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Miser Passer
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Catullus 3


            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.


                        Miser Passer

O Veneres et Cupidines                                                                                            1

et homines qui pulchra amant,                                                                                     2

passer meae puellae mortuus est!                                                                           3

passer meae puellae carae -                                                                                    4

avem plus oculis suis amabat.                                                                                 5

Dulcis erat.  Puellam meam novit                                                                             6

quam puella matrem suam noscit.                                                                             7

E gremio suo non excessit.                                                                                       8

Volabat hic et ibi circum puellam.                                                                               9

Solae dominae cantabat.                                                                                           10

Nunc per viam obscuram ambulat-                                                                            11

Unde nullus homo ad terram revenit.                                                                          12

O, male Tartare.                                                                                                          13

Tu omnia pulchra devoras.                                                                                          14

Tu passerem pulchrum meum capis.                                                                         15

O factum male! Miser passer!                                                                                     16

Tartarus oculos meae puelllae                                                                                     17

fecit rubres.                            

To the Assignments

To Some Other Poems by Catullus