Nuntiate

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Furi et Aureli, comites Catulli,
sive in extremos penetrabit Indos,
litus ut longe resonante Eoa
tunditur unda,

sive in Hyrcanos Arabasve molles,
seu Sagas sagittiferosve Parthos,
sive quae septemgeminus colorat
aequora Nilus,

sive trans altas gradietur Alpes,
Caesaris visens monimenta magni,
Gallicum Rhenum, horribiles vitro 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 complexa tenet trecentos,
nullum amans vere, sed identidem omnium
ilia rumpens;

nec meum respectet, ut ante, amorem,
qui illius culpa cecidit velut prati
ultimi flos, praetereunte postquam
tactus aratro est.

(Catullus 11)

Catullus’ comrades, wherever he goes,
whether he reaches the Indians’ realm,
where the far-resounding eastern wave
pummels the shore,
visits Hyrcani, effeminate Arabs,
Sacae, or Parthians laden with arrows,
or the fields where the floods of the sevenfold Nile
deposit their colors,
or walks across the lofty Alps,
seeing the achievements of Caesar the Great,
the Gallic Rhine, the choppy main,
the faraway Britons,
ready for any adventure, whatever
the will of heaven’s inhabitants brings,
say a few words to my girl, a few
unfriendly words.
Let her live and rejoice with her band of adulterers,
embracing three hundred at once, though truly
loving none, and never fail
to rupture their groins,
but not rely on my love as before.
It died by the guilt of that girl, as a flower
falls at the edge of a meadow when touched
by a passing plough.
(tr. David Mulroy)

Excrucior

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Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris?
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.
(Catullus 85)

I hate and love. You wonder, perhaps, why I’d do that?
I have no idea. I just feel it. I am crucified.
(tr. Peter Green)

Venustas

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Quintia formosa est multis, mihi candida, longa,
recta est: haec ego sic singula confiteor.
totum illud formosa nego: nam nulla venustas,
nulla in tam magno est corpore mica salis.
Lesbia formosa est, quae cum pulcherrima tota est,
tum omnibus una omnis surripuit Veneres.
(Catullus 86)

Many find Quintia beautiful. For me she’s fair-complexioned,
tall, of good carriage. These few points I concede.
But overall beauty – no. There’s no genuine attraction
in that whole long body, not one grain of salt.
It’s Lebia who’s beautiful, and, being wholly lovely,
has stolen from all of the others their every charm.
(tr. Peter Green)

Dilexi

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Dicebas quondam solum te nosse Catullum,
Lesbia, nec prae me velle tenere Iovem.
dilexi tum te non tantum ut vulgus amicam,
sed pater ut gnatos diligit et generos.
nunc te cognovi: quare etsi impensius uror,
multo mi tamen es vilior et levior.
qui potis est, inquis? quod amantem iniuria talis
cogit amare magis, sed bene velle minus.
(Catullus 72)

You told me once, Lesbia, that Catullus alone understood you,
That you wouldn’t choose to clasp Jupiter rather than me.
I loved you then, not just as the common herd their women,
but as a father loves his sons and sons-in-law.
Now, though, I know you. So yes, though I burn more fiercely,
yet for me you’re far cheaper, lighter. “How,”
you ask, “can that be?” It’s because such injury forces
a lover to love more, but to cherish less.
(tr. Peter Green)