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.
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
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,
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
All you Loves and Cupids cry
and all you men of feeling
my girl’s sparrow is dead,
my girl’s beloved sparrow.
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:
Flavius, unless your delights
were tasteless and inelegant,
you’d want to tell, and couldn’t be silent.
Surely you’re in love with some feverish
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:
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,
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,