I’ve wanted to do a section on some of my favorite poems for awhile now, but have never fully figured a way to pay homage to my favorite writers. No matter how I pose my feelings towards each I feel like it’s not enough. As though my words can’t live up to their words.
So I’ll simply say that the first time I read this poem I didn’t like it. The fact that I had to translate it for a Latin homework assignment was the root of that hatred, as we had been spending the past month slowly dissecting other poems by Catullus. But as I started reading each of the words in my own handwriting I felt myself falling in love with this poem. Our magis told us of how conflicted Catullus was, how he went back and forth with Lesbia, how he loved her.
Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus
Rumoresque senum severiorum
Omnes unius aestimemus assis.
Soles occidere et redire possunt:
nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux,
nox est perpetua una dormienda.
Da mi basìa mille, deinde centum,
dein mille altera, dein secunda centum
deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.
Dein, cum milia multa fecerimus,
conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus,
aut nequis malus invidere possit,
cum tantum sciat esse basiorum.
Let us live, my Lesbia, and let us love,
and let us judge all the rumors of the old men
to be worth just one penny.
The suns are able to fall and rise:
When that brief light has fallen for us,
we must sleep a never ending night.
Give me a thousand kisses, then another hundred,
then another thousand, then a second hundred,
then yet another thousand more, then another hundred.
Then, when we have made many thousands,
we will mix them all up so that we don’t know,
and so that no one can be jealous of us when he finds out
how many kisses we have shared.