Gaius Valerius Catullus
Gaius Valerius Catullus was a Latin poet of the Republican period. His surviving works are still read widely, and continue to influence poetry and other forms of art.
Catullus came from a leading equestrian family of Verona in Cisalpine Gaul, and according to St. Jerome, he was born in the town. The family was prominent enough for his father to entertain Caesar, then proconsul of both Gallic provinces. In one of his poems Catullus describes his happy return to the family villa at Sirmio on Lake Garda near Verona. The poet also owned a villa near the fashionable resort of Tibur (modern Tivoli); his complaints about his poverty must be taken with a grain of ... more »
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Gaius Valerius Catullus Poems
Ave atque Vale
Through many countries and over many seas I have come, Brother, to these melancholy rites, to show this final honour to the dead, and speak (to what purpose?) to your silent ashes, since now fate takes you, even you, from me.
How Many Kisses: to Lesbia
Lesbia, you ask how many kisses of yours would be enough and more to satisfy me. As many as the grains of Libyan sand that lie between hot Jupiter’s oracle,
Let’s Live and Love: to Lesbia
Let us live, my Lesbia, let us love, and all the words of the old, and so moral, may they be worth less than nothing to us! Suns may set, and suns may rise again:
All you Loves and Cupids cry and all you men of feeling my girl’s sparrow is dead, my girl’s beloved sparrow.
No. 101 (On His Brother's Death)
By ways remote and distant waters sped, Brother, to thy sad grave-side am I come, That I may give the last gifts to the dead, And vainly parley with thine ashes dumb:
A Warning: to Aurelius
I commend myself and my love to you, Aurelius. I ask for modest indulgence, so, if you’ve ever had a desire in your mind you’ve pursued chastely and purely,
Advice: to himself
Sad Catullus, stop playing the fool, and let what you know leads you to ruin, end. Once, bright days shone for you, when you came often drawn to the girl
To me that man seems like a god in heaven, seems--may I say it?--greater than all gods are, who sits by you & without interruption watches you, listens
Sparrow, the Special Delight of My Girl
Sparrow, the special delight of my girl, whom often she teases and holds on her lap and pokes with the tip of her finger, provoking counterattacks with your mordant beak,
This boat you see, friends, will tell you that she was the fastest of craft, not to be challenged for speed by any vessel afloat, whether
Invitation: to Fabullus
You’ll dine well, in a few days, with me, if the gods are kind to you, my dear Fabullus, and if you bring lots of good food with you, and don’t come without a pretty girl
That we've broken their statues, that we've driven them out of their temples, doesn't mean at all that the gods are dead. O land of Ionia, they're still in love with you,
Back from Spain: to Veranius
Veranius, first to me of all my three hundred thousand friends, have you come home to your own house your harmonious brothers, and old mother?
Sirmio, you jewel of all peninsulas and all the islands of the crystal lakes and the great oceans Neptune circles, how delightedly, how gladly, I return,
Comments about Gaius Valerius Catullus
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
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Ave atque Vale
Through many countries and over many seas
I have come, Brother, to these melancholy rites,
to show this final honour to the dead,
and speak (to what purpose?) to your silent ashes,
since now fate takes you, even you, from me.
Oh, Brother, ripped away from me so cruelly,
now at least take these last offerings, blessed
by the tradition of our parents, gifts to the dead.
Accept, by custom, what a brother’s tears drown,
and, for eternity, Brother, ‘Hail and Farewell’.