Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Catullus 3: Death of Lesbia's Sparrow

O Venuses and Cupids weep and mourn
And all you beautiful people of this world:
My girlfriend’s precious sparrow is no more.
The songbird who was once this girl's delight,
Alive, more precious to her than her eyes,
It was her honey and I swear it knew her
better than some girl-child knows her mother.
How it would chirp and only sing to her
and it would hop, now here, now to some other
perch but always stayed within her lap.
Still now it goes along the shadowed road
From which they say that nothing can come back.
So damn you straight to hell, you hellish shadow,
Now you have snatched from me this lovely bird,
You whose teeth grind beauty down to sorrow.
Poor little sparrow! So low a thing to do!
For by your hand the sad eyes of my dear
Swell up with weeping and are red with tears.

Lugete, O Veneres Cupidinesque,
et quantum est hominum venustiorum:
passer mortuus est meae puellae,
passer, deliciae meae puellae,
quem plus illa oculis suis amabat.
nam mellitus erat suamque norat
ipsam tam bene quam puella matrem,
nec sese a gremio illius movebat,
sed circumsiliens modo huc modo illuc
ad solam dominam usque pipiabat.
qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum
illuc, unde negant redire quemquam.
at vobis male sit, malae tenebrae
Orci, quae omnia bella devoratis:
tam bellum mihi passerem abstulistis
o factum male! o miselle passer!
tua nunc opera meae puellae
flendo turgiduli rubent ocelli

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