Translation:Catullus 68

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Literal English Translation Original Latin Line

That you, overwhelmed by fortune and bitter plight, send me

this short letter, written down with tears.

That I may rescue one shipwrecked, expelled by the frothing waves

of the sea, and bring him back in health from the threshold of

death, him whom heavenly Venus provides no relief, alone in a

celibate bed, in languid sleep,

nor Muses delight with sweet song of ancient writers

when your mind stays anxiously awake all night,

pleases me because you tell me I'm your friend

and seek the gifts both of the Muses and of Venus.

But lest you not know my misfortunes, Manius,

or think I rue my guest's obligation,

listen, lest you further seek from a miserable man the blessed gifts

wherewith I myself am submerged in the waves of Fortune.

At that time when a grown man's toga was first handed down to me,

when the age, rife with flowers, issued a pleasant spring,

I had played much: the goddess is well aware of us,

she who mixes our sweet bitterness with cares.

But my brother's death has taken this eager pasttime

away from me entirely. My brother, unhappily removed from me,

as you were dying, you broke my advantages; my brother, our

whole house was buried along with you,

and all our joys perished along with you,

joys which your kind friendship nurtured in life.

Because of untimely death I have expelled from my entire

consciousness these pastimes and all delights of the mind.

Wherefore, because you write that it is shameful for

Catullus to be in Verona, because here, anyone who is anyone

would be wont to warm limbs cold from a lonely bed, it is

not just a shame, Manius, but a source of real grief.

Therefore, please forgive me if I do not grant you the gifts

which grief has taken from me, for I cannot so grant them.

For, as for the fact that I do not have a great abundance of

writings at my family home in Verona, it happens that we

live in Rome: that house, that home of mine, there my life

is browsed, and one small scroll case out of many follows me

here. Since it is so, I wouldn't want you to decide that I'm

doing this out of spite or lack of appropriate generosity

because an abundance of neither kind of poem has been sent

to you though you have sought it. If any such abundance were

forthcoming, I would produce it unasked. I cannot keep

silent, ye goddesses, about the matter with which Allius

Manius has helped me, or about the extent of the obligations

with which he has helped me, lest his life, which slips away

as the generations forget, cover this zeal with a blind

night: but I'll tell you, hereafter tell many thousands and

make this roll of papyrus speak when it is old... ...

When he is dead, may he become more and more famous, and may no

spider do her work, weaving a thin web high upon Allius'

lonely name! You know what concern two-faced Venus has given

me, and in what manner she has parched me, for I've been

burning like Etna's Sicilian crag or the waters of Malis in

the hot gates of Mount Oeta, and my hapless eyes have not

stopped wasting away in unremitting tears, and my cheeks

have not stopped being wet with the gloomy tears of rain. As

a stream, shining on the summit of an airy mountain, a

stream that rushes forth from the mossy stone, cuts through

the way of a dense population and suddenly rolls from a

sloping valley is sweet comfort to a tired, sweaty traveler

when severely hot weather cracks the parched fields, and

precisely as a second wind that comes blowing rather gently

is sweet comfort after sailors have been buffeted about in a

black tornado, such help has Allius Manius been to me, now

that the prayers of Castor and Pollux have been issued. With

a wide path, he has opened up a shut plain, and he has given

a home to me and to Lesbia, to which she and I would come to

ply our mutual love. My radiant goddess brought herself

fleetly to Allius' home and set her foot's gleaming sole in

the worn doorway, her weight balanced on a squeaky sandal,

as Laodamia, burning with love, once came to the house of

her husband Protesilaus, a house begun in vain, since no

sacrificial animal had yet appeased the heavenly masters

with its holy blood. Nemesis, nothing of the sort that is

undertaken recklessly, when the gods are unwilling, would

please me so very much. Laodamia learned how the hungry

altar longed for upright blood when her husband was taken

away, and she was compelled to let go of her new husband's

neck before the return of winter had satisfied her

passionate love in the long nights, with the result that she

was able to live after breaking off the marriage, which the

Fates knew would not be a long way off if he went as a

soldier to Troy. At that time, with the abduction of Helen,

Troy had begun to rouse the chief men of the Argives toward

herself, Troy (horror!), shared tomb of Asia and Europe,

Troy, cruel funeral pyre of all men and virtues, which has

even brought a miserable death to my brother! Our whole

house has been buried together with you, and all our joys

have perished together with you, which your sweet friendship

nurtured in life. A foreign land holds him deep under ground

now, so far away, not among familiar tombs, and not placed

beside the ashes of relatives, but buried unhappily in Troy,

loathsome Troy! Whither, then, the conscripted men of

Greece, hurrying from all directions to forsake their

domestic hearths, are drawn, lest Paris, having rejoiced

after Helen was enticed away, freely spend idle pleasures in

a placid bed chamber. Then, because of this plight, most

beautiful Laodamia, a marriage dearer than life and spirit

was taken away from you. A flood, engulfing you in such a

whirlpool of love, had carried you off into a deep pit of

catastrophe, such as, the Greeks say, drains the floor of

Mount Cyllene, near Pheneus, the swamp having been milled: a

pit which Hercules, falsely fathered, is said once to have

dug, when the innards of the mountain had fallen, at which

time he killed the monsters of Stymphalus with an unerring

arrow under the command of lesser Eurystheus, that the door

of the heavens might be traversed by more divinities, and

Hebe shortly lose her virginity. But deeper than that pit

was your deep love, which, though you were indomitable,

taught you to bear the yoke of marriage. And our daughter

does not cherish so dear the head of a late grandson when

her father is exhausted with age; the grandson, when at long

last having acquired his grandfather's riches, enters his

name in the account books, signed in the presence of a

witness, dislodges a vulture from a whitened head the

impious joys of a ridiculous distant relative; nor did

anyone who was the wife of a snow-white cock pigeon rejoice

so much, a pigeon who is said always to snatch kisses rather

wantonly from many a biting beak; how especially promiscuous

is Lesbia! But you alone have conquered their great

passions, as once and for all you have been united to a fair

husband. My sweetheart, compared to Laodamia, is then worthy

to concede little or nothing to my lap; blond Cupid has

often gleamed in a saffron yellow tunic, running here and

there around her. Although she nevertheless is not satisfied

with one Catullus, we bear the infrequent and furtive trysts

of a chaste mistress, lest we be annoying, in the manner of

fools. Even Juno, the greatest of the goddesses, often

stomachs her burning anger at her husband's wrongdoing,

knowing of more trysts of all-desiring Jupiter. But it isn't

just to compare people to gods... ...Take the unwelcome

burden of a trembling father. Besides, she didn't come

brought down by my father's right hand to my house, redolent

with Oriental fragrance, but gave secret little favors on an

extraordinary night, when she was removed from the very lap

of her husband himself. Therefore, it is enough if this day,

which she marks, is given to me with a whiter stone than

ordinary days! Allius Manius, this gift, wrought as well as

I could in verse, is rendered to you in return for your many

favors, lest this day and that touch your name with a

scabrous blight. To this total, the gods will add so many

more gifts, the which Themis once upon a time was accustomed

to bearing to upright people in ancient times. May you and

your life as well be prosperous, and the very house in which

Lesbia and I have played, and Allius, who first has given us

land and now carries it away, from the tip of whom

everything good was originated, and my sweetheart, who is

far dearer to me than all others, dearer to me than I myself

am: my life is sweet with her alive.



quod mihi fortuna casuque oppressus acerbo

conscriptum hoc lacrimis mittis epistolium.

naufragum ut eiectum spumantibus aequoris undis

subleuem. et a mortis limine restituam.

quem neque sancta Venus molli requiescere somno 5

desertum in lecto caelibe perpetitur.

nec ueterum dulci scriptorum carmine Musae

oblectant cum mens anxia peruigilat.

id gratum est mihi me quoniam tibi dicis amicum.

muneraque et Musarum hinc petis et Veneris. 10

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 uestis mihi tradita pura est 15

iucundum cum aetas florida uer 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. 20

tu mea tu moriens fregisti commoda frater.

tecum una tota est nostra sepulta domus.

omnia tecum una perierunt gaudia nostra.

quae tuus in uita dulcis alebat amor.

cuius ego interitu tota de mente fugaui 25

haec studia atque omnes delicias animi.

quare quod scribis Veronae turpe Catullo.

esse quod hic quisquis de meliore nota

frigida deserto tepefactet membra cubili.

id Mani non est turpe. magis miserum est. 30

ignosces igitur si quae mihi luctus ademit

haec tibi non tribuo munera cum nequeo.

nam quod scriptorum non magna est copia apud me.

hoc fit quod Romae uiuimus. illa domus.

illa mihi sedes. illic mea carpitur aetas. 35

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 posta est.

ultro ego deferrem copia siqua foret. 40

non possum reticere deae qua me Allius in re

iuuerit. aut quantis iuuerit officiis.

ne fugiens saeclis obliuiscentibus aetas

illius hoc caeca nocte tegat studium.

sed dicam uobis. uos porro dicite multis 45

milibus. et facite haec carta loquatur anus.

omnibus inque locis celebretur fama sepulti.

notescatque magis mortuus atque magis.

nec tenuem texens sublimis aranea telam

in deserto Alli nomine opus faciat. 50

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 assiduo tabescere pupula fletu 55

cessaret. tristique imbre madere genae.

qualis in aerii perlucens uertice montis

riuus muscosa prosilit e lapide

qui cum de prona praeceps est ualle uolutus

per medium densi transit iter populi 60

dulce uiatori lasso in sudore leuamen.

cum grauis exustos aestus hiulcat agros.

hic uelut in nigro iactatis turbine nautis

lenius aspirans aura secunda uenit

iam prece Pollucis iam Castoris implorata. 65

tale fuit nobis Allius auxilium.

is clausum lato patefecit limite campum.

isque domum nobis. isque dedit dominam.

ad quam communes exerceremus amores.

quo mea se molli candida diua pede 70

intulit. et trito fulgentem in limine plantam

innixsa arguta constituit solea.

coniugis ut quondam flagrans aduenit amore

Protesilaeam Laodamia domum

inceptam frustra nondum cum sanguine sacro 75

hostia caelestes pacificasset heros.

nil mihi tam ualde placeat Ramnusia uirgo.

quod temere inuitis suscipiatur heris.

quam ieiuna pium desiderat ara cruorem.

docta est amisso Laodamia uiro 80

coniugis ante coacta noui dimittere collum

quam ueniens una atque altera rursus hiemps

noctibus in longis auidum saturasset amorem.

posset ut abrupto uiuere coniugio.

quod scibant Parcae non longo tempore abesse 85

si miles muros isset ad iliacos.

nam tum Helenae raptu primores Argiuorum

coeperat ad sese Troia ciere uiros.

Troia. nefas. commune sepulcrum Asiae Europaeque.

Troia. uirum et uirtutum omnium acerba cinis. 90

qualiter et nostro letum miserabile fratri

attulit. ei. misero frater adempte mihi.

ei. misero fratri iucundum lumen ademptum.

tecum una tota est nostra sepulta domus.

omnia tecum una perierunt gaudia nostra. 95

quae tuus in uita dulcis alebat amor.

quem nunc tam longe non inter nota sepulcra.

nec prope cognatos compositum cineres.

sed Troia obscena Troia infelice sepultum.

detinet extremo terra aliena solo. 100

ad quam tum properans fertur lecta undique pubes

Graecae penetrales deseruisse focos

ne Paris abducta gauisus libera moecha

otia pacato degeret in thalamo.

quo tibi tum casu pulcerrima Laodamia 105

ereptum est uita dulcius atque anima

coniugium. tanto te absorbens uertice amoris

aestus in abruptum detulerat barathrum

quale ferunt Graii Pheneum prope Cyllenaeum

siccare emulsa pingue palude solum 110

quod quondam caesis montis fodisse medullis

audit falsiparens Amphitryoniades.

tempore quo certa Stymphalia monstra sagitta

perculit imperio deterioris eri

pluribus ut caeli tereretur ianua diuis. 115

Hebe nec longa uirginitate foret.

sed tuus altus amor barathro fuit altior illo

qui tamen indomitam ferre iugum docuit.

nam neque tam carum confecto aetate parenti

una caput seri nata nepotis alit 120

qui cum diuitiis uix tandem iuuentus auitis

nomen testatas intulit in tabulas.

impia derisi gentilis gaudia tollens

suscitat a cano uolturium capite.

nec tantum niueo gauisa est ulla columbo 125

compar quae multo dicitur improbius

oscula mordenti semper decerpere rostro

quam cum praecipue multiuola est mulier.

sed tu horum magnos uicisti sola furores

ut semel es flauo conciliata uiro. 130

aut nihil aut paulum 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 135

rara uerecundae furta feremus herae

ne nimium simus stultorum more molesti.

saepe etiam Iuno maxima caelicolum

coniugis in culpa flagrantem concoquit iram

noscens omniuoli plurima furta Iouis. 140

at quia nec diuis homines componier aequum est

ingratum tremuli tolle parentis onus.

nec tamen illa mihi dextra deducta paterna

fragrantem Assyrio uenit odore domum.

sed furtiua dedit mira munuscula nocte 145

ipsius ex ipso dempta uiri gremio.

quare illud satis est si nobis is datur unis

quem lapide illa dies candidiore notat.

hoc tibi quod potui confectum carmine munus

pro multis Alli redditur officiis. 150

ne uestrum scabra tangat rubigine nomen

haec atque illa dies atque alia atque alia.

huc addent diui quam plurima quae Themis olim

antiquis solita est munera ferre piis.

sitis felices. et tu simul et tua uita. 155

et domus in qua olim lusimus. et domina.

et qui principio nobis terram dedit auspex

a quo sunt primo omnia nata bona.

et longe ante omnes mihi quae me carior ipso est.

lux mea. qua uiua uiuere dulce mihi est. 160


edit AP Latin Syllabus
Vergil: Aeneid Book 1 (lines 1-519), Book 2 (lines 1-56, 199-297, 469-566, 735-804), Book 4 (lines 1-448, 642-705), Book 6 (lines 1-211, 450-476, 847-901), Book 10 (lines 420-509), Book 12 (lines 791-842, 887-952)
Catullus: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, (6), 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14a, 16, (21), 22, 30, 31, (34), 35, 36, 39, 40, 43, 44, 45, 46, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 65, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 75, 76, 77, 79, 81, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 92, 93, 96, 101, 107, 109, 116.
Cicero: Pro Archia Poeta; De Amicitia 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104; Pro Caelio 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 41, 42, 43, 47, 48, 49, 50, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 63, 66, 67, 74, 75, 76, 77, 79, 80
Horace: Sermones 1.9; Odes 1.1, 1.5, 1.9, 1.11, 1.13, 1.22, 1.23, 1.24, 1.25, 1.37, 1.38, 2.3, 2.7, 2.10, 2.14, 3.1, 3.9, 3.13, 3.30, 4.7
Ovid: Daphne and Apollo, Pyramus and Thisbe, Daedalus and Icarus, Baucis and Philemon, Pygmalion; Amores 1.1, (1.2), 1.3, (1.4), (1.5), (1.6), (1.7), 1.9, 1.11, 1.12, (1.14), (1.15), 3.15