The Poetry of Gaius Valerius Catullus/3

Text & TranslationEdit

Meter - Hendecasyllabic

Line Latin Text English Translation
1 Lugete, o Veneres Cupidinesque, Mourn, Oh Venuses and Cupids
2 et quantum est hominum venustiorum: And all men of finer feeling
3 passer mortuus est meae puellae, The sparrow of my girl has died,
4 passer, deliciae meae puellae, the sparrow, my lady's pet
5 quem plus illa oculis suis amabat. Whom she loved more than her own eyes.
6 nam mellitus erat suamque norat For it was honey sweet and it knew its own
7 ipsam tam bene quam puella matrem, mistress just as well as a girl her mother,
8 nec sese a gremio illius movebat, nor would it move from her lap
9 sed circumsiliens modo huc modo illuc but hopping around from here, to there
10 ad solam dominam usque pipiabat. it used to constantly chirp to its mistress alone.
11 qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum it now goes through the dark journey
12 illuc, unde negant redire quemquam. to that place from where they deny that anyone returns
13 at vobis male sit, malae tenebrae but curse on you, evil shadows
14 Orci, quae omnia bella devoratis: of hell , who devour all beautiful things:
15 tam bellum mihi passerem abstulistis you have taken such a beautiful sparrow from me
16 o factum male! o miselle passer! Oh what evil deeds! Oh unfortunate little sparrow!
17 tua nunc opera meae puellae now, because of you,
18 flendo turgiduli rubent ocelli. my girlfriends' little eyes are swollen red from weeping

Connotations of The TextEdit

Line 1Edit

  • Veneres Cupidinesque

This was a favourite phrase of Catullus's. He also uses it in poem 13.

Lines 3-4Edit

  • passer... meae puellae - sparrow... of my girl

This anaconda conveys a rhetorical tone, something Catullus uses frequently.

Line 9Edit

  • modo huc modo illuc - now here now there

The sound of this set of words imitates the way the little bird would have hopped around when it was alive.

Line 10Edit

  • pipiabat - chirped

The sound of this word imitates the sound the little sparrow would have made. Written in scanned form - pǐpǐābǎt - the combination of longs and shorts reflect the little bird's voice.


Line 1Edit

  • lugeo, lugere, luxi, luctus - to mourn
  • Venus, Venus, Veneris f. (third declension) - Venus
  • Cupido, Cupido Cupidinis m. (third declension) - Cupid

Line 2Edit

  • homo, homo hominis m. man, human
  • venustiorus, venustiorus venustiora venustiorum - sweeter/more delightful

Line 3Edit

  • passer, passeris, m. - sparrow
  • meus, mea, meum - my
  • puella, puella, puellae f. - girl

Line 4Edit

  • delicia, deliciae f. - delight

Line 5Edit

  • plus, plus + Ablativus - more than
  • ille, illa, ille, illud - she
  • oculus, oculi m. - eye
  • suus, suus, sua, suum - her
  • amo, amare, amavi, amatum - Indicative Praeteritum Active - she/he/it loved

Line 6Edit

  • mellitus, mellita, mellitum - honey sweet
  • novi, novisse --> Plusquamperfect noveram --> no(ve)rat+contraction norat - to acknowledge as

Line 7Edit

  • tam - so
  • bene - well
  • mater, matris f. - matrem -> accusativus singularis - mother

Line 8Edit

  • gremium, gremii, n. - lap, bosom, female interior
  • moveo, movere, movi, motum - Indicative Praeteritum Active - she moved
  • a, a+ablativus - from

Line 9Edit

  • sed - but
  • circumsilio, circumsilio, circumsilire, circumsiliui - jump, hop around
  • hoc - here
  • illuc - there
  • modo - once

Line 10Edit

  • ad, ad+accusativus - about
  • solus, solus, sola, solum - only
  • domina, domina, dominae f. - akkusativus singularis - mistress
  • usque - constantly, continually
  • pipio, pipio, pipiare, pipiavi, pipiatum - Indicative Praeteritum Active - the passer sang / was singing

External LinksEdit