Catullus iii


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english translation

Catullus iii

Weep now, you Venuses and Cupids, weep
You charming men in Venus’ employ!
My darling’s sparrow sleeps an endless sleep,
My darling’s sparrow’s dead, her pride and joy,
Whom she loved more than she loved her own eyes;
For honey-sweet he was, and he knew her
As well as any girl can recognize
Her mother. From her lap he’d never stir,
But hopping little circles, here and there,
Would squeak an endless tune to her alone.
Now by the shadow road he goes down where
It’s said that no return was ever known.
But evil be with you, you evil shades
Of Death, who devour every pretty thing;
You stole my sparrow’s pretty serenades.
O evil deed! O bird of suffering!
It’s your work now that, while my darling cries,
She turns to me with red and puffy eyes.

original Latin poem

Catullus iii

Lugete, o Veneres Cupidinesque
et quantum est 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! o miselle passer!
tua nunc opera meae puellae
flendo turgiduli rubent ocelli.