Translation:Catullus 67

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Catullus 67
by Catullus, translated from Latin by Wikisource


Literal English Translation Original Latin Line

Oh thing which is pleasing to a sweet husband, pleasing to parents,
greetings, and may Jupiter enrich you with good wealth,
Door, which they say served Balbus kindly
once, when the old man himself held the house,
and which they say in turn served his son badly,
after you were made a bridal door with the old man laid out.
Come now, tell us why you are said to have changed
and to have deserted your old loyalty to your master.

"It is not (may I please Caecilius in this way, to whom I have now been handed over)
my fault, although it is said to be mine,
no one can speak of any wrongdoing by me:
but it is the judgement of people that the door does each deed,
who, whenever something is found out to have been done badly,
they all shout at me: Door, it is your fault."

It is not enough that you say it in one word.
But make it so that anyone can feel and see it.

"How can I? Nobody asks nor tries to understand?"

I want to: do not hesitate to tell me.

"Therefore first, the thing which is reported that she was handed over to us a virgin,
is false. Her husband did not touch her before,
he whose dagger hung weaker than a soft beet.
It never raised itself to the middle of his tunic;
but his father is said to have violated the bed of his ridiculed son,
either because his impious mind burned with a blind love,
or because his son was infertile with barren seed,
so something more vigorous had to be sought elsewhere,
which could loosen her virgin belt."

You tell of an outstanding parent with amazing dutifulness,
who himself has pissed in his own son's lap.

"And Brixia does not only say this, that it has knowledge of this,
Brixia which is positioned below the watchtower of Cycnus,
beside which the golden Mella runs with a gentle flow,
Brixia the beloved mother of my Verona,
but it tells about Postumius and the love of Cornelius,
with whom she committed terrible adultery.
At this point someone may say, "Door, how do you know that,
it is never allowed for you to be away from your master's threshold,
nor to eavesdrop on people, but fixed here to this little beam
you are only accustomed to open and close the house?
often I heard her speaking with a furtive voice
alone with her slave-girls about these misdeeds of hers,
speaking by name those I have spoken of, as if she expected me
to have neither a tongue nor little ear.
Moreover she added someone else, whom I do not want to mention
by name in case he raises his red eyebrows.
He is a tall man, who was once brought to a big lawsuit
concerning a fake childbirth with a lying belly.

O dulci iucunda virgo, iucunda parenti,
     salve, teque bona Iuppiter auctet ope,
ianua, quam Balbo dicunt servisse benigne
     olim, cum sedes ipse senex tenuit,
quamque ferunt rursus gnato servisse maligne,
     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 mea est, quamquam dicitur esse mea,
nec peccatum a me quisquam pote dicere quicquam:
     verum istius populi ianua qui te facit,
qui quacumque aliquid reperitur non bene factum
     ad me omnes clamant: ianua, culpa tua est.”

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,
     falsum est. 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 impia mens caeco flagrabat amore,
     seu quod iners sterili semine natus erat,
ut quaerendum 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 dicit se cognitum habere
     Brixia Cycneae supposita speculae,
flavus quam molli praecurrit flumine Mella,
     Brixia Veronae mater amata meae,
sed de Postumio et Corneli narrat amore,
     cum quibus illa malum fecit adulterium.
dixerit hic aliquis: quid? tu istaec, ianua, nosti,
     cui numquam domini limine abesse licet,
nec populum auscultare, sed hic suffixa tigillo
     tantum operire soles aut aperire domum?
saepe illam audivi furtiva voce loquentem
     solam cum ancillis haec sua flagitia,
nomine dicentem quos diximus, utpote quae mi
     speraret nec linguam esse nec auriculam.
praeterea addebat quendam, quem dicere nolo
     nomine, ne tollat rubra supercilia.
longus homo est, magnas cui lites intulit olim
     falsum mendaci ventre puerperium.”

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