Catullus Revisited

Jemima Wickham 4 October 2020

Catullus 72

Dicebas quondam solum te nosse Catullum, Lesbia, nec prae me velle tenere Iovem. dilexi tum te non tantum ut vulgus amicam, sed pater ut gnatos diligit et generos.
nunc te cognovi: quare etsi impensius uror, multo mi tamen es vilior et levior.
qui potis est? inquis. quod amantem iniuria talis cogit amare magis, sed bene velle minus.

You used to say I was the only one you were close to,

That you’d never want to hold anyone but me.

I thought the world of you then – not as some boy with a girl,

But as family.

Now, I see you for what you are.

I burn for you more violently, but you’re so disgusting, so much

Cheaper to me now.

How? That kind of cruelty drives a lover to love more, but like less.

Catullus 109

Iucundum, mea vita, mihi proponis amorem hunc nostrum inter nos perpetuumque fore. di magni, facite ut vere promittere possit atque id sincere dicat et ex animo,
ut liceat nobis tota perducere vita aeternum hoc sanctae foedus amicitiae.

My life, you tell me our love will last forever and always be happy

Between the two of us.

God, please let her be telling the truth

Let her be meaning what she says, and speaking with her heart,

So this sacred bond can last our whole lives.