Catullus 8

Poor Catullus

by Catullus

Poor Catulllus! Things with Lesbia were going so well in poem 7, but here in poem 8 they have taken what looks like a conclusive turn for the worse – assuming that Lesbia is the puella.

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Miser Catulle, desinas ineptire,
et quod vides perisse perditum ducas.
fulsere quondam candidi tibi soles
cum ventitabas quo puella ducebat
amata nobis quantum amabitur nulla.
ibi illa multa cum iocosa fiebant
quae tu volebas nec puella nolebat,
fulsere vere candidi tibi soles.
nunc iam illa non volt: tu quoque impotens noli,
nec quae fugit sectare, nec miser vive,
sed obstinata mente perfer, obdura.
vale, puella! iam Catullus obdurat,
nec te requiret, nec rogabit invitam.
at tu dolebis, cum rogaberis nulla.
scelesta, vae te! quae tibi manet vita?
quis nunc te adibit? cui videberis bella?
quem nunc amabis? cuius esse diceris?
quem basiabis? cui labella mordebis?
at tu, Catulle, destinatus obdura.

Poor Catullus, stop this foolishness,
what you have seen die is lost, accept it.
The sun shone brightly on you once,
when you used to trot about wherever she led,
she you loved as no other will be.
Then all those pleasant things were going on
you were so keen on, and she not unwilling:
the sun shone brightly on you then all right.
Now, she won’t, so follow suit, you’re stuck:
Don’t chase what shuns you, or live in misery,
Make up your mind, persist and endure.
Goodbye, girl! Now Catullus is enduring,
He won’t come after you, or ask you, if you’re not
willing. You won’t be happy, when no-one asks you.
You’ll be sorry! What will life be like for you?
Who’ll chase after you now? Who’ll think you pretty?
Who’ll you love? Whose will they say you are?
Who’ll you kiss? Whose lips will you be biting?
But you, Catullus, stick it out, endure.