Catullus 34 Translation

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Introduction

 

In this poem, Catullus talks about the lieges of Diana, who is the Greek Roman variant of Artemis. She is the goddess of the hunt and a virgin. This is why Catullus refers to girls and chaste boys as being her lieges. This song honors the goddess who let them sing. In lines one through four, he introduces the goddess and what she did for boys and girls. 

Then, in the next quatrain, he writes about how and where she was born. As the daughter of Jove (Zeus) and Latona, she was born by the olive-tree. In the next quatrain, he talks about how Diana is the mightiest lady of nature. He mentions mountains, green woods, glens, and rivers as some of her realm. 

In lines 13-16, he writes about what people call her. She is Juno Lucina, named for her parents. And, mothers call her name when they are suffering labor pains as she is also the goddess of childbirth. She is also called Trivia and Moon, as she is also the goddess of the moon, in contrast to her twin brother Apollo who is the god of the sun. Catullus says that she is also the goddess of counterfiet light, as the moon does not bring the true light of day. 

In the next quatrain, he talks about how she helps measure out the months and years. As the goddess of the moon, farmers use her to determine when to harvest and bring home fruits and labors of the husbandman. 

To close out this ode to Diana, Catullus wishes that people continue to honor her by whatever name they wish to call her. He closes the final quatrain by hoping that she continues to keep Romans safe. This poem is one of his loveliest as he honors a virginal goddess. For those who know Catullus’s poetry, this honor seems a bit out of place for him as most of his poems refer to sex or insults.

 

Carmen 34

 
LineLatin textEnglish translation
1

DIANAE sumus in fide 

We girls and chaste boys 

2

puellae et pueri integri: 

are lieges of Diana. 

3

Dianam pueri integri 

Diana let us sing,

4

puellaeque canamus. 

chaste boys and girls. 

5

o Latonia, maximi 

O child of Latona, 

6

magna progenies Iouis, 

great offspring of greatest Jove,

7

quam mater prope Deliam 

whom thy mother bore 

8

deposiuit oliuam, 

by the Delian olive-tree, 

9

montium domina ut fores 

that thou mightest be the lady

10

siluarumque uirentium 

of mountains and green woods, 

11

saltuumque reconditorum 

and sequestered glens 

12

amniumque sonantum: 

and sounding rivers;

13

tu Lucina dolentibus 

thou art called Juno Lucina 

14

Iuno dicta puerperis, 

by mothers in pains of travail, 

15

tu potens Triuia et notho es 

thou art called mighty Trivia and Moon

16

dicta lumine Luna. 

with counterfeit light. 

17

tu cursu, dea, menstruo 

Thou goddess, measurest out by monthly course 

18

metiens iter annuum, 

the circuit of the year, 

19

rustica agricolae bonis 

thou fillest full with goodly fruits 

20

tecta frugibus exples. 

the rustic home of the husbandman. 

21

sis quocumque tibi placet 

Be thou hallowed by whatever name thou wilt;

22

sancta nomine, Romulique, 

and as of old thou wert wont, 

23

antique ut solita es, bona 

with good help keep safe 

24

sospites ope gentem.

the race of Romulus.

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Resources

 

VRoma Project: http://www.vroma.org/~hwalker/VRomaCatullus/034.html