Poetry Friday: Catullus

CatullusI was in the mood for Latin poetry today. The problem is that much of it is very long and rather… odd. This one is odd, but short. So I thought it would be good to share. I’m assuming that most of the people who are reading this probably don’t read Latin very well, so this is an English translation. We had to translate this one in high school and I remember enjoying it because it was reasonably easy and not about war (mostly we translated accounts of battles because there are lots and lots of them in Latin). So here is one of Catullus’s love poems.

Let us live, my Lesbia, and let us love,
and let us judge all the rumors of the old men
to be worth just one penny!
The suns are able to fall and rise:
When that brief light has fallen for us,
we must sleep a never ending night.
Give me a thousand kisses, then another hundred,
then another thousand, then a second hundred,
then yet another thousand more, then another hundred.
Then, when we have made many thousands,
we will mix them all up so that we don’t know,
and so that no one can be jealous of us when he finds out
how many kisses we have shared.

Catullus wrote many poems to “Lesbia”, but it’s assumed to be a cover name for someone else. There are many speculations about who Lesbia might have been. I always thought it kind of sweet he wrote her poetry under a different name. Maybe it was dangerous for him to use her real name? He also didn’t shy away from writing very sexually explicit things to her, but this one is very sweet with it’s many thousands of kisses. Catullus was quite a character, indeed!

The poetry round-up today is over at Check It Out, so go over there to see what everyone else has today!

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