Friday, March 11, 2011

Catullus, Poem 72

Gaius Valerius Catullus
84-54 BCE (over 2,000 years ago)
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Golden Age)

Dicebas quondam solum te nosse* Catullum,
Lesbia, nec prae me velle tenere* Iovem.
(Lesbia, you used to say once that you knew only Catullus, that you wouldn't hug Jupiter before me.)

dilexi* tum te non tantum ut vulgus amicam,
sed pater ut gnatos diligit et generos*.
(At that time, I not only loved you like a ordinary man loves a girlfriend, but like a father loves his sons and sons-in-laws.)

nunc te cognovi: quare etsi impensius uror*,
multo mi tamen es vilior et levior.
(Now, I've found out the deal about you: so, even while I yearn for you more desperately, you are still that much despicable and insignificant to me.)

qui potis est*? inquis.
(You say, "How's that possible?")

quod amantem iniuria talis
cogit amare magis, sed bene velle* minus.
(Because, the sort of injury you have inflicted on me forces the lover to love you more, but want you all the less.)