POETRY / ADDITIONAL READING
translations of several of Catullusí other poems. Your assignment is to attempt to put them in order by using
the context clues. Support your
decision by using specific words and
phrases. These poems summarize
Catullus' affair with Lesbia in three stages - the beginning, when they were
very much in love; in the middle, when he begins to doubt her after she has been
unfaithful; at the end, when he can no longer stand her.
The numerical titles donít have any relevance here so ignore them.
The numbers refer to the order in which they appeared when the
manuscripts were discovered in the middle ages.
There has been much debate about the actual order of Catullusí poems -
so much, in fact, that it was
decided to keep the numerical order.
us live, my Lesbia, and let us love,
let us value all the criticisms
prudish old men at one penny.
sun that sets may rise again
when our light has sunk to the earth,
becomes one perpetual sleeping.
- give me a thousand kisses, and then a hundred
then another thousand and a second hundred
again another thousand, then a hundred,
when we have made many thousands;
their number, so that poor fools envious even now
never know learn our wealth and curse us
their evil eyes.
seems to me to be equal to a god,
surpass the gods, if I may say so,
sits opposite you and, again and again,
sees you and hears you
sweetly. This thought snatches away
my senses; for, as soon as
look at you, Lesbia, nothing remains
of my senses, nothing.
tongue becomes numb, a slender flame
through my limbs, my ears ring
a sound of their own, and both my eyes
are veiled by darkness.
Catullus, is your trouble;
is what delights you and moves you
passion: idleness has proved before now the ruin of kings
and prosperous cities.
ask, Lesbia, how many kissings
you are enough and to spare for me.
great the number if the sands of Libya
be found in silphium bearing Cyrene
Jove's billowy oracle
the sacred tomb of Battus;
as many as the stars which in the silence of night
the secret loves of mankind:
many kisses to kiss you with
be enough and to spare for love crazed Catullus,
many for the inquisitive to able to count
bewitch with their evil tongues.
woman says that she prefers to marry no one,
me, not even if Jupiter himself was after her.
she says: but whatever a woman says to a lover who wants her
ought to write on the wind and the running water.
are the cause of this destruction, Lesbia,
has fallen upon my mind;
mind has ruined itself by fatal constancy.
now it cannot rise from its own misery to wish that you become
of women, nor can it fail
love you even though all is lost and you destroy
once said, Lesbia, that you belonged to Catullus alone
wished not to possess even Jove above me.
cherished you then, not just as an ordinary man a mistress,
as a father cherishes his children and their spouses.
I know you: so, though I burn more ardently,
are much cheaper and slighter in my eyes.
so?" you ask. Because such
hurt as you have inflicted
a lover to love you more, but to like you less.
is for ever criticizing me and never is silent
me: I'll be darned if Lesbia does not love me.
do I know? Since they are the same for me.
I curse her
but I'm darned if I don't love her.