As we said before, Catullus wrote many poems to and about his
"girlfriend" named Lesbia. He
gives her this name to remind us of the beautiful, intense love poetry of Sappho
who was from Lesbos. In fact, so
influential was her poetry to Catullus that he translates some of her poems from
Greek into Latin. He draws all his
readers into the relationship by writing poems to her when he loves her, when he
hates her, when he distrusts her, and when he is blinded by her charm.
His feelings are very much on display for the world to see and judge.
Catullus 3 was written to Lesbia when he was trying to win her from her
other suitors. At the time of this poem, her pet sparrow had just died, and she
was obviously upset about the loss. Notice
how differently Catullus treats death in this poem.
Veneres et Cupidines
homines qui pulchra amant,
meae puellae mortuus est!
meae puellae carae -
plus oculis suis amabat.
erat. Puellam meam novit
puella matrem suam noscit.
gremio suo non excessit.
hic et ibi circum puellam.
per viam obscuram ambulat-
nullus homo ad terram revenit.
omnia pulchra devoras.
passerem pulchrum meum capis.
factum male! Miser passer!
oculos meae puelllae