Catullus 8 Translation

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Introduction

 

In this poem, Catullus wrote about himself. He began talking about his folly and how all is lost. In line three he wrote about how the suns used to shine bright on him, especially when he was with Lesbia. In line five, he repeats a line he uses frequently when talking about her: he loved her like no one else ever would. 

But, in line six, he shares how there were so many joys that he had with Lesbia. But, in line seven, he shares that she did not wish for the things that he desired. She brightened his days, but the feeling was not mutual. As in line nine, Catullus shares that she did not desire him, and she desires no more. A madman should not desire her anymore either. No one should follow her. The madman should not live in misery but should be strong and firm. 

Catullus tells himself that he can be strong and will no longer go after Lesbia, especially because she does not want to be with him. He then asks who what life is left for him now that she no longer wants him. He wonders who he will love and who will love him in return. He wants to know who he will kiss. He reminds himself to be strong and firm, now that he no longer has anyone to kiss or any lips to bite. 

He is clearly upset about the status of his relationship with Lesbia, as the relationship no longer exists He loved her as no one else would ever love her, and she ended it by no longer wanting to be with him. In lines 12 through 13, he wished her farewell and told her he will no longer seek her. But, in line 14, he wonders what she will do when no one asks for her. 

 

Carmen 8

 
LineLatin textEnglish translation
1MISER Catulle, desinas ineptire, Poor Catullus, it’s time you should cease your folly,
2et quod uides perisse perditum ducas. And account as lost what you see is lost. 
3fulsere quondam candidi tibi soles, Once the suns shone bright on you, 
4cum uentitabas quo puella ducebat when you used to go so often where my mistress led, 
5amata nobis quantum amabitur nulla. she who was loved by me as none will ever be loved. 
6ibi illa multa cum iocosa fiebant, There and then were given us those joys, so many, so merry, 
7quae tu uolebas nec puella nolebat, which you desired nor did my lady not desire. 
8fulsere uere candidi tibi soles. Bright to you, truly, shone the days. 
9nunc iam illa non uult: tu quoque impotens,noliNow she desires no more-; neither should you desire, poor madman, 
10nec quae fugit sectare, nec miser uiue, nor follow her who flies, nor live in misery,
11sed obstinata mente perfer, obdura. but with resolved mind, endure, be firm.
12uale puella, iam Catullus obdurat, Farewell, my mistress; now Catullus is firm;
13nec te requiret nec rogabit inuitam. he will not seek you nor ask you against your will.
14at tu dolebis, cum rogaberis nulla. But you will be sorry, when you are not asked for.
15scelesta, uae te, quae tibi manet uita? Ah, poor wretch! What life is left for you? 
16quis nunc te adibit? cui uideberis bella? Who now will visit you? To whom will you seem fair? 
17quem nunc amabis? cuius esse diceris? Whom now will you love? Whose will you be called? 
18quem basiabis? cui labella mordebis? Whom will you kiss? Whose lips will you bite ? 
19at tu, Catulle, destinatus obdura.But you, Catullus, be resolved and firm.

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Resources

 

VRoma Project: http://www.vroma.org/~hwalker/VRomaCatullus/008.html

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