MISER CATULLE, DESINAS INEPTIRE...MISS HER, CATULLUS? DON'T BE SO INEPT...
Catullus (Gaius Valerius Catullus)tr. Louis Zukofsky
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, impotens, 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.
Miss her, Catullus? don't be so inept to rail
at what you see perish when perished is the case.
Full, sure once, candid the sunny days glowed, solace,
when you went about it as your girl would have it,
you loved her as no one else shall ever be loved.
Billowed in tumultuous joys and affianced,
why you would but will it and your girl would have it.
Full, sure, very candid the sun's rays glowed solace.
Now she won't love you; you, too, don't be weak, tense, null,
squirming after she runs off to miss her for life.
Said as if you meant it: obstinate, obdurate.
Vale! puling girl. I'm Catullus, obdurate,
I don't require it and don't beg uninvited:
won't you be doleful when no one, no one! begs you,
scalded, every night. Why do you want to live now?
Now who will be with you? Who'll see that you're lovely?
Whom will you love now and who will say that you're his?
Whom will you kiss? Whose morsel of lips will you bite?
But you, Catullus, your destiny's obdurate.

Click here 1 for another translation of this poem.

Transl. Copyright © Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1991 - publ. Penguin Classics


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