#51 - From Sappho

Catullus wrote this Latin poem as a translation of Sappho's Greek poem (fragment #31);

 he also added the final stanza.


Ille mi par esse deo videtur,

ille, si fas est, superare divos,

qui sedens adversus identidem te

spectat et audit


dulce ridentem, misero quod omnis

eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te,

Lesbit, aspexi, nihil est super mi

vocis in ore


lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus

flamma demanat, sonitu suopte

tintinant aures, gemina teguntur

lumina nocte.


Otium, Catulle, tibi molestum est:

otio exsultas nimiumque gestis:

otium et reges prius et beatas

perdidit urbes.



He seems to me to be equal to the gods

or, if it is proper, to be above the gods,

who sitting opposite you  continually

watches and hears you


sweetly laughing, which takes all the

senses from me, unhappy: for at the same time

Lesbia, I have looked up you, nothing remains to me

of a voice in my mouth


but my tongue is numb, under the limbs

a thin fire drips, by their own sound

my ears are ringing, my eyes are covered

by twin night.


Idleness, Catullus, is annoying to you:

you let yourself go in idleness, and desire too much:

idlenes has ruined before both kings

and good cities.


(back to Classics)



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