandas vita dicere quis poterit?


To Lesbia Reconciled.

An to one ever accrue any boon he lusted and longed for

Any time after despair, grateful it comes to his soul.


Thus 'tis grateful to us nor gold was ever so goodly,

When thou restorest thyself (Lesbia!) to lovingmost me,


Self thou restorest unhoped, and after despair thou returnest.

Oh the fair light of a Day noted with notabler white!

Where lives a happier man than myself or—this being won me—

Who shall e'er boast that his life brought him more coveted lot?

If what one desires and covets is ever obtained unhoped for, this is specially grateful to the soul. Wherefore is it grateful to us and far dearer than gold, that thou com'st again, Lesbia, to longing me; com'st yet again, long-looked for and unhoped, thou restorest thyself. O day of whiter note for us! who lives more happily than I, sole I, or who can say what greater thing than this could be hoped for in life?


Si, Comini, populi arbitrio tua cana senectus

Spurcata inpuris moribus intereat,

Non equidem dubito quin primum inimica bonorum

Lingua execta avido sit data volturio,


Effossos oculos voret atro gutture corvos,

Intestina canes, cetera membra lupi.



On Cominius.

If by the verdict o' folk thy hoary old age (O Cominius!)

Filthy with fulsomest lust ever be doomed to the death,

Make I no manner of doubt but first thy tongue to the worthy

Ever a foe, cut out, ravening Vulture shall feed;


Gulp shall the Crow's black gorge those eye-balls dug from their sockets,

Guts of thee go to the dogs, all that remains to the wolves.

If, O Cominius, by the people's vote thy hoary age made filthy by unclean practices shall perish, forsure I doubt not but that first thy tongue, hostile to goodness, cut out, shall be given to the greedy vulture-brood, thine eyes, gouged out, shall the crows gorge down with sable maw, thine entrails [shall be flung] to the dogs, the members still remaining to the wolf.


Iocundum, mea vita, mihi proponis amorem

Hunc nostrum internos perpetuomque fore.

Di magni, facite ut vere promittere possit,

Atque id sincere dicat et ex animo,


Vt liceat nobis tota producere vita

Alternum hoc sanctae foedus amicitae.



To Lesbia on Her Vow of Constancy.

Gladsome to me, O my life, this love whose offer thou deignest

Between us twain lively and lusty to last soothfast.

(Great Gods!) grant ye the boon that prove her promises loyal,

Saying her say in truth spoken with spirit sincere;


So be it lawful for us to protract through length of our life-tide

Mutual pact of our love, pledges of holy good will!

My joy, my life, thou declarest to me that this love of ours shall last ever between us. Great Gods! grant that she may promise truly, and say this in sincerity and from her soul, and that through all our lives we may be allowed to prolong together this bond of holy friendship.


Aufilena, bonae semper laudantur amicae:

Accipiunt pretium, quae facere instituunt.

Tu quod promisti, mihi quod mentita inimica's,

Quod nec das et fers saepe, facis facinus.


Aut facere ingenuaest, aut non promisse pudicae,

Aufilena, fuit: sed data corripere

Fraudando † efficit plus quom meretricis avarae,

Quae sese tota corpore prostituit.



To Aufilena.

Aufiléna! for aye good lasses are lauded as loyal:

Price of themselves they accept when they intend to perform.

All thou promised'st me in belying proves thee unfriendly,

For never giving and oft taking is deed illy done.


Either as honest to grant, or modest as never to promise,

Aufiléna! were fair, but at the gifties to clutch

Fraudfully, viler seems than greed of greediest harlot

Who with her every limb maketh a whore of herself.

Aufilena, honest harlots are always praised: they accept the price of what they intend to do. Thou didst promise that to me, which, being a feigned promise, proves thee unfriendly; not giving that, and often accepting, thou dost wrongfully. Either to do it frankly, or not to promise from modesty, Aufilena, was becoming thee: but to snatch the gift and bilk, proves thee worse than the greedy strumpet who prostitutes herself with every part of her body.


Aufilena, viro contentam vivere solo,

Nuptarum laus e laudibus eximiis:

Sed cuivis quamvis potius succumbere par est,

Quam matrem fratres efficere ex patruo.



To the Same.

Aufiléna! to live content with only one husband,

Praise is and truest of praise ever bestowed upon wife.

Yet were it liefer to lie any wise with any for lover,

Than to be breeder of boys uncle as cousins begat.

Aufilena, to be content to live with single mate, in married dame is praise of praises most excelling: but 'tis preferable to lie beneath any lover thou mayest choose, rather than to make thyself mother to thy cousins out of thy uncle.


Multus homo es Naso, neque tecum multus homost qui

Descendit: Naso, multus es et pathicus.


On Naso.

Great th'art (Naso!) as man, nor like thee many in greatness

Lower themselves (Naso!): great be thou, pathic to boot.

A mighty man thou art, Naso, yet is a man not mighty who doth stoop like thee: Naso thou art mighty—and pathic. [294]


Consule Pompeio primum duo, Cinna, solebant

Mucillam: facto consule nunc iterum

Manserunt duo, sed creverunt milia in unum

Singula. fecundum semen adulterio.


To Cinna.

Pompey first being chosen to Consul, twofold (O Cinna!)

Men for amours were famed: also when chosen again

Two they remained; but now is each one grown to a thousand

Gallants:—fecundate aye springeth adultery's seed.

In the first consulate of Pompey, two, Cinna, were wont to frequent Mucilla: now again made consul, the two remain, but thousands may be added to each unit. The seed of adultery is fecund.


Firmano saltu non falso Mentula dives

Fertur, qui tot res in se habet egregias,

Aucupium, omne genus piscis, prata, arva ferasque.

Nequiquam: fructibus sumptibus exuperat.


Quare concedo sit dives, dum omnia desint.

Saltum laudemus, dum modo eo ipse egeat.



On Mamurra's Squandering.

For yon Firmian domain not falsely Mentula hight is

Richard, owning for self so many excellent things—

Fish, fur, feather, all kinds, with prairie, corn-land, and ferals.

All no good: for th' outgoing, income immensely exceeds.


Therefore his grounds be rich own I, while he's but a pauper.

Laud we thy land while thou lackest joyance thereof.

With Firmian demesne not falsely is Mentula deemed rich, who has everything in it of such excellence, game preserves of every kind, fish, meadows, arable land and ferals. In vain: the yield is o'ercome by the expense. Wherefore I admit the wealth, whilst everything is wanting. We may praise the demesne, but its owner is a needy man.


Mentula habes instar triginta iugera prati,

Quadraginta arvi: cetera sunt maria.

Cur non divitiis Croesum superare potissit

Vno qui in saltu totmoda possideat,


Prata, arva, ingentes silvas saltusque paludesque

Vsque ad Hyperboreos et mare ad Oceanum?

Omnia magna haec sunt, tamen ipse's maximus ultro,

Non homo, sed vero mentula magna minax.



Of the Same.

Mentula! masterest thou some thirty acres of grass-land

Full told, forty of field soil; others are sized as the sea.

Why may he not surpass in his riches any a Crœsus

Who in his one domain owns such abundance of good,


Grass-lands, arable fields, vast woods and forest and marish

Yonder to Boreal-bounds trenching on Ocean tide?

Great are indeed all these, but thou by far be the greatest,

Never a man, but a great Mentula of menacing might.

Mentula has something like thirty acres of meadow land, forty under cultivation: the rest are as the sea. Why might he not o'erpass Croesus in wealth, he who in one demesne possesses so much? Meadow, arable land, immense woods, and demesnes, and morasses, e'en to the uttermost north and to the ocean's tide! All things great are here, yet is the owner most great beyond all; not a man, but in truth a Mentule mighty, menacing!


Saepe tibi studioso animo venante requirens

Carmina uti possem mittere Battiadae,


Qui te lenirem nobis, neu conarere

Telis infestis icere mi usque caput,


Hunc video mihi nunc frustra sumptus esse laborem,

Gelli, nec nostras his valuisse preces.

Contra nos tela ista tua evitamus amictu:

At fixus nostris tu dabi' supplicium.


To Gellius the Critic.

Seeking often in mind with spirit eager of study

How I could send thee songs chaunted of Battiadés,

So thou be softened to us, nor any attempting thou venture

Shot of thy hostile shaft piercing me high as its head,—


Now do I ken this toil with vainest purpose was taken,

(Gellius!) nor herein aught have our prayers availèd.

Therefore we'll parry with cloak what shafts thou shootest against us;

And by our bolts transfixt, penalty due thou shalt pay.

Oft with studious mind brought close, enquiring how I might send thee the poems of Battiades for [298]use, that I might soften thee towards us, nor thou continually attempt to sting my head with troublesome barbs—this I see now to have been trouble and labour in vain, O Gellius, nor were our prayers to this end of any avail. Thy weapons against us we will ward off with our cloak; but, transfixed with ours, thou shalt suffer punishment. [299]



Carmen ii. v. 1. Politian, commenting on Catullus, held in common with Lampridius, Turnebus and Vossius that Lesbia's sparrow was an indecent allegory, like the "grey duck" in Pope's imitation of Chaucer. Sannazarius wrote an Epigram smartly castigating Politian, the closing lines of which were to the effect that the critic would like to devour the bird:—

Meus hic Pulicianus

Tam bellum sibi passerem Catulli

Intra viscera habere concupiscit.

Martial says:

"Kiss me and I will give you Catullus's sparrow,

by which he does not mean a poem.

And in the Apophoreta:

"If you have such a sparrow as Catullus's Lesbia deplored, it may lodge here."

Chaulieu has a similar Epigram:—

Autant et plus que sa vie

Phyllis aime un passereau;

Ainsi la jeune Lesbie

Jadis aima son moineau.

Mais de celui de Catulle

Se laissant aussi charmer,

Dans sa cage, sans scrupule,

Elle eut soin de l' enfermer.

Héguin de Guerle however sees nothing to justify this opinion, remarking that Catullus was not the man to use a [300]veil of allegory in saying an indecency. "He preferred the bare, and even coarse, word; and he is too rich in this style of writing to need the loan of equivocal passages."

v. 12. The story of the race between Hippomenes and Atalanta, and how the crafty lover tricked the damsel into defeat by the three golden apples is well known. Cf. Ovid. Metam. lib. x. v. 560, et seq. According to Vossius the gift of an apple was equivalent to a promise of the last favour. The Emperor Theodosius caused Paulinus to be murdered for receiving an apple from his Empress. As to this, cf. the "Tale of the Three Apples," in The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night (Sir Richard Burton's Translation, Benares, 1885-8, 16 volumes), vol. i. p. 191. Cf. also note to C. lxv. v. 19.

v. 13. Virgins wore a girdle, generally of wool, for wool by the ancients was supposed to excite love, which the bridegroom the first night unbound in bed. Both in Greek and in Latin the phrase to undo the zone was used to signify the loss of virginity.

C. vi. v. 8. Some say this is the spikenard, and the same with the Syrian malobathrum. But any rich odour was termed Syrian, by the Romans, who were extravagantly fond of perfumes; and used them, according to Vulpius, as provocatives to venery.

v. 9. Pulvinus, not pulvinar. Cf. carmen lxiiii. v. 47, post.

C. vii. v. 6. Battus (in Libyan) Bahatus, a chief, a ruler.—Halevy Essai, p. 164.—R. F. B.

C. viii. v. 18. Plautus speaks of Teneris labellis molles morsiunculae. Thus too Horace:

Sive puer furens

Impressit memorem dente labris notam.

Or on thy lips the fierce fond boy

Marks with his teeth the furious joy. Francis.

Plutarch tells us that Flora, the mistress of Cn. Pompey, used to say in commendation of her lover, that she could never quit his arms without giving him a bite. [301]

C. xi. v. 5. In the Classics, Arabs always appear as a soft effeminate race; under primitive Christianity as heretics; and after the seventh century as conquerors, men of letters, philosophers, mediciners, magicians and alchemists.—R. F. B.

v. 20. Ilia rumpens. More exactly rendered by Biacca:

E sol di tutti

Tenta l'iniqua ad isnervar i fianchi.

Guarini says of a coquette, that she likes to do with lovers as with gowns, have plenty of them, use one after another, and change them often.

C. xiii. v. 9. I understand this, "Thou shalt depart after supper carrying with thee all our hearts."—R. F. B.

C. xiiii. v. 15. Whence our Christmas-day, the Winter Solstice connected with Christianity. There are only four universal festivals—"Holy days,"—and they are all of solar origin—The Solstices and the Equinoxes.—R. F. B.

C. xv. v. 7. The Etymology of "platea" shows it to be a street widening into a kind of place, as we often find in the old country towns of Southern Europe.—R. F. B.

v. 18. Patente porta. This may be read "Your house door being open so that each passer may see your punishment," or it may be interpreted as referring to the punishment itself, i.e., through the opened buttocks.

v. 19. This mode of punishing adulterers was first instituted amongst the Athenians. The victim being securely tied, a mullet was thrust up his fundament and withdrawn, the sharp gills of the fish causing excruciating torment to the sufferer during the process of its withdrawal, and grievously lacerating the bowels. Sometimes an enormous radish was substituted for the mullet. According to an epigram quoted by Vossius from the Anthologia, Alcaeus, the comic writer, died under this very punishment.

Lo here Alcaeus sleeps; whom earth's green child,

The broad-leaved radish, lust's avenger, kill'd.

C. xvi. v. 1. Paedicabo et irrumabo. These detestable words are used here only as coarse forms of threatening, with no very definite meaning. It is certain that they were very [302]commonly employed in this way, with no more distinct reference to their original import than the corresponding phrases of the modern Italians, T' ho in culo and becco fottuto, or certain brutal exclamations common in the mouths of the English vulgar.

v. 5. Ovid has a distich to the same effect:

Crede mihi, distant mores a carmine nostri;

Vita verecunda est, musa jocosa mihi.

"Believe me there is a vast difference between my morals and my song; my life is decorous, my muse is wanton." And Martial says:

Lasciva est nobis pagina, vita proba est.

Which is thus translated by Maynard:

Si ma plume est une putain,

Ma vie est une sainte.

Pliny quotes this poem of Catullus to excuse the wantonness of his own verses, which he is sending to his friend Paternus; and Apuleius cites the passage in his Apology for the same purpose. "Whoever," says Lambe, "would see the subject fully discussed, should turn to the Essay on the Literary Character by Mr. Disraeli." He enumerates as instances of free writers who have led pure lives, La Motte le Vayer, Bayle, la Fontaine, Smollet, and Cowley. "The imagination," he adds, "may be a volcano, while the heart is an Alp of ice." It would, however, be difficult to enlarge this list, while on the other hand, the catalogue of those who really practised the licentiousness they celebrated, would be very numerous. One period alone, the reign of Charles the Second, would furnish more than enough to outnumber the above small phalanx of purity. Muretus, whose poems clearly gave him every right to knowledge on the subject, but whose known debauchery would certainly have forbidden any credit to accrue to himself from establishing the general purity of lascivious poets, at once rejects the probability of such a contrast, saying:

Quisquis versibus exprimit Catullum

Raro moribus exprimit Catonem.

"One who is a Catullus in verse, is rarely a Cato in morals." [303]

C. xviii. This and the two following poems are found in the Catalecta of Vergilius, but they are assigned to Catullus by many of the best critics, chiefly on the authority of Terentianus Maurus.

v. 2. Cf. Auct. Priapeiorum, Eps. lv. v. 6, and lxxvii. v. 15.

v. 3. Ostreosior. This Epithet, peculiarly Catullian, is appropriate to the coasts most favoured by Priapus; oysters being an incentive to lust.

C. xx. v. 19. The traveller mocks at Priapus' threat of sodomy, regarding it as a pleasure instead of as a punishment. The god, in anger, retorts that if that punishment has no fears for him, a fustigation by the farmer with the self-same mentule used as a cudgel may have a more deterrent effect. Cf. Auct. Priap. Ep. li. v. 27, 28:

Nimirum apertam convolatis ad poenam:

Et vos hoc ipsum, quod minamur, invitat.

Without doubt, ye flock to the open punishment [so called because the natural parts of Priapus were always exposed to view], and the very thing with which I threaten, allures you.

And also Ep. lxiv.,

Quidam mollior anseris medulla,

Furatum venit hoc amor poenae.

Furetur licet usque non videbo.

One than a goose's marrow softer far,

Comes hither stealing for it's penalty sake;

Steal he as please him: I will see him not.

C. xxiii. v. 6. Dry and meagre as wood; like the woman of whom Scarron says, that she never snuffed the candle with her fingers for fear of setting them on fire.

C. xxv. v. 1. Cf. Auct. Priap. Ep. xlv.

v. 5. This is a Catullian crux. Mr. Arthur Palmer (Trinity College, Dublin, Jan. 31, 1890) proposes, and we adopt—

"Cum diva miluorum aves ostendit oscitantes."

(When the Goddess of Kites shows you birds agape.)

Diva miluorum is—Diva furum, Goddess of thieves; i.e., Laverna Milvus (hawk) being generally used for a rapacious [304]robber. Mr. Palmer quotes Plaut. (Poen. 5, 5, 13; Pers. 3, 4, 5; Bacch. 2, 3, 40), and others.—R. F. B.

v. 6. Involasti, thou didst swoop—still metaphor of the prey-bird.—R. F. B.

C. xxvi. v. 3. Still the "Bora" of the Adriatic, extending, with intervals, from Trieste to Bari. It is a N.N. Easter of peculiar electrical properties, causing extreme thirst, wrecking ships, upsetting mail-trains, and sweeping carriages and horses into the sea. Austral, the south wind, is represented in these days by the Scirocco, S.S.E. It sets out from Africa a dry wind, becomes supersaturated in the Mediterranean, and is the scourge of Southern Italy, exhausting the air of ozone and depressing the spirits and making man utterly useless and miserable.—R. F. B.

C. xxviii. v. 10. These expressions, like those in carmen xvi. ante, are merely terms of realistically gross abuse.

C. xxviiii. v. 5. Cinaede Romule. The epithet is here applied in its grossest sense, which again is implied in the allusion to the spoil of Pontus; for this, as Vossius proves, can only be understood to mean the wealth obtained by Caesar, when a young man, through his infamous relations with Nicomedes, king of Pontus—as witness two lines sung by Caesar's own soldiers on the occasion of his triumph:

Ecce Caesar nunc triumphat, qui subegit Galliam;

Nicomedes non triumphat, qui subegit Caesarem.

v. 13. Defututa Mentula = a worn-out voluptuary. Mentula is a cant term which Catullus frequently uses for a libidinous person, and particularly for Mamurra.

v. 24. Pompey married Caesar's daughter, Julia, and is commonly supposed to be the "son-in-law" here meant; but Vossius argues with some force, that socer and gener apply, not to Caesar and Pompey, but to Caesar and Mamurra. Those words, and the corresponding terms in Greek, were often used in an unnatural sense, as for instance in an epigram on Noctuinus, attributed to Calvus, in which occurs this very line, Gener socerque perdidistis omnia. [305]

C. xxxi. v. 1. As the Venice-Trieste railway runs along the southern bar of the pyriform narrow, Lago di Garda, with its towering mountains, whose heads are usually in the storm-clouds, and whose feet sink into the nearest vineyards, the traveller catches a sight of the Sirmio Spit, long and sandy. It is a narrow ridge boldly projecting into the lake (once called Benacus) which was formerly a marsh, but now made into an island by the simple process of ditch cutting: at the southern end is the Sermione hill and its picturesque Scottish-German Castle. To the north are some ruins supposed to be the old Villa of Catullus, but they seem too extensive to serve for the purpose.—R. F. B.

C. xxxii. v. 11. Pezay, a French translator, strangely mistakes the meaning of the passage, as if it amounted to this, "I have gorged till I am ready to burst;" and he quotes the remark of "une femme charmante," who said that her only reply to such a billet-doux would have been to send the writer an emetic. But the lady might have prescribed a different remedy if she had been acquainted with Martial's line:

O quoties rigidâ pulsabis pallia venâ!

or with this quatrain of an old French poet:

Ainsi depuis une semaine

La longue roideur de ma veine,

Pour néant rouge et bien en point,

Bat ma chemise et mon pourpoint.

C. xxxvii. v. 1. Taverns and Wine-shops in Rome were distinguished by pillars projecting into the streets, the better to catch the eye of the passenger, as sign-posts of inns do with us now; the tavern in question was a house of ill-fame, and we are told it was the ninth column or sign-post from the Temple of Castor and Pollux.

v. 2. It was customary to display on the fronts of brothels the names of the inmates, just as shopkeepers' names were inscribed over places of more reputable trade: this was called inscriptio or titulus.

v. 10. Scorpionibus. Indecent inscriptions scribbled on the walls and door with burnt sticks. [306]

v. 11. Catullus's mistress had, it seems, run away from him to a common brothel, in front of which it was the custom, not only for women but even for men, to sit down and offer themselves for prostitution.

v. 16. Semitarii moechi. Whoremongers who take up with common women who offer themselves at every corner of the streets for a mere trifle.

v. 20. Hibera Urina. We are assured by Strabo, Lib. 3, that this filthy custom prevailed greatly in Spain: teeth were not only washed in stale urine, the acid of which must necessarily render them white, but they were also rubbed with a powder of calcined human excrement. Persons sometimes even bathed their whole bodies in urine.

C. xxxxi. v. 3. Turpiculo naso. The kind of nose alluded to is such as sheep or goats have. Cf. Lucretius, lib. iv. v. 1152.

C. xxxxvii. v. 6. In trivio, i.e., in the most public places, in hopes of finding some host.

v. 7. This hunting for invitations does not, according to modern notions, place the two friends of Catullus in a respectable light; but it was a common and avowed practice at Rome.

C. liii. v. 5. Salaputium. A pet name for the male virile member. This word has been the subject of much debate among the learned. Some read solopachium, meaning a "mannikin eighteen inches high"; Saumasius proposes salopygium, a "wagtail"; several editors have salaputium, an indelicate word nurses used to children when they fondled them, so that the exclamation would mean, "what a learned little puppet!" Thus Augustus called Horace purissimum penem.

C. liiii. I find it an impossibility to make any sense out of this poem.

v. 5. Seni recocto. Horace applies this epithet to one who has served the office of quinquevir, or proconsul's notary, and who was therefore master of all the arts of chicanery. These are his words, Sat. v. lib. 2:


Plerumque recoctus

Scriba ex quinqueviro corvum deludit hiantem.

A seasoned scrivener, bred in office low,

Full often dupes and mocks the gaping crow. Francis.

The modern Italians say of a man of this stamp, Egli ha cotto il culo ne' ceci rossi. The phrase seni recocto may imply one who enjoys a green and vigorous old age, as if made young again, as the old woman was by wine, of whom Petronius speaks, Anus recocta vino; or Æson, who was re-cooked by Medaea. That witch, says Valerius Flaccus, Recoquit fessos aetate parentes.

C. lvi. v. 6. Trusantem. Many read crissantem, which means the movement of the loins in women; ceventem being the like of a man. As the expression refers to the lad, crissantem cannot be correct.

v. 7. Pro telo. Alluding to the custom of punishing adulterers by transfixing them with darts. The double-entendre of Telo with Mentula is evident, and makes clear the apology to Venus. See lib. 9 of Apuleius for a similar passage.

C. lvii. v. 7. Erudituli. The accomplishments alluded to are not literary, but Priapeian. It is in this sense Petronius calls Gito doctissimus puer. Œzema, a grave German jurist, parodied a part of this piece. His epigram can be read without danger of having one's stomach turned.

Belle convenit inter elegantes

Dione's famulas, et eruditos

Antiquae Themidis meos sodales.

Nos jus justitiamque profitemur:

Illae semper amant coluntque rectum.

"There is a charming coincidence of sentiment between the fair votaries of Venus and my learned brethren: we profess law and justice; they dearly love the thing that is upright."

C. lviii. v. 1. Caeli. This is the same with Caelius Rufus, Catullus's rival in the affections of Lesbia, or Clodia, according to Achilles Statius; Plutarch calls her Quadrantaria; she was debauched by her own brother, Publius Clodius; afterwards she became the mistress of Catullus, and lastly the common strumpet of Rome. [308]

v. 4. The meanest trulls frequented the public streets.

v. 5. Glubit. Glubo = to husk (corn), hence it is tropically used to denote masturbation. Cf. Ausonius, epigram 71.

C. lviiii. v. 1. Fellat. This refers to the complacent use by the female of her lips in the act of connection.

v. 3. The half-starved women of pleasure attended at funerals in the hope of picking up parts of the viands which were laid on the pile and burnt with the body.

C. lxi. v. 22. Myrtus Asia. The Asia of Catullus was that marshy tract of land near Mount Tmolus and the River Caystrus. Cf. Homer (Il. ii. 461) for the "Ancient Meadow." It was said to be as famous for its myrtles as for its cranes. Proper "Asia Minor" is the title first used by Oratius (Orazius?) (1. 2.) in the IVth century. See the "Life and Works of St. Paul," by Dr. Farrar (i. 465).—R. F. B.

v. 54. Timens. Many more obscenely write tumens, thus changing the "fear-full" bridegroom into the "swollen" bridegroom.

v. 123. It was usual for the mirthful friends of the newly married couple to sing obscene songs called Fescennine, which were tolerated on this occasion.

v. 124. Nec nuces pueris. This custom of throwing nuts, such as walnuts or almonds, is of Athenian origin; some say it was meant to divert the attention from the raptures of the bride and bridegroom, when in bed, by the noise they, and the scrambling boys, made on the floor. For nuces, referring to the use of boys, see Verg. Eclogue 8.

v. 125. Concubinus. By the shamelessness of this passage, it would seem to be quite a usual thing amongst the youthful Roman aristocracy to possess a bedfellow of their own sex.

v. 137. "This coarse imitation of the Fescennine poems," says Dunlop (History of Roman Literature), "leaves on our minds a stronger impression of the prevalence and extent of Roman vices than any other passage in the Latin classics. Martial, and Catullus himself elsewhere, have branded their enemies; and Juvenal, in bursts of satiric [309]indignation, has reproached his countrymen with the blackest crimes. But here, in a complimentary poem to a patron and intimate friend, these are jocularly alluded to as the venial indulgence of his earliest youth."

C. lxii. v. 39, et seq. Thus exquisitely rendered by Spenser, Faery Queen, b. ii. c. 12:

The whiles some one did chaunt this lovely lay:

"Ah! see, whoso fayre thing doest faine to see,

In springing flowre the image of thy day!

Ah! see the virgin rose, how sweetly she

Doth first peepe foorth with bashfull modestie,

That fairer seemes the lesse ye see her may!

Lo see soone after how more bold and free

Her bared bosome she doth broad display;

Lo! see soone after how she fades and falls away!

"So passeth, in the passing of a day,

Of mortal life the leafe, the bud, the flowre;

Ne more doth flourish after first decay,

That erst was sought to deck both bed and bowre

Of many a lady, and many a paramoure!

Gather therefore the rose whilest yet is prime,

For soone comes age that will her pride deflowre;

Gather the rose of love whilest yet is time,

Whilest loving thou mayst loved be with equal crime."

C. lxiii. v. 23. Women devoted to the service of Bacchus or of Cybele; for many things were common to the rights of both deities. The name is derived from μαινεσθαι, to rave.

v. 28. Thiasus is properly a chorus of sacred singers and dancers, living in a community, like a college of dervishes, who, indeed, are an exact counterpart of the Galli as regards their howling and dancing ritual, but have the advantage of their predecessors in one important particular, i.e., they are not castrated.

C. lxiiii. v. 65. The strophium was a band which confined the breasts and restrained the exuberance of their growth. Martial apostrophizes it thus:

Fascia, crescentes dominae compesce papillas,

Ut sit quod capiat nostra tegatque manus.

"Confine the growth of my fair one's breasts, that they may be just large enough for my hand to enclose them." [310]

v. 377. Circumdare filo. That is, may you to-morrow prove that you are no longer a virgin; for the ancients had an idea that the neck swelled after venery; perhaps from the supposed descent of the procreative fluid which they thought lodged in the brain. See Hippocrates and Aristotle upon this subject. The swelling of the bride's neck was therefore ascertained by measurement with a thread on the morning after the nuptials, and was held to be sufficient proof of their happy consummation. The ancients, says Pezay, had faith in another equally absurd test of virginity. They measured the circumference of the neck with a thread. Then the girl under trial took the two ends of the magic thread in her teeth, and if it was found to be so long that its bight could be passed over her head, it was clear she was not a maid. By this rule all the thin girls might pass for vestals, and all the plump ones for the reverse.

v. 403. Semiramis is said to have done thus by her son Ninus.

C. lxv. v. 19. The gift of an apple had a very tender meaning; according to Vossius it was quasi pignus concubitus, that is to say, it was the climax

To all those token flowers that tell

What words can never speak so well.

In one of the love epistles of Aristaenetus, Phalaris complains to her friend Petala, how her younger sister, who had accompanied her to dine with Pamphilus, her lover, attempted to seduce him, and among other wanton tricks did as follows: "Pamphilus, biting off a piece of an apple, chucked it dexterously into her bosom; she took it, kissed it, and thrusting it under her sash, hid it between her breasts." Cf. note to C. ii. v. 12, ante.

C. lxvii. v. 21. Languidior. This expression, here obscenely applied, is proverbial, from the flagging of the leaves of the beet; hence the Latin word batizare, to droop, used by Suetonius, in Augusto. See Pliny on this plant, Cap. xiii. lib. 9.

v. 28. Zonam Solvere. See the note to C. ii. v. 13.

v. 30. Minxerit in gremium. Horace uses the word mingere in the same sense:

Dicitur ut formae melioris meïat eodem.

Hor. Sat. vii. lib. 2.


and in like manner Persius

Patriciae immeïat vulvae.

Pliny more than once uses the word urina pro semine.

C. lxviiii. v. 6. Sub alarum. Many would join these two words and form one, which, however, is not authorised by any ancient writer. The Spaniards, it is true, say sobaco, the armpit, but this does not justify a new Latin coinage of any similar word. The smell alluded to in this line has often been compared to that of a goat; it is called capram, caprum, and hircam. Thus Horace, Epod. 12,

Namque sagacius unus odoror

Polypus an gravis hirsutis cubet hircus in alis.

This tetterous complaint is peculiar to warm countries; we know scarcely anything of it in our northern climate.

C. lxxiiii. v. 6. The reader will easily guess that one reason for the uncle's inability to murmur was owing to the occupation which Gellius had thrust on him.

C. lxxvii. v. 8. Suavia comminxit. This habit, which the filthy Rufus adopts, is mentioned by Lucretius:

Jungunt salivas

Oris, et inspirant pressantes dentibus ora.

Lucret. lib. 4.

C. lxxx. v. 6. Martial has a similar expression,

Lambebat medios improba lingua viros.

v. 8. Ilia, et emulso. Lucretius uses the word mulgere in the same sense in lib. 4.

C. lxxxiiii. v. 2. The first notice in the classics of our far-famed 'Arry, whose female is 'Arriet.—R. F. B.

C. lxxxviiii. v. 1. The good condition and number of the relations of Gellius are assigned as the causes of his macilency, Gellius being an adulterer of the most infamous kind. Thus Propertius, on the amorous disposition peculiar to those of a spare make,

What tho' my slender shape enervate seem,

Think not that vigour flies my meagre frame;


At Venus' rites I ne'er was known to fail,

Th' experienc'd fair can this dear truth reveal.

Proper., Eleg. 22. lib. 2.

C. lxxxx. v. 6. Omentum. The sages used to draw omens from the entrails of sacrificed beasts as they were burning; but more particularly from the omentum, or caul, that apron of fat which covers the abdominal viscera.

C. lxxxxiiii. v. 1. There is a double meaning in the original, and the translator can give but half of it. Mentula, synonymous with penis, is a nickname applied by Catullus to Mamurra, of whom he says (cxv.) that he is not a man, but a great thundering mentula. Mahérault has happily rendered the meaning of the epigram in French, in which language there is an equivalent for Mentula, that is to say, a man's name which is also a popular synonym for what characterizes the god Priapus. "Jean Chouard fornique; eh! sans doute, c'est bien Jean Chouard. C'est ainsi qu'on peut dire que c'est la marmite qui cueille les choux." Achilles Statius interprets this distich thus, "It is the flesh that is guilty, and not I who am guilty; so is it the pot that robs the garden, and not the thief that robs the pot-herbs."

v. 2. Ipsa olera olla legat. This may have been a cant proverb of the day containing a meaning which is now unknown to us. Parthenius interprets it "A libidinous man is apt in adultery, as a vessel is suited to hold its contents."

C. lxxxxvii. v. 1. There is in the Greek Anthology a similar epigram by Nicarchus, which has thus been translated by Grotius:

Non culo, Theodore, minus tibi foetida bucca est

Noscera discrimen sit sapientis opus.

Scribere debueras hîc podex est meus, hic os;

Nunc tu cum pedas atque loquare simul,

Discere non valeo, quid venerit inde vel inde;

Vipera namque infra sibilat atque supra.

v. 7. Few are ignorant of what Scaliger here gravely tells us: fessi muli strigare solent, ut meiant. Vossius reads defissus, in a different sense. [313]

C. lxxxxviiii. This poem shews beyond contradiction that Catullus himself was not free from the vice of paederasty, so universal amongst the Roman youth.

v. 10. Lupae. The infamous, fetid harlot is called lupa (a she-wolf) from the ravenousness of the wolf answering to the rapacious disposition of the generality of courtezans: but Servius, Aen. 3, assigns a much more improper and filthy reason.

C. c. v. 1. Again the Roman paederasty shews itself in Caelius's affection for Aufilenus.

C. ciii. It appears that Catullus had given a sum of money to the pander Silo to procure him a mistress. He did not perform his engagement, but kept the money, and abused our sinning bard when he reproached him with the cheat.

C. cv. There are not wanting commentators who give a very obscene turn to this epigram against Mamurra.

C. cx. v. 4. The word dare has here an erotic sense.

v. 8. Tota corpore prostituit. Some commentators think that this alludes to such women as not only submit to prostitution, but are in every way subservient to the lascivious caprices of depraved appetites. Vossius inclines to such an interpretation.

C. cxii. v. 2. Multus. Some commentators read moltus in an obscene sense, à molendo. Vossius understands by descendere in sese the same act as is alluded to in C. lxxxviii., hence the force of the word multus, meaning cum feminâ, which he jeeringly applies to Naso as though he would ironically exclaim: Et tu feminâ! tu solus es, aut sine feminâ. He writes the epigram thus:

Multus homo est, Naso, neque secum multus homo qui

Descendit? Naso, multus es et pathicus?


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