Ave Atque Vale Poem by Gaius Valerius Catullus

Ave Atque Vale

Rating: 3.6

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’.

Kevin Straw 16 August 2012

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.

13 2 Reply
Kevin Straw 16 August 2012

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

9 2 Reply

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

7 2 Reply
Hem Raj Bastola 16 August 2013

Sad, but touchy. trailing grief is still lingering.

5 0 Reply
Mohabeer Beeharry 16 August 2013

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

3 1 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 21 September 2017

Carme 101 Multas per gentes et multa per aequora vectus advenio has miseras, frater, ad inferias, ut te postremo donarem munere mortis et mutam nequiquam alloquerer cinerem. Quandoquidem fortuna mihi tete abstulit ipsum. Heu miser indigne frater adempte mihi, nunc tamen interea haec, prisco quae more parentum tradita sunt tristi munere ad inferias, accipe fraterno multum manantia fletu, atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale.

13 0 Reply
Leslie Philibert 16 August 2014

Iti`s a bit strange that a reviewer tells Catullus to keep on writing, he`s been dead for over two thousand years...

25 1 Reply
Stephen W 16 August 2014

A sad poem, but very good. Keep on writing!

4 11 Reply

It's a classic farewell to a good friend...

6 1 Reply
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1 7 Reply
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