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(84-54 BC / Verona, Gaul)

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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’.

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003


Read poems about / on: brother, farewell, fate, sea

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Comments about this poem (Invitation: to Fabullus by Gaius Valerius Catullus )

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  • Mohabeer Beeharry (8/16/2013 4:16:00 AM)

    A very sad farewell. This kind of poem stays in the heart.
    Well done.
    Mohabeer Beeharry

  • Hem Raj Bastola (8/16/2013 3:59:00 AM)

    Sad, but touchy. trailing grief is still lingering.

  • Kevin Straw (8/16/2012 1:55:00 PM)

    There is a tremendous irony in hail and farewell. The impact of this poem is in the helplessness and hopelessness of anything the Poet can do in the face of his brother's death. He is hailing no one and saying farewell to no one. If the Poet believed in an afterlife there would be consolation, but he does not. All he can do is go through the motions that custom dictates - but nothing can solace his heart for the loss of his brother - we see a raw grief in the measured prosody of the verse.

  • Kevin Straw (8/16/2012 11:34:00 AM)

    It should be remembered that this touching out pouring of grief was written in a very rigorous form.

  • Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (11/13/2008 9:31:00 AM)

    Very touching tribute to his brother.retains the flavor of the Roman poet's view.

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