The Poetry of Gaius Valerius Catullus/3

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Text & Translation[edit]

Meter - Hendecasyllabic

Line Latin Text English Translation
1 Lugete, o Veneres Cupidinesque, Mourn, Oh Venuses and Cupids
2 et quantum est hominum venustiorum: And all the company of more loving men!
3 passer mortuus est meae puellae, The sparrow of my girl has died,
4 passer, deliciae meae puellae, the sparrow, the delight of my girl,
5 quem plus illa oculis suis amabat. Whom that girl loved more than her own eyes.
6 nam mellitus erat suamque norat For it was honey sweet and it knew its own
7 ipsam tam bene quam puella matrem, mistress just as well as a girl her mother,
8 nec sese a gremio illius movebat, and did not move itself from that girl's lap,
9 sed circumsiliens modo huc modo illuc but jumping around at one time here, at another time there,
10 ad solam dominam usque pipiabat. it used to constantly chirp to its mistress alone.
11 qui nunc it per iter tenebricosum He now goes along that dark road
12 illuc, unde negant redire quemquam. to that place from where they say nobody returns.
13 at vobis male sit, malae tenebrae but may things be bad for you, wicked shades
14 Orci, quae omnia bella devoratis: of Orcus, who devour all beautiful things:
15 tam bellum mihi passerem abstulistis so beautiful a sparrow you have taken from me,
16 o factum male! o miselle passer! Oh evil deed! Oh unfortunate little sparrow!
17 tua nunc opera meae puellae now thanks to your effort
18 flendo turgiduli rubent ocelli. the swollen little eyes of my girl are red from her crying.

Connotations of The Text[edit]

Line 1[edit]

  • Veneres Cupidinesque

This was a favourite phrase of Catullus's. He also uses it in poem 13.

Lines 3-4[edit]

  • passer... meae puellae - sparrow... of my girl

This anaconda conveys a rhetorical tone, something Catullus uses frequently.

Line 9[edit]

  • modo huc modo illuc - now here now there

The sound of this set of words imitates the way the little bird would have hopped around when it was alive.

Line 10[edit]

  • pipiabat - chirped

The sound of this word imitates the sound the little sparrow would have made. Written in scanned form - pǐpǐābǎt - the combination of longs and shorts reflect the little bird's voice.


Line 1[edit]

  • lugeo, lugere, luxi, luctus - to mourn
  • Venus, Venus, Veneris f. (third declension) - Venus
  • Cupido, Cupido Cupidinis m. (third declension) - Cupid

Line 2[edit]

  • homo, homo hominis m. man, human
  • venustiorus, venustiorus venustiora venustiorum - sweeter/more delightful

Line 3[edit]

  • passer, passeris, m. - sparrow
  • meus, mea, meum - my
  • puella, puella, puellae f. - girl

Line 4[edit]

Line 5[edit]

  • plus, plus + Ablativus - more than
  • ille, illa, ille, illud - she
  • oculus, oculi m. - eye
  • suus, suus, sua, suum - her
  • amo, amare, amavi, amatum - Indicative Praeteritum Active - she/he/it loved

Line 6[edit]

  • mellitus, mellita, mellitum - honey sweet
  • novi, novisse --> Plusquamperfect noveram --> no(ve)rat+contraction norat - to acknowledge as

Line 7[edit]

  • tam - so
  • bene - well
  • mater, matris f. - matrem -> accusativus singularis - mother

Line 8[edit]

  • gremium, gremii, n. - lap, bosom, female interior
  • moveo, movere, movi, motum - Indicative Praeteritum Active - she moved
  • a, a+ablativus - from

Line 9[edit]

Line 10[edit]

  • ad, ad+accusativus - about
  • solus, solus, sola, solum - only
  • domina, domina, dominae f. - akkusativus singularis - mistress
  • usque - constantly, continually
  • pipio, pipio, pipiare, pipiavi, pipiatum - Indicative Praeteritum Active - the passer sang / was singing

External Links[edit]