Carmena XLIII

For Jasmine Moir

Hello, Miss More,
.                                   neither with the smallest nose,
nor with the prettiest feet nor with black little eyes
nor with long fingers nor with dry lips
or said so clearly with a your refined tongue
or with your eyes.
Miss of the spendswift from Βύρων,
Does not all the world report that you are beautiful?
Who dares, our Νίκε, even compare with thee?
O! What crude and tasteless times… and what a fool I was to move so fast.

G.V.Catullus 84-54 B.C.E.

 (c) Benjamin George Griffin, Tuesday November 29th 11:13:18pm
 (cc) BY-NC-SA v3  Id est share and Share Alike for non-commercial purposes if you say that I was involved in the translation. My own thanks to Rudy Negenborn and  Greg Drudy.

Miser Catulle, desinas ineptire,

I’m all out of energy now, so I’m only going to change one word in this translation. It helps that this one is rather good.

 Carmen 8 (in English by Kelly Syler)
Miserable Catullus, you must stop being silly,
and count as lost what you see is lost.
Once the sun shone bright for you,
when you would go whither your sweetheart led,
she who was loved by me as none will ever be loved.
Then there took place those many jolly scenes
which you desired nor did your sweetheart not desire.
Truly the sun shone bright for you.
Now she desires no more: do you too, weakling, not desire;
and do not chase her who flees, nor live in unhappiness,
but harden your heart, endure and stand fast.
Goodbye, sweetheart. Catullus now stands fast:
he will not look for you or court you against your will.
But you will be sorry when you are not courted at all.
Wretch, pity on you! What life lies in store for you!
Who will come to you now? Who will think you pretty?
Whom will you love now? Who will people say you are?
Whom will you kiss? Whose lips will you bite?
But you, Catullus, be resolute and stand fast.

Νίκης μου … ipsa possem, et tristis animi levare curas!

Sparrow, delicate toy of my girl
who plays. and is caressed...
Teasing you, she offers her first finger
drawing you to to short. sharp. bites.
My hearts desire shines for
knowing not what play would please her
but by bites bring solace to her suffering.
Gravely, I think on her ardour, and it’s rest:
Oh! That I could play as you do, and with such ease
lift from her troubled mind, these cares with caress!

pro Νίκης μου ad Carmina IIa,  primus ad stylo Gaius Valerius Catullus scribat

(c) Benjamin George Griffin, Tuesday 29th November 2011

Vivamus mea Lycia, atque amemus

Let us live, Lycia, and love
and value at one red cent
all the world’s jealous whispers.
Suns may set and rise again–
but for us, when the day winks out,
there remains to be slept the sleep of one unbroken night.
Give me a thousand kisses, then a hundred,
then another thousand, then a second hundred,
then yet a thousand, and a hundred more…


When we have blushed many thousands,
we will confuse our counting so the kiss’ed number we know not,
and with this,
turn all envious eyes to admiration
when they find that our kisses are
                                                                     so many.

Carmina V, για Λυκίας Πόντου, primus ab stylo de Gaiem Valeriem Catullem scribat

(cc) BY-NC-SA V.3, Benjamin G. Griffin Friday 11th November, 2011. Thanks to H.Walker’s capable translation here

Translation: Carmena CI, per G. V. Catullus

I have lost two friends in the last month.
This is dedicated to them,

Richard Ewaine Pollett
Hiroki Ainai.

I have rallied through the many countries and challenged many seas
To be here, O my Brother, and make these miserable rites.
I present you with this last guerdi’on of death,
and say, though in vain, these few words to your mute ashes.
Fortune has taken your living flesh from me
So cruelly have you been burned from the earth–
Dearest brother of mine, take these offerings from my eyes,
recieve this ceremony, this rite, which by the custom of our forefathers
has been handed down —
take, these sorrowful tributes —
take these wet sacrifices
and let me see you in these ashes damp from my many tears.
I say to you and the sea and the sky as if to my own soul, this:
Comrade. Hail. And Farewell.

(CC) NC-A-SA Benjamin George Griffin oct, 2011

I think it’s obscene to put a copyright on the translation of a funerary poem, and even worse to advertise such an insult the internet. You know who you are. Your latin must be sh!t or non existant. For eveyone else, please consider this (CC) Non Commercial, Attribution, Share Alike by Benjamin George Griffin (2011) (con fero Death of a Violinist) id est please share and sharealike for all non-commercial purposes, I ask only that you reference me as the translator.

Much thanks to this translation  by Mr. H. Walker, who was my inspiration in his quite capable rendering of the grandeur and passion of the original Latin. Lating being still,  far and away the best way of reading this glorious piece of classical literature.

The Death of a Violinist

Multās per gentēs et multa per aequora vectus
adveniō hās miserās, frāter, ad īnferiās,
ut tē postrēmō dōnārem mūnere mortis
et mūtam nēquīquam alloquerer cinerem,
quandoquidem fortūna mihī tētē abstulit ipsum.
heu miser indignē frāter adēmpte mihi,
nunc tamen intereā haec, prīscō quae mōre parentum
trādita sunt trīstī mūnere ad īnferiās,
accipe frāternō multum mānantia flētū,
atque in perpetuum, frāter, avē atque valē.
- Gaius Valerius Catullus, Carmina CI

A note died in my ear, here, at your … funeral.
I need to call it that, a funeral, even if the program here says Celebration.
It is a sad day for me. And for H. And I want to feel it all.

A note died in my ear today. My left ear. It hummed to a singular pitch, just moments ago. This note held itself there, in this ear, sharp and clear, a direct line to my brain… then died. A hair in a cochlea sang its last song, and hummed to a tremble, then ….

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