Swashbuckling Mastery of Catullus

Clearly Melpomene has been overthinking things again. Yesterday, in the throes of her translatory anguish, she spoke to me, lifting her voice to the Heavens. Catullus’s muse is an older, harsher mistress than we.

Darling, just look at this poem. So vexing! Troublesome fact, I, Thalia have gone many years without study of Latin. Once I could at least wade through Ceasar and slog along in Cicero. (Sidenote: Cicero is distractingly beautiful to say. I missed the meaning for the sound a lot.)

Well, nothing like quivering, blind pomposity to give you courage in the face of impossible odds.

My translation is a triumph of the Symbolist movement. It is allusive, illustrative and unconstrained. It has a bite. Guts, egotism and chocolate milk.  Hwaet!

II. fletus passeris Lesbiae

Passer, deliciae meae puellae,
quicum ludere, quem in sinu tenere,
cui primum digitum dare appetenti
et acris solet incitare morsus,
cum desiderio meo nitenti
carum nescio quid lubet iocari
et solaciolum sui doloris,
credo ut tum gravis acquiescat ardor:
tecum ludere sicut ipsa possem
et tristis animi levare curas!

TAM gratum est mihi quam ferunt puellae
pernici aureolum fuisse malum,
quod zonam soluit diu ligatam.

Go forth, my delicious girl
to play with whom, who holds my sinuses
Who dares to be apprenticed to my first finger.
and incites (me to)solve acrid death
with my desire winking dear Chocolate Milk
which lubricates poison and the sun who grieves.
I believe you assent gravely
To play with you therefore to posses
 and cry I will cure your animals.
Now grating is my ferral girl
whose pernicious halo fusses badly
within the zone of my ligaments

5 thoughts on “Swashbuckling Mastery of Catullus

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