The Poetry of Gaius Valerius Catullus/8
Text & Translation
Meter - Limping Iambics
|Line||Latin Text||English Translation|
|1||Miser Catulle, desinas ineptire,||Miserable Catullus, cease to be a fool,|
|2||et quod vides perisse perditum ducas.||and that which you see to have been lost, may you consider lost.|
|3||Fulsere quondam candidi tibi soles,||Bright suns once shone for you,|
|4||cum ventitabas quo puella ducebat||when you often came to where the girl led you,|
|5||amata nobis quantum amabitur nulla.||a girl loved by us more than any girl will be loved.|
|6||Ibi illa multa cum iocosa fiebant,||where there those many jokes used to happen,|
|7||quae tu volebas nec puella nolebat,||which you wanted, and she did not deny,|
|8||fulsere vere candidi tibi soles.||truly bright suns shone for you.|
|9||Nunc iam illa non vult: tu quoque impotens noli,||now she does not want; you also, powerless, do not want,|
|10||nec quae fugit sectare, nec miser vive,||neither follow she who flees, nor live miserably,|
|11||sed obstinata mente perfer, obdura.||but remain firm with a resolute mind, endure.|
|12||Vale puella, iam Catullus obdurat,||Goodbye girl, already Catullus endures,|
|13||nec te requiret nec rogabit invitam.||he will neither miss you, nor will he ask for you, unwilling.|
|14||At tu dolebis, cum rogaberis nulla.||but you will grieve, when you will not be asked for at all.|
|15||Scelesta, vae te, quae tibi manet vita?||wicked one, woe to you! what life remains for you?|
|16||Quis nunc te adibit? cui videberis bella?||who will come to you now? To whom will you seem beautiful?|
|17||Quem nunc amabis? Cuius esse diceris?||whom will you love now? Whose will you be said to be?|
|18||Quem basiabis? Cui labella mordebis?||whom will you kiss? Whose lips will you bite?|
|19||At tu, Catulle, destinatus obdura.||But you, Catullus, obstinate, endure.|
Connotations of The Text
The use of the metre, limping iambic, has a broken uneven effect, mimicking the dead end of his thoughts.
- miser - miserable; wretched; unhappy
This is a favourite word of Catullus' usually used to describe himself. It can also be translated as "love-sick" and this translation creates a nearer tone that Catullus intended in the poem. This expression can also be seen in Poem 7.
- ventitabas - you used to go
The use of the Imperfect Tense shows how Catullus used to go everywhere Lesbia went - making him like Lesbia's shadow.
- ducebat - where she used to lead
The use of the Imperfect Tense indicates how Lesbia used to be in control of Catullus and she led him around as she pleased.
- nunc iam - now it has come to this
This phrases emphasises the finality of the relationship and how it has ended once and for all.
- rogaberis nulla - you will be asked [out] by none
Here the poet is trying to convince himself that Lesbia will lose out the most in the end. Nulla here is acting more as an adverb "not"
- obdura - endure
The end of the poem finishes with a blunt imperative. This is Catullus trying to snap himself out of his misery.
- miser - miserable; wretched; unhappy; love-sick
- desino, ere, -sii, -itum - leave off; cease; desist; abandon
- ineptio, ineptire - play the fool
- perdo, -ere, -didi, -ditum - destroy; ruin; lose
- fulgeo, -ere, fulsi - shine; gleam; glitter; sparkle
- candidus, -a, -um - white; fair; beautiful
- soles (pl. of sol) - lit. = suns; rays; beams
- ventito, ventitare - come often; keep coming
- ibi (adv.) - there; in that place; then; thereupon
- fio, fieri, factus sum - to happen; be done; become
- iocosus, -a, -um - humorous; jokey; light-hearted
- impotens, -entis (adj.) - weak; feeble; puny
- sector, sectari, sectatus sum - follow; pursue
- obstinatus, -a, -um - resolved; resolute; fixed; obstinate
- preferre - carry through; endure
- invitus, -a, -um - unwilling; reluctant
- doleo, -ere, dolui, dolitum - feel pain; suffer; grieve
- vae - woe to; alas
- labellum, -i, n. (dim.) - little lip
- mordeo, momordi, morsum - bite
- destino, -are, -avi, -atum - fasten down; secure; determine; fix